Saturday, December 15, 2007

Large families in small spaces

Large families often have to squeeze into small spaces.

We often are limited to one income, so housing options too are limited.

As the mom of a large tribe, this can be difficult. There are days that I feel that I am residing inside a video game. Every task that I need to accomplish is blocked by a "key" that I need, or an alien that I need to shoot down.

Even my basic morning care feels like this. I shower, then clean up the bathroom. (Quickly, of course, and with the baby in the room with me to protect him from his toddler siblings.) I pick up the baby in one arm, the towels and clothing in the other, and open the door. I step out of the bathroom, hoping to enter the laundry room to put the clothing into the washing machine and start the first load of the day. Foiled. Immediately. The laundry room/second bathroom has just been entered by the sick teenager who was allowed to sleep in late. She will be in the bathroom for a full ten minutes, trying to get dressed and peel her sick little eyeballs open. The dirty clothes get left at the door, which is no true big deal....except it feels like nothing gets completed.

I sit down to order some last minute Christmas gifts from ebay. When it is time to pay, I cannot access my paypal account. SOMEONE (a teenaged son that I will not name) has lost my password file in Word, and I can not FOR THE LIFE OF ME remember what the password is. While I am looking for my password document on the second computer, ANOTHER TEENAGED SON who shall also not be named, has claimed my seat at the first computer and has tried repeatedly to log into my paypal account. Just to help me, you know. :) He tried so many times, that paypal decided someone was trying to hack my account, and denied us any more tries.

I ended up resetting my paypal password and purchasing the goods - but an HOUR AND A HALF had transpired on a lovely Saturday morning which had no spare moments. Too much to do, in such a busy season. Apparently, I have lost my alien zapping abilities. I'm not scoring too much here in this game of large family living.

But living with a large family in a small space has its benefits as well.

We have had to adopt a simple lifestyle. For us, simple has come to mean more rewarding. Downsizing our things has meant that cleaning a room takes less time. Less stuff equals less to take care of.

We have been forced to become more organized. Have we achieved? Not by a long shot - but we are more organized than we once were.

Living in a small space has meant that we have to learn to exhibit charity toward one another...when we really feel anything BUT charitable. God is good. He gives us opportunity to practice this fruit of the Spirit every day, in numerous ways. It's not just the kids who practice love and charity - it is mom and dad and everyone else as well.

It's up to us.  It's our choice, as we jump and leap and press on toward the goal of Christ Jesus.  The high score doesn't win, but the overcomer does.  We can let our circumstances of small spaces defeat us, or we can learn how to make it work for our family - with love, grace, patience, and many lessons learned.