Tommy, an only child, smiled politely at the mention of his 51 blue and 3 red ribbons from the State Fair. He confidently spoke a phrase in Latin (one of the seven languages he spoke fluently) which I did not understand. A homeschooling mother interrupted him and "yes," he replied, "I would be glad to tutor your sons in physics and calculus. Oh! No charge! I just want to serve your family."
A lump rose in my throat. If only I had just one child to focus on, to plan studies for, to buy curriculum for. Were my girls missing out because I keep having babies (preceded by difficult pregnancies)? Was it selfish for me to want a big family?
It’s true. There are things my children will miss out on due to our family size, annual income and my limited abilities. But I believe in God's sovereignty. "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:26-27). He chose to put my children in our home for a reason and Mike and I are the parents they need to become what God has called them to be.
Large families are a blessing! Children are a gift and a reward. In a large family, members can learn to serve, love, protect and sacrifice for one another. Every person in our family has different strengths and weaknesses that bless or build character in all the other members. Large families are fun! There is lots of laughter in our home. And there is always someone to play with. We are so thankful for our children, God's blessing!
Sometimes when my daughters are helping one another in the kitchen, I travel back in time. I remember being a little girl after a holiday meal in the kitchen with my aunts, Mom, and grandmother. Soon, there are tears rolling down my cheeks dripping on my smiling lips.
I remember those kitchen moments.
We all worked together putting away food, washing dishes, drying dishes, putting dishes away. All the while, there was chattering and laughter. Family funnies were told year after year. There were so many "Remember when..." and "Didn't you ...?" dialogues. There was silliness and seriousness rolled into one roar of female voices sharing their thoughts and feelings.
What made those times so special?
“Freedom!” William Wallace yells as endures torture in his quest to bring liberty to Scotland. I watch that scene from Braveheart and ask myself, “What is freedom worth?”
Why is freedom worth giving your life for?
And, of course: What is freedom anyway?
What does it mean to be free?
We often think of freedom as the absence of something: no slavery, no debt, no obligations, no responsibilities.
Instead, let's look at Freedom from another angle: "Freedom to..."
When the Founding Fathers spoke of inalienable rights, they were speaking of rights that God has given to men: the freedom to have our own opinions and talk about them, the freedom to worship, the freedom to protect ourselves, the freedom to pursue happiness.
If government refuses to acknowledge those rights, they will be sinning against the Lord. The Founding Fathers set up a government to protect the rights of human beings to make their own choices and face their own consequences.
As believers in Jesus, we have even greater freedoms.
The skies in my home state are gorgeous. Bright blue with cotton puffs leisurely moving across the sky. Sometimes, the sky even stays blue when it rains. If the sky does get dark to storm, it clears up when the rain ends and returns to brilliant blue.
I've always loved sunny skies, but when I gave my life to Jesus, I became fascinated with them. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't stop gazing upward, almost seeking a message of some sort.
One day I came across this verse while reading my Bible outside in the back yard: "Your loving kindness extends to the Heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies" (Psalm 36:5).
There was a message in the beautiful blue skies.