Ray McKelvy: I have to tell you this story. Robyn mentioned that we were married May 28, 1988. It was not too long after we were married—maybe just a few days or so—my wife caught a really bad cold.
And you have to know that Robyn had never been the kind of person that I had ever seen sick before. So I decided to go and get her the best cold medicine I could find. I read the ingredients and brought it home to her.
She said to me, “You know what? I better not take this cold medicine. I could be pregnant.” And I‘m thinking, Well, we’ve only been married a few days. I’m sure that’s not the case! And nine months later, Rachel was born! (laughter)
When Rachel was about five months old, Robyn caught another cold, and his name is Ray. And when Ray was about five months old, Robyn caught another cold, and his name is Ross.
And when Ross was about five months old, Robyn caught another cold, and his name is Ryan. And since then, she’s caught several other colds: Renee, Regan, Raven, Resa, Ryland . . . and she has a cold now. No, I’m just kidding! I’m joking!
Sarah and Abraham! No, that’s up to Nancy and Robert! (laughter) Okay, I’m done. I just wanted to say, “Meet the lady with all the colds.” Would you welcome her? (applause)
Robyn McKelvey: [to her husband] You’re staying home next time. That’s so unfair! He gets all the laughter, I just had to bear all those children! (laughter) I’m not going to do all the introduction, because I didn’t know that was going to happen. Thank you, Ray, for introducing me and all the kids.
But I do want to tell you this: There was a time when Ray and I got married, I went right back to work. I was a career woman. I loved the career that I had—supervising computer operations and programming. I mean, I loved it, and there was a great paycheck attached every two weeks. It was phenomenal!
But when I started having all those “colds” . . . and I’m going to tell you about even the “colds” that aren’t here on earth, but God had a heavenly purpose for . . . but when I started having all those “colds,” I began to realize that this was a greater responsibility.
My career choice had to change, and so I made coming home to be a mom my career. It was a greater responsibility, but there was no paycheck—and there was this big void. It wasn’t easy to do that, but I wanted to be a woman of the Word.
So I went back to God’s Word to find out what He said about children. Our life verse just happens to be Psalm 127, the entire chapter. But I’m going to start with verse 3. Why don’t you read this with me; let’s do it from verse 3. [Verses aren’t up on the screen right away, but they do come up; women join her in reading the passage.]
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man [whose quiver is full of] them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Ps. 127:3–6).
One of the things that I had to realize was that our culture no longer values motherhood because our culture no longer values children. Can I get an “amen” on that? Our culture thinks that our assets are our paycheck and all the stuff we can accumulate, but God has a different idea of what’s important.
He said, we’ve got to realize—number one—that children are gifts. And when God gives a gift, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to be pretty phenomenal, right?
And so, not just are children—my children—gifts . . . He didn’t call out and say, “Your children,” in His Word. “Your children are a gift.” He said, “Children are a gift.” And children are a gift, and they might not be, you know, convenient when the gift is given, but all children are a gift from God.
That means that children born out of wedlock are gifts. That means children in orphanages, foster care homes, children in single parent homes, stepchildren, abused or neglected children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, special-needs kids, children with disabilities, students, your neighborhood kids, even children that you lose to miscarriage or are stillborn, they are gifts from God. We’ve got to see God’s perspective on this.
If you’re involved in nurturing—this is your time in your life for nurturing—you have to be available to see these kids as God sees them. They’re an inheritance from God.
When I read Nancy’s book, I was quite shocked that somebody would say, “If God’s going to give me an inheritance, I want all that He’s going to give me”—because that was me. I was like, “I’m not doing that birth control thing.”
Because if God wants to give me an inheritance . . . think about it. If it was a million dollars, I’d take as much as I could get! But children are an inheritance from the Lord, and they’re worth so much more!
When God gives us anything—when God gives us anything—He gives us exceedingly abundantly above what we could ever ask or imagine! (see Ephesians 3:20–21; John 10:10 KJV) And so, when He gives us children, think about it . . .
God chose to save the world—and what did He send? He sent His Son—a Baby—to come and make it where we could have life, and we could have life more abundantly! And one thing about gifts that anybody gives to you, gifts should bring joy! Am I not correct on that?
