Blessings or Burdens?

ImageThe lollipops were too small. I should have known that getting my toddler twins through Target would require more than your standard dum-dum pop! Silly me. Where were the safety-pops when you needed them?!  So when blue-slobber-fingered, Caleb pointed the bouncy balls out to green-gooey-lipped Josh, an academy award worthy scene of such varied emotions ensued. There was the twins’ childish rejoicing in a whole display of bouncy balls. There was me, the nervous mom scooting past as fast as possible. There was subsequent weeping and wailing over the deep disappointment. There was anger and embarrassment over the spectacle. There was almost one year old Izzy, rudely awakened and not very happy. And — there was the audience. The stunned, judgmental, compassionate, annoyed, awe-struck audience.

I think survival mode kicked in at that point (as if giving twin toddlers lollipops at the store wasn’t survival mode, but I leave that for you to decide) because I don’t remember any of the rest of the story. Mercifully. But, I know I probably received the all too familiar question or comment from a curious stranger, “Wow, are they all yours?” or maybe it was, “Gee, you have your hands full.”  Or “How do you do it?!”

For the most part, I don’t think people are being malicious when they make these statements. I think what this attitude can reveal, however, is the underlying belief that children are more of a burden than a blessing. Having too many children is irresponsible and inconvenient. What concerns me about this mentality isn’t that it permeates society around me these days, it’s that it can permeate my own heart. In my heart I’m saying, “Wow! these are all mine!” or “Gee, I have my hands full!” or “I have no idea how I’m going to do it?!”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I view my children. How do I try to cultivate the biblical perspective? “Children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:4,5a) Particularly, how do I do this when I am a sinful mom raising sinful kids in a fallen world? It’s not just automatic like it could have been before the fall.

Heritage. Reward. Blessing. Sometimes, my heart fills with a resounding, “YES!” These kids are such undeserved and precious blessing in my life. But other times, I view them as a burden and an inconvenience. Over the next few blog posts, I want to explore the things that tend to influence each perspective.

These posts are based on a talk I did a few weeks back for a class for young moms, but like every talk I prepare for, my own heart was stirred, inspired, convicted, and challenged! I must mention that my topic was originally written in an outstanding book called, Loving My Children, by Katie Faris from our church. She is in the process of having it published right now, and I will be sure to pass along the information about the book as it comes to me.

I hope you will join me…and I really mean that. I hope you will comment away and share your own adventures in changing your perspective from “kids are a burden” to “kids are a blessing”. Let’s link arms, as well as we can via cyberspace, and determine to see the blessing our babies truly are…even when – maybe especially when- they losing their minds over bouncy balls at Target!

12 thoughts on “Blessings or Burdens?

  1. I think I was unclear about the connection between my blog series and the chapter in the book. the blog series is my take on the general topic of viewing children as a blessing from the Lord, which was the topic of the chapter as well. Katie and I came at the same topic from different angles, and what she has to say is excellent, so I look forward to pointing you to the book when it’s published.

  2. God bless you! I am looking forward to your posts about this! It is something I think about a lot. My husband works out of town for months at a time and so I am alone with my son. People often compare me to a single mother, which I don’t really like. I think they mean it in a nice way though. I just think society has become, like you said, a lot more prone to seeing children as a burden. I often feel so blessed to go everywhere with him and do everything for him, and I think our time alone together is the most precious time of my life. However, I struggle with the idea of having another child. Would it be just too much to do often alone? I don’t expect an answer from you, of course, but I look forward to reading your insights on the general subject.

  3. no surprise to you or anyone who knows me half well, I can gush with joy over my treasured little gifts in one moment and five minutes later be wishing they’d all disappear. It’s a constant battle with my selfish heart. Can’t wait to hear more from you and others about this topic.

  4. Usually I’m thinking they’re a burden when I’m out in public like what you describe here. Like when my kids started fighting, and I mean fighting over the 1 mini grocery cart that was at the grocery store, last week. 😦 A good reminder for sure!

  5. I look forward to reading more. I really struggle with the disconnect between what my mind *knows* to be true (that my children are a blessing) and what my sinful heart often *feels* to be true (that they are a burden and inconvenience my life). So I’m always glad for gospel encouragement and inspiration/challenging on the topic.

  6. Hi Anna! Welcome to the conversation 🙂 . You have a unique challenge with your husband being gone for those stretches of time. I sincerely hope and pray you will find encouragement here.

  7. Bri, I think you are a great example of one who views her kiddos as blessings. I love when you gush. And I also love when you humbly admit the struggles of life. (another area in which you are an example!)

  8. Megan, I’m glad you’re along for the ride!
    Danielle, you should ask my mom about the time we went to Harford mall and promised my twins the fire truck cart (the only double cart available through the mall). One son freaked out like crazy!!! then to add insult to injury we saw a mom toting her SINGLE child in the cart with her bags in the other seat. I was about to rival my son with the tantrum. Ahhhhh, the memories. they make me laugh so hard now.
    Amy, isn’t that so true! here I am with 3 teenagers and a tween and I’m still fighting for perspective! So worth the struggle, though.

  9. Laurie, I always felt the same way (and still do) when I’d see moms of singletons w/ the car carts. I give them the evil eye. And, I’m sure they feel so threatened. hahaha.

  10. Ha ha, Laurie. The good news is despite the embarrassing display of anger (and I HAD built up the fact they could both push a cart), they ended up sharing beautifully, until another free one became available. And they pushed them so well, no running or anything! So I must give them praise for that! 🙂

  11. I always wanted 5 kids and even on the hard days which are plenty in so glad God gave me each of them. I really struggle with others opinions an looks when I go out. Especially livin in a city where families with three kids are considered large. I can deal with anxiety and this need to feel like I have everything under control to please these people I hardly know or even strangers. It’s silly. We have run into some financial troubles and I hate when I feel judged for having so many kids and not enough money (course when I had them we were fine). I wish our society valued children more than things. I wish that I could always value my children Anf rest in the comfort that others opinions don’t matter.

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