Image

Mother Or Not

Today I’m celebrating my youngest daughter’s 8 years of life and reveling in the fact that I’m a mom 8 times over. 7 at home with me and 1 at home with my Savior, but mommy to them all. 

My babies aren’t all babies anymore. Parenting is more than kissing owies, changing diapers, brushing little teeth, midnight feedings, and bedtime stories and picking up a million-and-one messes per day. It’s asking open questions about texting, it’s making them think about what’s appropriate interaction with the opposite sex, and helping them discover what and why their beliefs are. I look at my oldest kids and I see myself, I see them learning to be adults right in front of me and I see the days tick by until they really will be on their own. And my heart thrills. And my heart aches. 

Today at church, I was changing my littlest treasure and a sweet 90 year old came over, commenting how long it had been since she’d heard small cries. She said she missed the little age and that what she missed most was sitting in her wooden rocker and how those tiny littles would curl into her shoulder, and she could literally feel their life as they breathed gently, safely in her arms. 

My eyes filled because I knew that I would be her one day. Sitting and rocking with only memories. I see the stages slipping by and I love them, each of them. But as long as I have breath, may my arms ever be full of life as I give my own life away. Whether it’s snuggling my grands and great-grands or tinies at church, or mentoring youth, or looking into the eyes of another mama and reminding her that she is a world-changer. I pray that I will never decide that my time for loving and investing is over. 

Today, I have the pleasure of walking shoulder to shoulder with my older kids as they navigate real life, while also blissfully exhausted with late night feedings, potty-training, and nail polish and princesses and swords and blanket forts. My treasures have blessed me with much and I pray that I never forget the lessons I’m learning from this vantage point. 

Whatever stage you find yourself, do not stop investing. Hearts need you. Tiny ones, teenage ones, 30’s and 60’s and 80 year old hearts need you. If we aren’t living to give ourselves away, then we’ve missed the point of living altogether, whether you’re a mother or not. 

As I finish writing this, my 6 month old is curled up on my shoulder. I feel his life as he breaths in and out. My oldest two wave as they head out to hang with friends, and I feel their life in their laughter. My middles-in-between dance to and fro, and I feel their life in their creativity. I see my 90 year old friend’s eyes, and I feel her life, with so much left still to give away.

Invest.
Generously.
Mother or not! 

Image

The Extra Gift

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

It’s been three years since you were held in my womb.
Three years since your “birth”day, the day we celebrate your short life and remember the gift of you.
You’re an Adams, my son. The 6th in our family. And, oh you were loved. We still love you.

They say it gets easier with time, which is true to an extent, but this year was harder for me than last year. You would have been a big boy today had you lived. Three years old is such a fun year, exploring and reading and learning and getting messy and snuggling close. As we walked into Party City with all your siblings to choose a birthday balloon for you, I just stood and stared at the bins of balloons, unable to pick one.

I love birthdays. I love giving gifts and planning the perfect day for my treasures. I love making special meal plans and baking the cake and filling the day with favorites and loads of memories.
But, there I stood, surrounded by my other precious loves all clamoring for balloons for you, and all I could think about was how a balloon was just not much of a gift.

I wanted to hold your hand and run to the park. I wanted to dig in the dirt with your monster trucks. I wanted to tickle you until your head falls back in uncontrollable laughter. I want to see your eyes, feel your skin, kiss your cheeks, touch your hair. I want to know what your favorite fruit is and the way you like your veggies. I want to kiss your owies, wipe your tears, and teach you about Jesus.

But three years.
Three years since I lost the little boy I never even got to meet.
And the only gift I have for your birthday is a balloon.

Your Daddy and I have a special tradition the night before a birthday. We hold each other and talk about that child, reminisce about the little years, share how they’ve grown, and pray for all they will be. We laugh and sometimes cry as we pause and celebrate that precious life. Last night we did the same for you, Elijah. Daddy asked me how I was doing because he knows how important you are to me. He held me as I wept for the loss we share, and reminded me not to feel guilty for grieving for you, no matter how small you were or how brief your life was. Though it was life-giving to share that time talking about you, I still felt like I was missing out on something special as I woke up today on your birthday. Sadness still lingered as we shouted, “Happy Birthday, Elijah!” and released our balloons, watching them dance away in the morning sunrise.

