large family

Grant has a story to tell

I wrote this story in 2011 and each year on Grant’s birthday I try to post it again to remind you (and me!) of God’s faithfulness.

223132_10150227969075600_2996515_nNine months ago, Rick and I were perfectly content with our 4 kids.  We both felt “done” and were already giving away all the maternity and baby stuff.  Honestly, the thought of getting pregnant again made me literally ill.  I had NO desire to go through that again and certainly didn’t feel like I had any extra capacity for another pregnancy.  Around that time, God was working big time on both of us.  God had begun a true revival of Rick’s heart.  It was amazing to watch.  I was trying to keep up, tagging along, reading the same books.  We both became very convicted of WHO was in control of our lives… was it us or was it the Lord?  He was asking us both for full submission and surrender.  I heard him ask, Would you move for Me?   Would you let Rick quit his job if I asked him to? and then the BIG one, Would you have another baby if I wanted you to?  Oy.  It took some time, some real killing of my flesh and some tears, but in August I finally said, Yes, Lord to each of His questions.  And certainly the last one was the hardest.

On October 16th I found out that I was pregnant.  I’d like to say that I skipped around the house in joy, but that’s not what happened.  I wasn’t thrilled.  I was overcome with fear of dealing with a tough pregnancy while parenting these 4 kids.  I felt totally incapable.  But in the midst of those feelings, there was a deep assurance that I was in God’s will.  For surely this had not been my idea.  And when we’re in God’s will, we know He is with us and for us.  So I prayed a very specific prayer that night.  I asked God for three things…1) That I would not have headaches (with Anne Claire I had a 1-month long headache)… 2) That I would not be nauseous… 3) That I would not have my typical contractions beginning half-way through the pregnancy.

Now 7 months later I can testify that God answered ALL of those prayers completely.  NO headaches, NO nausea, NO early contractions.  This has truly been my easiest pregnancy!  I could go on and on about just this part of the story because it was so truly miraculous and personal.  But the best part is still to come…

Throughout this time God was still doing amazing things in Rick.  In 10 years of 206754_10150204109830600_48872_nmarriage, I have never seen him reading the Word or praying more.  And he began fasting consistently.  In January he went on a mission trip to Ecuador and saw God do mighty miracles, including healing the blind.  His faith was growing day by day.  When he came home, he told me that he was looking for the next step and asking God to stretch him (FYI husbands: You should ask your wives’ permission before praying a prayer like that!)  Neither of us knew that God was going to quickly take Rick up on his request.

In February we went to the doctor to find out the sex of the baby.  As I signed in, I was handed a bill for many thousands of dollars.  Long story short, our insurance had changed at the beginning of the year and we were now required to pay my entire doctor bill BEFORE we could go to another appointment.  Needless to say, we did not have that money on hand and had no idea where we would get it.  We were given until April 8th to pay the bill.

215397_10150227963145600_361931_nWe discussed the idea of finding a different doctor who’d let us go on a payment plan.  We also discussed applying for some kind of gov’t assistance.  But Rick felt that this was it – the stretching of our faith that he had been asking for.  He said that we should pray and believe God would provide.  I went along with his idea, though struggling to have the faith to move such a huge mountain.  So we prayed, we read the Word.  It was such a sweet time.  We even told the kids about it and began praying with them.  At night, Luke still asks to pray for baby money.  The week before April 8th we all fasted one thing per day… candy, sweets, TV, etc.  Then every night we prayed as a family.

But April 8th came and there was no magical money in the mailbox, no unexpected gifts.  Only our tax return which we needed for something else.  That morning when I left for the doctor, Evie said, Mom, don’t forget to call and tell us what God did.  Yikes…. The pressure was on.  I walked up to the counter and, sure enough, I was again handed a bill for many thousands of dollars.  I must have looked as terrible as I felt because they agreed to split the bill in half.  I handed over several cards and cobbled together the money, mostly from our tax return.  I texted Rick the bad news.  I couldn’t stand to hear his disappointed voice.

That was a hard day.  Not because of the money, but because we had to tell the kids.  Why had God not provided?  He would have received so much glory.  It would have been such a faith-builder for the kids.  We didn’t understand.

But Rick had an idea.  He sat us all down and read a story from Hudson Taylor’s biography about a time God provided, but not when Taylor had expected it.  He also had us recount all the ways God had already been faithful to our family (i.e. healing Rick’s dad of cancer, providing our home and his job).  We thanked God for all of those things.  I don’t know if I have ever been more proud of Rick.

So the second half of the money was due May 10th (this past Tuesday).  So again we prayed, but it was hard to muster up the same level of expectation.  It showed me that I have so far to go in my level of faith and perseverance in prayer.

But then it happened.  Out of the blue one Thursday afternoon, Rick checked the mail and there it was.  One sentence on my doctor’s letterhead.   

This letter is to make you aware that your account is paid in full for your OB Prepay…

We both looked at each other in astonishment.  How was our account paid in full?  We had only paid half.  Being the skeptic that I am, I immediately contacted both of our moms, but they both said they had NOT paid the bill.  We were baffled.  Again, being the skeptic that I am, I feared they had just made a clerical error.  I couldn’t be completely sure until I walked into the OB and talked to them face to face.

