Oh wow. You are busy.

This post originally appeared on Not Quite Qualified on March 9, 2014. Like so much... much is the same and much is different.

I hear those words on a daily basis. It's usually followed by "I don't know how you do it." And I sometimes nod. Other times I want to cry and curl up in a ball and just hide under the covers to watch endless episodes of Parenthood for days on end. Somedays, I feel like I must be doing something right - that the fact that I can juggle so much is a testament to my personality.

We went to church today, and I was able to meet one of my sweet friend's mom's after the service. We talked about our littles and some of the day-to-day struggles, and after I delved a bit into my life, my friend's mom turned to my husband and asked him if he was the Stay-at-Home Dad. It was a sweet question and completely warranted. It's one we've wondered about endlessly, and we've decided for now that attending daycare (and therefore both working full-time) is the absolute best thing for our three littles.

Still, there is no way I would ever be able to begin to live my life were it not for my husband's support. He's given up more days and nights than I could ever express. He's taken all three kids to McDonald's PlayPlace or down the street to the park more times than I could even begin to count to allow me time to read and to study and to pick up the house. He shoulders so much in an effort to provide me a bit of sanity. Because when I'm not around the littles, I'm usually working or studying. It's rare that I get even a minute to myself. Unless of course I'm sick. And then I watched 12 episodes of Parenthood in one day.

It's not to say that we don't share the responsibilities. Because we do. And it's not to say that he doesn't also get time to himself. Because he does. But still, at the end of the day, Justin takes much onto himself and becomes second so that I can pursue social work and my master's degree in social work.

I wouldn't be able to do any of this without him. Not the piles of laundry. Not the endless dishes. Not the toddler themed dinners. Not the nighttime routines (which he did by himself last night so I could study). Not the sick days. Not the doctor's appointments. Not the court dates.

Often I think about giving it all up. About forgetting grad school specifically. And I wonder about the career path I've chosen. There are times I'm sure Justin wishes I would give it all up. But he would never ask me to or demand that I do. Because, somehow and some way, it works. this crazy, hectic, always going life, works.

We do get tired though. There are nights when we can barely crawl into bed. There are mornings when it hurts to wake up and times when we both feel sick from pure exhaustion. And we ask and wonder (sometimes out loud and sometimes silently) if we can truly do this for the rest of our lives.

Usually, when we get to the ends of our ropes, God does something to show us that He's still there. And then He lengthens our ropes - sometimes a lot and sometimes just a little. But always the rope is lengthened.

How thankful am I for that. How grateful am I that in those many, many moments of weakness and guilt and questioning Jesus is there to tap me on the shoulder and whisper (and sometimes yell) in my ear that He's bigger than all of it and that if I would just let go and focus on Him....

I spend most days feeling guilty. I feel like I am constantly taking time away from some aspect of my life. If I work too much, I lose out on time with the littles and my husband. If I hit my snooze button for an hour (or longer), I miss out on time with Jesus. If I eat dinner with my family, I might not answer a call for work. If I go to bed early, I likely will not finish all of the reading I have for grad school. It's a continuous cycle, and I feel lost inside of it - much like socks go missing each time a load of laundry is started. And yet, somehow, it's all alright. Just like it's okay for socks to somewhat mismatch, it's okay for me to go to work with no make-up and to miss picking up the littles from daycare. It's okay because I'm still here - doing the best that I can, just as every other mother and father does.

Jesus has been reminding me that guilt does not come from Him. He's also repeatedly showing me that He has brought me to where I am that and that He placed Justin in my life so that we could walk through this season (and many others) together. Jesus has also been reminding me that I do so much more than I think I do and that I do it for the benefit of my family.
I take care of much of the behind-the-scenes matters. I go to WIC appointments. I schedule doctor appointments. I pick out clothes. I manage to get all three littles to daycare in time for breakfast (most days). I do the laundry (most weeks). I wipe snotty noses. I know the tell-tale signs of littles who are getting sick. I rock the littles when they wake up at night. I answer calls from the daycare and coordinate with Justin on who is picking which sick little up. I dedicate time to my job, to people's lives. I read. I study. I write papers. I edit other's papers. And through it all, I love people.

I love my husband. I love our littles. I love my clients. I love those I work with. I love my friends and my family. I even love the people that often seem and feel unlovable (though I have to constantly go to Jesus for that one). I do a lot. I am busy. But we all are. And Jesus works in us and teaches us through it all.

There's no life that is inherently harder than someone else's or busier than someone else's. At least, that's how I believe. Yes, some schedules require a bit more maneuvering and creativity. Yes, some people fall on harder times while others seem to sail through life. Yes, some people get sick with cancer and those don't. But we are all given the lives we are for a reason. I would struggle to walk in the shoes of a stay-at-home mother of one, and she might stumble in my shoes. And that's a beautiful thing. It's a reminder of who Jesus is that we are not all called to live out lives that directly resemble one another.

The other thing that Jesus has been reminding me of? How beautiful it is to remain silent. How wonderous it is to listen. I'm still working on this one as I have a tendency to talk, talk, talk, but He's showing me that it's good not to respond and that it's okay to simply emphasize. And to remind myself, and anyone who might listen, that Jesus is over it all and that He sees our lives - how different and how similar they are - and knows what each of our specific needs are.

So, yes. I am busy. But so are you. And Jesus? He's the busiest of them all.

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