We all drove to get coffee before school, and the barista mixed up the order and made one extra coffee for us. Of course, I was just going to drink it and enjoy the bonus J, but your biggest brother chimed in and said he wanted to make someone have a really great day by giving it away. Blessed by his generous spirit, we prayed and asked the Father to guide us to the person He wanted us to share Jesus with by sharing our extra coffee. We drove around for a while, but didn’t find anyone so we headed home, but in the last mile, we spotted a beautiful lady with a head covering. We asked if she wanted a coffee, but she kindly declined, and then we noticed her husband walking behind her. My son held out our gift, and he gladly accepted. We exchanged friendly greetings and I called out, “Jesus bless you!” as we pulled away.
One simple gift, given away because we had been given more.

Elijah James, I won’t see your face until we meet again in Heaven, but because of your life, because of the gift of you, I’m prompted to give more generously than I was before. My gracious God gave me the blessing of carrying you and being your mama, and I want others to know that, regardless of what they gain or lose, Jesus Christ is everything.

Your life opened my eyes to see people more clearly. Your life taught me to be more compassionate to those who experienced loss. God used you, my little E, to take my “extra” and give it away for the sake of the Kingdom.

I guess I found a way to give a gift in your honor after all, Elijah. By loving others as Jesus has loved me, I’m honoring the gift of your life that God blessed me with.
It’s Christ that fills me up, even in my sadness.
It’s Christ that is my overflowing abundance, even in loss.
Happy 3rd birthday, Elijah James, I praise Jesus for the gift of you!

Image

The Lasts

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

IMG_2479“Lasts” have a way of sneaking up on us, yet there is always a last.
The last time Daddy tosses a child in the air
before they are too big.
The last time mama wipes sticky little fingers.
The last bottle, last band-aid to the knee,
last time you pick up their toys in the hall.
The last time she wears that tutu and spins like a princess, IMG_2304the last time he pulls out his superhero costume
and asks to sleep in it.
True, some finales are known and expected like their last big game or last day of elementary school, but
most are gone before we even realize it,
or prepare for it
.

A family in our church very suddenly lost their wife and mama recently and it was her story that made me consider our lasts. She was driving them to school on an icy morning and she never made it home. Her two little girls survived with their Daddy, but for her, her lasts had suddenly ceased.
This past Christmas was her last one.
Her last Thanksgiving was before that.
There was a last Sunday to mark the final time they would all have the chance to sit in church together.
The night before her accident was her last one to tuck in her treasures and snuggle up next to her man and she didn’t even realize it.
That morning was her final goodbye and she couldn’t possibly have known.

We can’t know our lasts, but we can prepare.
It’s not about filling every moment in a panic of when the “finale” will happen,
but it’s a life of steadfast love fueled by the Father of love.
It’s a generous heart that lives with open hands,
readily giving up what we cannot possibly hope to even hold onto.

As much as we would like to or pretend that we can,
we simply cannot create a bubble big enough
to protect us and the ones we love.
We aren’t divine.

When my husband and I were considering becoming career missionaries overseas, I would often worry about how dangerous it would be. But the truth is, as my man reminded me over and over, the safest place to be is right where God has called you, even if it’s the middle of a foreign country. Likewise, the most dangerous is a heart that rebels against what He has for you, even if it’s just sitting in your driveway watching your kids play.
In the end, it’s our hearts that matter far more than our bodies since our souls will outlive our human “tents” for eternity.

One glorious day there will be a “final last” when God Himself will be made known to all. For those who have entrusted Christ with the only thing that will outlive our bodies forever, our hearts, the “final last” signals the grand beginning of glory that will never end or fade or decay.
The trumpet will sound and
death will die forever as our hearts will be made new for eternity.

