Blog Archive

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How Many?

The theme for today’s blog carnival (hosted by Bridget Chumbley) is "Children." To see what others are saying, visit her site
"One Word at a Time".

"The life of a child is unconscious in its fullness of life,
and the source of its life is implicit love."
~ Oswald Chambers

I grew up as the oldest among nine children, then planned to have none after raising siblings, but wound up having five of my own anyway. My surviving brain cells have these random thoughts on children, and still recall a few words from others.

My husband said he wanted two kids, I said three, and God gave both of us our way by sending five.

The day came when I didn't care so much whether I had one child or ten, I just didn't want to miss knowing the ones God had planned for us.

Owning an 11-passenger van wonderfully allows us to come home from church with extra kids to enjoy for a day. You haven't lived until you've danced along the road singing the Veggie Tales "Belly Button Song" in three-part harmony.

Once you figure out that most of the bad things kids do are an expression of what they see in their parents, it really motivates you to be a better person.

About the time you think you're completely failing as a parent, your kids will do something exceptionally good that they learned from you so you don't lose heart.

Whatever the hour, I don't mind being awakened by a child who needs to crawl into bed to be comforted after a bad dream or snuggle for no reason other than being awake. It's important that they understand from me that God is always available.

I'm not Amish but I subscribe to their philosophy: Until age six children require more than they return; between six and twelve you break even; after age twelve they should contribute more to the family than what they take.

My husband looks forward to collecting retirement pay, at least until foreign T-bill owners foreclose on the U.S. economy. My retirement plan is our kids and I see it as far more secure.

I don't mind having a "cozy" house and a thin bank account as long as what we do have is being invested in our kids and their future.

Children give a person reason to persevere. When life looks bleak, we'll do for them what we might not otherwise have courage to do for ourselves.

My husband John says kids are smarter than you give them credit for, and it often works against you.

My sister Mary says that once there's three kids in the house, you don't really notice having more visit until you reach about a dozen.

My friend Carrie has thirteen children. When she got tired of people asking "Haven't you figured out what causes that?" she started answering, "Yeah, and we like it."

The Bible counts children among the Lord's greatest blessings. The patriarch Abraham had riches but saw them as pointless without an heir. Hannah had the kind of love from a man coveted by women everywhere but was unfulfilled without a child.

To be without money is less sad than to be without children. For those saddened that the Lord has not blessed you with children, I pray that He will open your eyes to the plan of blessing He does have for you, and that He fulfills you most richly in that perspective.

I appreciate hearing from you. Questions are welcome. Reply to
comments or e-mail me—my address is
buildingHisbody [plus]
Copyright 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Image by Hicks Portraits.


  1. I love the sight of your 'quiver of children.' I wish my family were larger -- instead now I am investing in other kids.

  2. I have a quiver full myself and Love them more than life. I wouldn't mind more if only I could house them!

  3. David ~

    The great thing is that in the Kingdom, they're ALL family. :D

  4. T ~

    We have three sets of bunk beds. That sixth bed is a double-sized fouton, which gets plenty of use by company. The Lord always seems to provide the space and food we need, and even money for musical and martial arts.

  5. A woman after my own heart :). I absolutely love children and believe we can learn so much from them about life. I always wanted 10 children, but I settled for three daughters. My life has been abundantly blessed to be actively involved in the lives of many children as a long-time daycare provider and mentor. Some of things you spoke of like being comforted by a mom and dad were never part of my life, but I am determined that no child that I meet will have to know that feeling. Thanks for sharing Anne!

    P.S. Anne with an e at the end is the best kind!

  6. I love your friend's response. We get asked that question all the time and we only have 4! I might have to start using her answer too. :)

  7. Seeing your precious children greatly blesses my heart sis. I miss not being a mom, but God had other plans for me. I love you sis.

  8. 2 for Dad + 3 for Mom = 5 blessings á la God!
    I love it!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings to you and your family!

  9. What a lovely picture. Had one climb into bed with me last night. ;) And when it comes to Veggie Tales songs, we're partial to The Pirates That Don't Do Anything...

    Happy Tuesday.
    ~ Wendy

  10. There's so much wisdom here, Anne -- and so much fun. "My husband said he wanted two kids, I said three, and God gave both of us our way by sending five." That's a great line.

  11. I agree with GLynn...there is much wisdom here! We have two but have always had a houseful. I loved what you said about knowing God is always available...parenting is a big job.

  12. I love your family philosophy! I have seven kids, large van and multiple groups of kids at my house all the time (it seems). God is so very good to give us kids to stretch and challenge our hearts.

  13. Great post! I love my kids so much! The only thing good about my one day empty nest is that is will be clean! Then I will probably cry cause I am not tripping over toys and doing another load of laundry. Sniffle sniffle.

    And I have often felt like a failure when my kids are not doing what I think they should just as you mentioned. But just yesterday Sarah, Timmy, Ellie, and I all started school. The first thing that Timmy said with all sincerity when he walked in the door was, "How was your first day back at school Mom?" I was really taken aback with tears in my eyes before I told him it was just great!

  14. JoAnne ~

    Your love for children shows in your involvement. I know you're blessed as much as you bless.

    (And it doesn't show in my photo, but this Anne with an 'e' has the red hair highlights that go with the profile. :D)

  15. Melissa ~

    So far I've only had the boldness to repeat it as her quote.

  16. Denise ~

    I and others are the ones to be recipients of the blessing you might have poured out on your own children. God did indeed have a different plan for you, and it has spread to many, many people. Your love and light have not gone unnoticed.

    I love you dear!

