Thursday afternoon around 6:30 I received a phone call from the Sheriffs Department. The officer proceeded to ask if I had a daughter named Sarah and her back pack had been found at a near by park. The contents had been strewn all over: Her bible,journal,day planner,pens and pencils. My first question was if her cell phone was in it? Thankfully NO was her answer...or so I thought.
I have always stressed to my kids...especially the girls... stay in groups when going anywhere if possible. So to think something bad had happened was out of the question.I hung up the phone with dispatch and headed up to the park to retrieve Sarah's pack. I am calling her cell all the while. After many repeated attempts of reaching her I was beginning to listen to Satan's negative thoughts being sent my way. Why can't I simply keep my eyes on Jesus? When I do, I am so much more at peace.
Arriving at the park I saw a car similar to hers...more negative thoughts! Praise God it wasn't! As I pulled up next to the officer my mind was already exhausted, my husband had been out of town all week,I don't sleep well when he's gone.
I approached the officer with apprehension and really not sure what I should do. I am still trying to reach Sarah only getting a voicemail instead. It had been 4:30 since I last saw her. Thursday's she goes to a Bible study for college and career kids...that was where she was suppose to be! After about what seemed like several hours...only 15 minutes...I began calling my son who was in Florida...After leaving him a voice mail of urgency, he returned to my frantic voice. He attends the same study and would know someones number! He hung up and a few moments later called me back... she WAS at Bible study and would call me.
While waiting and trying to physically speak to my daughter...for peace of mind...the officer is patiently asking questions. Thinking about it now he was concerned too. He wasn't leaving until I spoke with her. How crazy is it for a policeman to find a back pack dumped out and track down the owner. They had to call several other families before they found us! Was he afraid something had happened to her?
After 25 minutes and me calling my son back for a number to her friend, I finally heard her sweet voice. Music to my ears! She didn't have a signal...thanks VERIZON! The pack had been left there on Wednesday...she had been there with a few friends. The absent minded daughter of mine causes her mom to just about have a nervous breakdown.
Our world is not what it use to be. Praise God the outcome turned out so much better than it could have. So many families live the nightmare I did, but theirs never ends.Just this week a local woman was snatched while walking a rural road. Just because you live away from the big city, don't think for one moment you are immune from crime.
Have you seen the movie "Taken"? Our girls are so naive. I have got to educate educate educate my daughters! I have really been thinking lately, why has God given me seven daughters? My boys are just as important and I love them dearly...they are just easier to raise in some ways. At times raising girls can be so much more intense. I'm very thankful the boys are around for extra eyes to watch them. We live in a fallen world full of evil. At times I have joked about moving to a deserted island somewhere...maybe I should consider it!
Wow! February was my last post? There is probably a very good reason for that! Husband on business trips....two year old who I we have been trying to potty train...Two year old that destroys plays ever so sweetly in our cluttered well kept home...lake house being built in a record 56 days...that doesn't include the before preparation and the after construction including;moving in and little projects we wanted to do to make this house a little more comfortable.
All kidding aside....you just never know what life will be seconds...minutes...hours...days...weeks...months or years down the road. Plan as you like...but life has a way of knocking you off track. This is where you have to decide...am I going to get back up or am I going to sit here and mope on my backside? I prefer getting up...brushing myself off and continuing on with the plan God has for me...after I attempt to mope. There are times when I can't seem to keep my eyes on Jesus...that's when I fall! He ever so patiently waits with me until I can get my focus on Him. We then continue on this life journey together...just as He has planned.
Absence does make the heart grow fonder! When my husband is preparing for a business trip my stomach starts to churn. The thoughts of trying to do this(raising the kids) alone is something I do not relish...even it's for one week! But God in His ever so merciful way uses this time to show me just how merciful...even though at times I don't feel it...He really is. Why do I do this...dreading the thought of spending a week without the man that I depend on for hands on help(with 9 kids help is a must)? Is it fear or fatigue? Why do I struggle? God's grace is ALWAYS sufficient for me! With each day passing my heart grows fonder with the anticipation of him coming home. Isn't that how we should be anticipating Christ's return?
2 Corinthians 12:9 (King James Version) 9.And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Being a mom of many and trying to do it all on my own, is a thought I never want to experience for more than a week at a time. This past spring I had a chance to view an Army unit preparing to leave for an over seas tour of duty. All I can say is "I have nothing to complain about!" Having a family separated for many many months is a major sacrifice that our men and women in uniform do on a daily basis. They allow this sacrifice in their own families for our freedom to be with our loved ones! I think I can handle one week....I'm tough!
Recently there has been a large family in the news. This family has come to a point of total collapse. We really don't know what goes on behind closed doors.What seems perfect...may be total chaos when no one is looking. But God knows...He knows it all! He is just waiting for us to surrender and invite Him to lead us with His design for our lives. He really knows us better than we know ourselves. As I listened to this mom share her fears, one stood out to me...she said "she really didn't want to do this alone." I guess what she is experiencing is what we all fear at some point in raising kids...raising them alone. But could we? God can be a father to the fatherless. Sometimes raising them alone is not a choice we ever would choose. It's just something that happens!
My mom never would have chosen to raise my sisters and I alone. It's just something that happened one night very unexpectedly...My day was killed in a automobile wreck. It's something that changed our lives forever. I would not be the person I am today had that tragic event not happened. I might not have met my husband and more than likely would not have had these 9 great kids....maybe more maybe less! Who's to say? God in His perfect will for my life knew that in losing my dad I would gain so much more. That is a hard pill to swallow! Yes, I miss my dad every day...30 years later! I do dream of what life would be like had he not died that night. But as I put my faith and trust in a saviour who has a much better plan that I do...I can rest easy in knowing that He knows my future with all it's good and bad. I just pray that I will keep the faith and keep my eyes on Him. Because with Jesus... I am never alone!
