When Jimmy was born, Judy was eight, Jason was seven, Johnny was six, Josh was four, Julie had just turned three (two days before) and Joey was one! Needless to say, I was rather busy. We had always wanted a large family, and God had given us the desire of our heart.
We attracted many stares whenever we went anywhere! I got so tired of answering the question, “Are they all yours?” that I had a t-shirt made up with their picture on it and the caption: “Yes, they’re all mine!” That way hopefully the question would be answered before asked! ha!
One time Grace Baptist Church loaned us their church van when ours was broken down. We took the J’s to a downtown park to burn up some energy. As they were busy playing, a lady approached me and said, “I saw the sign on your van. The children are so well behaved. Is this a day care? I’d like some information about it!” “No,” I replied with a chuckle, “It’s no day care! They’re all mine!”
Talking with some of the girl students at the Bible institute in Mexico, I mentioned that I had always wanted to have lots of children. “I’m so glad to hear that” one of them exclaimed. “I thought your husband made you have all these kids!” Nope! In case you were also wondering, it was mutual. He wanted six. I wanted eight. We compromised and had seven!
Of course, it was challenging! When I had three J’s under three years old, our mission church did not have a nursery. Many, many times I got three small children ready, took them on the hour ride to church, sat on the back row, tried to keep them quiet, heard very little of the sermon, tried to fellowship with others after the service, then made the hour long trip back home exhausted. Sometimes I was so tired I wondered why I even bothered to take them to church!
Once in awhile I would gaze up at my husband standing in front preaching and think, “I’ll trade you places. You come back here and try to keep three little ones quiet, and I’ll go up there and preach. Preaching would be easier!” haha
I tried to homeschool Judy, Jason and Johnny while keeping four younger children entertained and dealing with the many interruptions involved in living on the mission field. Often I was alone with my children all day long as Jacinto was busy serving the Lord teaching in the Bible institute and planting churches.
Though I loved the J’s dearly, once in awhile I felt myself losing it! Whenever I felt frustration overtaking my soul and my patience reached the end of its limit, I would look at all the J’s and say: “Stop! We need to pray!” Everyone would gather round, and then I would pray, “Dear Jesus, HELP!!!!!!”
The older J’s said to me disapprovingly, “Mom, why do you pray like that? What kind of prayer is that?” I replied, “The Bible says God is…a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) “I’m in trouble, and I need help!”
And God would help me time after time. He was a very present help. I did not have to spend hours searching for him, make a pilgrimage to some church or do a certain amount of good deeds to convince God to help me. He was right there. Right when I needed Him. He never failed me.
And still to this day though most of the J’s are grown and have left the nest, occasionally I find myself feeling overwhelmed for one reason or another. I still pray the same prayer on those occasions, “Dear Jesus, “HELP!” And God is still right there. He knows my needs, my frailties, and He continues to be a very present help in all trouble!