In Matthew 18:1–4 [ESV]: “At [the] time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, [that he had placed] in the midst of them [he] said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”
We’ve got to see children the way God sees them. And one thing about kids, they’re carefree. They totally believe their father! And that’s the same way the Lord wants us to be. He wants us to be carefree, totally believing He’s got it.
And so, if we can look at that life of a child and the heart of the child and become like that, we enter the kingdom of Heaven. It’s a beautiful thing. So one of the things that we have to do is, we have to enjoy our children.
You can go to any of my kids—as a matter fact, I have three of them right here. You could ask them, “What are some of the things that your mom did to enjoy you?” And they will tell you about this thing that we’ve done for years called “The Mommy Dance.”
We’ve got to enjoy our kids. There is so much going on. We’re so eager to make sure we have good kids (a lot of times we want to have good kids so it looks good to us). But I want to have kids that enjoy life, because I want them to see this beauty that God created.
So we do the thing called “The Mommy Dance.” I dance with them; I sing with them. Thank you, Robert, for having your babies up here, singing with them. There’s joy in this journey if you do it God’s way! Whether you can sing or not, just sing! He likes a “joyful noise,” okay?
Be the craziest of moms! When I went to the games for my sons or my daughters—when they were in sports—I was the craziest of moms in the stands. Let me tell you, this little, silent voice can get loud. It can get really loud!
But, also, treat your kids sometimes at the dinner table like they’re guests. Fix meals that are important to them, that they love. Don’t just save that for your guests; enjoy your kids. Allow their carefree trusting freedom to encourage your own heart.
So realizing that the fruit of the womb is a reward—not just the fruit of my womb, but all womb fruit is a reward and a gift from God. So the first thing we must really do is we have to realize that, if God gives a gift, it’s a great gift!
Secondly, we have to realize that children are a reward from God. Now, some of us—you might have said, “You just said that!.” Well, God knew for people like me, just because you can have a lot of babies doesn’t mean that you do well with raising and training a lot of babies.
We have to look at this thing and we have to see that God has given me this thing. I have to be available to raise it and to train it. So it means that some things that were on my plate before need to get off my plate.
Make no mistake. The Creator of the whole world gives you a reward. You can bet that it’s phenomenal! Children are a reward, and they keep on giving.
Now, when Ray and I started having kids . . . I had Rachel, and of course, fourteen months later (because five plus nine is fourteen) I had Ray J.
But then, when Ray J was four months old, I got pregnant, and about seven weeks into that pregnancy, I miscarried. It was a very sad and very hard—and very painful—time. You have to still deliver those babies.
I went to church that Sunday just wanting to be refreshed. I wanted to spend time with God’s people. I sat at the piano playing. It was time for the choir. In the Black churches, choirs come down, and they march around and give their offering.
So the choir came down to march down and give their offering, and one of the older women in the choir came down and she took a seat right by me on the piano, and she put her arm around me.
I was like, “She feels my pain.”
This lady said to me, “Robyn, I’m so sad about your miscarriage. But God never intended for us to breed like dogs.” And she got up and she left, leaving me with her “wisdom.” The one thing that we have to do, ladies—older, younger, ladies period—is we have to be able to give God’s truth.
That’s why you have to know what God feels about children, because God never had me “breed” one. They were gifts from Him. They were rewards from Him. And so I fall on my knees and thank God for these children that He gave me.
I love the fact that He gave me more, because I’m able to see Him and a picture of His faithfulness through my children. So, secondly, I have to realize that children are a reward from God.
The third thing I need to do is, I must be available. If God gives you something, don’t you want to be available to nurture it, to make sure that when you present it back to Him, it’s great? So, I have to be available!
Proverbs 29:15 says, “a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart” (v. 17). We live in this sin-cursed earth. The enemy does not want anything that can bring glory to God to remain pure, or to even bring this thing that just puts the spotlight on God.
And so, the same way, we’ve got to be available so that we can share with our kids the truth of God’s Word so that when they go through their “stuff” (and they will go through stuff), they have a solid foundation in truth . . . not opinions. That was that lady’s opinion, but we have to make sure that we are women of truth!
