IMG_9435I have nine kids. I usually don’t volunteer that information when I am out and about because the next thing a person usually asks me is “How do you do it?” and then the focus is all on me.  When my kids were little and I regularly brought them shopping with me, I would hear that question a lot.  So much so that I came up with a short answer: “With prayer and patience”.  

Lately I have been thinking about that answer and came to realization that that wasn’t really a complete answer.  Today if you came up to me and asked me, “How do you do it? How do you raise so many children? How did you get them to be so well behaved?  How come they seem so happy?”, I would answer, “Lots of prayer, patience, and a good solid marriage”.  

I need to know that I am loved and be happy and content before I can love my kids and teach them what happy and contented looks like.  Firstly, I am loved by God. Secondly, I am loved by another (my husband)   And the fruit of all that is that I am able to love.   And I believe this is a good foundation for raising any number of children.  Any parent who is confident in knowing that he/she is loved and valued is able to bring up happy and contented children.  Is it easy? No. It requires a lot of hard work.  Raising a child involves many tears, misunderstandings, anxiety, suffering, and forgiveness but rising up to the challenge is part of the adventure.  For all the times I was anguished with worry over the challenges any of my children have faced, there have been infinitely more times that I have rejoiced in their successes and victories!  And the laughter, such laughter.  I am happy. I am content.  I am loved.  I can love.

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.” 1 John 3