Thursday, May 28, 2015

Giving birth to grownups

As it turns out, the Middles and Littles take energy, but it's the Bigs that use up my brain. With the Hormones on a missions trip, my brain has more free time than it knows what to do with. I've been on Facebook more today than I have in a month. Normally I click on links and save them up in my browser to read or give up on later. Today I read them all.

Not that I didn't care for the humans. We watered flowers, ate and cleaned up, changed diapers, took naps, got the mail, played outside, pushed each other around in a big cardboard box. It's been a good day. But small people simply do not have the crises that the Hormones do. I don't know what to do with myself. I only have a dozen kids here, ages 12 & under.

I've decided that giving birth at adults is way harder, takes way longer, and hurts way more than giving birth to babies. And for the first time ever, my husband and I wonder why we had so many kids. What were we thinking? Can we do this?

Testing. College. Decisions. Learning to really go to God when the humans in your life fall so far short. Having hard conversations about what is happening in the real world.

For example, I had to have a conversation with my kids about the Duggar situation. It went like this: being in that family, arguably the most perfectly sheltered environment in the world, did not keep sin away from Josh Duggar. Because sin doesn't just get us from the outside. It's in us. Our littlest guy eating Cheerios in the high chair is a sinner. There are no innocent people.

Second, being in our family isn't enough. You have to know Jesus and have a relationship with Him yourself and maintain it and work on it on your own. Do not take it for granted that being in this family means you are a Christian. It is up to you.

But this week is easy. This week I just have to make 4 yr olds apologize to each other and make 10 yr olds put their dishes in the sink and decide if riding down the stairs on a piece of cardboard is a good idea. Piece of cake.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Zaccheus and me

I just got home from a Hearts At Home conference. It was my third. I think the first time I went I was maybe pregnant with my 9th, the second time I had 10, but that was the year Michelle Dugger spoke, so there was a larger turnout from the big family demographic. Here's why that matters.

Each year they have a little tradition of telling the statistics of who is there at the conference, how old we are, what states are represented, and how many kids we have. They start by saying something like "91 of you have no children...250 of you have 1 child ... X of you have 2, and so on. And I sit there in my little seat, listening to people make noises as the number of children goes up.

This time I was really covert because my sisters and I were spread out, we had come in late, flapping our yaps, no doubt. I was tucked in the front corner of the auditorium. And the lady said, "3 of you have 10 children (applause) and ONE woman here has FOURTEEN children!" Loud cheering. For me. One of 5000+ women. But no one knew it was me. Had I stood up and jumped up and down, I still wouldn't have been seen or heard. I was a short person in a dark corner of a crowded room. Kind of like Zaccheus, maybe.

And I was a little disappointed. Why? It was my moment to feel special. My moment to be special. But I felt like an idiot. What was the matter with me?

It bothered me off and on for hours. I finally talked to the Lord about it. A couple times. I repented for my pride, my desire for glory (which is rightfully His), my hunger for attention and the praise of men. Still kicking myself.

This is what He told me:

You are not special because you have 14 kids. You are special because you are mine. Your children don't define you. They are blessings to you, but your worth would be the same if you had no children at all.

I am hidden in Him. I belong to Him. What He does with me is His business, not mine. If he keeps me tucked under His wing or takes me out for a spin around town, I'm good. As for me, the nearness of my God is my good.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sex talk

Why am I writing about sex?

Well, there's this book out there that I haven't read that's becoming a movie I won't see that everybody is talking and writing and boycotting about. I likely would never have even heard of 50 Shades of Gray but for the dozens of posts on social media about why I shouldn't read the book or see the movie.

I'm not actually writing about the book/movie, because I won't see or read it. I'm writing about sex, good sex, healthy, married sex, because there are some things I think need to be said about it that aren't usually said, maybe never. But someone needs to, and I guess it might as well be me.

Kids, if you're not old enough to take me out and buy me a beer, you should probably have your mom read this first, ok?!

One of the several articles I read about NOT seeing the aforementioned movie cited some survey that showed religious married women about my age are the most satisfied with their sex lives, so I'm writing, maybe not as an expert, but as a satisfied middle aged married woman. ;) With a lot of children.

So here are some words that aren't usually used to describe good sex that ought to be.

1. CLEAN. Good sex is clean. Now, it isn't clean in the sense of cleanliness. It's a mess. I have often thought, while spending intimate time with my husband, 'I can't believe people do this in cars'.

But it is clean in the way it is expressed and the way it makes you feel. Sex isn't dirty or nasty or trashy. It's clean. It's pure. And, just like the comedians who are able to do their act without lude words or subject matter and still be really funny (see also, Brian Reegan and Jim Gaffigan), the idea that you have to be (or pretend to be) bad for sex to be good is a lie.

2. HEALING. Sex heals. It helps us remember that we are one. That Bible verse that says love covers a multitude of sins, it's true. I'm not saying we don't still have to work things through or deal with problems. We do. Sex just helps put them into perspective. It is going to be ok.

3. RESTORING. It's like hitting the reset button on the computer. And it isn't necessarily always something you do because you're in the mood for it. It is something you do because it is wonderful.

I love to swim. I always love to swim. I am always glad I got in the pool, I never regret making the effort, once I am there. But, I do not always want to swim. I do not always feel like getting in the pool. Sometimes I don't want to swim until I am swimming. Sometimes I get in the pool because I know that I will like it and it is good for me, and then, after I'm in, then I'm always glad I did.

4. SAFE. I don't mean what is normally called safe sex. Sex is not safe because someone has some kind of pregnancy prevention system going on or something in place to try to stop the transmission of diseases. Sex is safe because it is ours alone to share. It is sacred. It is a promise and a renewal of that promise that there is no one else. It says I belong to you and I trust you completely and I am not holding anything back from you. It is a gift freely given. I feel safe when we have sex. (I also often muse, 'I cannot believe people do this with people they aren't married to, or worse, people they hardly know')

5. PRODUCTIVE. I won't belabor this here, but the natural intended state of sex was that making babies goes with intimacy. As a culture we separate it and try to control that part of it as best we can, but, like it or not, God put those two really wonderful things together. He thought it was a great idea. He didn't have to do it that way, but He did.

Sex is an amazing part of God's creation. Unique to humans (compared to all other creatures) in that He designed it for us, both husband and wife, to enjoy. It is such an amazing biological event. He chose to make procreating for humans a delightful, exciting, therapeutic, connective, spiritual experience.

6. WORSHIPFUL. It is true. I often just am in awe of God when I get to enjoy my husband. I thank Him (though not usually out loud, but why not?) for this gift He has given me, this man, this marriage, this sweet way we get to love each other. It started with God. Why not praise Him for it?