“Excuse Me, Ma’am — are You Blessed?”
I checked out of the grocery store this week with our youngest snoozing in his infant seat. The cashier was crooning over him (as my husband notes, “Everyone thinks sleeping babies are cute”), and I took the moment to savor how great it was to have this little guy. I told her about my son’s three older siblings, and mentioned that, although our house was nothing short of crazy right now, it was “chock-full o’ love” (I hope it didn’t sound that corny when I said it).
The cashier actually said, “I am so glad to hear you say that.” She proceeded to tell me about a woman who’d come through earlier that morning, shouting at and scolding her son; it seemed clear to the cashier that the woman thought her son was a real pain. I remembered Rebecca Mutz’s post and the depth of her grief, and was humbled again that I was checking out with one of God’s greatest gifts. The sleep-deprived nights I’m logging, the body that’s gingerly limping around, the diapers I’m washing—all signs of a deeply blessed woman.
God’s been doing some work in my heart following an admonition in an exceptional broadcast with Houston pastor Voddie Baucham, whose words challenged me (in rough paraphrase): Do I speak of children in a way that communicates they’re the reward God says they are?
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
I was most lacking this when pregnant with our “surprise” children. It was easy to let comments slip about the hassle kids are, or something that implied I was embarrassed about being pregnant yet again, or words that simply conveyed kids were less than a blessing. Baucham’s message challenged me: That in cultures around the world, children are celebrated, but in the richest country on the planet, we gauge how many children we should have based on convenience.
This is even more convicting as I realize that “the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart” (Matthew 12:34). Ouch. In my college psychology courses, I learned how what we speak, too, changes our thoughts about something. Simply expressing my gratitude for my kids makes my heart more thankful … and vice versa.
Now I see it as a fun challenge to go to a store and stick out for His sake—the mom who’s thankful for her kids, who likes to have them around. It’s cool to think about our potential to shift culture, or even cause one person to reconsider having children, by letting people know our genuine joy over being a mom. Someone once asked me, “Why in the world would you do that [speaking of pregnancy and delivery] to yourself?!” I smiled: Great question!
Every time somebody looks at my cart, more full of kids than groceries, and comments (for the 267th time), “You’ve got your hands full!”, it’s a chance for me to honor God with something like, “Yeah, in the best way possible.”
Hope people get that idea when I don’t know they’re watching. And I hope my kids get the idea loud and clear.