In light of our lasts, the minor things seem to fade pretty quickly.
Like that argument with your spouse,
the Legos on the floor,
the stacks of dishes,
our pride being hurt,
or that person you can’t seem to forgive.
When our hearts ache with the grief of tragedy
may it remind us of the importance of making our lasts count.

In the words of the apostle Paul,
Consider then how you live,
not as unwise, but as wise,
making the most of every situation.

Ephesians 5:15-16

We live well by loving deeply and letting our lasts be wrapped in love.

Image

Delighting in the Dance

Tags

, , , ,

When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we decided (or rather he decided), that we should take dancing lessons for our first dance as a married couple. And so we did, for six weeks, we showed up, awkward steps and all.
He didn’t know how to lead that well 
and I’m not sure I knew how to follow because I had zero confidence in myself.
I remember being stiff and totally freaking out that I would disappoint him, but on our wedding day with an enormous bustle, floor length gown, and 4-inch heels,
IMG_1661we danced beautifully to our first dance.
Even today, it’s one of my sweetest memories of that day. 
The way he held me, the sense of pride that we finished (and that I didn’t trip him), 
but mostly, the look in his eyes of adoration. 
Six hours of lessons and we successfully danced for a few minutes, but then we faced the rest of our lives
to learn how to dance in marriage.

When we fell in love, I felt I was marrying my Prince Charming, but
I failed to see the beauty of the man behind the “charming”.
I married my ideal, but my ideal couldn’t keep step with reality, 
because
I didn’t realize how human my Prince was.
In the process, I forgot all about dancing because I was so busy trying to make him fit my image of what a prince should be.
I felt I was entitled to a few things
that he didn’t seem to do quite right
(I know….crazy!).
IMG_2203But holding onto my expectations only led to my own frustration and discouragement. When I finally came to a place of being willing to let go and stop forcing a mold in my head, I heard the tender whisper of my Father’s voice, “I will teach you to dance.”

And in that moment, I realized that dancing is less about perfect steps and more about really leaning in to the Father’s very good heart when our partner doesn’t fit our expectations.
Choosing to trust the abundant, perfect love of God frees us from becoming arrogant and IMG_0867self-focused when it comes to our mate, while also freeing our spouse from being tied to our own, sometimes ridiculous, expectations.

So, to the one my heart loves,
my Best Friend, my Prince Charming,
When you feel like you’re strong enough,
and when you feel weak,
When you lead well
and when we go down a path that we shouldn’t have.
When your arms are raised in praise,
When your heart is humbled before the King,
and when your voice raises in anger,
and when your pride gets in the way.
When I’m proud of you,
and when I wish we were in a different place than we are.
When you pour into the kids at bedtime
and when you simply say, “goodnight” and “I love you” to them,
When you pray over us
and when other things come first.
When you love me well
and when I feel lonely.
When you’re courageous
and when you’re afraid,
When you’re happy
and when you’re feeling empty….
I choose you, every time.
I choose loving you.
I choose to keep leaning in to the dance because I know God is still growing us.
I love you for you.
I love you because I know how ridiculously imperfect I am and despite it all,
you’re still here, loving me.

For all the times I’m gentle
and for all the times my attitude comes first.
When I’m generous
and when I’m selfish.
When I listen to your heart without jumping ahead
and for the times I only want my own words heard.
For the times I speak life into you
and walk beside you, holding your hand,
and for the times my words speak anger,
and I tear us down.
When I’m confident and I love you well,
and when I wallow in self-pity and then blame it on you.
When I run our home well
and when you don’t have any more clean clothes or tea for the Keurig.
When I encourage you, pray for you, and bring you coffee,
and for when I’m rude and my body language speaks disrespect…
thank you.
ThaIMG_1167nk you for loving me and learning how to dance.
Our wedding song was, “May I Have This Dance”
to which my answer will forever be yes!
Thank you for dancing, Love!

