Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So, How Many Children Do You Have?

I've been asked this question many times when meeting new people. And sometimes I honestly don't know how to respond.

You see, we have two biological children. Do I say, "two"?

Then we have three children that we lost through miscarriages. So, do I say, "five"?

We also have had foster children that we still love and think of often, even though we don't know where all of them are. Do I say, "nine"?

And recently I've been listening to the song, "Esther" by Sara Groves from her CD, "The Other Side of Something". She sings about a childless woman named Esther who has a passion to care for the children of Africa, so in a sense, she now has 2.4 million children.

Here are the lyrics to this song:

Verse 1
I have a picture of Esther and David
She is a young bride and he is a soldier
They didn’t know then that David was dying
They wouldn’t have children

Verse 2
Alone with a life time, Africa called
She went for the first time,
it grew in her heart
All of the children,
all of those children

Now Esther has 2.4 million children
She writes us and asks us to pray for them all

She’s compelled, she’s compelled by what she’s seen
And she tells us, she tells us do anything you can
To help, oh please help, there’s so much to do
And I’m just Esther

Verse 3
She visits her homeland, she fights with her words
She comes to the courts of the kings of the earth
Who don’t understand their inherited power
To answer her question

So, how many children do I say that I have? . . . . "2.4 million".


  1. I have read of many churches celebrating Christmas with Pageants that include an actual baby portraying the role of 'baby Jesus'. Our first child Ruth, was born December 12th, 1981 and was chosen to be 'baby Jesus' for our church's (Reba Place Fellowship) Christmas Eve service. Last year, our grandson, Charlie, born on Oct. 19th 2008, was chosen, also at Reba Place Fellowship. But in prison no such ritual exists. I wasn't even thinking about babies being in Christmas plays back in 1972. This was yet another year in prison the difference being this was my first Christmas as a christian. The Christmas service held new meaning for me as we sang the traditional Christmas Carols bringing with it a hope for a new life with a redeemed future. Christian volunteers were apart of our service at the U. S. Medical Center for Prisoners in Springfield, Mo. As our service wound to completion a cry was heard. The faint whimpering of a baby. My first thought was that I wasn't hearing what I thought I had heard. I had been in prison for many years and had never even seen a baby inside of a prison (not counting my infrequent times in the visiting room.) But there it was again, a baby crying. Someone, a volunteer, had brought their baby into the service wrapped in a blanket unnoticed by the guards. I then thought, there was our 'baby Jesus'. The parents of the yet unknown child were the children of an older couple (Lloyd and Nita Colbaugh) who had only a few years previously began their ministry to the prison. Even the great-grandmother (Mom Carter) was a volunteer and had played a significant role in my own conversion, telling me that God had a plan for my life. Life would go on and the incident of 'baby Jesus' coming to prison would fade to a memory, until the baby grew up and now is known throughout many countries far and wide as acclaimed singer/songwriter Sara Groves. I hope this story adds to your appreciation of the life of Sara and her family.John C Thomson
    PS. Esther is Sara's Grand-Aunt

  2. Yes, thanks for adding the comment and sharing your story.

  3. What a lovely post and comment. Thanks to both of you for sharing. How many children do we have? How many "brothers" do we have? Who is your neighbor? Ah, lots of questions to answer.


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