A few weeks ago, Penelope and I were making a drive to the library and having a "girl chat," which is what we call any one-on-one conversation between the two of us on any topic, because it elevates the whole exchange to a special 'girlfriends over coffee' vibe.  We weren't talking about anything major, and I don't even know what turned her mind to it, but she suddenly asked, "Mom? Are kids expensive?"  I told her that, yes, they sometimes can be.  (Though I maintain lifestyles cost more money than kids do.  The kids themselves are often not the problem.)

She asked if we would have more money if we had fewer kids.  "Maybe.  Probably not.  I'd probably just find a way to spend it on something more selfish and less important."

Then she asked if I was glad we had as many kids as we do, even if it meant having less money for other things.  "Absolutely.  No question."

I sometimes think I'd like more money.  I sometimes think life would be easier or somehow better if our money didn't feel so purely utilitarian at times.  But it's easy to quickly see the cost of free money: we spend our time and energy working to accumulate things, and then more of our time and energy working to manage and care for and keep track of those things, all in the name of always-fleeting satisfaction.  The Bible and pure common sense tell us baldly that we won't take any of it with us when our short stint on this earth is over.  We will die, others will rummage through our stuff and likely see it for the junk it is, and they will jettison most of it at an estate sale.  It will be lost, or mishandled, or undervalued, or pawned.  That's the inevitable legacy we leave behind.  This is what 'stuff' buys us.  It can be a terrifying thought if our hearts are too entangled in the stuff.

But children.  They're not free.  But they're what we've been given money for.  Financing family life doesn't impoverish us, it makes us richer in a way that can't be taken from us.  

I was able to tell my girl that no penny spent in the name of having more kids will be wasted.  God is populating heaven through simple mamas and daddies right now.  I will not get to take my shoe collection and my curtains and my organic groceries with me when I die.  And if I did, I don't know if I would care much to see them in heaven anyway - I don't imagine I'd spend tons of time in praise and rejoicing should I see my cheap Target curtains waiting for me at the pearly gates.

But my kids?  I am so hopeful and expectant that I will spend eternity with them, grateful for the opportunity to have invested myself in something immortal.  I don't think I will waste one second of my forever wishing I'd had a nicer house, or thinking that I maybe should have had fewer kids so we could have taken flashier vacations.  But I am confident that, should I get to worship side-by-side with my kids for all eternity, praising God for the miracles he's done through the mites we had to give, I will have no choice but to rejoice.

So I told my girl, "Penelope, we are lucky to have been granted so many kids.  If that's poverty, we are lucky to be so poor.  We will get to take our riches with us, and I would never wish for a life that's cheaper."


todd said...

that was so well written. that is exactly right. you nailed it. game over.

Liza Watkinson said...

❤️ Yes!!

Schaefer Clan said...

Amen! Wow! If only we could use such words with the relatives and not have them be offended.

Lindsey Gross said...

Yes! All of it! I wouldn't trade my babies for all the money in the world!

TexasFamily said...

Amen! Children are a blessing from the Lord and we are rich in our many blessings!❤

BrittanyB said...

Spot on❤

Jessica said...

This is so beautiful.

Kiley said...


todd said...

"I would never wish for a life that's cheaper."

reread this post today. such a great line. me neither.