the PERFECT number of children for EVERY family
My son was about two (Yes, he was terrible.) when I said it. “He would be such a great kid if he were an only child.” Yes, this statement did insinuate that he wasn’t a great kid, which in all honesty, I may have questioned for a few weeks (Months?? Year, tops.). More than that, though, it insinuated (screamed) something else: he was missing out, something about this plan wasn't good. That’s when I discovered my magic mathematical proof for family planning. Ready? Take the number of children you have, multiply by two, divide by two, add zero, multiply by one, take away zero. (End up with the same number you started with? You can do second grade math, good for you.) You have officially discovered your perfect number of children.
This little calculator of mine doesn’t much help you in deciding how many kids to have. Sorry about that (Internet tip: Buzzfeed has countless numbers of said calculators. Human tip: RUN away from them. They’re all worthless). What it does do (with perfect mathematical certainty) is remind you that whatever number of children you currently have is the perfect number for you right now.
Maybe your number is 1, 3, 6, or 4+ (Not to be confused with the oft quoted “2 ½ kids,” the plus sign is secret foster parent code and denotes that while the number of children in my home is currently 4, it could be 4+1 at any time), that number is right on, because it was chosen by someone who chooses perfectly.
When I said in my moment (year) of weakness that he would be better off if he were an only child, what I meant was: “He would be a great kid if I could give him every second of my attention, no other child ever took anything from him or disturbed him in any way, and the world in general revolved around him.” What I meant was: "God didn't actually plan this right, and my son and I are both missing out because of it."
That’s when God put this truth deep into my heart. You know those truths God teaches you so definitely that you don’t even really need to fight to believe them? The ones that He placed down deep and strong, so you can just fall back and watch them catch you? Here’s mine: Everything my kids have (or don’t have) is what God has perfectly given them (or not given them) to make them who he's planned for them to be. In other words, when God's the one in control (and thank Him He is), my kids can't miss out. I can't miss out.
(FREEBIE TIP: This "fall back on it and watch it catch you" truth extends to more than just how many children you have and can also be applied to your income, capacity, lack of/need to work, extended family, health, education choices, etc., etc.)
"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all." (1 Chr. 29:11) This Lord...he's the One I was accusing of making a mistake. This Lord who "will fulfill his purpose for me" (Psalm 138:8), he's the one I was doubting. Thank God for rescuing me from my revolting unbelief...and my severe stupidity.
As if the steadfast truth of God's sovereignty weren't enough, there's also the fact that the "grass is always greener" is one big, obese lie. That mom with one flawlessly behaved/dressed/fed child? She doesn't have the joy of watching her 4yo "read" to his 2yo sister or the fun of experiencing a loud and crazy 8am Taylor Swift dance party. That mom with the perfectly planned three years between each child? She doesn't get to laugh at her 2yo old calling her one year old "the baby" or listen to two giggling toddlers throw all of their stuffed animals out of their cribs in the morning. That mom with the big family you've always wanted? She doesn't get to sit and cuddle the baby to sleep each night or finish a story uninterrupted or make just one meal option for lunch or sit and drink her cup of coffee in the morning or everhaveasecondofsilenceortimetoherselforevenjustabathroomsessionwithoutfourkidsrunninginEVER...............sorry about that.
You get the picture. There are unique joys. There are unique struggles. You have unique grace for whatever yours may be. But more important than that, bigger than that, trumping all of that: God is in control, God has planned your family, God has already done the math. You have the perfect number of children.
Author's Note: The intent of this post is to share a light-hearted, truth-filled perspective on trusting God for the number of children he's given you. It is not meant to address the trial and heartache of infertility. If this is where you find yourself, please read the truth of God's word cited above and ignore every other one of my words.