Wasting our lives and glorifying God

Wasting our lives and glorifying God
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, August 10

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In which I vent and come to verge of swearing...

On Sunday a woman walked up to me in church and asked--in all seriousness and looking at my stomach, "Are you pregnant again?"  Now this is an educated woman with a couple kids herself.  She should have known better.  But apparently, no one does.

I said in a joking way, "What's the matter with you?  I just HAD a baby!  Are YOU pregnant again?"  Her youngest child is a couple years old.  It's about time to for her to have another baby, don't you think?

She just laughed.  I did, too.  But, inside, I was a little or a lot more irritated than I let on.

When you have as many children as I do, people seem to think it is within the realm of acceptability to ask me all sort of personal questions, that quite frankly are none of their business.

Are you pregnant again?

Are you having another one?

When are you have another one?

Do you want more kids?

How does Gana feel about having more kids?

Was this one planned?

To all this, I have to restrain myself from saying, "None of your d*** business!"

I'm not talking about someone who is a close friend and with whom I am having a real conversation.  I don't mind that at all.  I have opinions about large families and birth control and the role of family in society.  But, people in the grocery store?  Casual acquaintances I pass in church?  People who really have no business asking about what happens in my bedroom?

But, it gets worse.  People sometimes go as far as to make jokes about our breeding practices, telling us that there are other ways to amuse ourselves, that we should get a TV, that I (or Gana) should learn to say "no" sometimes.  Sometimes people feel free to dictate what we should do.

It's time to stop, don't you think?

When will it be enough?  Enough already!

Don't have anymore kids.  Stop already.

There's no sin in birth control, you know?

When are you getting fixed?

Seriously, folks?  That's none of your d*** business.  It's just plain RUDE.  Being the brunt of crass jokes is not amusing--especially when it's in front of the children!

We love to go out.  But, these sorts of comments and judgments rob the joy of doing so.  Some large families would much rather order in than eat out because people go as far as to try to take pictures of them.  We are not a reality TV show.  I have had to literally put myself between my children and people with smart phones.  I have had to say, "Please do not take pictures of my children."

Are you incredulous?  Do you think I'm making this up?  I assure you, I am not.  People these days have absolutely no sense of propriety.  There are some things that you don't say.  There are some questions you don't ask of strangers or those with whom you do not share an intimate acquaintance.

How am I to respond to these things?  My Mama raised me not to be rude. So I usually just smile or give a courtesy laugh.  But, it's not funny.  It really isn't.  And I reproach myself, "If you don't speak up people will never learn.  You need to say something."  But, what?  Maybe I need to perfect that perfect silence and the look that says, "You've crossed a line."  The trouble is that subtlety is probably wasted on people who are clueless enough to say these kinds of things.

So, I am pouring my heart out here in hopes that maybe the word will spread:

1. When you encounter a mother with a new baby or someone with a large family it is impolite to make sport of them.  They do not exist for your amusement.

2. Learn to make better small talk.  Her reproductive capabilities and preferences are not proper subjects while waiting in line for your groceries.  If you can think of nothing else restrict your comments to the weather.  Or you could always compliment how young she looks.  No one minds that.

3.Never ask a question you would never want asked of you.  Never make a joke that you yourself would not like to be the brunt of.

4.Never make judgments about the merit of having or not having children in front of said children.  Way to give a child a complex.

5. While we're at it, if you encounter a couple with no kids, don't ask when they are going to start their family.  First of all, a married couple IS a family.  And secondly, you don't know what kind of pain you are causing.  Maybe they greatly desire children and it hasn't happened for them.

6.And finally, if you have to ask "Are you pregnant?" because you really cannot tell for sure, you'd be better off not asking.

Now, commit these rules to memory.  All the young mothers and mothers of large families will thank you.


Karen Joy said...

To my knowledge, no one has tried to take pictures of our family. But, I'm pretty certain I've been the recipient of ALL of these comments, and we only have five. Which, frankly, doesn't even feel large to me. And, yes, I would like another, but my husband isn't sold on that idea, and I don't know how to respond with honesty to many of the inquiries I receive, let alone politely. :) The disagreements of our marriage aren't public, either. (Though I've now publicly commented upon it!!)

I have *almost* had a tee shirt made that says, "No, I'm not Catholic. No, I'm not Mormon. And, no, it wasn't an accident." or something to that effect.

I had a lovely conversation with a mother two weeks ago at the library. She had just had her fourth, and was almost afraid to tell me; she must have been the recipient of only negative reactions. I delighted in encouraging her as a mother, asking about each of her children, gently looking to see if there was any way that I could deposit a kind or helpful word that would remain... I've almost taken it on as an unofficial ministry to help mothers of many (and in our society, even having THREE is considered "many"!) to feel at ease. Not like other mothers need my approval -- especially strangers. But our society is so ready to criticize and offer disapproval for large families, that I want to offset that as much as I can. I have a small voice in such a clamor, though!!

Sarah Fountain said...

Even as a mother of two, people (mostly acquaintances, not strangers) have been asking me about how many children I intend to have. I'm sorry that people are so rude to you. My husband has had to suffer some of that rudeness in his growing up - he's the oldest of six. Some people have asked if his youngest sister is our daughter! Thanks for staying gracious in the face of insensitive and rude people.

Allison said...

