“Is this your first?” the guy behind the lunch counter asked me.
“No,” I said with a warm smile, remembering the way Sam had to tell me goodbye three times before I left for my glucose test at the doctor’s office.
“This is my third.” I felt kind of lost without the other two with me. And just as I was pondering how strangely quiet it was, the guy’s response came in loud and clear.
“You aren’t having anymore are you?” he asked with contempt and a look that said everything.
“You never know,” was my I-am-not-telling-a-stranger-my-business reply. My answer was cheerful but my smile had grown sticky and I was struggling to keep it there.
Then the guy, who had been precariously close to the line, made an all out dash, as he said, “Well, you know you can prevent that.”
Stunned and speechless, all I could manage was, “Well, if the Lord wants you to have another one, you will no matter what.”
As I walked away, hovering between anger, embarrassment, and sadness at his audacity, I saw them coming in the distance, those clouds of doubt and fear. I knew what he was saying . . . “Children. They aren’t worth it. They aren’t worth the time, the money, the energy, the career you could have had doing something ‘important.’ You are wasting your life.”
The thoughts of how difficult my pregnancy had been filled my mind, followed quickly by how exhausted I had been with two preschoolers at home and how I was trying to prepare to home school next year. The gathering clouds grew heavier than ever with doubt and fear. As I muddled through my thoughts, the clouds settled in darkly overhead. I tried to eat my lunch, but my appetite was gone.
I began to wonder if I could really do this, if it really was worth it. Then I heard it. It was the voice of David’s granddaddy from months earlier when we had announced we were expecting for the third time.
In a quiet moment, just the two of us, he said, “You know, Katie, the Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord. This child is a gift.” It was a sincere, intentional word. I know because he had repeated this to me with every pregnancy, but for some reason, this time it meant more. I had quietly stuck his words down deep in the pocket of my heart not knowing how badly I would need them that day.
Granddaddy had spoken the truth to me, the Word of Life, which will never pass away, even after this world and all it counts as important is nothing but dust. “Children are a gift from the Lord.” They are worth my time. They are worth my money. They are worth my energy. They ARE what is important. As I let the weight of these truths permeate my thoughts, faith filled my heart and the fiery darts fell powerless to the ground.
With the same power that calmed the storm at Jesus’ “Peace! Be Still!” these truths dispersed that heavy darkness from my mind and the light of the truth shown clearly again.
Just the other day I was talking with a new stay-at-home mom. “I need to know how you do it . . . this stay-at-home mom thing. How do you deal with still wanting people’s respect when they think what you do doesn’t matter?” An honest, loaded question that I think every stay-at-home mom has wrestled with at some point. In the moment, we were both busy with our kids, so there was no time for an answer, and besides, this was one I knew I would need to ponder.
I have thought a great deal about what she said and decided this is one of the first things I would say:
“Don’t believe that guy. Do not believe that guy. Pay no attention to the guy behind the counter.”
Believe the Truth. Your children are a gift. What you do all day is worth it. Believe that, my friend.
Let those dark, doubtful clouds above you be blown away in the wake of the reality of these truths from God’s Word and bask in the sun of His approval. His approval of how you are expending your time, your energy, your intelligence, your degree, and your creativity on your children, who are precious in His sight.
Maybe you, like my friend and I, have wrestled with this same question. Perhaps you are now. Maybe you are new to this or it is just a difficult season of mothering. My prayer for all of us is that we would take these truths and stick them in our pockets
And when the world is screaming loudly to us, we would hear granddaddy’s voice whispering to us the truth in his strong, wise voice “Don’t you go believin’ that guy . . . your children are a gift.”
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