How Can You Justify Having SO Many Kids?!

Today was not unlike many other days at Walmart. Victoria in the cart seat, Connor in the basket with all the items we were going to buy, and the other four in line behind me, Cait closest to me and in order from youngest to oldest. (Not to mention the “other one” hiding in my womb.) We stopped for our usual “quick” bathroom break before we headed back to the car, passing by the gawkers on our way to the restroom. And I’m not exaggerating about the gawkers, literally everywhere we go, people either smile and you can see them silently counting the kids, or they are laughing, or they are giving a smile and nod of approval. The looks are varied as well as the responses.

All the kids were finished in the bathroom and I had just gathered my crowd around when a lady saw all the kids with me and asked with a very surprised tone, a tone I’ve heard time and again. “Are they ALL yours?!” After I happily agreed (for the millionth time, and I kind of wonder if the kids get tired of hearing this question over and over again), she asked bluntly, “HOW will you pay for all of them to go to college?!” I said, as she was walking out the door, “I don’t know, but God does.” The lady at the counter washing her hands asked, “Did she just ask how you would pay for their college? How rude!” I ended up having a nice talk with her and found out that she had had 6 kids herself, and somehow they all turned out just fine, in spite of all the gawkers and the naysayers.

I was pondering this exchange on the drive home. I was thinking about how hurtful people can be at times, and even family members who love us and mean well. I was thinking about how hard it is to explain to people why we aren’t crazy, why we feel (even though we don’t have enough money to send them all to private college), that God has called us to this life of having a large family. And why is it that even the church of Christ has adopted these worldly views of preparedness for children.

Then my thoughts went to Christ. God the Father choose a family for Him, yes for HIS Son, the Son of God. This family was not wealthy, in fact I believe they would have even been considered poor. And the place of His birth, not even a midwife was present. But the angels rejoiced at His coming. Somehow, God in His sovereignty, provided a home for His Son, a place for Him to be nourished and cared for, a place where He was to learn all the things that He really needed to accomplish what God had called Him to do. And I believe today that I had a revelation about our own family. God calls us not to provide the greatest education for our children, and the nicest clothes and possessions for each of our dear ones, but He does call each of us to provide a place where they can grow and do all the things that He has created them for. And more importantly to know God, and serve and love Him.

So to those of you who’ve worried, and wondered why. And to the dear concerned lady in the Walmart bathroom worried about how we are going to pay for our children’s college. Don’t worry about it, we’re not :) It’s God’s deal, and He’s going to lead the way.

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18 Responses to How Can You Justify Having SO Many Kids?!

  1. Christian says:

    Thats a great post babe. I know it does freak some people out. Kids dont need nearly as much as everyone thinks they do. Food, shelter, clothing, access to knowledge, lots of recess. (oh and paper and pencils for drawing)

    As for college, I would much rather my kids gain critical thinking skills, and a desire to live debt free, and live below their means. Articulate their goals and take action toward achiving them.

    All of these are completely doable. Yes they are great and yes, they are on track :)

  2. Kelley says:

    So sweet Jenni! I used you as an example today. I ave a momma that birthed 3 months ago and I was taking a short visit with her. Her first born is a IUGR baby she is 2 1/2 yrs and is the size of her 3month old weighing 14 lbs. She said that she hates to go shopping because of all the comments and odd looks…..when will it ever end. That is when I pulled out your beautiful life….. I shared how you have received odd look and obnoxious comments and that was a few kids ago. Jenni for every negative look, just think of all the women that are blessed by your womb!! I am one my girls and now Kristen!! Though you two may never meet she was blessed by your story!! I will now send her this link so se can see how real you are! I love you so….Keep going Burns 6 and Counting!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kelley

  3. Jenni says:

    Oh thank you Kelley, and now I am crying! Sweet Kristin, I cant imagine! I am sure that many people are just curious and it’s hard not to look when your child is different from the rest of the world. It’s a tough road but God will give you the grace to walk down this path and the strength to be kind to the onlookers and gawkers. Bless you! Thanks Kelley for sharing, I love you!

  4. Sue Searles says:

    I too have many comments when people find out I have 7 children. They often seem so surprised that I would want that many. I can not even begin to imagine life without each and every one of my children, they all bless me so much. I feel sorry for people that don’t give God a chance to really bless them, oh well it’s their loss.

    Keep strong my friend, you are a great testimony of God’s blessings on your life.

    Sue

  5. Jenni says:

    Yeah, I meant to mention in my blog post, it’s not that we don’t think about whether or not we want our children to attend college, or to be successful adults. We do, and that is part of parenting. Chris and I believe that we can look outside the box, spending 4-8 years wages for training our children in their life calling is not the only way to become successful, and while it may be the way to go for one of some of our kids, not all of our kids will even want to go to college. We’ve personally seen MANY large families packed full with successful adults, doing a darn good job raising their own children up in the ways of the Lord, and sending them off into the world fully prepared to do God’s work. So, just so you don’t mistake my comment at the end of this post “we’re not worried” about it, as we haven’t thought about it. We do think about it, and we are choosing not to borrow trouble from tomorrow, God will guide us for each of the children when that time comes. We are excited to see what God has in store for each of our children!!

  6. Jenni says:

    Thank you Sue! We know where our riches lie :) Bless you my friend!

  7. Jacki Backus says:

    Jenni, I had just graduated from college when I bumped into a parent of one of my high school friends. This woman had two children and both of them had joined the service right out of school, hoping to get an education out of the deal. This woman was telling me that with the cost of education, this was the only alternative and people should stop having such large families if they can’t afford them. It didn’t hit me until I’d already walked away: This woman had only two children and she had done nothing to financially support their goal for an education. My parents had eleven children and any one of us that had the desire to go on to school were supported with a place to live and transportation. My dad helped with tuition when I got desperate. My parents didn’t give me a free ride, but they did everything within their power to help me reach my goal. I felt so fortunate: Not only did my parents give me ten best friends, they helped me follow my dreams despite the fact that they had ‘too many kids’.

