Wow…it’s been awhile. Over the past month I’ve been consumed with writing for my two graduate classes, and- to be honest- I just haven’t had any creative energy left over.
Our family has been enjoying our summer vacation together, and we’re chugging along, taking life day by day. The past two weeks we were able to visit family and friends in my home state of Illinois. It was a wonderful trip, and it was our first with the newbies. Seeing them play with their new cousins, light sparklers at Nana and Papi’s house and put on an Escamilla Talent Show was worth the 14-hour drive in two separate vehicles (we don’t have a large van…yet…).
The older kids were happy to visit people and places they have been missing, and the little ones were excited to make new friends. We were excited to share all the new things happening in our lives, with my new job, Aaron’s foreign travels and all the kids are doing. About the fifth time I was asked, “How do you guys do it with seven kids??” I had to stop and ask myself the same question. I mean, my usual responses revolve around the systems we implement and the incredible servant attitudes my husband and older children have. But these weren’t ringing true in my heart, and I questioned why.
Then I realized that I was completely leaving God out of the picture. Oh, Sara…
The truth of the matter is, we can do what we do because God gives us the grace to do it. That isn’t a trite overly-spiritualized answer, people. It’s the truth. If you would have asked me five years ago if I could work full-time, raise seven children, live on a paleo diet, and pursue my graduate degree I would have laughed in your face.
Now, some of you look at my list and think to yourself, “I wish I had it that easy!” My incredible friend and mentor, Alicia Britt Chole raises three children with special needs while pursuing her doctorate degree, staying in great physical shape, mentoring women around the world, writing, studying scripture and running two non-profits. But the stunning thing about Alicia isn’t her long list of completed to-do’s. If you ever get the chance to meet her, you’ll encounter someone who lives completely in the present, listens intently, worships sincerely and has a peace that is beyond our world’s understanding. How does she do it?
Just think a moment about something you currently do that you previously said you never could.
Did you run that marathon?
Did you take the position?
Quit your job?
Live on less money than you thought previously possible?
Go on that missions trip to Africa?
Let’s just be honest, here. We don’t do these “undoable” things by simply sucking up the self-discipline and making it happen. There is more at play. In the unseen, where our weaknesses and flaws are visible, there is a grace that covers them, giving strength to the soul in need.
Don’t tell yourself (or others, for that matter) what you can’t do. That’s insulting to a God who has been dreaming about you since before you were a thought in your mother’s mind.
Don’t glance covetously at someone else’s life and ask why you can’t live that way.
Own your choices.
If God has put the desire in your heart to be a mother to seven children, YOU CAN DO IT. It may take all of your blood, sweat and tears, and then some, but God will give you the grace to accomplish what He has given you to do. That gap between our first step of obedience and the fulfillment of the dream is filled with loads and loads of grace. Accept it. Let go of your old expectations. Shed the confining skin of the old dream so you can wade in the new one.
It’s more than a verse. It’s truth: You can do all things through Jesus who gives you the strength. [Philippians 4:13]