I received some lovely responses from the devotion last week, WHERE ARE MY HELPERS? and so I thought that rather than writing a new devotion for you that I would post these responses so you can be blessed by this further insight.
Actually, I should give further testimony myself. Last night I as over at Evangeline’s saying goodbye to them and the children as we leave for England in the morning. Currently she has to rest as she has (or had – we are praying and believing for a miraculous healing) a subchorionic tear and has been hemorrhaging inwardly for a number of months.
While there last night I tasted some of Rashida’s beautiful homemade bread. Rashida is only six years old and makes the best bread in the world. I have been making bread for years and years but I have to concede that her texture is better than mine! Rashida grinds the wheat and makes the bread and makes all the meals for their family of six children and delights in doing it. She does as good a job as any adult! The older boys, Zadok 10 and Sharar 8 take charge of watching the children and the home runs as smoothly as ever with peace and order while Evangeline rests on the couch or the bed.
So once again dear young mothers, be encouraged. It doesn’t take long to be blessed if you train your children! And here are some more testimonies for you…
Dear Nancy, There is something that is sometimes overlooked by mothers of large families... Yes, it is hard when your children are young, and becomes easier when they get older and turn into wonderful helpers.... BUT there is even more benefit! I am the second of six children. My three younger sisters are 10, 12 and 14 years younger than I am. I was a big help to my mom with the children until I married at age 24 (two years ago). Now that I have my first daughter, my sisters are helpers to me! They are 11, 14 and 16 years old. There are no more young babies in my mother’s home, but my younger sisters can learn how to care for children by helping me. Later, when my children are older and my sisters begin to have their first children, my older children can be helpers to them! It is a wonderful cycle of learning and helping that is often overlooked because in our society there aren’t many second-generation large families. Most of the women I know who have large families are the first to do so, and they don’t have the younger siblings to help them...so there is a time of exhaustion and discouragement until their first few children grow old enough to help...So there is so much more benefit from having a large family because not only will your older children help you, they will get help later from your younger children and so on and so forth.
Dear Nancy, This is so true. We have five little ones and it seem so much easier now then when we had just two. Partly because they are getting older and they are heeding our training, but partly because when you die to yourself and decide to step out in faith to have more than the world's average number of children God removes some of the selfishness that was holding you back. Everything in me that doesn't want a big family is selfishness.
Peace Be With You,
Dear Nancy, I remember years ago when we had only three children, the oldest was four years and the youngest only one year. I remember vividly sitting on the back patio crying and waiting for my husband to come home, then crying and telling him, "Honey, I just can't do this, I'm failing and I'm going nuts". Well today I am 39+ weeks with our 8th child, we have a full time ministry, and there is no vacation from God's work, so we keep real busy. The children are homeschooled, and we have a farm which requires lots of chores. And the big miracle is, I not only still have my sanity, but things are pretty much in order at any given moment. So be encouraged, it will get easier.
The focus for those who now have all little ones is to stay focused. What has changed from that crying day? We really started praying and these are the answers we got. I have always been a list maker, even if the list doesn't get followed I feel like I have some direction. My husband is very spontaneous and I can accommodate that but I still must have some direction. In those days my list would be something like this:
1. Seek God, spend some time in prayer, even if only while nursing
2. Meals and diapers
3. Serve husband
4. Nurture and love children
5. Clean house
This would be my priority list. Of course there would be sub heading "do" lists under each topic. Serving my husband maybe shouldn't have been after meals and diapers but when you have little ones some things just have to be done when they have to be done. In those days if I never got half of the things on my "do" lists done, at least I knew I had started with the most important. School with my oldest who was 4 didn't get done many days. I for one can't focus on school if there is stuff everywhere, so for me cleaning or at least picking up is a priority. Even now we don't start school till chores are done, now usually by 10am. But we are all different so do what works for you.
It is VERY hard to take the time to teach your children how to clean up etc when you are already worn out, but if you will do it together with them it is really worth it. Plus if you do it together you get nurturing and cleaning all done in one shot. I remember we would do pick-up two or three times a day. I just had to know that the floor was under there somewhere. We would do it first thing in the morning, right before daddy got home, and before bedtime. It would only take about 15-20 minutes each time and everyone walking age and up was expected to help. We would make a game of it.
Now the fruit of it: just this morning my husband told me that he was meditating on the scripture about the centurion, he was a man under authority but he had men under him that he trusted and how he could tell one "do this" and another "do that" and know it would get done. My husband said I was like that centurion! Kind of a funny thing to say to your wife but it was a great compliment! When this next baby comes I plan on doing little else but sitting in a rocking chair, and holding and thanking the Lord every moment for this new child - probably for the first whole week! Yet the cooking will be done, the wash will be done, the floors will be swept, the little ones will all have clean faces as they gather around me to look at their newest sibling, the school will be done, and I have no doubt someone will even get out my clothes and lovingly hold the baby when I do get up for a shower! Also I won't have to wonder, I will know for sure that the horses, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and everything else outside is well tended to.
Now our oldest is 13 and she and the next youngest daughter can run a house better than most full-grown women I know. Our oldest son works harder than most men, and they still get their school done everyday, and meet daddy's top priority - they spend at least an hour in prayer and worship every day! So hold on sisters, every day is worth it. Pray and ask the Lord for your list, then enjoy your calling, knowing that He will give you what it takes to fulfill it. When people ask us if it is hard to have so many children, and they explain that they can't handle the two children they have. I tell them that this is why it is so hard. I tell them when I only had two, I was pulling my hair out too, but when you finally give in to what the Lord has, be it 2 or 16, that is when peace comes!
In His Service,
May you have a wonderful week.
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL