Thursday, September 15, 2016

When You Can't Make One More Adult Decision (Where are the Adults Around Here Anyway?)

Overwhelmed and in over my head don't quite explain how I feel most days. 

The baby years have faded mostly into big kid years with only one lone preschooler lingering in every ounce of her four years old, and we now have the privilege of parenting teens, too.

I thought I would be less tired at this point now because most of our five children sleep through the night at least the majority of nights during the week, and truthfully I am much more physically rested than the days of mothering babies and toddlers.

But emotionally and mentally the exhaustion of this phase of motherhood is as real as the physical fatigue of the first days of motherhood because the older our loves grow the more complex life becomes and the more the decisions become ones that boast bigger outcomes. 

Most often lately, the circumstances with our kiddos have been so complex, so filled with the grays of life, so completely huge and life altering, I called my husband completely overwhelmed one morning and blurted out, "Where are all the adults around here anyway? I keep looking around for the adults so I can go tell them what's going on and they can fix it ... How on Earth is that we are the adults here?"

He laughed. I laughed. And yet the decisions still sat on our shoulders by conversation end. They still remained. 

That same morning after my desperate phone call, I drove reluctantly to our first Mothers of Preschoolers (because I still have one!) get together at church and on a morning where I desperately wanted to not make one more stinkin' decision ... I was faced with a decision to put a ticket in one of seven or eight giveaway buckets. Seems like #nobigdeal mixed with a little #firstworldproblems, I know, but when you are in the midst of making life-altering decisions for everyone in the family, sometimes you just can't make one more.

So I put my ticket in the only bucket that seemed to make sense:

And then I won.

It was like God Himself was like, so maybe you need to laugh a little more because I see you. I see you and your white flag waving. I see you and your want to just hand off the daily decisions -- major and minor -- to someone else. So hand them off to me.

And that's the truth of it: I don't feel like I can adult most days because most days I feel like there's not enough of me to handle the heavy that comes at our kids and our family.

But I don't have to do it alone, empty and shaking. 

Later that very afternoon, God reminded me of two things:

Fear not.


Seek first the kingdom.

These are two calls to truth Jesus casts out to hearts entrenched in worry and fear. First He tells us not to fear and then He tells us how to refocus our attention:

Seek first the kingdom.

As a mom who is feeling increasingly pulled toward creating a place of community and life within these four walls, that means I'm intent on building the kingdom in our home and in the hearts of our children and each other through love and kindness, patience and truth. 

So my most important decision daily is the one that seeks first the King to feed my own spirit and allow Him the space to refresh my own soul so that I can build the kingdom in our home and in our hearts through the overflow of my own heart. 
"I thought again about how ministry and the need to help another, soothe a child, confront sin, share wisdom from scripture never happens at convenient moments. It happens amidst the craziness of life. And whenever we are squeezed, what we have stored within will come out." -Sally Clarkson
I haven't yet used my new cup, but I have intentionally left it living on the counter so that every time I feel overwhelmed by adulting I can remember that I don't need to do it all alone. As I seek to make best decisions, seek the Kingdom, I can first seek the King. 

I don't have to adult out of empty. I can adult out of the overflow.

I just need to stop long enough to let the Him refresh, refill, restore and be renewed enough so it can all spill over. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

What God Can Do

She wasn't looking for a family. 

She didn't want anything from us. She just came because other people said she should -- it would be a good opportunity -- and to spend time with her sisters, the two girls we adopted internationally last year. 

It was scary and different and unlike anything she knew. But she came anyway.

We didn't know what to expect either. We just knew she was our girls' sister and there was something about her. 

God kept laying it on our hearts to invite her for the summer -- three whole months of togetherness. It was scary and though a lot like hosting also so very different. Our older girls have lived so much life before coming to us, and that life is one we don't always understand or know. Plus what do we know about parenting teenagers? We're still being initiated by fire having been parents to a teen for only a year. But we jumped in anyway.

Because when God leads you down a path, He always makes a way.

This summer God showed us what He can do through an imperfect family filled with imperfect people who mess up time and again but keep showing up time and again, trying to respond to all of the hearts in our home with the same loving kindness he extends to us ... Apologizing time and again when we fall short of kindness and love. And through prayer and listening, laughing and crying, sharing and understanding, He showed us, despite all the future unknowns, one thing that wraps my heart in peace: how six could become seven. 

There is much uncertainty. We don't know what the future holds for our family; we don't know the path ahead. But we know this beautiful soul is part of this family one way or another. Whether some of us are here or there, matters but yet it doesn't change what our hearts understand: we are now seven. 

This is the work of God, this is what He does --  He takes our hesitant yeses, He takes our willingness to show up imperfectly and He does more than we could ever ask or imagine. He is the God who multiples.