Psalm 127:3–5 (ESV)
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
5 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.
It’s right around 7:15am as I begin to type these words, and I am sitting off in the corner of the delivery room while my wife and the delivery nurse are timing contractions. The doctor was here a few short minutes ago. Her water is broken. She’s ready to have our baby. Baby Bradley number 4. And here am I, pondering on our life over the past (almost) 9 years of marriage…
Our nurse put it nicely, stating that she wishes more couples stayed best friends over the years of marriage, really keeping the youthful love alive after so long. What a nice compliment to have on such a joyous day. It put a smile on my face. And it really made me think, that since November 17th, 2007, on that glorious day in Liberty, KS when my wife and I wed, we have gone through so much, grown so much, experienced so much, and continue to love each other (and our children) so much.
When we first got married, out plan had been to have Roni stay on birth control and we enjoy each other and marriage for our first few years of marriage, I think our plan was 5 years. Then, three months later, I was like “Let’s have a baby,” And we were pregnant within the month. Since then, Roni has given birth to three wonderful children, ages 7, 5, and 2. And, amidst all that, had one miscarriage. The Lord has really brought us through it all. And, later today, my third daughter will be born (2 years to the day from my last child’s birth, they get to share their day).
God had worked so many ways in our lives, and we really have had more than our fair share of children. My quiver truly is full. Shortly after our first child was born, we began the process of becoming a foster family. Truly embracing James’ definition of pure religion, of visiting orphans in their time of affliction (James 1:27), we jumped headlong into it, taking our first placement a sibling group of four children. And it kept going on from there. Several sibling groups later, we ended up moving to Florida and working as group home house parents in a residential childcare facility for troubled boys. And Roni was pregnant with child number two. While there, my first and only son was born, amongst having 10-12 boys
A year later, we moved back to the Kansas City area and had the worst six months of our lives, six of the most trying months of our marriage, working with and caring for four developmentally disabled adults. You know those times in your life that you wish you could forget? Yea, June of 2011 to January 2012 is that time. Still, God stretched us and used us and helped us in many ways.
Later that year, we moved back to Florida (yes, this was after saying many times I would never move back to Florida after living here for so long). We took a position as House Parents with the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in Jacksonville, FL, working with young girls in the foster care system. We loved being there, working mostly with preteen and teenage girls, and having our two children being able to experience being able to love on other kids in need. One of the most rewarding regular experiences for me would be when a new girl would come into the home, my oldest daughter would welcome them with open arms as her new “sister” into our family.
Our miscarriage came while we were serving as house parents. For us, it came as a surprise, as we were completely unaware that my wife was pregnant at the time. It was difficult, hard to know we lost a child, however, it was also a blessing in how God really carried us through that time. Roni and I were kept busy with taking care of our two children and the other six or so girls we had in the home at the time. It was in December of 2013 that we discovered that Roni was pregnant again, this time leading to our departure from the children’s home because we would have too many biological children to be house parents.
In April of 2014, we moved down to Southwest Florida. For me, it was a return to the area of Florida in which I grew up. For Roni, it was a new experience. She was pregnant with this move, giving birth exactly two years ago from today. And we are still involved to this day with child welfare. While we aren’t foster parents or group home parents, I work in the field with families in crisis to help find care for their children while they get back on their feet. And this position with Safe Families is truly a dream job for me. I get to combine my love for children with my love for Jesus.
Now, here we are, back to the present. Things are moving along. I couldn’t tell you at what pace, as I am clueless to such things, except to say that my wife began this process this morning already further along than she had ever been any other time she has come to the hospital to give birth. We are hoping for a quick delivery today, however, God is sovereign, not us. God does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3), and not us. We are hear feeling blessed that He has entrusted us with the stewardship of these children, created by Him (Psalm 139:13), in His image (Genesis 1:26).
Now, I am going to get back to paying attention to my wife and the process that is occurring that I know little about. And, when Katherine does make her grand appearance, I’ll make sure to add a picture here. And I can’t wait.
Soli Deo Gloria