Can I say that raising four (soon to be five!) children has been one of the most difficult things I've ever endeavored to do! It's been harder than getting my license (don't laugh, I'm NOT a natural behind the wheel; I won't even tell you how many attempts it took me before they granted me a license ;) It's been harder than trying to get my Bachelor's degree in three years instead of four (and let me tell you, there were some times during that little endeavor that I thought I surely must have lost my mind!) It's been harder than.....well, a lot of things!
Some days, the weight of responsibility on my shoulders presses down to the point that I feel almost over-whelmed. I start to think maybe Joel and I actually WERE a little insane to think we could handle this many.
We've been dealing with an 'issue' with one of our children lately. I won't go into detail, or tell you the child, out of respect for that child's privacy. Suffice it to say, it's been challenging, and I've not always been sure that we've been handling the situation in the right way.
But then, I have to remember.....while children don't come with an instruction manual (wish they did!), I DO know the One Who knows their hearts better than I ever will. And so, we take it to God in prayer. "Dear Lord, these children of ours are YOURS; show us what to do, because we're at a loss."
God answered that prayer this morning by sending us confirmation, instruction, and encouragement in an unexpected way after church. We both felt a renewed energy to 'keep on plugging away', keep on praying for this particular issue with our child. The person who blessed us in this way this morning was not even aware that that's what they were doing----it was totally just God answering my crying out to Him for help and instruction.
And so, on days when I feel that suffocating, 'over-whelmed' feeling, I remind myself of a few things.
1. My children ARE depending on me----but if I'm depending on God, then THEY are also depending on HIM, and not me, right? Kind of a round-about way of looking at things, but it's the truth. I'm not, and I can't, do this on my own strength. When I've tried, believe me, I've failed! My children are leaning on me, and I'm leaning on God, so we're all leaning on Him together.
2. I do NOT have all the answers---but that's okay. Because my God, Who DOES have all the answers, loves and cares about me and my children.
And so I have to conclude that yes, Joel and I would have been crazy to attempt to raise this many children on our own. But we're not. We're totally giving our lives and children over to HIM---and that makes all the difference.
So when satan tries to throw that blanket over my head and suffocate me with lies and deceit, I bow my head and ask the Lover of my soul and my children to please, show me the right way; help me to love these children as YOU love these children; and most of all, help me to lean on You.
So glad, so grateful, so thankful, that I know the One with the instruction manual :)