my "perfect" family photo, has holes
You know the “picture-perfect" photo you post of your family…the profile picture or the picture that goes on the Christmas card, maybe even the picture that sits on the mantel. When I look at my family photo I see people missing, not because of a loss but because of a desire.
As the years have gone on, more and more little faces flood my family picture. You would think 5 kids and a family of 7 would seem sufficient. I look at other people’s photos and I think “Wow, they have a big family” and it’s 2, 3, and 4 kids in the picture. When I look at my family photo, I see a group of people and I see holes....... spaces that could be filled-in with more little faces.
I know, I know, this is so crazy. I never intended to have a "Duggar" Family or the "Brandy Bunch" family. Life is simple and gracious and with each member, surprisingly, it’s more loving and fun. I could even seem ungrateful by sharing this. In fact, I wrote this weeks ago and was scared to post it. I believe there’s others who feel the way I do. To the parents whose heart aches with trying to have their first baby- how selfish, right? To the mom who had one baby and longs for just one more, this sounds ridiculous. The problem for me is, I think I would always feel this way. If you ask me if I am having anymore kids, I’ll always say, I won’t be pregnant but I am hoping to have more kids one day. My heart has a desire and it grows with each family member and with each family photo I see holes. When I look at a photo, I love every little personality and can pin-point them so precisely. I value the negative and positive of each child in my family. I have room in my heart and a desire to have more. God knows this. He is the one who revealed the precious gift of children to me.
Is my way of thinking to “want more” -sinful? Wanting more of anything can be sinful. Your passion might be to spend more time at a church camp, more time giving to the needy, more time doing something else for the Kingdom, but you can still go around God's timing and mess it all up. Lately, I have felt God reveal the sin in this “wanting more”. It doesn’t mean what you have is not enough. It means you're sinning when you long to fill the desire God gave you by not waiting and wanting more of HIM, who created that desire in you. Can it really be a sin to always want more..of anything? even children? After all, children are God’s greatest gifts. I see that children are the greatest gift on this earth, besides the gift of the Holy Sprit. God creates life. So how can it be sinning? I thought about this one day while cleaning and I immediately went to scripture. Who better to learn from then Abraham and Sarah; and Hannah.
Sarah longed for just one child. So much that she took it into her own hands and offered one of her slaves, Hagar, to Abraham so that she could give Abraham a son. That son was conceived by Hagar and his name was Ishmael. We know how the story goes and also how it ends. God gave Sarah a son, Isaac, who was between her and Abraham later on.
Then I read the story of Hannah and Elkanah. That story brings me to tears every time I read about it. If only every mother had a heart like Hannah- to give her kids 'back to God'. When I read Hannah’s plea to God, I think of all our pleas for more children. Just because I have 5 children does not mean I do not have a desire that doesn’t feel met. To the mom struggling to have one, my heart does break. I pray for you. I lay in bed, often, and pray for moms I know who struggle to have babies. Nothing about children or having children is a negative. All children are a blessings. It is heartbreaking for the women who struggles with conceiving to live in a world that gives such negative vibes on how burdensome children are. Children simply are not a burden. Many children wait to be loved and are waiting for homes to make their own. They have the same desires we have as mother's, but it's reveresed. It's about the desire of love.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so incredible blessed by the family that God has given me. It’s His masterpiece. It’s His, because He knit us all together here. He can build it bigger or He can take a member of my family at anytime- just like my family growing up (my sister, at age 8, passed and I have an adopted sister too). God holds our future. He hears our desires.
Sarah sinned by taking things into her own hands. She then despised Hagar in the end. Of course, I was never thinking of doing anything sinful like Sarah. However, God showed me how Sarah’s desires to have a child for Abraham and a child for the heritage of their family was soo strong that she lost sight of what purpose God had coming for them through Isaac. Sarah's desire had a purpose all within in her God-given-desire. She needed to wait.
It is better to wait and see what God brings than to get impatient and do what we think. Hagar wept in the wilderness. Ishmael had to leave the sight of His father/ Abraham. Sarah had bitterness. God restored and redeemed that situation; but, being impatient and sinning produces pain for others and pain for yourself along the way.
Hannah’s heart ached and she waited on the Lord. Hannah was given Samuel and had the strength to then see God’s goodness; so much that, she gave Samuel to Eli (a priest) so that her son would be given back to the Lord. If Hannah had not longed so much for this child and not had such an appreciation for God......would she have given Samuel back to God? Samuel did great things on behalf of Eli. Samuel did great things on behalf of His life being dedicated to the Lord.
When I look at my family photo, I see the holes…but I also see a Great God who gives a desire to love more. I wait on Him.
We either believe God knows what is best for our lives and believe He has abundant purpose for our desires (NOT abundant “blessings”- I said “purpose”); or, we don’t believe this and we have no faith at all.