Driving through gray mizzle and surrounded by a pack of monster SUV's doing 70 miles an hour, I felt a shock of panic as I crested a hill to find a semi truck parked almost on the shoulder of the interstate. My side mirror hit the corner of the trailer, then flew off and popped the glass out of the side window of the van. At the sound of shattering glass, I flinched and swiped the truck with my right rear fender. Amazingly, noone was injured, although I think we probably smeared an angel all the way down the left side of that tractor trailer rig.
Twenty minutes later, I sat sheltered from the rain in a patrol car parked behind our blue Ford Econoline. The State Trooper writing up the accident report paused, pen in hand. "Are there any other passengers in your vehicle?"
"Yes, sir, my seven kids are in the van." The tremble in my voice matched the shaking of my hands.
"Excuse me?" Officer Sherron squinted at me with knitted brows from across the seat of the patrol car.
"My seven kids . . . they're in the van."
"You have seven kids?"
"These aren't somebody else's kids, kids you're babysitting or anything, right?"
"They are all mine."
"They live with you . . . at your house?"
"They live with me, at my house. My husband is their father, and I am their mother." This wasn't the first time I'd encounetered curious disbelief about my little family, but, under the present circumstances, I was too rattled to come up with a clever or humorous response to his questioning. "I gave birth to them all . . . there are seven."
"I gotta see this!"
The Trooper bounded from the patrol car and I followed in the misty rain up to the van. Leaning through the gaping hole that had once been a side window, he pointed and counted aloud, "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven! Good grief, woman!"
A comment I frequently hear when someone first learns that I have seven kids, is: "Wow! You must be a very patient person!" I don't think God gave me seven children because I am patient, but because I need to develop patience. Imagine you're in my kitchen late in the afternoon. I stand in front of an open refrigerator, frazzled from a day of schoolwork or an afternoon in the garden, searching wearily for inspiration for dinner.
Kid 1 walks through: "Hey, Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Hmmm, don't know yet . . . I'm just now figuring that out."
Five minutes later, Kid 2: "I'm starving! What's for supper?"
"Hmmm, I think I'll defrost some chicken. Think Reuben would be willing to fire up the grill for me?"
Five minutes later, here comes Kid 3: "Hey, Mom, is it almost supper time? What are we eating tonight?"
"Chicken. And I think potatoes. What about something green . . . beans or broccoli?" I've got the chicken in the microwave and am digging in the pantry for the 20-pound sack of taters. "Go find Reuben and tell him I need some help with dinner tonight."
Another five minutes pass. Kid 4 walks through: "What's for dinner? Are we going to eat soon?"
"Chicken, potatoes, broccoli, . . . here, clean off the kitchen table for me and set it for dinner. Where's your brother Reuben?"
Five minutes later, Kid 5 pokes his head around the corner. "Is supper almost ready? What are you fixing?"
"Chicken, potatoes, broccoli . . . You make a pitcher of tea while I slice this cantaloupe."
My sweet husband drags through the door, lugging all the accoutrements of his long day's work. "Ooooooh, I could sure use a glass of iced tea." He plops his laptop onto the kitchen counter. "What's for supper?"
My voice is beginning to sound a bit edgy. "Chicken, potatoes, broccoli, and cantaloupe." I reach for a glass and fill it with ice.
Enter Kid 6, who asks in a breezy, cheerful voice, "Hey, Mom, what's for supper?"
"CHICKEN, POTATOES, BROCCOLI, CANTALOUPE! IS THERE ANYONE ELSE IN THIS HOUSE WHO DOESN'T KNOW YET WHAT WE'RE HAVING FOR DINNER." By now, I'm practically shouting. "HEY, EVERYBODY LISTEN UP: TONIGHT, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE CHICKEN, POTATOES, BROCCOLI, AND CANTALOUPE. GOT IT?!!!"
Kid 6 winces and squeaks, "Okay, got it!"
So, this not-always-very-patient mother of seven wants to close with this exhortation: Thank God for Christ!!! Whether you are a mother of none or a mother of ten, a single young gal or an older sister saint, someone who thinks they are patient or someone who knows they are not, remember that it is Christ who began a good work in you, and it is Christ who will complete it. As sure as Christ is our righteousness, He will also sanctify us . . . even, if need be, using our children/spouses/co-workers/etc. to expose our sin and our need for His redeeming work. While you're figuring out what to have for dinner tonight, remember: "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness...." With that to encourage us, now let us "make every effort to add to our faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." (2 Peter 1:3, 5-7)
5 months ago