That is an excellent question. Let me tell you how I got here…
My first baby was born six weeks before I graduated from high school. I was a good student and I intended to go to a private university on a top academic scholarship. Everything changed when I realized I was pregnant, just weeks into my senior year. I was from a small, rural community where everybody knows everybody. As a result of my choices, I found myself in a shameful spotlight that I didn’t want, and facing a future of uncertainty that I didn’t plan. But at the same time, I immediately fell in love with a precious baby that I had not yet even met.
Lessons Along the Way
As a Believer, I was deeply concerned that I had ruined God’s entire plan for my life. I began to read and search scripture with a new desperation for direction and peace. Over the course of many months, I experienced grace and mercy beyond what I could have hoped for. My parents, my family, and my friends surrounded me with love and help. (Sadly, far too many young women are not so lucky.)
The one thing that changed the course of my life the most, though, was the recurring theme in God’s word that life is created INTENTIONALLY by Him. Babies are knit together in the womb. They are formed, they are fashioned, they are predestined for a purpose. I began to wrap my brain around the incredible truth that my child was not the mere product of my mistakes, but rather the purposeful creation of an Almighty God. My baby was not a punishment, but an incredible GIFT! Furthermore, I discovered promises in scripture that I am not capable of ruining God’s plans… I’m just not that powerful!
When my son was born, I remember holding him and being filled with love and devotion to this tiny, beautiful creature. I whispered to my mom, “He’s perfect.” She was quick to remind me that no one is perfect. But what I meant was, “He is not a mistake, he is not a defect, he is not a curse. He is the most amazing, perfect gift that I have ever held in my hands.”
Something else shifted in me too. After having a baby, I had extra weight on my once tiny frame. I had stretch marks. My body was changed, and by conventional thought, not for the better. But my self esteem was suddenly greater than it had ever been! Not for the way I looked, but for the new purpose I had. My baby, in my eyes, was the most amazing and precious thing in all creation- and I was his mom! It was the best thing I had ever been! I was an unwed mother, and yet I began to hold my head higher than before. If my son had been created with purpose, that must mean I was created with purpose too. And as part of that purpose, I was made to be his mom.
As my son grew, I began to feel God calling me to step out in faith onto a path that most people think is crazy. I felt like He was showing me again and again in His Word, “I am the creator of life. I gave you this beautiful baby outside of your plans, trust ME to do the planning…” Late the following year, I married my husband. He was a single dad, raising two boys. By the time we married, we both felt the call of God to entrust Him with our family planning. And God didn’t waste any time. We had a baby in each of the next four calendar years. Six years after the birth of my first, I was raising seven kids; five biological and two stepsons. We were well on our way to being a supersized family.
Where I am Now
Today, I have fifteen biological children, all single births. Eight girls, seven boys. They are perfectly imperfect, smart, talented, athletic, kind, awesome people. My life has not always been easy, but there has always been joy in the midst of the crazy. God has been faithful to me through pregnancies, babies, toddlers, teenagers, mountains of laundry, financial difficulties, struggles in my marriage, and much more. Today, I have grown children, married children, teenagers, and littles, all at the same time. (My two stepsons both have children of their own, so I can even add “grandma” to the list, even though I still have a baby myself!) I am beyond grateful for all seventeen of our kids, they make my ordinary life extraordinary! Those little boogers have filled my existence with adventure, fun, and love above my greatest hopes! It is clear to me, I was made to be their mom!
We are all given different gifts and called to different purposes. This path is not for everyone, no doubt about it. Although, I long for everyone to understand that babies are a gift, blessing, and a masterpiece, entrusted to us from the hand of the Creator. Even so… if you feel God tugging at your heart to trust Him in this way… be prepared, He might just do something incredible in your life!
If you are a mom of a very large family, or hope to be someday, tell me about it! I would love to get to know you and hear your unique, beautiful story! To subscribe to Made to be Mom, click here.
You are one of my all time favorite people. Gosh I love and miss you! Wonderful words of great wisdom, my friend!
Hi Mandy! I’m so excited to hear from you, it’s been forever! I love and miss you too! How do you feel about a six hour drive for coffee??