I Grow People. What’s Your Superpower?


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When I am pregnant, I tend to feel useless. It is when I feel the most discouraged about what I can’t do and what I am not accomplishing.  Not feeling as well as usual, needing extra sleep, and facing physical limitations hinder my ability to do the things I think I should do.

My house isn’t very clean.

My boys grow shaggy manes of hair before I get around to giving haircuts.

I haven’t visited my neighbor since Christmas.  She has trouble getting out of the house, and I look across the street and pray for her and wish I had the time and energy to walk over there and chat.

I am not very involved at church.  It has been months since I’ve been to a prayer meeting.

I haven’t made a meal for a new mom in so long I can’t remember.  Has it been years?

I haven’t fed the homeless.

I haven’t been on a mission trip.  I haven’t shown my children the wonders and sorrows of a world beyond our borders.

I haven’t baked cupcakes for my children’s classes at school…ever.

I am not close to writing my first book.

I don’t take walks nor do Pilates.

What I have been doing is a lot of is eating and sleeping.  Just recently I was considering how my present life would stack up in the light of eternity.  All I could think about was what I hadn’t done –preached or healed or preformed miracles.

A friend at church was confiding in me how discouraged she had been lately.  Partly in an effort to make her feel better and show her that she wasn’t alone in this sentiment, I shared my thoughts on my lack of important, spiritual works.  Despite her own state of disappointment, she opened her mouth and out poured a beautiful stream of words from the Holy Spirit.  I say that it was the Holy Spirit because it hit me right in the heart, convicted me, and lifted me up out of my doldrums all at the same time.  She spoke so quickly and so beautifully that I couldn’t remember it all, but here is an awkward paraphrase.

“I am discouraged about what ministry we can’t do right now…but then I realize that I AM doing it RIGHT NOW, pouring into my family.  What else is there?  You bring life wherever you go…and THANK YOU! I wouldn’t have 5 children right now if it wasn’t for that conversation I had with you when you said that you didn’t want to miss anything; you wanted everything God had for you.  That is a powerful message of life.  You walk into a room and you bring double life without even doing anything.  You keep going and keep carrying new life even though it is hard and you’ve had struggles.  You live a message of life and that is so counter cultural and I LOVE IT!”

I was immediately convicted for despising the importance of where God has me right now – carrying new life!  I grow people!

Girl people and boy people.

Light haired people and brunette people.

Even red-haired people!

Blue eyed people and brown-eyed people.

People who are talented artists and people who are good at math.

People with undetermined potential and people with childlike faith!

Growing people is so amazing and miraculous, it is like a superpower!  It is hard work growing people.  It takes a lot of eating and a lot of sleeping.

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It takes giving up exclusive rights to my own body.  And it takes giving up many, many tasks.  It turns out that no task can be as important as a person.   God gives me all the time and energy for everything He wants me to do.  The things that I don’t have the time or energy for just don’t matter right now.

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I am just a mom who loves babies.  I am just a woman  whose heart’s cry to God is, “I want to accept every child you have for me!  I don’t want to turn a single one away!”

And my friend was telling me that I had changed her life!  She was telling me that I bring life every place I go, just by being me!

Perhaps growing people is not your superpower right now.  Perhaps your superpower is something more like:

Baking a beautiful cake

Smiling your lovely smile

Adopting the child that no one else loves

Writing encouraging notes

Taking care of the sick or dying

Shoveling sidewalks

Running a business

If you don’t think you have a superpower, think again.  God gives superpowers to everyone!  Just ask Him what yours is, and He will show you.  Most likely it is something that just comes naturally to you.  You don’t think much about it, but in a life given over to God, your superpower is changing atmospheres.  Use that superpower to love Him and love people, and there is no limit to the impact it could have.  Keep throwing out your little seeds.  Don’t worry about the condition of the soil it may find or the rain that may or may not come.  It is God who will make it grow!  It is God who takes the smallest of seeds and grows a huge Sequoia tree.

I look at all of my eight children; my toddler, my young ones, my pre-teens, and my teens.   I can’t believe that I grew all of them!  I feel my unborn baby kicking and flipping and I am in awe!  I can’t believe God has given me another person to grow!  It feels like a miracle!

So for now I am going to be eating A LOT and sleeping A LOT for the kingdom of God, because there is nothing more important I can do.  You keep practicing your superpower, and together we will change the world!

Why am I so Huge?