So Tuesday morning I packed that letter in my wallet and drove to the doctor.  I checked in and sheepishly said, Do I need to go over to the payment desk?  I heard the most beautiful words, Nope.  You’re good to go.  You can have a seat.  It was true.  The bill was paid in full!  We don’t owe them any more money!  Praise the Lord!!

199203_10150204111290600_3047896_nDo you know who paid that bill?  GOD paid it.  Not in the way we expected or even the way we prayed, but He did it.  And He gets all the glory.  Praise the Lord for his incredible goodness!  In March, Fran Busch gave us this scripture from Psalm 31:19-21 Oh how GREAT is Your goodness…which you have prepared for those who trust in You…Blessed be the Lord for He has shown me His marvelous kindness!  (I love the idea that God’s goodness was already prepared for us even before we had the need).

So this baby has only been alive for 33 weeks and look at all God has already done for 265124_10150300097680600_3943236_nhim and because of him.  Maybe now you see why we chose the name “Grant Fidelis” meaning “Great Faith!”   I can’t wait to tell Grant about what God did.  I am reminded of this verse that the Lord gave me at the very beginning of my pregnancy.

Psalm 22:30-31  Our children and their children will get in on this as the word is passed along from parent to child.  Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news – that God does what He says.

 

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Why I’m a little tired of being called a super mom

I could never do what you do.

Better you than me.

I don’t have as much patience as you.

These are the top comments I hear from other moms when they hear that I have lots of kids or that I homeschool.  And I’m here to say that those 3 statements couldn’t be any further from the truth.

You can do what I do.

You would probably do it better than me.

You SURELY have as much patience as me.

BThere is a myth that large-family and/or homeschooling moms are somehow a cut above the rest.  That only a select few can succeed at such a feat and the rest of moms shouldn’t even try.  As my tween daughter would say, that’s “riDONCulous.”

Just like a runner finishes a marathon or an accountant finishes an audit or a nurse graduates from school, any mom can raise lots of kids or homeschool.  And just like running, business and college, it’s not easy or for the faint of heart. Dare I say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done?  But it should be hard.  Molding little tyrannical toddlers into responsible adults is no small job.  But it’s doable.  And worthy of being done.

So why shouldn’t you do it?  Why shouldn’t you be the one to raise a bunch of beautiful babies who go out and change the world?  Why shouldn’t you be the one to teach those minds of mush what they need to know?  Why not you?

But I must confess that I do have one secret weapon.  And I’m guessing many moms in my situation would agree.

I have Someone who steps in and takes over when I am spent, done, gone, about to run away.  He made me a promise a long time ago that when I am weak, He would be strong on my behalf.  I’ve taken Him at His word and found him to be completely trustworthy.

You have access to this same secret weapon.  His name is the Lord of Hosts. God Almighty.  He is the source of patience.  The source of order.  The source of organization.  The source of love.

How many times have I cried out to him (usually by about 8:00am,) okay Lord, I’m all out of patience!  I need to draw on yours now.  And He delivers.  Every.single.time.

So, yes, mom… you can do it.  Because He has all that you need.  He loves those babies even more than you do, if you can imagine it.  He spent 9 months crafting them in perfection in your womb, just the place He chose for them to begin.  And He has big plans for those mini monsters.  Plans for them to learn, to influence and to thrive.  Surely He will give you all you need to partner with Him in this incredible role of Mom.

Laundry.  It never ends.  Seriously, every single day my children insist on wearing clothes.  Why?  What is this obsession with being dressed?  Don’t they know that what they are collectively wearing will have to be gathered, washed, dried, folded and then eventually (someday, maybe) put away?

Apparently nudity is frowned upon by society, so the laundry struggle will continue.  Around here than means about 12-15 loads per week, plus crisis laundry (bed pee, sports uniforms, mud ball fight aftermath, you-have-to-wash-my-favorite-princess-dress, etc.)

This means that my laundry room can become a hot mess.  Since it’s summer and we are taking a blessed-thank-you-Jesus break from homeschooling, I feel like I should attempt some productivity.  So the laundry room got a 4-hour deep clean.  (aka don’t be impressed by the cleanliness because that is not the norm!)

Since I’ve found that laundry is a common struggle among my large family friends, I thought I’d show you how I organized mine.  You’ll quickly see that it’s not cute, a chandelier is conspicuously absent and my appliances are from the stone age.  But it is a nice-sized room and I am grateful for it.  (I apologize for the grainy phone photos.  Who has time to walk all the way to the car to get their real camera?!)

Large Family Laundry

My momma always said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Large Family Laundry

 

More about the gift box.  I’d love to hear your sock solution!

Large Family Laundry

 

In the summer my kids wear swim suits so often that it makes no sense to put them in their drawers.  Plus it makes it faster to pack up the pool bag.

Large Family Laundry

 

ProTip: Spray your stains right away, then throw them in the wash or the hamper.  Actually the longer it sits before you wash it, the better.  The resolve spray is especially great at ketchup and yellow infant poo!

Large Family Laundry

 

 

So there you have it.  My non-glamorous laundry room with grout that desperately needs cleaning!  Maybe that will happen next summer!