Children, Family, Giving Thanks, Motherhood

Full Hands

I’m standing there at the register, credit card in hand, juggling a wallet too stuffed with receipts to close properly, while my two year old grabs repeatedly for a box of candy bars perched precariously on the ledge. Swiping the card with one hand and shoving the shopping cart forward a few inches, I firmly remind her that I just said “no” to the candy. My other three have discovered the chaise lounges and have sprawled most improperly across furniture that we do not own, nor have any intention of purchasing.

A towering stack of miniature lawn chairs topples to the ground, the three of them blink wide-eyed in my direction and then hop-to, righting the stack.

Meanwhile, I’m still wrestling candy from a baby at the register. The woman behind the register stares at me, her eyes magnified by her glasses, “are these aaaalllll yours?” She drags that three letter word out and my jaw tightens. I see her bracing the edge of the counter, and I wonder if my answer might knock her down–

I grin at her and chirp, “yes, I’m so blessed”. I’m not being smug. I mean it. She stiffens, I know she doesn’t know what to say. I bite my tongue because I get this question a lot, and not just when my brood is knocking down chairs and pretending to nap on un-purchased lawn furniture.

“Are these all yours”?

These. AllThese makes them sound more like objects, not people, not little souls.

We no longer live in a society that values human life. Babies are discarded before they ever breath their first breath–

Children have a solid place in society, and it isn’t standing hushed in the corner, and nor is it demanding entitlements from their parents (or anyone else for that matter).  I’ve grown to loathe that ugly phrase, I’m saddened by a society that views children as a burden.

Be sure, I am careful how I answer this question. My children are watching, they are listening, to how I will respond. Can you imagine if I rolled my eyes and sighed exasperated, threw my hands up shook my head, “yeeeeeesss, they’re all mine, uhg, can you believe that?! ” And yet, I think that is the answer so many who ask, seem to expect.

I can’t tell you how many shocked faces I have see when I respond cheerfully that these, yes all these, are in fact all mine and I love them desperately.

Why on earth, is my response such a shock to them?

What have we become?

I only have four children.

I get sympathetic head shakes and sad eyed stares as I corral my children at the check out. While I concede that it isn’t easy, and that having a larger family presents it’s various challenges, I resent the down turned mouths and sorrowful condolences I receive when we are out in public. My children are a gift.  All Children are a gift.  Not just the ones with pretty faces and perfect teeth. The unruly and complacent alike, all gifts.  Even the days I find myself bone-weary from the work of it all,  cross-eyed and near tears.

Don’t feel sorry for me because “my hands are full,”  I am blessed!

I cannot imagine how hollow and empty my life would be without these four.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5 ESV

And just for fun, I had to throw this in there, it made me laugh:

Image courtesy of

Counting on, beyond my 1000 Gifts~

1051. ALL FOUR of my children. The wild craziness of having a larger(er) family

1052. Time spent with friends, the serious and silly moments that bring us close

1053. The hard convictions that come, recognizing the value in learning where to fix things

1054. A handy husband, capable of doing so many amazing things

1055. Bouncing back from illness

1056. The beauty of spring flowers

1057. Folding laundry with four kids helping, many hands making work light

1058. New spring clothes

1059. Promises. Hope. Dreams.

Joining the community of friends and Ann in giving thanks for all things. Won’t you join in the praise?


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  1. Rachel E.

    Yes, they are all mine!  I haven’t had the pleasure of saying that yet.  I do get the stares, even here in Poland where large families are also rare unless you live out in the country.  When in Lithuania, it was even worse.  We would actually have people shake their heads!  I would laugh.  

    We have five now.  We are also preparing to move back to the United States in May.  I look forward to welcoming more children if the Lord blesses us with that.  I truly believe the Lord opens and closes the womb according to His own purposes and plans.  I am the only one left in my family who “produces” blessings.  My younger brother doesn’t like children and doesn’t want children.  My older brother loves children, but doesn’t want any more.  They have three.  His only son is the only one who can carry on the name.  

    Large families are rare.  But the blessings that come from them are wonderful. 

  2. Such a lovely post!  You should have seen the shocked faces I got in China when I announced the 3rd, it’s just unheard of over there!  LOL.  Thank you for reminding us that our children are blessings, even when they all refuse to eat their pancakes and run around the house fueled on juice alone and you just know it’s not going to turn out well.

    1. alwaysalleluia

      Yes I can only imagine how odd that seemed to those in China. Their one child policy makes my heart ache. We are so blessed. A child who refuses pancakes?! I can’t imagine…. 😉


    I hate those looks of sympathy and pity! Children are indeed a blessing, each and every one. (your experience sounds a lot like mine at the store!)

  4. As a mother of 8 {lively} children, I so relate to what you have said here.  Society tries to shame us into changing our veiws on so many levels as Christians.  I love your heart to share your love for your children in all circumstances!

