Monday, November 7, 2011

Becoming a Large Family - the tipping point

I just finished reading a brilliant article: The Crossover Point at Raising Arrows.  I really love how Amy addressed this.  My crossover baby was number four as well - I felt so severely outnumbered, very overwhelmed, and very conspicuous out in public!  My previous, smoothly-running organizing system fell apart, never to be revived.  Homeschooling was enormously intimidating.  I have to confess that there are some important lessons that it took me quite awhile after the birth of #4 (or we could call him Jonathan ;)) to really begin to grasp.
  1.  Mothering a large brood is qualitatively different than mothering one or two.  It's not just a question of volume here; rather, there comes a point when quantity becomes quality, if that makes sense.  You have to think outside the box, be creative, and find totally new (or better, really old) ways of handling the most mundane, everyday tasks.
  2. If we are learning how to manage a large family, we need - absolutely need - to be learning from those who are a few kids ahead of us.  Recently I read The Duggars: 20 and Counting, by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and I was really blown away by some of the extremely practical advice they give about organizing and managing things with a crowd.  I would never have thought of some of their ideas - but I don't have to think of everything by myself.  There are others who are way ahead of me, and I can learn from them as well as from experience.  
  3. There is always more to learn, there is always room for improvement.  There will always be someone ahead of you to learn from, and someone behind to help out.  
  4. There is always a mess somewhere. Your whole house will never be clean all on the same day.  And laundry is something you do, not something you finish!  :)
I wish I had grasped all this years ago, but I can be a slow learner if it means I have to really change how I do something.  I'm stubborn like that. I also tend to be extraordinarily hard on myself - while trying to maintain a spirit of "always improving," it's awfully hard not to beat myself bloody with how very much left there is to improve.  My comfort here is Colossians 3:23-24: 

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."

Inadequate though I frequently feel to the task of managing a large, busy, and productive home, I serve a merciful, kind, and loving God who can and does accept my meager offerings by His grace.  It's only by His grace and mercy that my labors will bear the fruit I pray for - children who grow up to love and serve our Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  

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