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my belly at 37 weeks with baby #8



I have always been small, short, petite, slim, and downright skinny.  In my teenage years, in our society, being thin was a great asset.  I received compliments on my very tiny waist and other girls tried hard to be small like me.  But the truth was I did absolutely nothing to be so small.  I ate whatever I wanted, ate A LOT of whatever I wanted and never really exercised.  In fact, I felt too skinny…almost bony at times. I admired and still do admire women who have a bit more padding, who have womanly curves and an hour glass figure.  Yet I knew that for me, that was not a possibility.  Every part of me was small, and so at least I matched.    Being tiny became part of who I was, my identity. I was the cute little one.

That was…until I started having babies.  I was a normal size during my first pregnancy and returned to my tiny self in no time!  I got a bit bigger with my second baby.  I remember being out on a date with my husband. We were walking on a street in Denver trying to make it to the Cheesecake Factory.  Rather, I was trying to make it to the Cheesecake factory.  It was blocks and blocks away, and I was huffing and puffing under the weight of my baby.  Some woman sitting on a bench called out, “Look, she is having twins!”  I sure didn’t appreciate that comment, but I did give birth just two days after that, so I guess it makes sense that I was looking pretty round!

Each pregnancy seemed to stretch me a bit further than the previous one.  I started growing out of the small maternity clothes and graduated to the medium ones.  The comments about my hugeness became more and more frequent.  I would try to stay in the house and not reveal my protruding belly whenever possible.

I was pregnant with baby number eight when two other ladies at church were pregnant too, with almost the same due date as me.  Yet their bellies were so small and adorable.  I was no longer the cute, little one.  I was the gigantic, awkward one who would inspire wide eyed stares from younger  women.  I could almost read their thoughts, “Is that what I am going to look like when I am pregnant!!!!”

I purposely avoided the two cute, little pregnant ladies whenever I went to church. I was afraid of the comments and how massive I would look standing next to them.

“They are so much more beautiful and graceful than I am!” I would think to myself in self -pity.

Now I am on to pregnancy number nine.  I was bigger than ever right from the start!  This time even the midwife thought that I must be further along than I had thought, or I was having twins.  An ultra sound at 10 weeks revealed one totally normal and healthy baby, right on schedule.  The nice lady preforming the ultrasound commented on how easy it was to see my baby.

“Some babies are tucked way down into the pelvis, but yours is right out there!”

Yeah, right out there for the whole world and every ultrasound tech to see!  Chris is used to my complaining about how big and fat I feel.  Yet he put it all into perspective for me.

“You have easy pregnancies, easy deliveries, and healthy babies.  Some women would do anything to be able to get pregnant and you are complaining about being too big?”

He was so right!  What did I have to complain about?  I have never had any problems or complications or risk factors associated with my pregnancies.  I have had beautiful, natural births.  My babies have all been born early at wonderfully normal birth weights.  They all have taken to nursing right away.  Most of them have slept great and have been very happy.  I have a grace for pregnancy and childbirth.  So what that I am so big! That is only temporary and doesn’t change who I am.

So I am pregnant and huge and guess what?  Those two lovely ladies are pregnant again right along with me!  They are tiny and cute, but I have actually sought them out to spend more time with them.  I have been so blessed and encouraged by their conversation and company and realized what I missed when I was being overly self- conscience.  I am now six months along, fully filling out the medium maternity clothes that took me to nine months in previous pregnancies.  Looks like I need to get LARGE now. Even my husband, who instructs others that you should NEVER comment on the size of a pregnant woman, told me that he couldn’t imagine how I could get any bigger!  Oh well.   It is worth it to bring my precious baby girl into the world!  And I will be back to my normal, little, cute self someday…eventually, hopefully…I think probably, almost definitely I will.

If you and I run into each other (you will be running, I will be waddling) before this baby is born, feel free to tell me that I am glowing or lovely or graced for pregnancy.  No need to use these statements:

“Wow, you are big!”

“Are you sure there is only one in there?”

“Gosh, that is going to be a big baby!”

“So, you are due any day now, right?”

Believe me; I don’t need you to point out my mind blowing size.  I live with myself every day.  I carry around this very obvious belly and feel my clothes getting tighter and experience the increasing back pain.

If you just can’t help yourself and you have to say something about how huge I am, I might just haul off and punch you in the face.  I would only do it in my mind though.  To your face I would smile and nod.  Even though I am very big right now, I am still the same sweet, gracious person I have always been…except perhaps a bit more irritable.  Chris would say that I am a lot more irritable…so be careful…just warning you.


Oh, the Love of a Sibling!