 

Image

Birthdays and Birth Stories

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

IMG_2216Birthdays are a big deal at our house. The world seems to hold still as we simply pause life and pour as much delight and love into the birthday person as we possible can.

Birthday activities are planned, favorite meal preparations are made, there is birthday Starbucks coffee, and, of course, cake AC035151-914F-4B57-842E-11A12A6B3D37and presents and a special birthday balloon from Daddy.
I love love love celebrating birthdays!!

But it’s what happens the night before a birthday that really allows me to go all out and dig in deep emotionally and relationally when it comes to celebrating life.
It’s the Birthday Cry.
My sweet husband knows the routine well and hasn’t missed a beat in years and over 40 (yes, forty!) kid birthdays.

After the kids are all tucked in and I’ve said my special goodnight to the birthday child for the last time at their current age, we climb into bed, he holds out his arms, and he waits for me to talk as I cuddle in close to his daddy heart, my team-mate in parenting.
I gather my thoughts that have been brewing all day and my words spill out in
laughter, memories, and tears.
Lots of “remember when…” or
I love how she…” or
I’m so proud of how he…
We reminisce, look to the future, pray for our baby, and I cry my heart out as I bid farewell to another year with that precious little one who is slowly becoming not as little, whether they are turning 3 or 13.

Parenting takes a special kind of courage, and I am so blessed to be able to do it with a man who takes both celebrating and remembering seriously in order that we can truly dig in and be engaged for all that lies ahead of us as we walk hand in hand into a new year!

This week we celebrated our baby’s first sweet year. In sharing his birth story I hope that it touches your heart, and encourages you to lean into the preciousness of life itself.
Because no matter the age or the stage you are in life is worth celebrating well!

Click for the birth story of Isaac Olin

Image

Happily Ever After

Tags

, , ,

14 years ago on January 5, 2002, my Mr. Incredible asked me to marry him.

I walked into a romantic proposal scene at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge complete with rose petals, piano music played and recorded by my Love on a CD (come on, it was the 2002 ;)), an extravagant array of daisies (my favorite flower), and a glass slipper engraved with my name.
Giddy with excitement of being at Disney World for the first time, the significance of my IMG_1990 (1)surroundings didn’t hit me until I turned around and my Christopher was down on one knee with a ring in his hand.
The world stopped and my heart pounded,
This Was IT!
I said yes and I floated on clouds like a fairy princess.
19 years old and here I was with the man of my dreams, ready for whatever happened next. But “happily ever after” doesn’t just “happen”.

This last week, we took 3 of our kids on vacation (we rotate taking kids on big vacations…comes with having a large family), part of which involved a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.IMG_1686
Hallowed ground in our hearts.
It’s where it all began for us. 

We lookIMG_1991ed out at the same savannah where I said, “yes”, waltzed in the same parks, and took some of the same pictures. Just as Chris was taking a picture of me wearing a magic hat, he commented,
“How much life has happened since you first put on that hat.”
So true.
14 years 
3 moves
7 babies
1 that went to Jesus before we really knew him
But those are just the numbers.IMG_2780

There have been hundreds of date nights, some gone awry and some that landed us in parking lots fighting it out. We’ve unpacked loads of
garbage, er baggage from our pasts, moved through job changes and had arguments about money, family, life choices, child-rearing, what to do in the bedroom, and
countless discussions about home décor!

There have been family dinners, nights of laughter,
outings we will never forget, and days of arguments that went on and on.
There have been vacations and sightseeing,
births, deaths, and so many friendships along the way.
IMG_1995We’ve walked through some of our greatest moments and some of our lowest.
We’ve chased our dreams and worked to find out what it means to live and love together.

And suddenly 14 years seems to have flown by pretty quickly.
“So much life has happened”

IMG_1372

In the decade to come we will welcome 5 teenagers and 1 pre-teen.
We will see 3 leave home, perhaps even a wedding or a grandbaby too. Yikes!! 
But I know those are just the stats, just the milestones.

