Boasting in Weakness and Deciding I Can't Do It All


Life is always and forever changing: new babies, growing kids, new ideas, and changing perspectives. I feel like this last 6 months have been a season of change for our family.

The first big change happened back in December when we announced to the world that Baby #5 was on the way. I'm not sure anyone was surprised by this news, except maybe me and my husband!

I had just started using a Kindergarten curriculum with my oldest (5-year-old Reuben). I was working from home part-time (15 hours a week or more) as a direct sales consultant with Usborne Books & More. And I was struggling to breastfeed a 9-month-old, potty training a 2-year-old, and planning a birthday for the best soon-to-be 4-year-old I know. 

My plate was full. Our house was a wreck. And I was just tired all the time. The realization that another baby was coming really shocked me back into reality. I knew that *something* had to give. I just couldn't do it ALL. 

I decided to take a break in the month of January and really refocus all my energy on homemaking and decluttering. With me working so much from home, the housework always took a back burner and the disorganization was causing us all a lot of stress. 

Since most of my work was online, I instituted a no screens before noon rule in our house and instead started working on better habits for our mornings. We've always known that our kids thrive with less screen time. We've tried to limit how much TV they watch and how often they use the iPads, but I never really considered how much screen time affected ME. 

I used the time to declutter and systematically worked my way through our entire home throwing out and donating anything we couldn't live without. I started getting back to a regular school schedule with the kids and thinking more long term about their education and our plans to homeschool. 

Through that month of being more unplugged, God refocused my heart on the things that mattered most. I started to see our home environment in a new way. I realized how distracted I had been and anxious. After Asa was born, I never allowed myself to just sit and enjoy life with four kids. I was always busy, working, and always online. 

By the end of January I felt happier and more contented than I had in a long time. Seeing the change in our home was enough to convince me and my husband that I needed to stop working. 

It wasn't an easy decision, financially or emotionally. I was so afraid I would later regret the decision and losing all that I'd worked to accomplish. I kept telling myself if I could just get caught up on laundry and get a meal plan that worked then surely I could somehow manage to do it all. Maybe working and raising 5 kids wouldn't be *that* bad? Other homeschool moms I know seem to do everything, why couldn't I? 

I've always been the kind of person to take on too much. I used to think it was my independent nature, but more and more I'm realizing it's just pride. I want to think that I can do it all. I'm strong, confident, smart, and capable! 

Except when I'm not. Scripture says it's in our weakness that Christ is made strong, and so often I think that God allows me to be brought low by tiredness, anxiety, and the noise of the world so that He can remind me that it's His strength, not mine that matters. 

I've always loved the picture of the Proverbs 31 woman who is able to do it all, working, raising children, charity, homemaking; but if that's our picture of a perfect women, then aren't we all doomed to failure? 

No one can do it all, at least not on our own strength, and maybe that's the point. Maybe when we look at the ideal women we are meant to see our own failure more clearly. As I compare my life to her's all I see is my own weakness, and I realize that I desperately need help. I desperately need a Savior. I need His Spirit to guide my day, protect my heart, and lead me to the best use of my time. 

There are still days when I struggle to really unplug and slow down. It's so easy to get distracted by the world of possibilities at our fingertips, to say yes to every good opportunity, be involved in every conversation, and I forget to look up and be content in the life right in front of me, my kids, my husband, my home. 

However, it's in admitting my own weakness, my inability to do it all, that God has given me peace and joy. 

So today I will boast in that weakness. I will admit that most days I'm in over my head. I struggle to be content. I can't do it all. I fill my plate too full and let the things that matter most suffer. I struggle to be still and trust that God's way is always best, even when it requires sacrifice. 

I can't do it all, but that's okay because Christ already has. His grace is enough for this life and the next. And if I lean on His grace and trust in His strength, then thankfully that will be enough. 

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:19

The Naughty List


Christmas is one of my favorite times of year. I LOVE buying presents for my kids. Giving gifts is such a joy and seeing their faces light up with excitement is worth every penny we spend. Gifts are given from our hearts, and when it comes to presents we try to be open and honest with our kids about where they come from, meaning in our house Santa is just pretend and a fun game we play.

