Yes, it is true. Kimberly is pregnant again with number four. And we just found out it is a boy. Benjamin Zion Iverson is the name. I guess I can do something right… We are due September 18th (our 6th year anniversary) God is so faithful and I am amazed at the beauty of new life. I never would have imagined that we would have four kids in six years but it looks like this is indeed happening. I’ll never forgot our conversation in December of 2003, a month or so after we started courting… I asked Kimberly what she thought about big families. She said she was all about it… So I said. “What about ten kids?” (Cause I really want to beat my dad) And she gave me a beautiful smile and said: “If that’ is what God wants to give me.” I knew I had a winner…
This was a really important question since I am the oldest of a family of nine and have a huge desire to have as many kids as possible. My dad always told us that the best way to impact the world is through your kids. I look at him and my mom, and the way they sacrificed and poured themselves into their kids as they raised us, and believe he is right. I look at the fruit of their sacrifice and see God’s promises fulfilled. It is amazing how faithful God has been through all the struggles of being in a big family. If I had to go back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I do remember as a teenager getting angry at my dad for having so many kids. It was usually around christmas time when I looked under the tree and saw a lot of presents but had to divide them by nine. Even my math was good enough to calculate how few were mine. My friends always had more presents, more stuff and our family was always pinching pennies, just trying to survive and make it. I would get so mad in those selfish moments and ask him why he had to have so many kids. He always did the same thing: grabbed the youngest little booger running around and put him/her on his lap and asked me: “Can you imagine life without _______? Is he/she worth it.” I could never argue with that, because in my heart of hearts I always knew what really mattered…
Now as a 32 year old looking down the ranks of my brothers sisters I am so thankful for our family. I am most thankful because I see God’s work through and in each of them. All nine of us love Jesus and love to serve others. I am amazed at the way He continues to use my siblings all over the world… I love the the fact that our covenant family get’s to be a part of the redemption story and it makes me so excited to continue to add to that by having kids. Psalm 37:25-26 comes to mind. “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.”
Not everyone may agree, but in my mind I think this is the best Kingdom strategy for bringing light and hope into our world: Have lots of kids, love them and raise them well in a Gospel saturated home, and send them out into the world to live, struggle and bring Glory to God, and have lots of kids.
I am seeing that my main church I am called to be pastor of is my family, to love and shepherd them in grace and truth and lead them to Jesus. Not in my perfection (cause they definitely see I am not perfect) but in my weakness. You see, with all the other people in our community church their is a certain amount of superficiality. They don’t live with me day in and day out and so I can put on my best face sunday mornings or when they see me doing ministry. They don’t have to see all the sins of my private life. My family does. My kids get to see a dad who gets lazy sometimes and doesn’t use his time well, or doesn’t serve their mother, or loses his temper, or complains and moans over the woes of inner city life and ministry. They get to see my weaknesses. It is in that, on that platform, in open transparent struggle with the sin in my own life, that I am able to lead my family to the throne of grace. Not as a conquering hero, but rather as a humble sinner in need of saving, pointing them to Jesus who is the conquering hero that has and is dealing with their daddy’s sin. It is from such a platform I received the grace of God from my pastor, my father. One of the things our family does every night (we have been doing it for 5 generations as far as I know) is have family devotions. It’s nothing too complicated. In our home we just spend about 15 minutes reading the Bible together, talk about our day, work on a few memory verses and maybe sing a song. That’s how I grew up. But here is what made it so special. Good religious homes can do that out of their religious zeal and to try and feel better and holier than the family next door. What I really appreciate about my dad is that our family devotions was NOT a time for us to realize how good, religious and morally outstanding our family was. Rather, it was a time for us to realize how short we fall from even our own standards let alone God’s. Often, my parents would confess their own faults and failures of the day to us. It wasn’t rare for my father to ask us for forgiveness for ways he had overworked, or not loved us well, or lost his temper, or misspent our resources. He didn’t try to show himself to us as a perfect person who had it all together, but rather demonstrated in love and humility how much he needed Jesus and that the whole point of us having family worship each night was for us to connect with our savior and be changed from this inside out by His truth and grace…. I am so thankful for that. I want to be a dad like that.
Please pray for this pregnancy. It has been our hardest one yet. Kimberly and I still do believe having lots of kids is a great way to change Newark, but boy is it hard. Kimberly is tired a lot and trying to homeschool the other three while being so tired has been a challenge for her. She is tough and puts up with so much and we know God will give us strength. We are having an ultrasound next week so we will keep everyone updated on that.
H ere’s a video of Trinity doing a Bible verse at family devotions.