As I scrolled through Facebook the other day, I stumbled upon a piece about large families. It was an outline of things you should never say to a mama of many. All of the expected, regular comments were there including that old zinger “how do you AFFORD all these kids?! Weddings! College! Groceries!?!”
I do wonder that myself sometimes, actually! When the appliances all seem to need to be replaced at the same time and multiple kids need braces at once, I really do start to wonder! When it all falls into place and we make it through to the other side, I know that what I really need is to start having more faith. God hasn’t left me high and dry yet.
He always provides. Of course, that doesn’t mean that He always sends a bigger paycheck, though, does it?
I heard a wonderful saying once and it has always stuck with me. “A baby always comes with a loaf of bread under his arm.” Isn’t that the sweetest? I always envision a tubby little diaper clad baby, carrying a baguette in the crook of his arm. It’s kind of ridiculous, but incredibly charming!
And it’s true, really. Not literally, of course, but we really do always find a way to manage.
Maybe that old washer refuses to konk out and need replacing. Maybe someone extends a dinner invitation or stops by with a meal, just when the fridge and the bank account are simultaneously looking dry. Or maybe they don’t and we just learn to scrape a wonderful meal together out of what appears to be nothing and a good sprinkle of ingenuity.
We learn to budget and be better stewards of the gifts that God has given us. In our home, I know we utilized the library and YouTube as a means to DIY just about everything we need to do.And I mean everything. My husband even fixed our septic once – and solved the problem!
We meal plan to make the best use of our grocery budget, we fix what has broken instead of replacing it, we spend quality time together playing games or going for a hike instead of going on expensive outings. None of this is extraordinary, just planned and thoughtfully executed.
Sometimes, it’s simply a changing or softening of the heart. I could drive a pretty lovely car or live in a much fancier home, if it weren’t for all these darn kids! But what’s a big fancy house when it’s empty? I’m not sure a small, fancy car would be nearly as much fun as my giant (kinda junky!) van filled with laughter!
Perhaps we need to stretch and grow in order to “afford” this crazy life we’ve been gifted, but isn’t that the whole point? Aren’t we here to make each other better, stronger, holier? Sometimes, our faith that God will provide is the only thing holding us together. We lean into Him – and He takes care of the rest.
Sure there are probably weddings in our future and college tuition is coming up quickly. But we are raising kids who value time and people over fancy things and kids who understand the value of the dollar. We all know how to boot strap and still live a life steeped in beauty. They are each one better for having one another. Expensive? Maybe, yes, but in the end, what really matters most? Those dollars stay here when we die. But the souls of our big, beautiful, crazy family will all carry on, home with that same God who carried us through.
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About Sarah Antonio
Mama to seven little wild things and wife to one adventurous husband, Sarah spends her days trying to calm the crazy. She's the quiet one. When not being (willingly) coaxed into her family's schemes and ideas, she enjoys curling up with a good book, creating something beautiful, and writing tales of her families adventures. You can also find her blogging at www.wildthingsadventure.com