I grew up in what most would call a “large” Catholic family. I was born fourth in a line of five kids. It didn’t seem “large” to me, but the open-eyed, mouth-dropping expressions on people’s faces as we all walked into a public area made me realize we were a little different. I was okay with that. I actually liked having my brothers and my sister around, even as annoying as they were! Now, to put things in perspective you must understand that I only had one brother younger than me and I almost never saw babies. As a teen, I had very little experience with young children or babies. So taking on a babysitting job was just not really my thing. My older sister took babysitting job after babysitting job, and she loved it! She loved the kids, she loved the babies, she wanted to be a teacher, and I didn’t want anything to do with kids!
At this point in my life I imagine God laughed, and laughed, and laughed!! For the Almighty has a plan, it may not be the plan we like, but it’s the plan we need for our salvation.
At the tender age of 17, I was discerning whether or not God was calling me to become a nun. I loved my God, I trusted Him. And since being a mother just didn’t seem like my thing I figured He must want me to be a nun. I prayed for guidance, oh how hard I prayed!! Then God hit me over the head with a spiritual 2×4!! I had a saints book laying on my bed while I was praying. The book slid off the edge of my bed and landed on the floor. I picked it up and a holy card fell out from in between the pages. It was a very old holy card that my mother found years earlier in the crack of one of the horse-hair plastered walls in our old Civil War farmhouse. She had given it to me, but I never really looked at it before that particularly special day. It was a picture and prayer to St Gerard the patron saint of mothers!! As if that wasn’t enough of a blow, I continued to read the card and at the bottom it said his feast day was October 16….that very day that this happened was Oct 16!!!! Oh, that hit hard! God doesn’t use a megaphone to tell you his plan but that day He got very close! At that point, I said to God “Well if you think that’s best. But I would need to find a good guy to marry first. And those seem to be a bit hard to find.”
I’m sure God laughed again because He knew how and where I’d meet that guy. And just three months later there he was!
At the age of 20, I married the man that God sent to me, a sweet man, though we both had some growing up to do! We were both open to whatever God’s plan was and we left the door open in all ways for God to send us children. So God decided it was time to give us a crash course in parenting!! Just one month after we were married I became pregnant with our first! Eleven months after our first was born I delivered our second. And it continued like that for 13 years! I had 9 babies and three miscarriages in less than 14 years!
The past 14 years of my life have been a huge struggle! Pregnancy after pregnancy, while learning how to be a homeschooling mom was hard. We live on one income, money’s tight, the house is in need of constant repair, the vehicles rarely run, stress is up and time is short. But God has taught me more about life, love, and faith through my children and husband than being a nun ever could have taught me! Now, I’m not bashing those who become religious… Not a bit!! But God knew I needed these kids as much as they needed me!
Sure I had a choice to not have my kids in machine-gun style, but once again I let God do the driving in my life. And He’s proven to me time after time that not taking the easy roads in life can often be the most learned and scenic route of all!
This past week was a huge turning point for us! I’ve had a medical problem during those past 14 years of having babies which have just forced me to get a hysterectomy. So God has made my ninth baby my last. After talking to the doctor about my personal situation he said that my large number of babies in such a short time was not the reason for my problems. That being said, God’s plan of giving me my babies one after the other was his way of giving me as many babies as He could before I had to get a hysterectomy at the young age of 34.
God’s ways are always the right way! I may not have been a great baby lover in my teens, but it’s my children that have brought me to a point of understanding God’s love for each one of us! Each and every one of my children has taught me so much. They are truly a blessing! Sure learning to be a mom was and is hard, and following the way God has laid out for me was and is even harder, but as I look back on how things are unfolding I see that God had a truly important reason for doing things the way He did them!
So when I see the reality of abortion in our society it seems so wrong! My kids saved my life, they didn’t take it! They have been my inspiration! I will admit that I faced each and every pregnancy with fear and trembling, but God always gives us the strength we need to make it through the tough times in our lives. To live out God’s plan is the only way to live a happy life, so there was no choice if you want to be happy!