When my kids were younger we didn't even bring Santa up, but now that Rooster and Cupcake are old enough to enjoy and understand the game we seem to talk about Santa Clause A LOT. They are just at the age where believing and pretending go hand in hand. It's all real to them, no matter what we say!

However, the other night I overheard a conversation between my husband and my 5-year-old that made me thankful for our truth-telling. They had just gotten done reading a story that involved Santa going down his list and checking it twice. 

My 5-year-old started the conversation with, "Dad, Santa only brings toys to good boys and girls." 

"That's right. He brings sticks and rocks to the bad boys and girls." my husband said. After all, that is how the Santa story goes. 

Then with a quiver in his voice my 5-year-old said, "But dad, I don't want to get sticks and rocks." 

Now, my 5-year-old isn't a bad kid by most standards. He can be disobedient, energetic, frustrating, and sometimes completely oblivious to everything I say, but he's fun, clever, and often eager to help. I adore being around him and watching his passion for facts and details grow. I would put him on the good list every time, but maybe I'm  a little partial {wink, wink}

However, in that moment my sweet Rooster recognized that Santa might not see him in the same way. Because if Santa knew about the times when he was unkind and disobedient and "sometimes mean" as Rooster says, then Santa surely wouldn't bring presents to our house. 

With wisdom my husband spoke with reassurance, "Son, remember Santa isn't real. He's just pretend. Mom and I give you gifts because we love you." 

The truth brought tears to my eyes. 

Because honestly, my son isn't good. Neither am I. We've all sinned and no amount of kindness can erase those moments of wrongdoing. They taint us and leave us all stuck on the naughty list.

But God is gracious. His list isn't about who has been naughty or nice, but who has been forgiven. His blessings, His good and perfect gifts, are given purely out of love.

Of course, I'm pretty sure this deep truth was lost of my 5-year-old last night. After a moment of reflection he smiled and said, "Dad, if Santa brings sticks and rocks we can just build a camp fire! I like camping."

We all laughed out loud at that! 

When it's all said and done, no matter what Santa brings to your home this year, I pray that we remember that the gifts that really matter are always given freely. When it comes to our heavenly Father, it's not about working to get on the nice list. We don't have to fear that God will give us sticks and stones or withhold our blessings as punishment for sin. God doesn't work that way. 

When we are in Christ our blessings are always given freely and without measure, not blessings like presents wrapped under the tree, but of grace, peace, and strength beyond all understanding. Blessings of forgiveness and security of eternal life. 

I pray your home is filled with these good and perfect gifts this year, and that everything you gift this Christmas is given and received in love.

Hello, again!


It's been a long time since my last blog post. I'm reminded just how long when I see those old posts coming up in my time hop on Facebook and I have to admit, they always make me sad.

I'm forgetting too much. I used to think that stopping to write, reflect, and share was a luxury. However, when your kids grow as fast as mine do you are bound to miss something if you don't make these small spaces of time to record the little things.

Or big things.

I've not taken the time to write and reflect on our fourth child's birth yet. Maybe in the coming weeks I'll find the space to share that story.

I've not told you about how our first year of homeschooling has gone or how until a few weeks ago I was woefully ignorant on the phases of the moon or why exactly leaves changed color. Those little things you learn in elementary school that you push out of your mind.

I've not told you about the catechism lessons we've started teaching our children this year and how remarkable it is to see them internalizing truths so much bigger than themselves!

I've also not shared any of the ridiculously funny stories or how I adore the way Little Bear talks or how I find it so funny that my sweet Cupcake has turned into a second mama over night (Lord help us! I'm gonna change her name is bossy pants).

But I don't want to forget these things. Even if it takes time to stop and write them down. A little time now means means these memories are recorded forever.

So this little post is my reintroduction to the blogging world. It's my big, "Hello again!" I look forward to getting reacquainted, reconnecting, and most importantly, remembering for years to come.

My sweet baby #4 who is 7 months old now! 


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