Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3
By: Teresa Martínez
The Mayor of the City of Lakeland, the Honorable Bill Mutz, graduated from the University of the University of Indiana, majoring in Finance and Marketing. He is known as a great multi-industry businessman and an example of a faithful servant of God and his community. Bill Mutz has devoted much of his life to the Christian ministry, he has served on 21 boards of directors for non-profit organizations, he is also one of the founders of Grace City Church in Lakeland. His passion is to motivate others to reach their maximum human potential. His wife Pam has a master's degree in Ministerial Leadership. Her life mission has been to lead other women in Bible studies, to ministry to prisoners, and to share her unwavering Christian faith with humanity. Both are passionate about marriage, fatherhood and family. Bill and Pam, who moved to Lakeland in 1996, have been married for 45 years, have 12 children and 31 grandchildren...so far. Sitting at the Mayor's office, with a beautiful view of Lake Mirror, the couple shared about their beautiful family journey with Viva Polk.
Viva: What is your love story? Where did you meet? Bill: I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and Pam is from Denver, Colorado. We met in California when, after college, we both attended a Bible study. For me, it was love at first sight. Everyday I watched her from afar . One day I had the opportunity to briefly talk to her and introduce myself. Somehow I knew that beautiful blonde, blue eyed young lady would be my wife.
Pam: At the end of my career, I was given a choice of where I wanted to serve. I actually wanted to be a missionary abroad, but I answered that I had no geographical preference. Shortly after, I was sent to Indianapolis. I didn't even know where it was on the map!
When I got there, I remembered I had met a guy from that area. I contacted him and the rest is history. Viva: During your courtship, did you ever talk about how many children you would like to have?
Pam: I had never really thought about children, nor was it something that excited me. I liked sports, the countryside, horses, adventures and free will. Bill wanted four children, but my doctor had mentioned that I would have trouble conceiving. That's why it was a great surprise to find out I was pregnant a while after the honeymoon! I gave birth to our first daughter and it was as if motherhood woke up in me. Being a mother is a precious thing.
Bill: I remember the doctor recommending the best contraceptive method. Without thinking about it twice, I said to my wife: "Why don't we let God decide how many children we should have?" Pam thought I had gone insane, but she decided to pray about it. Then we had the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth child...we loved being parents.
Viva: Most marriages have difficulty dealing with two or three children, how did you manage to maintain order with 12 children, take them to school, extracurricular activities, medical appointments and so forth? Bill: God multiplies time, although it seems impossible, things always work out. I remember those days as organized chaos. Pam decided to home school the young children. As they grew older, they had their chores. Each one was responsible for an area in the home, for washing their own clothes, the dishes, take care of each other, and being responsible for their own activities. There were rules to follow, although they were not always followed. Being the father of a prolific family is a great challenge, one has to learn not to see many things, to dry many tears and teach them that life is not always fair, that we are not infallible... but we can always experience joy.
Pam: When they started going to school and participating in sports, we experienced what is meant by "The Lord doesn't give us more than we can handle." I remember a day when I felt totally overwhelmed, I couldn't do it anymore, I needed help. Desperately I opened the Bible and there was my message, in 1 Chronicles 28:20, LBLA: "Then David said to his son Solomon: Strive, be courageous and do the work; do not fear or be afraid, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, until all the work of the service of the house of the LORD is finished." Viva: Tell us how you managed dinner time.
Bill: Pam always thought that she could cope with everything: the house, the kitchen, be a good wife and above all make, sure that I also fulfilled my responsibilities at home. Both parents have to be committed to teaching by example and, of course, know how to seek help, especially at dinner time. Cooking is perhaps one of the biggest challenges, especially economic, but it is around the table that the family is formed. It is where you are taught to pray, to read the devotional, to talk about the day, to share, to talk about challenges and personal achievements. Sitting at the table is something that is being lost in our society, because life has taken a very fast pace, however, it is the key to the family unit.
Pam: Many times we only ate spaghetti, but we made due! As they grew older, a schedule could not always be maintained, but we always have made sure to gather around the table at least two or three times a week, and most importantly, without cell phones or TV. The dinning room is an electronic free zone.
Viva: How do you make sure to pay attention to all your grandchildren, especially at Christmas? Bill: We can't always be physically together , but we do make sure there is good communication. The important things are not the gifts, but that everyone feels our love.
Viva: What advice would you give to other families who want to have several children? Bill: Focus on the heart, on the feelings and passion of each child, not on how they look, or how they dress, what they have. The main thing is to teach them to serve others, which is the key to feeling good about themselves. Ensure they know how to follow their passions, to work on what they like and that at the end of each day, their actions earned them Jesus' smile.
Pam: In our case, we taught them to guide themselves by the principles of the Bible. What they learned prepared them to face life and to accept the good and the bad. Our life has been joyful, but we have also had tragedies. We lost our second child when he was seven months old, two grandchildren have gone to the presence of the Lord, we almost lost another grandchild to a brain injury. There have been accidents, broken bones and broken hearts. You have to know how to cry, feel the pain and start over. You must know the tears will dry and what you will remember are the good times you enjoyed with each loved one. You have to enjoy life, know how to dust your knees and stand up again. In addition to their 12 children and 31 grandchildren, the Mutz hosted Elena Carro, a student from Spain who came to study English in Lakeland. Today the Mutz consider Elena as one more daughter. We contacted Elena and she happily shared:
Elena: I am lucky to have two families, one here in Spain and the other in the United States. From day one, the Mutz family welcomed me with open arms and a loving heart. I firmly believe that is the magic of the Mutz, their generosity and their boundless kindness. Bill Mutz attributes his success as Mayor of Lakeland to challenges and the knowledge he acquired as the father of a prolific family.