AMEN sister!!! You have a BEAUTIFUL family! The only comment I would make is that exact one! "Ma'am, can I just say your family is beautiful!"

Gombojav Tribe said...

You are welcomed to say that ANYTIME, Allison! :-)

Sara said...


Mrs. and Mama K said...

good post...thanks for being such a great example of obedience to what God's called you and His amazing blessings through kids and grace for parents. We love you guys!

Shelly said...

Excellent, excellent rules! Everyone should get a copy and learn them.

LovemyPmos said...

I totally agree. Ive gotten so many negative comments about wanting 5 children that I just tell people 3 and then once we have our 3rd we will go from there and see if we want more. Ive also gotten negative comments about not being married and then other comments about getting married again, for example a friends Mom told my Mom "she's brave to be getting married again" Instead of "congrats" or "patrick seems like a really good guy". Ive also gotten a lot of pressure to remarry but I was terrified of feeling trapped bc I felt trapped in my first marriage. He was emotionally abusive and unfaithful so I was scared of feeling that way again. Its so hard to walk away when you have a legal contract binding you. Luckily out of those 4 years, God never gave me a child by him. He knew what he was doing. So I hated it when people would say "well you already have a child with Patrick, you might as well get married." One thing at a time. lol And now we feel ready to take on marriage. And I feel like only inviting like 10 of our closest friends and family to make sure no one is taking bets on whether or not we will last. lol Only positive energy please!

Claire said...

My darling Daja, this hurts me so deeply. And I have a solution: You just take me along with you on some excursions and watch ME handle those stupid people. :P

The best "revenge" (although I know you're not looking for it) is to raise beautiful, wonderful people of God, who will change the world with their commitment to living godly lives. You have a darn good start on that.

Sarah said...

Oh my goodness, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for this post. It's not only mothers who can relate. I'm married with no kids (yet), yet it doesn't stop people asking rude questions.

I've been badgered about having kids relentlessly since I moved to where I currently live a year ago (and that's no exaggeration). I get asked every week at Bible study. It is extremely rude coming from people I still don't know that well. You're right - there's a world of difference between strangers prying and the gentle questions of a close friend.

A friend of mine who is 36, married and pregnant with her first was upset and angry about people pestering her about kids. What they didn't know was that she'd had three miscarriages.

How many kids someone has is no-one's business but theirs and God's.

If anyone has any tips for dealing with people who like to crack the same annoying jokes over and over again, I'm all ears. :)

(P.S. I made a similar comment on the wrong post. Could you please delete the other one. :))

JillBari said...

Great post Daja! Rudeness seems to be the norm in our current society. Dealing with it by 'turning the other cheek' gets difficult; especially after repeated assaults.

I'm of the firm belief that children are a blessing from God. Although He chose to give us two, I greatly respect and admire you and your family (all of your family). I often use you, personally, as an example when speaking with younger women about motherhood. All children really need are parents who love God and love them. Love is not a limited resource. It doesn't get less and less with each birth. You are to be commended.

I'm sorry that you, the Duggars, and other large families have to needlessly endure such rude questions and comments. It amazes me what people are willing to say to complete strangers. If I were to say anything to someone I don't know who has a large family, it would be, 'You are truly blessed.'

Hang in there and keep educating with your natural grace and panache. Love you!

Sara said...

i grew up in the family that everyone was making cracks about. so i get it, boy do i ever. my older siblings and i perfected our answers to all the comments. "do they not believe in birth control," yes i had to answer that at 10! "are you mormon? catholic?" our standard answer. "nope, they just love kids!" this seemed to shut people up. you cant argue with that! crazily enough i have gotten stares/comments with THREE.

Bishop Gabe said...

Jesus said the poor will always be with us. There are people with very poor intelligence and extremely poor self-esteem. They attempt to make themselves feel better by criticizing others. Ignorance is rampant in our world even amongst the educated.
God is a God of generations, families and tribes. He told us that children are His heritage. He is the one who determines the size of families not the government or the grocery clerk.

If people actually knew (intimately) you and Gana, They would never ask such foolish questions. You two are fantastic parents and are gifted to be parents and your children are extremely blessed to have you as parents.

How sad that would be if they were the recipients of parents that didn't know Jesus or parents that filled their little bodies with GMO. Even worse children of parents that did not know how to carry on a conversation with people with large families.

One man said "If you think education is expensive try ignorance".

Daja you are so blessed. Do not allow the poor and feeble minded to dictate your family values and the joy of your life.

Only God knows the size of Gana's quiver.

Gombojav Tribe said...

I totally just teared up, Dad.

I love you and am so blessed to have you speak into my life.

Gombojav Tribe said...

Sara, I bet you did get the comments! But, I always adored your family! I have some very fond memories of being at your house, your mother teaching us literature and your dad teaching us HAM RADIO! Your family was always so hospitable and welcoming. A great example for us to follow!

Thanks everyone for your encouragement! I appreciate it!

Claire said...

Daja, always a pleasure to read your stuff. You're right! It's difficult sometimes to deal with rude people who don't know they're being rude. A well placed famous quote could send a message such as one possibly from Bill Cosby, "there's never a safe way to ask a woman if she's expecting unless she has a baby coming out of her". Robert Vorhis :)

Gombojav Tribe said...

Thanks Robert! :-) I'll hire you to be my spokesperson.

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