Meet Otto #6.
Also known as my excuse for so-far feeble attempts at blogging. Sorry, I’ve been sleeping. Sometimes I have to take a nap during the middle of dinner, from the sheer exhaustion of chewing. Life is rough, but being tired still beats being sick for three months. Right now I’m 12 weeks along, due October 22, and just starting to feel human again. Sometimes, from my nest on the couch, I can see neighbors walking past my front lawn, dubiously eyeing the paint cans, shoes, toys, weeds, and graffitied picnic table. I want to assure them that life hasn’t always been like this, and that someday I will pull the floating Dutch Brother cups out of the decorative pond. Just. Not. Right. Now.
As I go through life I become more and more convinced of how much children are a blessing. We love it. As far as I can see, nothing else compares. This is worth it. I am continually shocked by the number of people who don’t share the same view. But, as my husband often points out, “If my children were like yours, I wouldn’t have anymore either.” Touche. I’ve never been apologetic about being on the side of life. I don’t feel like I need to double check to see if I’m on the right team. Whether or not there is anyone else on it with me. When Christ counted the costs, before the foundation of the world, he counted it worth it. Sacrifice is not a loosing game. God created man, knowing that His only begotten Son would die for them, crucified by them. But, “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame.” This isn’t, “I have to have as many children as I can because contraception is a sin.”
This is awesome.
Love creates, love shares, love gives. And that is life. Satan, on the other hand, is about death and abortifacient birth control. But “whoever would seek to save his own life will loose it.” It’s odd how we mistake our blessings. The more I give myself away to my children the more my joy is found in them. They are my riches. When I think of trading them for a new car, house, or worse yet, a job – the more comic I find it. People really do that? One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is how we define wealth. The more satisfied I am in my salvation, in my husband, and in my children, the less I want for anything else. Some days I am so happy I just wander around saying dopey stuff to the baby. And I can’t figure it out. There is nothing special about me or my circumstances or my life. I’m a genetically inferior female, waxing past her prime in a nondescript house, in an undesirable neighborhood, married to a working class man who sports a mean chainsaw. By all accounts, my life is probably one you’ve been cautioned to avoid. But it is wonderful. I love how God has pulled my stubby fingers off the things I thought I needed or wanted, off my fears, off the past and the future, and pointed me to Him. When the blessing of God is but glimpsed for a moment, it is enough to make the things of earth grow strangely dim.
The gospel doesn’t hold out on us. It’s never about getting there. It is about here. It’s a change of lighting. The world showcases needs and wants, it goes about profiteering on our fears and insecurities. Everything is so bright, done-up and loud, that the important, actually quite ordinary things, seem to get kicked along at the bottom. I think that’s one of the reasons God likes to get the squeeze on us. When He hits the dimmer switch, reality comes into view. We start to see Him, and then enjoy Him. And when we start to enjoy Him, nothing else will do. God has most obviously poured out His joy in my life in two ways: through my marriage and through my children. Oddly enough, both are areas the world is quite proficient in screwing up. People can still patch things together and get along all right. But that is not the same as living it up. The Bible likens marriage to the way of Christ and the church. It’s the bad-ass ride at the theme park. You can take a spin in one of those cute teacups, but it’s not the party. A good marriage fills up your horizon and squeezes goodness into every crack. I wash kitchen counters and randomly think to myself, “Now that’s a good man.” What’s even better is that it doesn’t stop. It keeps getting better. The more I turn to honor my husband, to seek his good, the more joy I find in his enjoyment of me. The world hates submission and the world hates marriage, but this is where God has pulled out all the stops.
Children are more of a contingent joy. Which is probably why people wise up at around two. If God isn’t your rock, and your husband isn’t your lord, then odds are your children are going to zero out the cost to benefit ratio. God is first, your marriage is second, and your children are third. Perhaps the world’s propaganda is more akin to, “You’re first, your children are second, and your deadbeat husband is last.” But I don’t really see that working well for anyone. Children are not an unconditional blessing. They’re a representational blessing. “To him who has more will be given. But to him who has not, even what he does have will be taken away.” I think when we try to order our lives, when we try to be obedient, then goodness catches us. A fruitful marriage produces godly seed. It is the harvest of obedience. This is what we have found. Children have brought us nothing but blessing. Having a baby in the house is like the difference between having ice cream in a cereal bowl and an honest-to-goodness sundae, with a cherry on top. If God has been so good to us, why would we turn and call His blessing a curse? I’m sure many people would be happy to point out that we can’t afford that much blessing, and that’s probably true. But I think it’s a matter of who you’re going to believe.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
God is good and He is faithful. I don’t ever expect to be rich. I don’t expect to meet very many of this world’s standards. But I do expect to have what I need. And more than that, I expect to enjoy it immensely.