I know- we can “what if?” ourselves to the grave. But 7 children is nothing to sneeze at. Last week when three of mine were away overnight at camp, I couldn’t believe how much free time I had. Three less children to care for meant less laundry. Fewer mouths to feed. And not nearly as much running to and from activities. I jokingly said to my husband one night after the kids at home were safely tucked into bed, “Wow, I wonder if parents with 2 kids know how easy they have it?” But we all know “easy” is relative, right? 2 can seem like 7 on any given day of the week.
Someone asked me not long ago if I could start my family over again, would I have as many children? And I thought about it long and hard. A week with a bit of a lighter load did provide time for me to think more about how blessed I am with 7 children. Because it’s not about the number. Personalities, physical challenges, and a million other factors make parenting a sanctifying work. In other words, God uses our roles as parents to make us more like him, our heavenly Father. I’ve thrown God a few toddler temper tantrums in my adult life. Maybe you too? So if I could start my family of 7 over again, I wouldn’t change the number of children. Or the years between children. Or the seasonal timing of their births.
If I could start my family of 7 over again, I wouldn’t work on starting chores sooner or begin early reading skills practice before preschool. I wouldn’t serve more organic food and less dye. I wouldn’t focus on making sure every single stain was removed in the laundry process or double check the bathroom sinks for leftover toothpaste. Oh, I love a clean bathroom sink and fresh laundry makes me feel good. But if I could start my family of 7 over again, cleaning wouldn’t have any more of a priority than it has had over the years. I’ve done and continue to do the best I can in that department. I’m guessing that’s true for you too.
What would I do then? If I could start my family of 7 over again, what would I do?
If I could start my family of 7 over again, I’d pray more and worry less. I would do my best to remember that I want prayer to be my first response, not my last resort. I would not want to miss a minute of time with God because those minutes with God fuel more strength than hours at the gym. I would try to recognize daily that parenting is futile without prayer. I would realize that honing my heart to the love of the Father is the only way I can begin to effectively hone the hearts of children, whether 7 or 70.
None of us get to start completely over. But today is a new day and a fresh beginning. We can pray more and worry less right now. We can spend time with God today and tomorrow and the next day. We can prioritize our love for Him and allow His love to flow through us. We can simply let the opportunity of parenting to make us more like Jesus each day, with each decision. And that’s what I’d do, if I could start over again.
By his grace,
Rachel at RachelWojo.co