The other day, I learned that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar announced that they are now expecting their 20th child!! ohmygoodness!
I am a big fan of their TV show on TLC and watch it as often as I am able on Tuesday nights and early on weekday mornings. I enjoyed watching the budding romance, engagement, and the wedding of their oldest son, Joshua, to Anna, along with the birth of their two children. I have loved reading their first book (the second is on my Christmas list) and prayed along with thousands as their 19th child, Josie, came into the world four months premature. So, yes, I am a fan. :) A lot of people have had derogatory and....well, let's just be honest....hateful comments about the Duggars and their way of life. I have to say, "Gracious, let them alone!" I, for one, am inspired at their obedience in letting the Lord have full control of every area of their lives, especially in the issue of children. That is when you can truly sing, "I surrender ALL." I'm amazed at how they run their home smoothly and with order with so many kids when I know of countless parents who cannot control the one or two kids they have. Grant and I are praying for Michelle as she sacrifices her body, once more, for the giving of life and for trusting the Lord to do all things well. :) God bless them.
With the Duggar family fresh on the brain, I have been thinking of motherhood.
John Wesley said, "I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England."
The impact of that statement is huge. What a powerful remark! Through his mother's diligence in teaching him about Christ and what it means to be a Christian, he learned what no professor could ever teach. He saw Christianity in action in his home; in the life of his own mom. I have read about his mother, Susannah Wesley. Susannah was the youngest of twenty-five children! (you're not quite there, Duggar family! :) She, herself, bore nineteen children with her husband, Samule Wesley. Many Godly women in history had the honor of bearing many children. Elizabeth Fry, a sweet Quaker woman who reformed prisons in England, bore eleven children. Sarah Edwards, the godly wife of Jonathan Edwards, was also the mother of eleven. Catherine Booth, the wife of the founder of The Salvation Army, William Booth, gave birth to eight children.
Psalm 127 verses three and four says, "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them...."
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full. For some, the Lord may say that one or two is a "quiver full." For others, a quiver full may be twenty or twenty-five! However many children we are blessed with, the Bible gives us, mothers, a great responsibility; mainly to LOVE our children.
Recently, I read a book that convicted me and inspired me to become a more godly wife and mother. It was a study of Titus 2 and, in reading and studying, I was constantly reminded of how I should be as a Christian woman....
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
It seems like such a no-brainer to love our children, doesn't it? But it doesn't always come so easily. In studying, I learned that the word, love, found in Titus 2 was the Greek word, Phileo, which is where we get the word Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love). This word isn't Agape love (unconditional love; sacrificing love; God-like love). Phileo is an affectionate love; a friendship love; a tender love.
Though Nathan hasn't yet reached the toddler years or the age where he challenges authority, I am working to display phileo love and to make it a lifestyle. Sometimes it's so easy to show sacrificial love and even unconditional love. We, wives and mothers, will clean up milk and kool-aid spills. We will wash dirty underwear and stinky socks. We will labor and sweat over meals. We will work and work and work....from sun up to sun down.... but will we show phileo love? Are we tender? Are we compassionate? Are we affectionate? In studying this word, I have seen my reflection in love's mirror and.... I'm afraid that I am guilty of not showing phileo as often as I ought to. To my husband, I am often quick-tempered and too "busy" to stop and gently kiss his cheek and ask him how his day was. Suffice it to say, I've been convicted. But I pray, with all my heart, that I will learn to make phileo as normal as breathing in and out. I hope the Lord will bless me and Grant with more children, but no matter how many arrows He places in our quiver, my heart's desire as a mommy is to be full of phileo love. When I am tempted to yell in anger or to let my emotions take over when I am irritated, I want to be reminded to LOVE my children. When they have me ready to pull my hair out, I want to remember that God instructs me to phileo my kiddos, even when their hands are covered in peanut butter and they smear chocolate on my purse.
With our world news full of stories of mothers who want to rid themselves of their children, I pray that we, Christian mothers, will resolve to rejoice over ours and to LOVE them....and show it.