You have to be available. Be available to not only teach your children, but to train them. Be available also to be able to sit and interact with them. One of the things that I love about our home is our table is the great equalizer.
Anybody can come and sit at that table, and they can have opinions that they need to share. But there are parents, usually on both ends, to also make sure that truth is brought into a conversation. You need to be available to sit, to interact, and listen.
One of the things that I love to do is to give special parties for my kids. Now, my kids are like, “Mommy, you don’t have to do that!”
And I’m like, “I’m not doing it for you. I want to celebrate the fact that God gave you to me.” So I make sure that I celebrate these things that God has given me.
Another thing that I need to do is to make sure that my children are never the center of my home. It’s so easy to make your home a child-centered home, but if you want a godly Christian home, you want to make sure that you’re training your children to understand: the entire priority of life—of my life and their life—is Christ!
And so, they can’t be the center of the home. Facebook is not a place to get wisdom on raising children. We’ve got to get in God’s Word! It says, “Older women, train and teach these younger women . . .”—not only to love their husbands,” but what?—“. . . to love their children.” (see Titus 2:4)
And in loving children, even as God loved us, He chastens and He rebukes those He loves. So you have to be available to chasten and discipline your children, and that takes time to do.
I usually say, “Go meet me in my room.” Then I spend time praying with this Father of mine—that’s going to give me wisdom on disciplining these children well. Sometimes I’ve even forgotten children back in that room, I’ve had such a good time with the Lord! (laughter)
But we have to be available, is what I’m trying to say! Be available to love these kids well, and be available to train them. “Her children rise up and call her [what?] blessed” (Prov. 31:27).
One of the most wonderful feelings I get is when my kids are away at school. They call home and say, “Mommy, my friend’s going to call you, because I need you to talk to them.”
The phone rings later on, and I pick up the phone and I hear a voice on the end of that phone, and she says, “Mama Mac?”
And I’m like, “Yes, sweetie.”
She’s just like, “I just need some wisdom.” Your children realize, when they grow up, that you have been a source of wisdom [to] them, and they want all their friends to know it.
Be available to train them, to build them up. The schools won’t do it. And guess what? Your church won’t even do it. You’ve got to be available to train and teach your kids.
And then, finally, children are “life-givers in training.” I love that Nancy chose to use that phrase, they’re “life-givers in training.” You guys, we should be ones imparting life into our children by giving them the truth in God’s Word.
And in the same way, we want to leave a legacy of faithfulness of who God is, to this world that so needs lights that are shining. I want my kids—as I teach them and as I train them—to understand the truth of God’s Word!
You can have your rings appraised, you can go and find the Blue Book value of your car, but you’ll never know how your children have touched others to impart life in them. And that’s so important. As God gives you these kids, they’re the ones that are left to give life to a dying world.
First John 5:12 says this, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son . . . does not have life.” We are here to impart life to our children by giving them the truth of who Christ is.
I want that for you. Because one day, guess what, Mommy’s gonna die; Daddy’s gonna die, and who’s gonna to be left to give life to a dying world?” I pray it’s the life of your children and my children—not just our biological children. I have children all over the world now, because my kids bring them home like crazy!
And it’s okay, because I know my home is going to feed them truth and life. I’m going to let them go and release them all—even if they’re mine biologically or not. I’m releasing them so their lights will shine before men in such a way that men will see the works that they do—the good works that they do—and they bring glory to God.
Finally, behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. A reward is what the fruit of the womb is. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 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—because children are life-givers in training.
Can I pray for us? Can you all just stand and link up a little bit?
Father, for every lady in this room—whether we’re biological parents or not—I pray that they would look and see Your love for children, and that they would be women that would say, “Lord, I don’t care how busy my schedule is. I need to stop and be reminded that You’ve given these gifts in my neighborhood, gifts in my family. Lord, I know plenty of single moms that need me to be available for them.” But, Lord, may we see that You have given children as a gift!
And not only that, Lord, may we also remember that one day we’re not going to be here to impart life. I pray that we have diligently given life to our children so that they can pass on life to a dying world. In Jesus’ name, amen.