  17. Mari-Anna ~

    Would you believe it was only about a year ago that I figured out God's math? Isn't it just like Him to find a way to multiply the lesser blessings we envision!

  18. Wendy ~

    I know you won't be surprised that I know most of the words to most Larry's silly songs. I draw the line at Larry Boy tho ...

  19. Glynn ~

    If there's wisdom here it's been hard earned. It sure doesn't feel like enough yet, either, as we learn new things with ever changing dynamics.

    And I wouldn't change a thing.

  20. Joyce ~

    It seems to me that most people form ideas about God which are largely shaped by the way they are parented. It makes the job of parenting even more intimidating, but it also gives me much more insight and wisdom on how to do it as I follow His example.

  21. JC Dude ~

    It's ironic to me that a big family has meant having a big van and small(er) house, but neither one feels crowded with a large group. If God does some interesting addition with children, I guess He also does some interesting multiplication when it comes to space.

  22. Mary ~

    Whatever your definition of "empty nest," I can't begin to imagine you ever being alone. Your kindness has a way of attaching you to people everywhere. :D

    Love you dearly. Thanks for the great quote.

  23. Yeah, your friend's response is perfect! Sounds like you have some great lessons learned--thank you for sharing them, Anne.

  24. A really fine post on the theme, Anne.

    I am #4 of 9 (two died in infancy). We always had at least two neighbors' children at our table for dinner, and often more. We learned to take care of each other because both parents had to work. The amount of groceries bought for a week took a lot of paper bags. We had as many pets as there were children. My Dad had a version of your friend Carrie's story. We were always asked, first thing, "You Catholic?"

    I have just one, and he's my joy, though he lives a good train ride away. Another sister has just one, and my other three sisters have two each. Neither of my two brothers had children. It can be noisy when we all get together and awfully quiet when we're all back home.

    Thanks for the look in.

  25. I have only 2 boys but my family thinks that I would be crazy to get another one child.

  26. Your family is beautiful! We did not think we ever wanted children. And when we decided we did, we found we couldn't. And then we walked a path trying to make it happen. And when we gave up, God did His thing. He brought us a girl and then a boy. He knew the outcome all along. :)

  27. Jason ~

    Like you, I know I'm a "bad" parent (as you mention on your post). But God is working is all out for His good, because I love Him, and whatever else my kids learn, I'm working hard to give them their own reasons to love Him too.

  28. Maureen ~

    I appreciate the "look in" you returned to me. Your comment moves me on so many levels.

    When I was thirteen I watched my father unsuccessfully give mouth-to-mouth to my five-month-old sister, a Down Syndrome child with poor health. Of the remaining eight of us, who are close (excepting one estranged brother), I'm the only one not living in the Denver area. Our noisy family gatherings are large and frequent, usually a couple times a month. I miss them so very much. I am happy for you that though your son is "a good train ride away," I sense in your words that it is a ride with which on of you is familiar. (Your description of his birth on your blog brought back good memories for me.)

    My mother did not drive. The summer I was seven my dad was sent by his employer to school for six weeks, out of state. I was sent to buy all the groceries on my bicycle. I cannot begin to fathom sending even my age nine daughter on such a daily errand, but of course these are different days than 1970.

    For various reasons, we rarely had company at our house. I wanted my children to grow up differently, with frequent visitors. Their friends do ask to come over quite often, and my answer is always "yes" if at all possible. Some of them come from families of greater means than us, with lots more "stuff." Yet they all love our 1600 sq' house with the tractor-tire swing on a 15' rope, and a trampoline, and lots of field to run in.

    I think it is because there is love here—love for God, love for children, love for the many people not present, because even company is not allowed to speak badly of others when under my roof.

  29. What a beautiful post, Anne. I echo so much of what others have left in the comments. The 2 + 3 line is priceless. Thank you, my friend.

  30. Oh Anne, what a joyful post! How I loved the picture and your wise words about the joy (and challenge) of children.

    What I love about being both a mother and a teacher is observing, and participating in, childhood in two distinct ways. As a mother, my children are people I cherish, know, and love to distraction. That they are young is only part of their particular makeup; they are not "kids" so much as they are MY kids--my "people", as it were.

    As a teacher, I'm able to participate in childhood activities with other people's children. I dearly love that as well.

    Thanks for your timely post on the wonders of childhood!

  31. Natasa ~

    How blessed you are to have two boys. How blessed (not crazy) you would be if it happened that your heart and your husband and the Lord brought you to have more.

    There are days when I know life would be easier with fewer children. But I also know there's only one thing I have that I have the chance to take with me into the next world—my children. I have no regrets.

  32. Snady ~

    Our Lord does lead us along some interesting paths to reach His plan. I'm smiling right now with the thought of how you must have felt the first time you knew you had a child on the way. : )

  33. Bridget ~

    You are among the women who remind me that we are beloved daughters of our Father. : )

  34. Gwen ~

    I can picture you decades from now, singing and dancing as a grandmother with all the young children in the voice of a Disney princess. God knew who to put with those children.

    Go into your school year with joy.

  35. I smiled the whole way through this... :)
    So happy to find your site and I look forward to wandering around.
    Thank you for your kind words today.

  36. Kara ~

    I love re-reading old posts I'd nearly forgotten about. I may just have to rerun this for Mother's Day. I'm glad you enjoyed it and brought it to my attention. :D


Your comments are appreciated and you can expect a reply. If Blogger doesn't accept your comment, or if you prefer
another method, I hope you'll respond via Twitter or email
(see sidebar icons or the "Contact Me" tab, above).

(Comments to older posts and will appear after approval.)