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It is such a gift to have siblings…lots of them!  My firstborn was a girl, Areli.  When she was 18 months, our second child, Cole, arrived.  Areli took to him right away.  She couldn’t say, “baby” but she could say “boo-boo.”  Boo-Boo became his name for the next two years.  Areli and Cole cannot remember life without each other or “our chuthers” as they used to say.  They were always best friends, like peas and carrots.  They still are.

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Two years after Cole, Cadin came along.  They were a happy trio, getting into trouble and playing pretend.  Cadin was always his own person, however, having different tastes than his older brother.

Ashlyn was born 18 months later.  Her development was very delayed because of a chromosomal abnormality.  She didn’t crawl for a long time and didn’t sit up until she was almost two years old.  She didn’t begin to stand and walk until she was nine.  Her world until that time was on the floor.  God provided three little boys to take turns sharing the floor with her.  Chai was born when she was 18 months, Cooper two years later, and Calvin two years after that.  Oh the fun fellowship they shared, exploring every inch of the space underneath things and “cleaning up” any crumbs that fell there.

Ashlyn and the boys

Cooper and Calvin have a special bond because they share a room and a bunk bed.  They are now 7 and 5, and they are hyper, little balls of energy.  We call them C&C Music Factory.  If I want a peaceful outing to the store, I must only take one of them along.

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My children love each other!  They never lack a friend to play with.  It is true that sometimes they express hatred rather than love, hurting the other just for the sheer enjoyment of it and denying that they are related at all.  But I know that when the immaturity of this season passes, they will be deep and earnest friends for the whole of their lives.

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Each new baby was welcomed with such excitement and enthusiasm that we had to protect the vulnerable little thing from being loved on too much.  It was so sweet to see a normally wild boy get quiet and still when it was his turn to hold the baby.

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Areli was always a natural mother.  She got to be present at the birth of four of her little brothers.  She was enchanted with it all.  Childbirth can be intense at times, but witnessing it only seemed to increase her love for babies and her desire to be a mom someday.  When Calvin outgrew the newborn, eat every few hours at night stage, he slept in a crib in Areli’s room.  She was so happy to have him there.  She would change him and clothe him and snuggle with him. She would even comfort him if he cried during the night and she wouldn’t tell me about it until the morning.  A sister like that is worth more that her weight in gold!

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Calvin turned two, and no new baby arrived.  Cooper, age 4 at this time, began talking to me about the fact that we really needed a baby.  I told him to pray about it.  He did!  After a few more months had pasted, Cooper came to me exasperated.

“I prayed for a baby, but I don’t think God heard me!  We don’t have a baby yet!”

I encouraged him to keep praying and that God knows the perfect time for everything.  More prayer seemed to increase Cooper’s vision.  Soon he was reporting to me that God had 10 babies for us, 5 boys and 5 girls!  They were up in heaven, just waiting for God to send them down.

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This seemed rather far fetched, so Daddy told him, “Perhaps you are talking about the children that you will have someday when you get married!”  Cooper didn’t seem so sure.

Not long after that, Chris and I announced to the children that I indeed had another baby in my belly.  Cheers erupted!  They all wanted another baby to hold and snuggle and change and dress.  They were all so excited, none more than Cooper.

“I hope it’s a boy!” he announced.

Since we already had 5 boys, the rest of us thought a girl would be nice.  An ultrasound revealed that the baby was indeed….another boy!  Cooper was overjoyed!

“Now we only need four more boys, and 5 more girls!”

I have always encouraged my children to pray to God and listen to His voice.  Cooper had always been great at this, possessing that child-like faith in great measure.  I didn’t want to tell him that he was not hearing God’s voice, because how did I know?  In my own walk with God, His words were usually somewhat surprising to me when they came, interrupting my own thought with an altogether different message.  I have found that His thoughts are truly not like our thoughts; that His ways are not like our ways.  He is constantly trying to get us out of that box (or cage), encouraging us to jump off of that cliff, and teaching us to fly with Him above the logical and obvious.

So Cooper’s ambitious vision for brothers and sisters does seem like impossibility, considering my diminishing fertile years.  We had seriously looked into adoption a few years back, but right now, that seems impossible as well.  How do I feel about the fact that Cooper thinks I should give birth 9 more times, or have triplets 3 times, or have two more babies and adopt seven, or any number of other scenarios?

I know that God knows what He is doing and His ways are mysterious beyond my comprehension but far better than what I could ever imagine!

So I just say, “Keep praying Cooper…keep praying!  You never know what God might do…for the love of a sibling!”


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