Someone’s Missing

A couple weeks ago on a Thursday night at 10pm (because that’s when all the good ideas surface, right?!), I decided it was time to make a family portrait appointment. It had been 2 years.

I messaged a local photographer, and she replied right away that she could do it Sunday. Awesome! Three days of digging through closets, shopping, coordinating outfits, curling hair, and untangling earrings later, we drove to a local lake to get our pose on.

The baby toddler fell asleep on the way.

No worries! We let the other kids do their individual shoots while she was sleeping. Then Lance and I did a couple of “just you and me” shots. In the middle of that fun, our photographer yelled, “Popcorn!” a secret code word she had prearranged with the kids. They immediately dogpiled us, and several click click clicks later, this was the result.

family of 7

Fun, right?! I hate this photo. But I kind of love it, too, because it reminds me that someone was missing.  To the unknowing eye, I imagine the photo displays a happy, fun, BIG family. I get it. And the unknowing eye is not wrong.

But my Mama Eye zones in on the fatal flaw. That empty lap. Someone’s Missing.

Two years ago we sure didn’t know anyone was missing. We felt very complete with the miracle of our family after suffering 3 years of infertility.  Even knowing that all children are gifts straight from heaven, after losing two to miscarriage, we knew our home was full to the brim with children. Full of crazy schedules. Full of messes. Full of fresh heartache. Full of love. And then, the very day that the crew showed up to dig a basement under our 1,400 square foot, 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home, we found out we were expecting our sixth baby. Six!

I cried.

No! I’m too old! We’re stretched too thin! We haven’t slept in 10 years! We can’t do this! I don’t want to change more diapers! I don’t want my boobs to hurt! I want to sleep through the night! We had reached our parenting bandwidth (thank you, Jen Hatmaker) and we were done. Except we weren’t.

If I was leery about using my essential oils for emotional support before (I so was!) I got over myself and bathed in Peace & Calming, went to bed with Valor, and constantly diffused all of my happiest oils. (The scents that didn’t make my newly pregnant stomach churn, that is.) We survived that season with a ton of prayer and a whole lot of stripping life to the bare necessities.

And a few months later we birthed the sweetest, snuggliest, most precious and demanding little girl there ever was. She has every last one of us wrapped around her little pointer finger. (Girlfriend is constantly pointing at her favorite people and favorite things.)

baby bug

God, I’m so sorry I cried and threw a fit rivaling the hormonal tweens in our home. I’m sorry I doubted you and maybe even cussed a little. Thank you for walking that short valley with me and blessing our whole family with the most precious gift we didn’t even know we wanted! You are a good giver, and now we are raising six amazing children. You are so funny, too.

family crazy

Oh, that’s better! This. This is our crazy.


This is our family.

family of 8

This is our Happily Ever After.

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  1. Love, love, love, love, love this! Love you all!

  2. My daughter was in the throes of colic during our last family picture and my sister-in-law only managed to get her smiling once in three hours. But she was able to manipulate the digital image and “paste” her into the family picture of my dad and all the grands. Maybe you could mention the same idea to your photographer?

    • That thought crossed my mind, but I kind of want to keep the image for a “reminder to self.” LOVE digital photography and its ability to do those magical things!

  3. Wow what a beautiful family !! You look like million bucks you sure don’t look old enough to have 6 children.

  4. Well, way to make me cry! We wanted little ones and got them quickly (brought one home from our honeymoon!) and even then always had those panic moments and thoughts. With each pregnancy I had a talk with God in the shower to make sure He understood that we wanted these babies. Even with my crazy worries and shock with each of the timings there wasn’t a doubt they were meant to be our babies and we wanted them. I LOVE the photo with her looking back at you while the other kids look at the camera. She is your baby and so glad she came into your life! You are amazing and I so appreciate you sharing your heart with us.

  5. OOPS added an r to my name

  6. Beautiful!!! So many times God gives us what we want and need, before we know that we want it! 🙂

  7. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for taking time to put it all into words. . . . God is honored when we receive His gifts with thankfulness, trusting Him to fill in the gaps in our strength!