  8. VeeAnn Yates says:

    Jenni and Chris,
    I am in awe of you… You are my picture of the “perfect” family raising children to honor, love and serve Jesus. I read everything you write and love your family so much. I hope that God’s idea is for you to have many more kids….

    And on a side note:::: When did it begin to be necessary for parents to PAY for their children’s education beyond high school????? I have 5 children, 4 graduated from college and I supported them with prayers, love and packages from home. NOT MONEY… I didn’t have it but God provided for all of them and it was a great lesson on the provision of our heavenly Father.

    I am in your corner and love you guys….. VeeAnn Yates

  9. Christie Frazier says:

    Hi Jenni, I don’t know you very well. Chris was one of our good friends at Viewcrest, and was in our wedding. We named our first son after him also. I just wanted to say, that my twin brother and his wife have seven children ages 19, 17, 16, 15, 13, 11, 10. They are all well and love Christ with all their hearts, each individually unique, they are home schooled and get enough socialization just being around one another. Anyways, God chose how many kids He wants you to have, and how many you and Chris would be able to handle. Just think, that this child is just one more child God is bringing into this world, that will know Him right from the start, because that’s the way you guys raise them, in the way of the Lord. I am proud of you for obeying Him, as I am proud of my brother and his wife too. Love you guys.

  10. Britta says:

    Then there is me: I see a momma at the store with 6+ kiddos and my heart jumps for JOY!! I long to have a big family…we are answering God’s call to adopt and build our family that way. I love seeing prego mommas with lots of little ones…Children are a blessing!! I always make sure I say something kind to those mommas that I see out and about. Motherhood is a high calling and pregnancy is a gift!! :)

  11. Jenni says:

    Thanks for all the encouraging comments, we are definitely NOT a “perfect” family by any stretch of the imagination, just a couple that is crazy about each other, crazy about our Saviour, and crazy about our kids. Hmmm, maybe that’s why so many people ask us if we are crazy! ;) loved reading your comments, they help :) blessings to all of you!!

  12. Tiffany says:

    Good Morning,

    I was directed to your site via my friend Chanel…WOW! You rock! What a beautiful testament to our Lord & His love for us!! You keep doing what God is calling you & your family to do. HE is our creator & the One that breathes life into EVERY being & if He didn’t want you to have them He wouldn’t send them to you!

    “Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven, & His righteousness, & all these things shall be added unto you…” Matthew 6:33

    So seriously, Who cares??!! I only have 3 children – but they’re all girls and I get comments ALL the time…”3 girls, huh?”…”Hope they elope!”…”Were you trying for a boy?”…”Are you going to try for a boy?”…”Outnumbered aren’t you?” (to my husband)…”Wait til they hit puberty!!”

    People don’t think & we live in a society that doesn’t care about children…their own or anybody else’s. Continue to love your kids & have as many as God will allow!! I wish for more for our own family & God knows our desires so I hope He sends us some more but if not I’m happy with ALL 3 of my girls & count myself as Blessed!!

    I’ve never met anybody who was older who had wished for LESS children!

    Blessings to you & your sweet family!
    Merry CHRISTmas!
    Tiffany

  13. Ariana says:

    Well said Jenni. You guys are doing a great job with your kids and I know I always get excited when I see ALL of you at a store! : ) Cause then I get to see you! Need to have you over soon…

  14. Jenni says:

    Thanks ladies, and nice to “meet” you Tiffany :) I’ve met some pretty amazing people over the last few years, God has given us some great friends with like minded hearts, we are very blessed :) And you are one of the dear ones too Ari! Love you!!

  15. Kristin Payne says:

    Jenni,
    I just read this and the nice reponses, and truly I am blessed by this! I get looks ALL the time, most people are nice and tell me how cute my daughter is…but there are those whos looks and comments are SO rude! I feel like their eyes are saying “do you even feed your child? Is she getting help? You should do more as a mother!” . I hear constantly about how TINY and little she is, and after the millionth time of hearing it, I want to either just go home and hide or scream “She is perfect the way God made her and I love and care for her more than you can comprehend!”. I believe God has big plans for her and I don’t want her to pick up on the discouraging thoughts of others. Your blog entry could not ave come at a better time. I love big families that live for the
    Lord, your reward in Heaven is great for following what He asks of you. Blessings to you! Kelley, thanks for sharing!

    • Jenni says:

      Oh thank you Kristin! We all have different challenges in our walk with the Lord. I think the Lord has been showing me lately that I need to find the joy in the midst of it, even if that means to find joy in the midst of all the rude comments or looks people give me. I think that our children hear more of what we say than what others say, as mother’s we have the power to cushion what goes in and out of our children’s hearts, if they hear us complaining about all the negatives people are saying they will tend to take those negatives to heart, but if we respond to those comments with graciousness and a cheerful attitude, they will hear that and that is how they will feel about themselves and how they fit into the family of God. At least that is my thoughts on it :) I try not to shield my children by staying home, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t hard sometimes, and some of us have a harder time than others! You have a been chosen to be the mother of this precious one, and what an honor that the Lord chose you, He must have some pretty high thoughts of what you are capable of! Bless you as you follow the Lord in the path that He has chosen for you!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Come by any time :)

  16. People are fascinated with big families it seems. I don’t mind the comments from them, but some people are downright rude. Once my sister, who has seven daughters, was asked by a young male cashier how she was going to pay for all those weddings. She said, “with all the money we save from not using birth control.” He didn’t say another word.

    della

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