Answers: Are those all yours?

The short answer I give is… “yep” with a smile.

The long answer I want to give is…

Not really. I mean, I carried and birthed all four of them. I am the legal guardian of all four of them. I am responsible for all four of them.

But they aren’t mine, and I try not to think of them as such.

They are complete individuals with body, soul, and spirit. They are God’s children, His people. He put them in our family to train into adulthood.

But they aren’t mine.

Thoughts and words are powerful. They are the seeds of feelings and behaviors, both conscious and not. They can uplift, encourage, glorify, and exalt. They can also sow discontentment, resentment, and discouragement.

Thinking that my children are mine, I believe, has the potential to give me the illusion of control. But I am not in control of them or their futures. It’s true, I set the schedule and habits and expectations for our family. But, ultimately, God is in control of their lives, not me. When we buy into that illusion of control, it typically ends in resentment and disappointment and despair when our expectations and hopes are not met.

That’s why I don’t like calling them mine.

But that’s an awfully long conversation for Aisle 5 in Walmart over a half-full cart with a stranger, you know?

Answers: How do you do it?

A series with long answers to some of the questions I am asked often. Face to face or via text or phone call, there usually isn’t time to give the whole, real, deep, raw, true answer. I am never certain if the person even wants that answer or is just making small talk.

You know, when someone asks how you are doing, and the truth is deep and maybe painful and a little uncomfortable, so you just say, “I’m fine, thanks,” and everyone moves on with their day?

I want to share the real answers to those small-talk questions.

“How do you do it?”

The short answer I give is…

“The best that I can.”

The long answer I want to give is…

I give my best effort most of the time. By God’s grace, everything keeps ticking and everyone keeps living all of those times I don’t or can’t give my best. By God’s mercy, when my best effort is in the wrong direction, He doesn’t let me go too far before I hear Him calling me back.

Some days, I am not “doing” much of anything well.

There is a new song out on the radio that, summed up, says some days you’re alive and some days you’re living. I know that singer wasn’t talking about motherhood, but he has boxed it up rather neatly. Some days, I’m barely treading water, waiting for bedtime, just getting by, calling my husband through tears of frustration. Some days, I am sailing the seas, enjoying every moment, wishing time would slow down, texting my husband through tears of joy and fulfillment.

When you find yourself in a difficult situation — like fully pregnant and “ready to pop” with a 13-month-old who doesn’t walk or talk on your lap — you just do. You take each breath as it comes, put one foot in front of the other, keep moving and keep doing because you must. When God gives you the task, He gives you the ability to do it, too. And this even when you can’t imagine how you ever will or ever could… you just do.

So how do I do it?

The best that I can, by God’s sweet grace and mercy, because He has set these children before me.