Parenting

Vote of Confidence

I am a mother of seven children, currently. I know the face you just made when you read that – I see it pretty often. It’s a wonderful, busy, chaotic life that we lead. And I love it. But some days I worry that I’m falling short. Some of my kiddos come with extra, intensive needs. They require more time and attention just to function normally. Others are so extremely healthy and well-adjusted, that it would be really easy to let their needs fall to the wayside in the everyday.

I try to be intentional about spending time with everyone and paying attention to everyone’s moods and personalities. Some days I feel like I’m rocking it. Others, I feel like I’m completely missing the mark. Do my kids get enough of me? Do they know and feel that they are each so incredible?

At the finalization of our last adoption, the state closed our home for further foster placements, since we have exceeded the number of kids allowed in one home. Our case worker was here talking about the logistics of closing, and my oldest son Gavrel (who is six) overheard the conversation.

He asked, “Mom, why won’t they give us any more kids?”

“Because the state thinks we have enough kids in our family, and more would be too many.”

“Why do they think that?”

“They’re just afraid that if there are more of you here, then Mommy and Daddy won’t be able to pay enough attention to everyone the way you need.”

Gavrel looked thoughtfully into his lap for a minute, then turned his face back to me.

“But mom, they’re wrong. You can.”

I’m not sure I’ve ever received a more meaningful vote of confidence.

Faith

When my body fails.

Like many people, I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with my weight throughout my life. Over time I have been every size from a four, up to a fourteen – and back again. More than once. Some changes have been positive and empowering, others frustrating and defeating.

And then I encountered postpartum anxiety. The constant panic attack, fight-or-flight, roller coaster feeling made me sick to my stomach all the time. Some days I barely felt like I could get out of bed, and eating was definitely the last thing I wanted to do. The pounds started melting off. This is supposed to be everyone’s ideal, right? Except the pounds didn’t stop melting off. People constantly made comments about how great I was looking, but I began to feel out of place in my own body.

Today, I am smaller than I have ever been in my adult life. I weigh twenty pounds less than I did on my wedding day. I haven’t yet wrapped my mind around buying smaller sizes, and I still don’t really feel like myself. My anxiety is better overall, but still a work in progress. The weight loss has slowed, but not totally stopped.

Through it all, though, there has been grace. Even though I feel like my body is failing in a lot of ways, it continues to do what is most important. My nursing baby continues to to grow and develop without needing to supplement at all. I can still lift each of my children (and, let’s be honest, restrain them sometimes). I can still climb trees and carry car seats. Even in my brokenness, God has been good to sustain me. I’m thankful for that grace.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~Psalm 73:26

Faith

“Have you ever thought about blogging?”

Years ago, I started a blog as a personal creative outlet. Then I moved across the country and it became a way for friends and family to follow along. Next, it made the change to motherhood with me and I wrote about my kids and mothering.

But all along the way, I tried too hard to be what I thought a “ministry blogger,” “mommy blogger,” or “homemaker blogger” was supposed to be. I lost myself, and being lost burned me out. I realized that the blog just no longer fit into my personal mission or purpose. It wasn’t driving anything meaningful, but it was taking up time and mental space. And so I let it go. I had other outlets to pour into.

About a year ago, I watched the door close on fourteen years of youth ministry. One by one, my gifts and abilities were rendered obsolete in that context and I became a body taking up space in the room each week. I wrestled and prayed, cried and cried out, and finally accepted that God was drawing me away from something I had loved for so long. I grieved that loss hard.

So now what? I love to encourage people. I love to tell stories. I love to connect with others. And most of all, I love helping others understand just how deeply God loves them and wants to use them. Many years ago, I believe God told me “I created you to reveal My words to other people.” But suddenly I found myself without an outlet for that purpose. I felt like God was positioning me for something new, but I didn’t have a clear picture of it yet.

“Have you thought about putting some of these thoughts on your blog?” Jon asked me one night while we talked about life and ministry. I brushed it off. The blog was so disorganized and out-of-date, it just wasn’t the right place.

“You know, the church blog is always looking for contributors. I think you have some ideas that would work well there,” a friend told me. Jon pointed out, “Most speakers get started by writing first.” My life is so drastically different than it used to be, I thought, there’s no way I could find the time and energy to do it well.

“Katie, have you ever considered blogging? This is the kind of thing I would love to read.” A trusted mentor asked the question over dinner one night. “You know, I’ve been thinking about suggesting that you take up blogging again,” my best friend admitted a couple days later, “but I’ve been hesitant to bring it up knowing how busy you’ve been.”

Ok, Jesus. I can take a two-by-four to the head.

“I think it’s time to resurrect the blog,” I told Jon. “Yeah,” he answered, “I think you’re right.” I’ve been resisting. I’ve brushed it aside and made excuses. But if this is the next step God has for me, then I will take it. Lord, help me.