The real living happens in the loving and how we handle all the in-betweens.
It’s how we resolve conflict,
it’s the choice to love when we’d rather leave,IMG_1681IMG_1994
it’s how we ask forgiveness,
it’s what we learn about relationships,
it’s about being generous with our time,
with our hearts, and our resources.
It’s about kindness.
It’s about learning each other.
It’s about the little things like how to fold towels, what brand of toothpaste to buy, and how the other likes their coffee.
It’s seeing their flaws and seeing your own and giving both over to Jesus.
It’s choosing “happily ever after” in the “right now”.IMG_1429

Another photo and with adoringly honest eyes, he remarked,
“You’re so much more beautiful today than you were then.”
He wasn’t just seeing my face, he was seeing us.
IMG_1928He was seeing the “more” that we had created with all of our “in-betweens”.
He was seeing “Happily Ever After”. 
IMG_2812

I don’t know when we will make it back to Disney World, but I want to remember how fast our togetherness flies away and I want to make it count. So that next time we don our silly hats or waltz down the magical streets, we can comment together again,
“So mucIMG_1673h life has happened…and it’s been so good.”

Here’s to more beauty, more depth, more learning,
and more of leaning in to Happily Ever After right NOW
.

Image

The Well-Rested Life

Tags

, , , , , ,

IMG_7278There’s something incredibly wholesome about laughter.
Not the polite interjection of mirth at a given time, or the
trying-to-make-the-uncomfortable-less-awkward kind, but the
seriously laugh-your-gut-out kind of funny.
The nothing-held-back hilarity that may involve tears, gas, or even drool.

I experienced it a few nights ago when a couple of friends and I got together after our dishes were done (mostly) and our kids were asleep (mostly).
It was life-giving and soul-renewing,
especially after a long week of single-parenting and sick tummies.

I’ve been on the look out lately for times of refreshing in my life so that I don’t miss out on them, because I’ve realized that I desperately need them.
I’ve made it a habit of missing out on rest and renewal because, well, there’s always a because…..dishes, laundry, toys under the bed, meal prep, groceries, homework…

My word of the year in 2016 is “rest” and I’m being intentional on not only watching for opportunities to rest, but also paying attention to the outcomes of that rest.
We are about half-way in to January and I’ve noticed some pretty significant changes.

Two weeks ago, I talked for 90 minutes to one of my dearest friends and I walked away from the conversation feeling as if I’d spent the weekend in the Bahamas for my heart and soul.
I could literally breathe easier and I was 100% more engaged with my kids, husbandIMG_2137, and others around me. I was more patient and I was more willing to look for beauty in them rather than trudge through another task for them.

Nearly every morning this year (it sounds cooler than “past 2 1/2  weeks” :-)), I’ve made it a priority to wake up a bit sooner and run my fingers through God’s word looking for treasure. I’ve sat with pen and journal in hand to write down my prayers, thoughts, and questions, not because I feel like I “have” to, but because it’s what I’ve wanted to do for my soul-care. I’ve just always had too much else to do for others, that I supposedly didn’t have the time to sit and study like I wanted to. But I’ve found that drawing a boundary line and locking the door can really do quite a bit (that, and repeatedly saying, “Mommy’s in quiet time, you can’t come in”).

Writing and reading are huge passions for me, but I often pigeon-hole them into such small crannies of time that I rarely engage in them because, well, you know the drill, someone always needs something.
But, I’m looking for rest this year and so I’ve blocked out pieces of time that I devote to reading and writing. The consistency fuels my creativity, inspires me to learn more, dig deeper, and reach for more. Not just for me, but for others. When I’m encouraged, I inspire others and I love better because I’m fueling their dreams. Understanding how important my own passions are makes me want to encourage the dreams God has given to others.

Which is interesting isn’t it?
Wouldn’t you think that if you focused on what you need, that you would become more self-focused? This crazy skewed perception of “godliness” by “self-denial” of the good things God intended to use for our growth, is itself a choking hazard to our sharing the gospel and living the Jesus life the way He intended!

