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More Than Just a Number . . .

       Having a large family is a blessing my husband and I have wholeheartedly embraced. Yet with each “blessing” the Lord has added comes an even greater responsibility to this high and holy calling we call parenthood. God’s Word states, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; . . . .” (Luke 12:48 NKJV)

     I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, a city with a predominantly German Catholic heritage. I went to school where I knew many people from large families, and my best friend growing up had seven siblings. I loved being in her home . . . the constant “people energy” with multi-generations hanging out together put a spark in me early on in my impressionable youth.

     Those I talk to today who have come from a large family will openly tell you that they loved being part of a big family. Unfortunately, though, one common thread has stood out as a “warning radar” when I talk to these people—they felt lost in the crowd. They felt as if they were being raised by their older siblings while mom was “sacked out and dog-tired” on the couch. Worse yet, as one woman who had nine siblings told me, “I was just a number.”

     This should not be, my dear like-minded friends who are having a quiver full of children! Whether you are blessed with two children or 10, EACH child is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God with a destiny to fulfill on this earth, for the advancement of the Kingdom of God! That is why we love having many children . . . for His Kingdom, not ours.

     Malachi 2:15 states, “And why [did He make husband and wife] one? He seeks godly offspring.” (NKJV; Emphasis added) Brad and I have determined to discipline ourselves to call each child by name, to know what each name means, and to speak forth the promises of God over the godly heritage and destiny of each. We refuse to call them a “number.” For example, as we are introducing our nearly 3-year-old daughter Laura Ruth to someone, we may say, “This is our little Laura Ruth . . . her name means ‘Faithful Companion,’ and she truly is filled with loyalty!” Wow, isn’t that different from “Here’s Laura . . . child number six!”

     I’ll close with one of the most convicting statements told me by my best friend growing up (the one with seven siblings). She was amazed at the fact that I will personally have a little “date” with each child during the week to hear his or her heart, talk about that child’s dreams, and just share a little snack together. Trust me, with our busy life schedule, the “dates” are planned into our weekly schedule! (Even Brad has a scheduled “Daddy Walk” with each child Sunday afternoons!) My friend told me, “If my mother had even spent 10 minutes a week with just me to hear my heart, it would have changed the course of my life!”

     Stay tuned next month as I share with you the practicalities, joys, and challenges of raising a large family for the glory of God.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Alyson Shedd

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