  5. I’m a Mom of 7 boys – only 5 left at home – and they are older. On Friday, hubby and I were out for a date night and we found some deals at Sears on some clothing. I was paying for it and the cashier was chit-chatting with me about the good deals. I told her my boys would be happy with the new items. She asked how old they were. I told her 21 down to 13. Her reply, said in a *real* snippy, sarcastic tone, “Aren’t you having fun?” My reply,
    “Why, yes, I am! I love my boys!!” She didn’t have much to say after that.

    Enjoyed reading your words!

    1. alwaysalleluia

      That is so sad. I have also had people make remarks about the difficulty of boys in front of my boys, and I just hate to hear that. You answered her well. Hold on to your joy. God bless you.

  6. I never understood those comments.  I too have four children.  Two older and adults now and two in elementary school.  It is a challenge to raise a larger family, but oh what a blessing to know they are all mine, given as gifts by the Lord!  Loved the picture at the end!

    1. alwaysalleluia

      Thanks, Barbie. I never think of four as a lot of kids, it seems many do though. Ah well. We do what we are called to do, and God has given us these gifts.

  7. Visiting from Multitudes on Monday – yes, such a blessing to have “full hands”!  Our six children are grown now, and also have blessed us with ten grandchildren (so far!).  Busy days, but such joy – and each one, a gift.  Enjoyed reading here!

  8. Ro elliott

    isn’t it soooo sad…people wondering if we really meant to “have” so many…I have 5 …we are losing what a gift and treasure each child is….you had a wonderful response….blessings~

    1. alwaysalleluia

      Thanks Ro. Yes, I have heard all sorts of in appropriate comments made. Always praying for wisdom and strength to say the right thing and not respond with my forked tongue.

  9. I love it!!! I’m not one with a large family but I do love large families and have many friends that are large families!! I shared this with a few friends because I didn’t think you’d mind…Thank you for sharing your words and your family adventures~!

  10. MomLaurM

    Oh good, I’m not the only one! You’ve made my day by reading this….wrestling candy away…so been there! 

    I had never thought to think that my children are listening to my response to those comments. I “only” have 3, and I am so blessed by them, and I have been surprised by a LOT of really good comments lately from people saying how good they are (REALLY?! they just knocked over the toilet paper roll stack!) and how they remember when they had their kids that age…I try to hang on to these, and try to remember to feel blessed in the stressed moments.

    Love you and your heart and encouragement! Thanks for this!

    1. alwaysalleluia

      Yes,Lauren. I treasure the encouraging comments so dearly, I am always blessed when someone compliments the children’s behavior or tells us how sweet our family is, we are SO blessed. May we never forget that.

  11. lindseyfoj

    I think your words AND your heart is beautiful! I always wanted to have a BIG family…the older I get and in the waiting, sometimes it scares me more now…but that longing is still there so I champion your words and your heart! You give me courage!  Love to you, my friend!

    1. alwaysalleluia

      Have courage my sweet friend. God will make you able for whatever He leads you to. Praying He blesses you with your dreams and longings fulfilled. Much love, my friend. Praying for you!

  12. Yes, I can relate!  I get this question too.  Really, what do people want us to say?  No, I just corralled whatever children I found outside hanging around?  I too am saddened by society, saddened that our society claims to have the best interest of children but knowing truthfully this isn’t the case at all.  The older generation doesn’t act this way towards me in public at all.  Instead they’ll look at the five of us intently, then give me a smile.  I remember in my childhood neighborhood that we were one of the smaller families at three kids.  Several on our street had 5-7 kids.  That was in the 70s and 80s.  Sad to see how far away we’ve come in such a short time.  Thank you for sharing!

    1. alwaysalleluia

      Thanks for chiming in, Carrie. I do get sme sweet looks from some of the older granny’s out there, but by and large, it’s always the shocked and dismayed that act as if it’s a terrible curse rather than a blessing. I am always thankful when some one encourages us! Thanks for stopping by to read 😉

  13. Your story is sadly too familiar. Even worse, is that I struggled so long believing the lie that is perpetuated. that what I was doing as a mama wasn’t worth anything… More and more, everyday my eyes are opening wider to see the abundant blessing and receive the joy that is in my life as a stay-at-home mama… I thank God for that… and thank you sharing your life with us because you speak truth that I need to hear…

    Blessings to you… friend.

    1. alwaysalleluia

      I too, believed that lie. Hook, line and sinker. Still do some dark days. I speak this truth, children are a blessing as a reminder to myself for the shameful days when I take it for granted, motherhood, that is. It’s a hard calling to live. The hours are long, the rewards slow to come some seasons, but I pray I never turn to my old views of it. I cling to truth that this life, this time invested in nurturing, molding, shaping– pouring out, is God-honoring. Praying for you, you are a blessing and encouragement. Thank you for that.

  14. Rejoicing in the beauty of hands full.

    Splashing around in God’s goodness today … Had to stop by and wade in this glorious place. Hope you don’t mind if I stay a bit and let joy soak deep down.Splashin’


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