“Bless your heart”, “Your hands are full”, “God love ‘em”, “Are they all yours”, “Oh! Lord, not me”, “You are super mom”, “You’re braver than I”, “You are my hero”, “I applaud you”, “OH! NO” are all common phrases uttered by women of varying ages when they see me in a store with my children. This started when I was pregnant with my 4th child and is even more common now that I have 6 kids. Some older women have stopped and shared their stories of days long past when they either grew up with 5 or more siblings or they raised their own large family. Some have asked to hug me in the middle of the store- strangers seeing my struggle to manage all these little humans. Some have prayed with or over me and my crew. Some outright show disgust in my choice to have so many children. There are so many different responses to the large family in society today. Somewhere in the timeline we decided that the “perfect” family was a dad, mom, son and a daughter. A prize pack always comes with enough tickets for a “family of four”. By these standards, anything above this ‘perfect family’ is going against the grain. Its uncommon and undesired. Or is it?
My husband and I have moved A LOT. In 12 years we have lived in 6 states. We have rented 10 houses, stayed with family 5 times between moves and lived in an extended stay hotel for 6 months because there was a natural disaster that made homes unavailable. It sounds crazy, but we have enjoyed our near nomad style life. We have seen so many breathtaking places, had some great experiences, and we’ve seen God move and provide in some spectacular ways! But the best part is all the truly AMAZING people we have met on our journey! And unless we are just *those* people that attract the unusual… I can honestly say that large families are more common than society thinks! I don’t have enough fingers to count how many families we have met that have at least 4 kids! And let me just say, these are some of the BEST people I’ve ever met! So why are we made to feel awkward and unwanted and freakish?!
I.HAVE.NO.CLUE. The Bible tells us: Psalm 127:3-5 “3Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them.“ (Yes it references the man, but the same goes for the women… I’ve NEVER met an older lady that said in hindsight she wishes she had LESS children, on the contrary, they usually say they wish they could have had MORE!) They are a BLESSING! Yes, a large number of children can make one anxious, and you may lose more valuables from damage when a large crew is around. It may not be what you are accustomed to, but it is not unusual. Sure, you’ll hear more sounds in one hour than you may in a typical week with only one or two kids around. But it is not uncommon. It may make your head spin. It may not be on YOUR radar to have that many kids (honestly, it wasn’t on MINE!). But it is a calling many women are called to. It’s not promoted or publicized much because that’s not what society wants for the ‘typical’ family. BUT: Psalms 1:1 –“Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.“ SO, don’t base your opinion of the ideal family on what Hollywood says. This A-typical life DOES NOT make us second rate, brain washed, mistreated, under privileged, lower classed, or door mats. (Yes, people think and say such things… I have heard it from within my own extended family about me.) James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (Temptation in this verse means not only temptation in sin, but also trials, persecution, suffering.) So, in following God’s call to have a large family and to train them up in God’s word we can and will face scorners and heartaches, but we will be blessed for our faithfulness in such trials!
On the other hand, having large families doesn’t mean that we are saints, angels, or heroes. If we are honest we will admit that our patience, organization, love, tolerance, and kindness are just as tried and thin as anyone else’s. We are just like any other woman. HUMAN. As a whole, society has accepted this idea that we must have it all put together, we have to be Pinterest organized, Instagram beautiful, and have the heart of Mother Teresa. My friend, that is a lie from Satan himself. It’s a trap that is used to keep us focused on how we are failing and everyone else is so much better than us. We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have to keep it all together, and we are not alone in our struggles! We are called to lean on each other and help one another. Not sit and judge or scorn our sister! The world tells us that’s what it is all about…have you read many FB comment sections in “Support Groups”… Mommy wars are UGLY AND UNGODLY! Galatians 6:1-3 “1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” So, don’t deceive yourself and think you are better than the woman across the pew or playground. None of us are better than the other and none of us hold a candle in comparison to Jesus Christ– who being God– came and humbled himself to be in the image of man and walked this earth and lived a perfect life- without sin- was mocked, beaten and killed for and by those who scorned him and STILL asks for OUR burdens to bear! Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.“ So be the light, be the smile, the hug, the nod, the whatever is needed for another mom. That’s what we are called to do. We are CALLED to raise these precious large families. We are EQUIPPED to handle the crazy because we have a Savior who begs us to lay our burdens at HIS feet.
My name is Rachel LaFleur and I am a mother of 6 beautiful, unique, challenging and inspiring children whose ages range from 13 years to 4 months. I don’t have it all figured out, but I keep pressing on and trying new angles because each day has a new plot twist that must be integrated into the story of my life. I am scatter brained and almost always late and I usually have all 6 kids in toe. And you can bet one of them will make a scene in some instance or another. So, I AM IN THIS STRUGGLE WITH YOU. And if you take nothing else from this post, please remember this… when you see that mom at Walmart with a crowd of children around her and she looks like she’s ready to come unglued, she loves her children, but she tired and just needs the smallest hint of encouragment. Give her a smile, a nod, tell her she’s doing alright. And mean it as a blessing, not a snarky remark, when you say, “Bless your heart”.