Jesus had this funny way of answering questions with the real questions. I rather like it. A lot. I’ll be the first to admit that I also like straight answers. 2 +2 =4, right? Simple. I can just get my straight answer and move on, because I have that problem figured out.
Oh, but what questions are really like that? Simple and straightforward? The more I engage in this story of following Jesus, the fewer the straightforward answers I find. And I’m learning to like it.
You see, when most people are asked, “How many kids do you have?” they can reply without hesitation. I mean, who really has to think about how many kids they have? Well… I do.
What does this question even mean to this foster parent/guardian/bio mommy/heart mommy?
How many children have I been a mother to? How many children have shaped who I am as a mother, taught me what the word means, filled my heart with the spirit of motherhood? How many children have changed me forever – still in my heart, still in my prayers, still a part of me?
Sure, you can ask me how many children I’ve carried in my womb and were born from my body. (Two, in case you’d like at least one straight-forward answer.) You can even ask me how many children live in my home (though, at the rate that we’ve had children moving in and out these last four weeks, it might take me a moment). And you can ask me how many children I’ve adopted. And the answer to that one, “legally” of course, is none. But for this mama who will likely never be able to legally adopt her three daughters, that is not a very good question.
There are a few other questions of numbers that don’t do me much good either. “What is my limit?” “When will I be done?” “How much time do I have for myself?”
Better questions… How much love can I give to all of my children? How much room can we make in our hearts and our home for more children? How many times will the Lord bless us with the great honor and responsibility of caring for His children? How will we allow God to write a beautiful story in and around and through this crazy family only He could think to put together?
May I dare to keep my thoughts on these questions. For the answers to these are… well… eternally invaluable.
Oh, and there’s one more numbers question that people just get stumped over. “Wait… how old is your oldest child? And how old are you??” … 28 minus 17 equals… huh?!… Yep. I’ll just leave you with that one to ponder over.