Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blessing of the Fruitful Womb

I am frequently asked if I’m going to have any more children. My quick reply is if the Lord allows me to have more, I’m willing. It has been a long journey for us to reach this point where we can say, “Lord, we are willing.”

I love my position in being a keeper at home, wife to Ken, and mother of 5 children, soon to be 6. I am grateful for the freedom to home school my children, developing a close relationship with them, and the honor to teach them the Word of God. Most of all, I am thankful that I have a godly husband, who desires God’s best, and is willing to lead and provide for his family, under the authority of Christ. God has given us a multi-generational vision to raise our children to be mighty warriors for His kingdom. We know after we are gone, they will continue to carry the banner to raise their offsprings for the Lord.

There are some (maybe many) that feel we have enough children and should stop the reproduction cycle. We’ve heard so many reasons why we shouldn’t have any more children, we’ve even tried to reason with each other why we should not. But when we set aside human reasoning, we realized that if we were to really trust the Lord, we feel we must trust the Lord in all areas of our lives, and this included allowing Him to dictate the number of offsprings. Children today are considered an expense and a burden, but God’s Word never speaks of this. God calls them a reward. (Deuteronomy 7:13-14, And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you or among your livestock.) Sadly, it is the only reward we no longer pray for or desire an abundance. Stacy McDonald, in Passionate Housewives Desperate for God says, “ Under the leadership of a godly man, children are considered ‘arrows’ aimed against ungodliness.” (Psalm 127: 3-5, Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.)

We have gone through two major moves due to job loss and plant closings since we have married. In the midst of it, we continued to trust the Lord to provide for our needs. We’ve seen how God provided for our needs at a much later time, even though we felt the provision from God could have been sooner, to alleviate much stress and confusion on our part. But, we realized that God sees the bigger picture and knows what’s best. Now, we are less than 4 weeks away from expecting our 6th child, and our eyes are unfolded to what He is once again doing in our lives, providing us a 12-passenger van, inexpensively, and without needing to take out a bank loan. We’ve been praying for a bigger vehicle to transport all of us legally ever since we found out we were expecting, and we are now seeing His answer to our prayer. We know of many others before us that have lived with much less and have had more children, and their grown children are living testament for the Lord, powerfully advancing His kingdom.

I have recently gone into the Word and reread the two passages of women in the Bible, Sarah and Hannah. In Genesis 17:17, “Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” Abraham didn’t believe what he was hearing from God. Genesis 17:15-22, “Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” Children were not only important to Abraham and Sarah, but it was also important to God to have godly people raise offsprings. Even in Sarah’s old age, God prepared her womb to have a son.

In I Samuel 1, Hannah was not able to have children. What struck me is that in verse 5 it states that “The Lord had closed her womb.” Hannah was tortured by her rival, Peninnah, because of her inability to have children. Why did God choose to close Hannah’s womb? I do not have an answer, but God did open Hannah’s womb, and she had Samuel and dedicated him to the Lord. What joyous celebration this was in Hannah’s life?! She must have been so elated to experience the pregnancy and delivery, and to have the opportunity to love and raise him.

From these 2 examples, God chose the number of children for these two women. We only know from Scripture they had 1 child, but that one child was God’s plan. He opened and closed the wombs of these women.

Jehovah Jireh knows us, and He knows our finances. We are allowing the Lord to dictate the size of our family. I feel in a lot of ways, Ken and I are tremendously blessed with 6 children to raise already. Can we tell God we are satisfied with our 6, and opt for the tubal ligation or vasectomy? As children of the Almighty God who loves us so much and gave up His Son for us, how can we not want to surrender to our human desires, and give Him all of our lives, to look forward to Him saying to us, “Well done, my children.” ? We view the opportunity to bear and bring up children a high honor given to us by the Lord, and it is not a lowly burden to endure. We rejoice that we are able to be called by Him to bring little ones into the world to be souls that will glorify Him, and warriors who will contend with the enemies of God. How can we say no to more souls that will glorify Him and build His kingdom?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Men’s Rewards or God’s Pleasure

The photo of this scrapbook page was taken in September 2006.

This afternoon, Ken and I were confronted with how to train our children to accept failure and disappointment, without placing ourselves above other parental ways. We even asked each other what was the best way to train Godly character in our children.

Ken and the four oldest children participated in the Pinewood Derby in our church today. Our two youngest children, ages 7 and 5 were disappointed that they didn’t win the speed contest against their age groups. As we tried to encourage our two youngest of their effort, we began to also notice that many of those vehicles may not have been made by the children themselves, and we began to
wonder if there was much child involvement in developing the vehicles before the event this afternoon. Joshua told us that one child admitted the parent made all of it, and he was not present for any of the car making. Caleb even told us he wanted Ken to make one for him next time. In the meantime, we encouraged our children to enjoy themselves and not to focus on trophies, but we saw that it was difficult for them to handle the disappointment.

On our way home, we explained that we were proud of their car designs. We reminisced over this past week when Ken and the children excitingly picked out their paint at Wal-mart, they even spent some time drawing the cut-out of their vehicles, and sanding and painting together. It was a worth-while family event that each one had enjoyed. When Joshua pointed out to everyone in the van again that some of the vehicles there were made by the adults, Ken had to explain that he would not trade the fun in all the building with his children for many trophies. He then asked the children if they had fun this week, and each one agreed they enjoyed making the cars themselves.

We are not to judge the motives and effort of other parents, nor do we want our children to be bitter of other children’s awards. The most important life lesson today is that we want our children to give the Lord glory in all things, whether they win, lose, or even forfeit. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “ Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ) We want them to learn to rejoice with others when they win, and be gracious to those that lose when we win. Their effort may not be noticed with flashy trophies or ribbons by men, but God sees their effort and He is always proud of their endeavors. In Matthew 6, Jesus speaks of prayer and fasting done in secret will be rewarded, but it is important our children learn from an early age not to perform for men, but to do everything to glorify God and to please Him. (Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”) I know they will have many more opportunities where they will be confronted with desiring the rewards of men. Therefore, I will be praying that Ken and I will not tire in cultivating Godly character into their lives.