Next: questions for Naomi. Here they are, along with what the group heard her saying.
Q. (From Sabrina) How do you find time for your husband?
A. Sabrina reports that Naomi and her husband make a choice not to start anything new after supper; they reserve that as family time. “And she says she’s always available in bed.”
Naomi is quick to add, “Try to be.”
Sabrina says she asked Naomi about how she handles the fact that having babies changes the way you look ( Sabrina has three, and is still breastfeeding the youngest; the youngest of Naomi’s 12 children is seven). “She told me – is it all right if I share this? – she told me she was just going to appreciate her body, no matter what.”
The other piece of advice Naomi gave her, says Sabrina, is: “When there’s time, take time.”
This is hard for Sabrina, because she has a schedule at home and likes to have things in order. She tells a great story about the time her husband got home late and wanted her to walk with him out to the pond near their home. “Come on, honey,” he said. “Walk with me.”
“But it’s late and the grass is wet!” she protested.
“Sabrina,” he said. “It’s wet grass. Walk with me.”
She did, and now, whenever she’s hesitant to do something spur of the moment, all he has to say is, “Sabrina, wet grass.”
Q. (From Elnora) You are always giving to others. Who gives to you?
A. God spoils her, says Elnora. He sends people at the right time — maybe a friend who calls to take her out to lunch. Once, Naomi was getting ready to speak at a conference and really wanted something new to wear, but didn’t have time to go shopping. At just that time, her sister-in-law sent her a dress she’d seen and bought for Naomi, thinking it would be right for her.
Q. (From Martha) What drives you to give, give, give, and do you feel guilty in receiving?
A. Martha, to Naomi: “You said that you have the gift of exhortation — you can’t help it.” She gives because “Jesus gave so much.”
Q. (From Mim) How have you been hurt when people find out you have 12 kids?
A. She’s found that if one of her children is struggling, some people will suggest that if she didn’t have so many children, perhaps that wouldn’t happen. And people have said some harsh things to her.
But Naomi has come to realize that people’s reactions can change [from negative to positive] over time.
Q. (From Carla) How do you balance 12 kids and a husband and have enough love for all of them?
A. God has shown her so many times when he’s asked her to do things, that when she does what he asks, he fills in the rest. And, says Carla, Naomi’s realized that “she doesn’t have to be everything to her kids.” Carla finds that liberating.
(From Louella – not a question but an affirmation) “I expressed my admiration for her. . . . She told me it’s an honor to have her children.”
More thoughts from Naomi: “When we were dating,” says Naomi, “we talked about how many kids we wanted to have. We thought maybe five or six. But then we moved north, and felt called to have as many kids we could, to raise missionaries. And when I say missionaries, I mean right here [as a mission field].”
Reflecting on her life: “Aren’t there times that we all feel kind of crazy with what we feel God has called us to do? Think in Scripture where God asks some godly people to do ‘crazy things’ that we think are out of the ordinary. He asks a lot of people to do things out of the ordinary. And that’s actually exciting . . . because it makes it not about us, it makes it about leaning on him, and recognizing his power and grace, and going for it — with him.”
Readers: What do you want to ask Naomi?