IMG_0937We cannot possibly do all that He has called us to do,
love to the depths in the way that He has shown us,
or give as generously as He has taught us,
if we are not fueled by Himself.

And God has allowed us to be fueled by renewing ourselves in the passions He has given us that it might overflow onto the people in our lives and so build His kingdom.

Take a break this week.
Make a list of what refuels you and
sit down to look at your schedule and block out the time for resting.
I bet you’ll be surprised at what God does with your willingness to renew. It might even involve some tears, the laughing kind, or a trip to the Bahamas (emotionally anyways :-)).

No matter how it looks for your life, I guarantee you’ll walk away understanding that
A love-invested life is a well-rested life.

Image

Resolving to Rest

Tags

, , , ,

I love ChristIMG_0896mas.
All the traditions, the fun of gift-giving, the sweetness of innocent little eyes, the moments where the world seems to breath in unison in awe and wonder at the eternal gift of the Savior.
Flickering candlelight services, dropping change in red buckets, shopping lists, cookie bake offs, the crowds, and amazon boxes piled at the front door (because who has time to stand in line?)

Every year, I imagine that this will be the year when December will move more slowly. We will do all of our traditions, but it will be a waltz instead of a sprint to finish. Every year, I have the highest hopes, but each IMG_2044December when school calls off for break, the clock goes into overtime and it feels like we barely squeeze everything in before Christmas Eve.
I know we should move slower, lean into the moment, seize the day, and all of that, but it just seems impossible.

I snapped this photo the other day as my middle girls stood in line with their “babies” to get their “coffee”. My heart turned over as I looked at IMG_1016them, my beauties, standing there chatting away, coffee in one hand, doll in the other. The few handfuls of moments that I have with them are fleeting indeed. One day in the not-so-far-away, my girls will be real mamas juggling babies and life and traditions all their own. They will feel squeezed too as they create childhood magic and build love into their own families. They will need to learn to rest and breath and take it all in.
As I look back on our chaotic December, I know it was busy, but it was beautiful. When I accept that “crazy” simply is a part of our traditions, especially for this season in our parenting when everything is loud and messy, I find that I can “rest” even when we are moving quickly.

Rest looks like laughing at the messy, delighting in the noise, lowering my standard of “clean” during Christmas break to allow for games, puzzles, make-believe, and fun without homework. And when school starts again and schedules make life less crazy, hopefully I’ll remember that resting, and finding delight in the now, is more important than checking off all those boxes, matching up socks, and always having a clean kitchen.

Because one day, my Christmas traditions, my New Year resolutions, and my every day chaos will be much quieter. I’ll be holding coffee in one hand and a book in the other, without a baby on my hip.
These days are fleeting indeed.
Lean in and learn to rest in the middle of the crazy!

Image

Seasons

Tags

, , , , , ,

IMG_1141We just celebrated our oldest daughter’s twelfth birthday and I found myself astonished that so much life had passed so quickly. We’ve celebrated every moment along the way and, before I knew it, she went from buckled in an infant carrier to sitting in the front seat next to me. She knows all the words to every song on the radio. Her Instagram account is full of good friends who I know and trust and she takes selfies like a pro. She IMG_0465wears the same size of shoe as me, shaves with the same gel scent that I do, and she takes her coffee the same way I do…with chocolate. She’s careful with her money (she deliberated for 20 minutes on whether to spend $4 on a cute hoodie at a recycle store), she bakes delicacies that I would never have dreamed up, and her curiosity peeks my own interest.

Every season, I unbox her old clothes to pass on to her younger sisters and I can’t help but see her twirl and laugh in every outfit I unfold. fall-026_315921439_o
These were hers first.
She wore them, she played in them, she cried in them, and then she grew out of them.
The Minnie Mouse nightgown that she wore to her first sleepover.
The frilly, yellow Easter dress that she spilled pink juice on.
That purple top with a tie that looked so old on her then.
Those jeans with the buttons on the cuff that matched her sassy spirit.
All so small now because it’s a new season.

