Last week, while walking through soggy grass with my six year old daughter; I was pushing a stroller with my toddler son, nine months pregnant, heading to watch our nine year old son play baseball, God got my attention. My husband, the coach, was already at the game. As I walked by a couple of men, one looked at me (carrying the bag chairs and activities to keep the toddler busy) and said, "wow…you're busy."
I smiled. I nodded.
I sat down and his comment rolled over and over in my head.
Four days earlier, I brought a picnic lunch to all four of these people (my husband and three kids, not the two men) and when I strolled up with the lunch, a father of four little girls saw that we were expecting our fourth. His condolences at having the fourth were unending:
"I KNOW what you're about to experience."
"Wow! I hardly know any families with four kids."
His tone, his comments, his body language…none of it was encouraging.
Let me take this opportunity to personally apologize to every amazing momma I have failed to encouraged.
How many times have I found out about someone expecting a fourth or fifth child and said, "wow, you're going to have your hands full."
As if I'm telling this momma who will have four under four something she doesn't already know.
As if I have the right to tell anyone how busy they're going to be…when I lack the experience required for such an estimation!
Thankfully, it was around this same time that I texted a dear, wise friend. Her fourth is just graduating from high school and I am about to have our fourth baby. In the text, I wondered what she was thinking when she was in my shoes - 18 years earlier.
The text I got back from her was like a refreshing breeze. It encouraged me and poured a soothing balm over any anxiousness I may have felt at the time.
She talked about how their fourth changed the fabric of their family.
She talked about what a strong man of God he is and how he loves Jesus and loves people.
She talked about her feelings at the time he was born and how undeserving she was of the young man God had created him to be.
She asked me if I could hear the joy knocking at our door.
YES! YES I could hear the joy!!
I'm so thankful she invited me to hear the knock…to hear the joy!
Proverbs 16:24 "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
If only we could all encourage one another in such a way!
Whether we have no children or many children….
Whether we are married or not married….
Whether we're in the prime of our lives or spiraling to what seems to be rock bottom….
We would need to set aside our judgments of how many kids is too many;
our notion of what is best when it comes to being married or being single;
our worldly estimation of the worth of a life
and just build each other up with our words.
This doesn't mean we fill people full of untruth in order to make them feel better.
It means speaking truth, with love.
To encourage one another, to build each other up…this is what we've been called to do.
So the next time someone says to me, "you're busy," I'm going to respond with truth.
The truth is, "I'm blessed."
The next time someone says to me, "you've got your hands full," I'm going to respond with truth.
The truth is, "my hands are full of good things."
These words are truth.
These words are encouraging.
These words bring hope on the hard days, when we're not feeling blessed or like our hands are full of good things.
So, next time you see me (or anyone else) pushing my toddler with a new baby in the Ergo and a six year old and nine year old walking alongside me, remind me that my hands are full of good things and just how blessed I am! If you want, offer to carry the bag-chair! That would help me out a lot!
Until the fourth is born…
May you hunger and thirst for Jesus, the One who is full of grace and truth!