Handsome hubby and I don’t have that many children – only four so far, but in today’s world – in our country at least – that is seen as a lot! To us it just feels like a wonderful start – the richness of big family is starting to permeate our lives. Each day, each mealtime, each outing, is alive with energy – the children’s enthusiasm for life, their enjoyment of each other, the blessing of there being six of us is awesome. But many people don’t see it as a blessing…
The question we get asked most often is.. “How do you cope with four little ones?”
We are young in our parenting journey and are at the beginning of learning all the how to’s and whats of how this works – but we have a big vision in our hearts, and it keeps on growing. Our vision for our family gives us energy to stand together and “run with endurance the race set before us” as parents. We are totally excited and ignited every step of the process, about family life in general and about seeing our precious blessings grow each day in our home and under our stewardship. Our children are such a blessing from God!
I can honestly say that being a homeschooling Mom brings together and draws on every single bit of experience I have ever had in everything I have ever done. I am using it all – and am so blessed to have learnt all that I have in getting to this point. I am only at the beginning of my third year of homeschooling and there are many adventures ahead. Each step will be taken with much prayer, planning, learning and preparation.
I know without a doubt that my husband and I are the best teachers for our children and that God has called us to raise and disciple them in a way that is different to most. I know that it will be a challenging and perhaps a lonely road and that many will criticise, but I am blessed to obey God’s leading in our lives, to follow my husband’s leading, to rest in his covering and to walk this road together. He is my greatest support and strength. There are great things ahead for our family; things that cannot even be attempted by 2 or 3 children families. God has different plans for each family – and all are wonderful, but I can’t help feeling a bit sorry for small families – that seem to me to be missing out on so much…
So, how do we cope with four little ones…
We have only “coped” with four for about a year now, so its early in in the journey. We have a 7 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, a 2 year old boy and a 1 year old girl.
It seems that when people ask the question “how do we cope”, most aren’t actually looking for an answer or for tips on how to do it, but rather are wanting to express their amazement and even disbelief that we could have “let this happen” or simply to show their relief that they don’t have to do it. The question is seldom asked by anyone who sees having four young children as a blessing.
There are a few, though, who really do want to know; who have a stirring in their hearts when they see our lively bunch and who want it too. So, if you are one of those.. here are a few tips from what we have learnt at this early stage of our journey.
1. As a mom, every day I think about my children as the gifts from God that they are. I think of how I felt when I first held each precious bundle and how I have felt watching each one grow, all the little milestones: seeing them learning to smile, to kick, to hang on to my hair to help them balance as I carry them around, how they felt as babies cradled against me during the night, learning to crawl and walk with such delight, learning to run and talk and hug and say “I love you”. I can’t help but want to do it all over again! Every day I look at my children as arrows of deliverance, as blessings to the world, as future husbands and wives, as mommies and daddies, as God’s hands in the world and I am so inspired to “do even better tomorrow”. I will run the race again because THE TIME IS NOW! This is when I get to make a difference in their lives and in the world. This is when I get to do my job as mommy.
2. I have a huge dose of God’s grace in my life daily and I am so thankful that I can lean on him and trust in him to give me the strength and the practical help that I need.
3. I have some older women who are teaching me ,the younger woman, how to do it. I am so grateful for the influence of these women in my life – teaching me as in Titus 2 “to be sober, to love my husband, to love my children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, obedient to my own husband, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
Believe me, some of these things are very far from the way that I am today – but I am changing and growing a little each day as God works in me. I am so blessed by these women – their obedience to God and their example. I learn from them through “watching” their lives with their families through personal contact, blogs, books they have written, articles, DVDs about their family journey… I will share more about these fabulous families in future blog posts… I draw from each of them what I see in their lives that is godly and ask God to do it in me.
4. I have a plan and a schedule which help hugely. When we are having a challenging day sticking to the carefully planned, very detailed schedule and doing what we gotta do helps hugely.
5. I recognise that its not meant to be easy. God is at work on my character. A work that will endure through eternity. Face it – raising and training children is HARD WORK! But that’s okay – imagine if any job you did was downright easy – you would soon want to change your job! We need the challenge – we are created to enjoy hard work as a blessing – and we can call on Him for help all the time.
6. And lastly, I love it – and I want it – so badly!!!! Its a wonderful journey
Just like the refreshing cool wind that comes and blows away the stifling heat of the day, the refreshing of Gods presence in my life blows away the fatigue and the discouragement and brings a new day. Each day is a new beginning, His mercies are new once again – its time to try again, to reach again towards the vision in my heart, the passion for my family and my children that God has given me. Thank you Lord for my many blessings!
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“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.” – Titus 2:3-5