New clothes, new opportunities, new friends, new challenges, new growth.

dsc01337_2304670389_oMy baby girl doesn’t like pink anymore (although she likes “coral”…). She doesn’t let me do her hair in pigtails. She doesn’t need help to brush her teeth or practice her “double facts” and she doesn’t ask me to read to her.
Those days are long gone.

But she does ask me to chat with her before bed every single night.
She asks me for advice and then wisely (most of the time) makes her own choices.
She loves to spend time with me, she loves grocery shopping with me (and even for me!), she is always ready for hugs and she still holds my hand.

I have loved every season, but I’m going to keep leaning in to this one and IMG_0334keep investing in our relationship now because I don’t want to miss a sweet moment of all that’s to come.
Plus, I kind of love sharing shoes with her!

 

*This was written for Five Minute Friday

Image

Target Runs, SuperMoms, and all the comments in between

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Busy mamas everywhere know that a trip to Target with your kids will likely garnish some comments from onlookers, especially if you happen to have 3 or more children. Everything imaginable comes from the mouths of complete strangers.

Most comments are slightly snide while others are downright rude:
“What aisle did you find those in”
(where “those” refers to my children…who have ears by the way)
“You have your hands full!”
(Thank You, Captain Obvious. So glad you told me.)
“How old are you?!”
(Old enough, trust me.)
“Are these all yours?”
(umm…no, I just borrow children and stick them in my cart for fun. Wait until one of my kids chimes in and says we have 2 more at home)
“You do know how that happens, right?”
(awkward on so many levels!)
“How do you pay for all of them?”
(I would love to know how to respond to this one…)
“They sure keep you busy!”
(Do I look like I’m insanely busy? Because this is my chilled out look… :-))
“Are they all from the same father?”
(Yes! Not that you should ask.)
“Do you have any twins?”
(No, do you?)
“Better you than me”
(Yes, I definitely agree!)

Some are non-verbal:
Shaking their heads after making eye contact.
Sighs and moving away as if I have the plague.
Chuckling while walking away.

Then there are the “positive” comments (where I think people are genuinely trying to complement me):
“You must have a lot of patience”
“I don’t know how you do it.”
“You’re truly amazing!”
“You are superwoman!”

I generally just shrug, smile, and say something like
“we have a lot of fun together”
or
“I couldn’t imagine doing life without my treasures”,
but then I saw a friend’s Facebook post about his wife homeschooling their 3 older kids and taking care of their 4th baby and I found myself getting ready to type, “Woah! She’s superwoman!

I meant it as a complement, I really did.
That seemed like a crazy, ridiculous task from the outside looking in.
I could almost see myself shaking my head and wondering, “How does she do it?”
Then I looked at myself, homeschooling and raising up 6 blessings, wife, and friend, involved in ministry,
and just ran my first marathon and I realized something, we are all super amazing moms!

The truth is that when I had one baby and was trying to learn to balance groceries and budgets and diapers and husband and church, I felt like I was maxed out! I couldn’t possibly imagine doing more.
And then Baby #2 came along.
And I learned how to adjust
And a different ministry opportunity with teen moms started up.
And I learned how to grow.
And then we moved to seminary.
And I tried to acquire some patience.
And then I started homeschooling.
And I learned more than my kindergartener
And then we had another baby.
And balance became an essential
And then….and then… and then….


The point is that we all feel like we are drowning sometimes,
no matter how many kids you have
or what your day looks like.
And we all have our days when we feel like “we got this” too.
So, maybe next time you see a mom or dad with more kids than you and you feel like they must possess some secret super-powered-patience, remember that you are just as amazing.

We all look “awesome” at different times to different people just like we all have our ugly days too.
(No one saw me when I went to Target in my pajamas, tousled hair, and without makeup, right?!)

Next time you see a mom doing fabulous (or when you see her struggling), take a second and just say,
Hey – you’re doing awesome!”
And remember that we’re all in the same boat, despite what it might look like some days.