Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Loving Large Families

Phoebe Elizabeth Winderweedle, my maternal grandmother known by her nickname "Bettie", was one of 12 children-- six boys and six girls. I never knew her, but she has always been a vivid person in my thoughts, since I was named for her. I have always been called Bettie.

My mother would recount to me all my grandmother's virtues and talents, chief among them the ability to look at a picture or design of a dress and copy it to perfection. She was a self taught seamstress who would make fashionable clothing for pennies during the depression. She had an unfortunate accident with a pair of scissors and lost her sight in one eye, which slowed her down not a whit!

I have a photo of Grandmother Bettie with nine of her siblings. (Two children died very young.) I can instantly spot my grandmother in the photo, as she is the only one of the girls dressed in a "Titanic" era dress, while her sisters are wearing black skirts and white blouses!

When my parents married, and after I was born, they went to Brazil as Presbyterian missionaries and my mother never saw her mom again. My dad was one of three children, and my mother was one of eleven. When Dad and Mom talked about having children, their goal was to have 12! They ended up with six children, but by the time the six of us were all married, my parents could say they had twelve children!

Because of a lack of faith and in conformity to the Christians we were around, my husband and I decided to stop at three children. We bitterly regretted that decision later, but the deed was done. We confessed our sin to our children and lamented with them that there would never be any more siblings. For years I dreamed about having another baby, and would wake in tears of regret.

God is so merciful to the repentant! My three children have given us 24 grandchildren in 13 years-- and my children are still young enough to have many more. Praise God for willing hearts who believe God's first commandment to "be fruitful and multiply", and who trust Him to provide all they need. My second husband's daughter has given him a granddaughter, after waiting on the Lord for many years-- that makes number 25 for us!

Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Psalm 128:1 ¶ Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.