As Steve and I were chatting over the breakfast table this morning he nonchalantly says, "So, can you bring the kids over to my classroom at 4 pm today? We have to take a family picture for the yearbook." I shoot him a quizzical look and he responds, "Well, you remember how they do awards for the yearbook like Best Eyes and Most Likely to (fill in the blank)? They did teacher awards this year and I won two awards. One of them involves you guys." Playfully I respond, "What?! What was your singular award? 'Most Likely to Be a Nerd?' " With eyes dancing he says, "How dare you infer such a thing? To be exact, the award is 'Most Likely to Have Been a Nerd in High School.' " Ah ha. I see. He then goes on, "And the other award goes to our family...'Most Likely to Have the Most Children.' "
I just bust up laughing.
Seriously...'Most Likely to Have the Most Children'. Who comes up with these things? I'd love to know what some of the other awards are.
But I guess we won the grand prize for that particular one since we are the only ones with 5 (almost). Some of our best pals around here though have four...so we're not that far ahead.
Not wanting to disappoint, we marched over there at 4 o'clock-me, the boys, Elliana and my pregnant belly, to meet Steve and take pictures for the yearbook. I brought my camera too and had them get a couple for us.
It was fun. It was silly. And I was proud to say, "Look, we love children. They are a blessing. And we'll gladly take your prize." We both knew deep down that the "Most Likely" award could've been taken as a jab...but we chose not to see it that way. We also know that many people don't agree with us having a lot of children. And that's okay too...we can respectfully disagree. These things aren't deal breakers but we do choose to believe what God says about having children, that they're a blessing and a heritage. Can't argue with that.
But on the other hand, it's not necessarily about the numbers either. We could have ten children and yet have our home resemble a graveyard-devoid of life and desolate. What good is that? Vitality is the goal...not perfection. Having a lot (or just more than usual) doesn't make us anymore holy than anyone else. But there is something to having a home bursting with the pitter patter of little feet (no matter how many), dirty faces and rosy cheeks. They chasten us and change us.
Another thing that always humbles us as well is that God chose to give us children in the first place. We're fully aware that He didn't have to. I've had close friends deal with infertility and these heartaches are real and deep. I'll NEVER forget how I bawled when one of my dearest friends, who had suffered infertility for years and who then had a miscarriage, told me she was pregnant again. Sobbing, all I could think to do was pray, "God please protect that baby!!" And He did.
Children are a blessing whether they come directly from the womb or through adoption. They're a blessing period-one that we can't take for granted. God uses them for our good and we're so thankful for them. Their lives are our reward.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!!" Psalm 127:3-5 Emphasis mine.
And that's a reward we're proud to pose for.