  8. Sitting here bawling with you. What a precious gift she is.

  9. You have a such a beautiful family too!!! I miss seeing you all!!!

  10. I can’t even count all the ways that I love this. 🙂

  11. Love this! I cried happy tears. What a beautiful thing it is when we accept the amazing blessings God has for us.

  12. We felt similarly when we found out we were pregnant with our last child. She sure blesses me now, in my middle age when most people my age are done and finished with the littles part of growing up, I still have my little. We struggled with infertility for years and years. We gave up. Guess what happened then? lol

    • Yep. I sure won’t be getting lonely anytime soon! What’s the spacing between your youngest and her closest sibling?

  13. Oh, what a precious post. Isn’t it so true that His gifts are better than we could ever imagine? In June my husband underwent emergency brain surgery that was one of those gifts. It knocked both him and me flat, but it contained miracle after miracle after miracle that have been beyond what we could have even dreamed of. Neither of us would trade it for the world. I know I don’t know you in real life, but I think of you often and am so thankful for the grace God has gifted you with in raising your precious family. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • You are a blessing to me, Tricia! Thank you! And oh my gosh, that brain surgery sounds scary. I’m grateful that you have seen the miracles.

  14. Beautiful! Your family and this post!

  15. Oh the amazing blessings we don’t know we are missing out on……we’ve had a few surprises as well and I thank the good God above for them…….! : )

  16. I love this so much!!! God knows exactly what we need!

  17. Cheryl Armstrong says:

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us.

    Cheryl Armstrong

  18. awesome!! i LUV this post. thank you for writing it and sharing with us. I miss seeing your regular posts…so I REALLY enjoy when you post.

  19. Due with surprise #6 in 4 weeks and had a similar reaction as you. THANK YOU!

  20. Love this!
    We’ve just admitted our family of 5 (3 kiddos) isn’t complete if we have our choosing, and I’m still panicking. We’ve struggled with infertility and had 2 miscarriages of 3 babies, so I don’t take getting pregnant lightly. So admitting we may experience that all over again is hard for me. As well as the really hard pregnancies I have. But this week I was so overwhelmed by the knowledge that it is my calling to sacrifice to bring children into this world, to our family, for God’s glory. And I keep seeing cute little snugly babes. 😉

  21. Wow. Just wow. <3 You're amazing. I LOVE THIS POST.

  22. I am so glad you posted this. We thought we were done after #4, but later decided to add 2 more and then WE were done…except we aren’t. I recently learned that we are expecting #7. This is our first baby that was completely unplanned. I know we all will make it through this and we are very excited, but I would not be honest if I said that I did not have the same thoughts you did.

    • Oh, goodness, Danielle. Congratulations! Truly. Every life should be celebrated. But I feel your uncertainty. TRULY. (Those first days and weeks of knowing were NOT FUN for me.)

  23. Beautiful post, but it makes me sad. We’ve been blessed with three beautiful, healthy children, but my heart still longs for more. However, my husband is completely done. This is hard. 🙁

  24. So beautiful! We are in the midst of discerning God’s Will for our family. I would just greedily grab all He would give, but my husband really wants to make sure we aren’t taking on more than we can handle. We are praying, praying, praying. They are all such gifts! What a blessing God knew better than you!

  25. Great post. It’s made me stop and think this past week. There have been some really good deals on photo websites this week (free Christmas cards, etc.) This post made me change direction a time or two. You see, we are due with another one in a month, so to make up Christmas cards now would leave us with “someone is missing” when we got around to sending out the Christmas cards. Great reminder and perfect timing for me!

  26. You have such a lovely family, beautiful children! What a blessing, your precious little 6th! Thank you for sharing this, it was fun to read 🙂


  27. Mamapajama says:

    I just stumbled on your blog today, searching for answers to my concerns of having our fourth child 🙂 Thank you so much for this post ! It is so reassuring & also for the handful of silly photos (helping with laundry and In the toilet) to look forward to that kind of delight again. This reassurance about the love and joy that will fill the doubt is very helpful 💜 You and your family are beautiful! Thank you 🙂

    • “love and joy that will fill the doubt” YES. That right there. Congratulations to you and your fourth blessing! Hang on for the beautiful, crazy ride!

  28. awesome!!! there are no other words.

  29. Phyllis Theisler says:

    Beautiful. For a minute I want to go back 25 years and have kids pulling on my leg, fussing with each other and feeling like if I start walking away I would never go back. Ok. Minutes gone. Everyone back to work!!! lol Grandchildren are much easier.

    • That’s exactly how my parents feel, Phyllis. “Everyone come over here! Ok, that was awesome, now everyone go home!” Haha!

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