Have you noticed that the more kids you have the more you get the feeling that others think you're nuts? You kind of get the sense that people are thinking, "Why in the world would you want another child? Wouldn't that just interrupt your life? Wouldn't that just take more of your time and more of your money? Wouldn't that just be another mouth for you to fill?"
Elizabeth Prentiss, in her book, Stepping Heavenward, (one of my wife's favorites!) tells of a time when she celebrated the gift of another child and was met with these words from a friend:
You shall now have one more mouth to fill and two more feet the more to shoe, more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure or visiting, reading, music, and drawing.
No doubt Elizabeth understood this to be true. But look at her response.
Well! That is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God; and the body in which it dwells is worthy all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly servant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!
Wow. That challenges me. But let's be realistic, having more children is hard work, right? Let's be honest. It does mean that we must sacrifice our time and our money and our leisure. It does mean that we'll have more sleepless nights and more clothes to buy. And it does mean that we'll have less time to ourselves and less money for vacations. But does that mean our children are an interruption? Does that mean our children are keeping us from really experiencing the life we want someday? The Bible says no.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (Psalm 127:3-5).
As our culture continues to view children as an interruption in our lives, the Bible views our children as a blessing. May we see from the Scriptures, and from the lives of people like Elizabeth Prentiss, that another child is not just another mouth to fill, it's another mouth to kiss to the glory of God.