“I don’t know how you do it!”
With four kids under 7 including two year old twins, I have heard this more times in the last two years than I can count. Also “you’ve got your hands full!” (Really? Thanks for pointing that out.)
Honestly, I don’t know how I do it either. My house is a mess more often than not. Laundry lives in baskets, clean or dirty (not usually together). I am often too exhausted to think of anything new for dinner so we eat tacos, fajitas and pan fried chicken every week. Once in a while I change things up and make spaghetti sauce in the crock pot.
This morning I was sorting piles of toys for the 1000th time switching out upstairs and downstairs toys. Eden was standing on the block table I had just brought down instead of being thoroughly engaged in the “new” toy like she was supposed to be. I guess 2 year olds don’t read parenting books and blogs. Suddenly, in my mind I was transported 30 years into the future. I saw myself sitting on the couch watching TV I was only mildly interested in, missing the noise and chaos I am now in the midst of. Then I was transported back 10 years ago when all I wanted was to be a mother. I was moderately obsessed by motherhood, though I wasn’t one. I read parenting magazines and blogs and joined online parenting forums.
I was reminded that I am, right at this moment, living the life I always dreamed about and prayed for.
Being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had. The first two years I was a mother, I also worked full time. For me that was easier. Motherhood is a 24/7 job, there is no doubt about that and staying at home means that often there is NO break from your job for days. I was very sick while pregnant with the twins and the first year of four children under 5 was extremely difficult. I felt as if I was simply surviving from the time I woke up until I went to bed (with the kids).
More days than not, I woke up with one thought, “I can’t do this.”
The truth is I couldn’t. I still can’t. None of us can get through one moment of any day without the grace and mercy of God. Children are clearly a blessing. (Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3, ESV) Yet, the Lord used these blessings as disciplines to break me down and bring me to the point where I have no choice but to be wholly dependent on Him and leave myself behind.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11, ESV
He gave me everything I wanted and had prayed for (4 children, becoming a SAHM,homeschooling, even the community and Church where we live and worship are answered prayers) but He gave it to me in a way that broke me. Within one year, we moved from Chicago to Southern California where we didn’t know anyone, I changed from working full time to staying at home full time, we purchased our first home, Cliff became a full time solo Pastor, and then I found out I was pregnant and with twins no less. All of my prayers answered in one year. Whew, what a whirlwind.
It broke me, in a good way, in the way He intended. Every morning I wake up knowing I cannot not make it though on my own, under my own power. I also know that I don’t have to. I have to place it in His all powerful hands and trust Him to pull me through. That doesn’t mean all my days are easy and I am the perfect mother, far far from it. But I rest in the knowledge that I am living the life He intended for me even when I am asking, why me?
So faced with the prospect of homeschooling with two year old twins, I ask “How can I do this?” The answer is I can’t. What I can do is rest in His plan for my life and my children’s lives. And eat chocolate, lots of chocolate.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV
Has the Lord used blessings as disciplines to form you into the person He wants you to be?