Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
It Ain’t All Roses
Children are truly a gift—a reward from the Lord himself! Parenting is such a glorious privilege! But to quote a sweet sister from the first church we served at in New Orleans, “It ain’t all roses!”
Before I had children (and I had plenty of time to think about this because it took us many years to have our first child due to infertility issues) I had some pretty lofty ideals about how I would parent. After all, how hard could it be? With a lots of love, consistent discipline, and a good routine, my children would be perfect!
As each of our four children have come onto the scene—two through adoption and two biologically—the Lord has continually humbled me, and he is sanctifying me through and through! Indeed, I can’t do this on my own! And as a result, I need the body of Christ around me. Each one of my little “rewarding fruits” is complex and unique, requiring more of me than I sometimes know how to give. That’s why I’m thankful, as a follower of Christ, that I don’t have to walk this parenting journey alone.
That’s why I’m thankful, as a follower of Christ, that I don’t have to walk this parenting journey alone.
A Big Transition
I always knew my husband would be in vocational ministry when we got married right out of college, but I had no idea how exactly that ministry would play out. I loved our time at seminary as a seminary wife, then a quick transition to a faculty wife, until one day Hurricane Katrina unexpectedly moved us out of New Orleans. Through a series of events, a church in Birmingham, Alabama called my husband, David, to become their new pastor! We were twenty-seven years old, he had never pastored before, and now he was leading a 4,500-member church! What? How did this happen?
All of the sudden, many eyes seemed to be on us. On top of that, we were just beginning the stage of starting our family through adoption from Kazakhstan. And then, two weeks after we came home from our adoption, I found out I was pregnant with our second son! Within five years of being at the church, we had multiplied from two to four, with another adoption from China and one more biological son! We were following my husband’s exhortations and making disciples (literally) in our own home!
It Takes an Army
What was most wonderful about this story, though, was the way the church where we served completely loved us as they watched us grow as a family. Sure, there were days at the beginning when I wondered what people thought about me as a mom and worried that people would notice how frazzled I felt (or even worse, looked). Or how about the time when I was having a conversation with a sweet lady who was visiting our church and she began asking about our kids. I happily began to brag about what great kids we have and how much fun they were, when she politely looked over my shoulder and said, “Well, I think one of them is about to take a swim in the baptistry!” Needless to say, I ended that conversation quickly and ran to take care of my budding swimmer.
Through the craziness of our first few years with children, there were countless people cheering us on, bringing us meals, offering to babysit, sending encouraging notes, and bringing by special gifts for the kids. There were precious senior adults who made each one of my babies beautiful blankets and continually surprised them (and me) with sweet treats, “just because.” We have been served in countless ways by the body of Christ during an extremely hectic and sometimes difficult season.
Through all of this, I have learned that we really do need each other. As families in ministry—particularly ones with growing children—it is good and wise for us to be authentic and to share the joys and the struggles we face, knowing that it’s Christ who gives grace and strength for our days. It’s a blessing to mutually lift each other up in prayer, standing in the gap for those who need a little “extra” strength for the day.
I understand that it’s sometimes hard to be vulnerable. There have been a few times when I shared struggles and got hurt by a church member in the process. But I think it’s worth the risk. Jesus took the risk, investing in his twelve disciples, the men closest to his heart, and they failed him miserably some days!
Our children are a heritage from the Lord, a gift. And I long to show them the gift of Christ and his church, that they might see how beautiful his body truly is!
Heather Platt is the wife of Dr. David Platt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board and author of Radical and Counter Culture. She is mother to four precious children! Heather enjoys homeschooling her children, exercising, teaching preschoolers on Sundays, and serving the Lord alongside her husband. When she is not wiping noses and changing diapers, her favorite place to be is on the beach with a good book!