It's wonderful, but it's not sustainable... it was the repeated phrase of last year. Recognising your weaknesses and limitations feels often like an admittance of failure to me.... but ever since our fourth little man joined the gang, my limitations have become ever more apparent to me. He has been a very easy baby, and the smiliest, chirpiest little man... but the sheer number of children, the physical and emotional demands of being Mama to four has kept me on my knees. It's humbling... its hard to step down from the pedestal you've created for yourself and realise that "keeping up appearances" serves no one but your own ego.
The weakness is real. And it is, surprisingly, a gift... Because it resonates with people. It's the deep down feeling we all have - the recognition that we are not, and never will be, all we want to be.
I have been reading Proverbs 31 this week... I find the Proverbs 31 woman so alluring... so much of what she is is what I want to be... and yet, in reality, she is an impossible vision. She truly excels at all she does - marriage, homemaking, parenting, counselling, business, creativity... she doesn't just do it well, she does it exceptionally. And it leaves me feeling both inspired and exhausted at the mere thought of attempting to come anywhere close.
Because when I have a creative streak, my home looks a shambles...
When my business seems to be going well, my parenting falls by the way...
And then I reached the end of the chapter, and it hit me hard...
"A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised"
Her motivation... her allegiance... the fire behind her...
It's all of the Lord. He calls us to recognise our imperfections and weaknesses... to come humbly before him...
All of last year, I pretty much sought to be all the above, but neglected my walk with the Lord. My devotional times were few and far between, my prayer life practically non-existant, my bible reading made up of weekly bible studies and one2ones. On the outside I looked fine. On the inside I was running off my own steam.
And I couldn't do it.
I can't, and won't ever, be able to do it in my own strength.
And so I saw in the new year on my knees... recognising my arrogance and pride... and asking the Lord to help me start with him.
It meant some major changes.
I cut my bedtime back (for a night owl that was a tough call), I said no to a few things and cut back on a few others, I committed to rise earlier than the children (except Jonas... that's impossible!) and I re-set myself the discipline of starting my day in God's Word...
I can't begin to tell you the life that has breathed back into me!
I think I'm forever learning that there is a constant adjusting, changing and evolving that takes place in family life... that seasons change, priorities adjust and I need to be humble and flexible enough to recognise that.
It has been such a gift... and though its still early days, I am already seeing, once again, the treasure of beginning my day with the Saviour... peace... perspective... joy. It has been an intense seven years of newborns and night feeds, but slowly I am moving into new territory, and I am so ready for it. After months of feeling like I'm playing catch up, I am eager to parent on the front foot again, to think purposefully, to invest in relationships, to model service and sacrifice, but I have learnt that the way to do these things is not by my own efforts or strivings.
Its coming with my inability, recognising my weakness, and asking the Lord to help me do it his way.
Because the way of the cross is not easy... is not glorious... is not carefree.
But it is beautiful.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls!"