There is a lot of information floating around the internet and society in general about the cost of having children. For many, the financial drain of having kids plus the emotional toll and the disruption to one’s sleep and schedule is just not worth it.
Alright. Fair enough.
The numbers quoted in those articles are inflated far above reality, but I won’t argue that kids aren’t expensive.
We have five kids, and there are plenty of things that we don’t have. We don’t live in the town we would prefer, for starters. Instead, we live in an area where large family homes are much more affordable. Our dishwasher is currently broken. We will replace it soon, but my husband has been out of work for a month so we are choosing not to spend out of savings until after his new job starts next week. If we were double-income-no-kids, I’m sure we’d have a shiny new one already. Our carpet is old and dirty, and much of the furniture we own is second hand. We bought a brand new van two years ago (our first new car!), and it lost it’s new car smell after about two months. Maybe less.
All of our needs are provided for, but we don’t have vacations to Europe. In fact, we rarely leave Texas. We don’t have a pool or a beautiful backyard. Our swing set has seen better days. In fact, that’s why we carefully avoid it when taking blog photos! Our fence is sagging. My husband drives a late model car with a leaking door, and he has to bring along a towel on rainy days.
If we had less children, or none at all, we could sure accumulate more and nicer possessions. But the thing is that all of that is just stuff, and we are blessed to have people.
See that medical looking device on Aidan’s arm? Broken collarbone. Set us back over $700. Big hit to the new carpet fund.
But the Lord was faithful to provide exactly what we needed to pay those bills.
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
What if it said, “Behold, new carpet is a gift of the Lord…” Doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it, does it? Oh, new carpet is a gift from God’s hand as well. We will be thankful when we finally order it! But in God’s eyes, it’s not even close to being the highest priority. People are more important than things.
But still, children are an expensive gift that cost us in many ways. Not only do they require our resources, but they are also a gift that comes with a need for tremendous love and service. Why? Why does God give us such needy creatures?
Maybe it’s that God uses our children to renovate our hearts (instead of our houses) and to rid us of our selfishness, as He enables us to serve through the noise and the bickering and the spilled juice and teaches us to love a little person more than we love cleanliness and order and getting our own way.
Are we not needy ourselves? Are we not in need of our Father’s resources? As we toil endlessly for our children only to watch them disregard our correction at times, we are reminded of God’s great love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). New kitchen countertops and a farm sink just like on Fixer Upper might be beautiful, but those things will never provide us that same perspective.
And after all, the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. The world says that happiness is found in the pursuit of comfort and things, but God says that true joy is found in the pursuit of Him. And to be His child means that we serve as He served. As mothers, we are tempted to balk at that and think, “I can’t! I’ve already given up so much! If I have to change ANOTHER poopy diaper or break up another squabble or put off something I want to pay for yet another pediatrician visit…”
And God answers us with this, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) If we are willing, we can see the unfailing hand of our Heavenly provider as His power is made clear in the midst of our weakness to provide for our children.
Often, all that is needed is to stop seeing what we don’t have and just open our eyes to what we do.
A comfortable home with space for everyone.
Plenty of furniture and even a whole room just for homeschooling.
Nourishing food to eat.
Access to medical care when we need it.
A reliable van.
A yard that backs up to a creek.
Books to read.
Toys to play with.
Musical instruments to enjoy.
Five beautiful children.
Maybe what we don’t have is not such a big deal after all…
Happy Mother’s Day, friends!
P.S. For Mother’s Day, my guys and Janie gave me a professional van detailing! They got it amazingly clean and conditioned the leather seats with some kind of stuff that made it smell new again!