"Are They All Yours?"

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lasset_die_kindlein

Fritz von Uhde [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people.

Incredulity triggers a barrage of questions, even from strangers:

“Are they all yours?”
“How do you manage?”
“You must be Catholic.”
“How can you afford it?”
“Do you not know how babies are made?”

Joy sums up my experience living with little people. However, it has been far from easy, rather it has been a long journey through confusion, guilt and public condemnation to reach the point where I can now shout loudly,

“This is my call, this is my vocation, this is my witness to the world.”

 

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Copyright 2015 Melanie Jean Juneau. All rights reserved.

After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course, we practised natural family planning but I was one of those rare people who could conceive long before ovulation.

As my doctor said once, “Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation.”

I raised my hand and chirped, “Well, you can add me to that list!”

Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and me. Guilt lifted off us and a surge of excitement, a sense of purpose welled up from within. Although it took some time to really believe that none of our children were simply a failure of the natural family planning method. Many small experiences kept reinforcing the truth the for us that God called each of our children into being with our co-operation. We’d stumbled blindly at times and then a burst of clarity would shine light on our purpose.

For example, twenty-five years ago, I once again slipped into panic mode, worrying if I was pregnant with my fifth child. Suddenly a wave of peace enveloped me and my whole body relaxed.

I heard these words within me,

“This is your call. This is your vocation. This is your witness to the world.”

All sorts of objections rushed into my head,

” What on earth do you mean a witness, a witness to what? – stupidityPeople don’t understand. They just think we are irresponsible or idiots…”

Then unexpected joy bubbled within me and I sensed these words in my spirit, “I am with you.”

Once again a blanket of peace wrapped like a blanket around me. It was an actual physical sensation and I was at peace, my mind calm and my spirit felt strong.

That was it for me; I understood and I said “yes.”

Though I still cringed under disapproval from society, I always understood that my children were saving me by compelling me to dive deeper into my spirit. They challenged me to dig deeper, discovering the power of eternal Love at my very core. A love that can stand strong against all opposition.

Copyright 2016 Melanie Jean Juneau

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About Author

Melanie Jean Juneau is a mother of nine children who blogs at joy of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart-warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, the Editor in Chief at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC & author of Echoes of the Divine.

6 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed this article Melanie and I love that top picture! As soon as I saw it, I pictured someone looking at Jesus and saying, “Are they all yours?” And of course Jesus would smile and say, “Yes, they are.” We are all His children and He knows what’s best for us. And sometimes that means being open to having a bucket of children!

    Sometimes I’m worried that he wants this life for me… but then I realize that He gives us the grace to make it through. I “only” have three children right now but I seem to be one of those ladies who gets pregnant in the least likely times. I guess God thinks I can handle it so I’m gonna trust Him!

    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

    • Yes, I love this artist; he painted several arresting images of Jesus appearing households. As for trusting God, I think of that old saying, God works in mysterious ways. Women who always dreamed of a large family cannot conceive, while I had never held a baby and thought I would be a nun professor. . I was the least equipped to be a mother of a large family but I can honestly say they were the key to my salvation, the root cause of my joy even though it has been a difficult life. Blessings to you and yours

  2. This is a beautiful article!! I was always worried about what others thought about us having more children! Then one day I realized that it’s God that I need to be pleasing, not others! I do ‘t care what others say or think about us! We are getting ready to have our 11th blessing (really 16th blessing) and we are beyond excited that God has blessed us again. We started NFP after baby #6 (we had a miscarriage after him and I felt like I could never go through something like that again, haha God had other plans though, I too get pregnant before ovulation, also nursing was never a fool proof way for me not to get pregnant lol. He truly knows best! We have five little saints praying for us in Heaven!) The whole saying, God brings you to it, He will get you through it rings so true for my life! I loved reading this article, thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you. I only had one miscarriage and it was devastating. A daughter just went through a natural miscarriage and she was shattered. One day, I sensed in my spirit, my baby in heaven telling me off, “Would you quick saying you have 9 kids because you have 10!” Blessings to you and yours.

  4. I am sorry for your lose and your daughter’s! It doesn’t get any easier miscarrying a baby, but I believe God does give us the strength and graces to get through it. I will be praying for your daughter.
    Yes, you have 10 blessings! When I say we have 10 in a quick after thought I say oh really we are having our 16th baby. People look at me like I am crazy, but I am more than happy to have those little saintly souls praying for us, they deserve recognition too! ?

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