Faith and Life in a Family with Many Small Children

By Rae Barnes

The lyrics of the song “Oceans Deep” are running through my mind often these days. It is played so often on K-Love that it could just become background noise: a mundane hum that you hear over and over, day after day. This isn’t too unlike my life right now. I have four young children, ages 1, 3, 5 and 7. My days and weeks (and months) can become monotonous if I don’t stop to hear the beautiful lyrics that my Father is singing for me.

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters. Wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.”

When Chris and I got married, we thought we might want four kids since we are both from families with four kids. But, then, we had one baby, and we quickly realized that parenting was no easy task. I considered that maybe one child would be enough. But God had other plans for us. He called us out deeper into the waters than we could have ever walked alone, and now, we often feel like we are drowning (or at least trying to tread water) while holding babies.

God tells us that life will be hard and that the hard stuff is what is good for us and our faith (see James 1). Today, as I type this, I consider what ways I am being tested in my faith. Walking into a parking lot alone with all four of my children is surely a test of faith. But, deeper than that, I believe that God has called me to be a mother of four children to show me how much I need Him. I cannot handle this alone. I realize this daily, if not hourly. I do not have the strength on my own to endure the sleepless nights, the stomach bugs that hit everyone in the house, the tantrums, the messes my children make, the laundry piles, the carpooling, and the list goes on. I need my Savior to give me strength and offer me grace and mercy, but I also need Him to remind me of the sweetness that He has gifted me with these beautiful young people.

1 Peter 2:2-3 says “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” I know a little about newborn babies. All they want and need is milk and sleep so that they can grow. May I ever crave the Lord like my babies craved me when they were new so that I can continue to grow to trust the Lord wholeheartedly in everything, including parking lots.