2nd Timothy 1:7 tells us: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
I never planned on having 9 kids, I just knew I wanted a large family. My first experience with a large family was while I was helping the Harris family with their 4 kids (piece of cake!). I guess you could say I was kind of like their nanny. My responsibilities were laundry, cleaning, picking up and helping to watch the kids. My time with the Harris family was an experience that prepared me for my future as a mom to many children.Thank you Harris family for that investment in my future!
Being a mom to many comes with a lot of sacrifice. When I share with people that I have 9 children, I get one of two responses.... a look of pure horror or total amazement and joy. I prefer the amazement over the horror any day. God says " Children are a blessing" and I truly believe His word is true. It doesn't mean my kids will never drain my time, energy and finances. But all those negatives will never compare to the never ending hugs, laughter, watching my kids share their faith in Jesus and watching them worship Him in their daily lives. If all my children choose to follow Christ (I pray that they do every day), just think about how many lives God can change using my kids as a tool to reach those that are in need of Jesus!
I could sit here and write all the things we don't get to do as a very large family,but my goal with this blog is to share with others all the positive things that come with having a large family. For instance...How do we get our many many loads of laundry done and put away? Where do you go out to eat without going bankrupt? How do you keep your grocery budget, so you can have something left to keep the power on? What do you do to make time with your spouse and some activities you find that are inexpensive,but investment into your marriage? This is a very important question, time with your spouse should be at the top of your list no matter how many kids you have. Reconnecting with your partner on a regular basis will keep your marriage healthy and your children happy and healthy. Kids are very in tune to what is going on with their parents. On another note... what do you do to make time for yourself ? Was it Susannah Wesley who would pull her apron over her head for quiet time ? Her children knew then to not bother her until the apron came down. Mommy guilt can sometimes get the best of you if you let it. Telling your kids NO will not hurt them! We do this quite often with our kids. Yes they get mad at us when we do. They are kids and they want to go, do and have just like their friends. However time and money doesn't always allow a "yes " to their request. 1st John 2:15 says;Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Being a Christian doesn't mean we can't enjoy life or do and have things and stuff. I think trying to keep up with what our friends have and do can become our focus in life, instead of living our lives to please the Lord. Now, back to the questions.... what does your very large family do for fun? If your family is large enough, do you ever get a group discount? How do you clothe your family? What vehicles do you drive (make and model)?
These are some questions many probably ask you when being fascinated with your family.
Large families usually bond real well together. We often meet parents with a large family and immediately feel a bond. Who else could understand what life with many is all about, than someone who has walked that same road? Do you have other large families you fellowship with? What activities might you do when your large group is together?
When posting your comments you are more than welcome to post anonymous. Time to time I may post your comments here, if you are not comfortable with that please let me know in an email. Thanks for your help! Walking the road of a very large family can be lonely at times ( I know this sounds impossible), Hopefully this project can help to make others more understanding and comfortable when encountered by large families.
Today, my husband and I were on a date for lunch, We take every advantage to spend time alone with each other. As we were driving, my creative husband had a great idea. That's all it took to get my creative juices flowing! Like I needed one more project! I am very excited about this and can't wait to see how it turns out.
So, here begins The Great Big Family Project!
We would like to hear how other big families save money, have fun, develop character in their children, and grow in the Lord. We would like to compile some of your adventures, both spiritual and mundane. Post your stories in our comment section,click on the word comment just below this post, and share so others can benefit from your experiences. You can also email me with your comments, please put The Great Family Project in the subject line. We look forward to laughing and learning with you.
Our story: Kelley and I have been married nearly 25 blessed years. We have 9 of the most awesome children any two people could ask for. Our older two are boys and then we had seven girls! All nine still live at home. The older three are in college, one graduates this spring, two others are in public school and three at home. We have home schooled all of them for some parts of their education.
Early in our marriage, money was very tight. We had four kids in five years and three were in diapers at the same time. We were constantly looking for ways to save money, time, and sanity. Feeding, clothing, and nurturing our children took some real creative thinking. I always found family and friends willing to give us ideas for saving money and time. Sharing ideas to help make living this life easier and cheaper is my idea of true love. We have had so many things shared with us over the years. Some ideas were great and some were just plain crazy. Now, we can laugh about it.
My husband's parents lived during the depression and world war II. Mrs. Holcombe was a wise woman. Along with Kelley's dad, they raised 9 wonderful children. We did have the privilege to live with them a couple of times in the early years of our wedded bliss. During that time, I had the honor to glean some truth from my mother in law. They passed away several years ago and we miss them very much. I especially miss having someone who knew and understood what I was experiencing as a mom to many.
My family was much smaller. I was the first born. I grew up with two sisters and my mom and dad. When I was thirteen, my dad was killed in an automobile accident. My mom later remarried. I then became the fourth of seven kids. My mother taught me about the love of Christ and what it means to really follow Him. For me, choosing and following Jesus is how I find my peace in everyday living. My wonderful mom taught me to sew as a young child. She always made us beautiful clothes. Craftiness runs in my family and I guess I inherited some of the creativity. It has helped us because I have been able to sell my creations to garner some extra dollars. Thanks mom!
In all the phases of life, our relatives have been a major influence in how we have raised our very large family. We think that we have done more than just survive. We have been blessed and would like to bless others the way our folks have blessed us.
Our hope is that The Great Big Family Project will at some point be a tool for anyone to use in raising their great big family and for those who are thinking about having a large family!
Thanks so much, Kelley and Karen....and all 9 Holcombe Kids!