The Unexpected Fruit of a Survival Season

How did you do it?

I get asked that question all the time. Mostly by parents freshly in the newborn stage of their second or third child. Trying to learn the impossible juggle of managing multiple needs. Why do they think I have the answer? Because when my second son was only 5 months old, I became pregnant with my third. No, we didn't plan it that way. Yes, we do know how it happens. When Judah was born my oldest was 3 days shy of turning 3 and my middle son was 13.5 months old. It. Was. Rough.

First, you have to know that I didn't do it beautifully. I was a mess. My house and my kids were a mess. We watched more TV than I would care to admit. We didn't get out of our pajamas a couple days a week. At one point I had to call a moratorium on play dates. All I did was survive it. Nothing fancy. Nothing perfect. There were countless tears and too many blowups amid the blowouts. I had to ask for my oldest son's forgiveness several times a day. I thought I would never see it through. That I would never be anything other than the angry, exhausted, barely-managing mother. 

I starved myself from God's Word for months before I came to my utter end. He used an unexpected source, Instagram of all places, to encourage me back into His Truth. I had become a spiritual baby again, and I needed some spoon feeding. I'm so thankful for all the women on Instagram who constantly put God's truth up to counteract the lies that fill our hearts. Then through an influence network class by Jess Connolly God encouraged me to learn to snack on his Word. I didn't have the time or mental stamina for meals of his Word, but I began to snack throughout my day and his Truth pulled me back into the shelter of His wings among the storm of my life.

Eventually, I learned to wake up with the attitude that my only expectation was that I walk with Jesus that day. Even if no naps were managed, food came from a box, diapers remained unchanged for far too long, and too much TV was consumed, but I walked through it with Jesus, it was good. That's how I survived it. With Jesus.

I came to the utter end of myself and found Jesus. God let motherhood break me so I could be rebuilt. Sometimes the only way to wholeness is to be completely broken. I grew up in a Christian home, and I don't remember a time I didn't know Jesus, but I never knew Him like this before. He sustained me not just day-by-day, but moment-by-moment. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't perfect, but I did it. I survived the fire. I came out refined. Less obsessed with my list but head full of Jesus.

I sowed sorrow, exhaustion, failures, and inabilities and now I'm reaping faith like I've never known. 

Now that I know Him like that--when I've walked with him through the rough ride of the external while managing the awful of my own sin--I'll never be the same. Last week, after grieving for the pain of the present and future trial of my uncle and his family from his stroke, I was still able to clear the dishes, turn on some music, and stand at my kitchen sink, arms stretched high and sing: "rejoice. When you cry to him he hears your voice. In the midst of suffering He will help you sing." Because I know that. I know that. I can rejoice because I know that all roads belong to Him. I can rejoice because He never leaves me to myself. I can rejoice because I have suffered and He heard my voice when my cry was only a whisper hidden deep in the dry folds of my inner soul.

He redeems the imperfect, the simple, the subpar. His power flows through our weak and weary frames. We just have to give up. Acknowledge that we can't do one minute of motherhood without his power and his grace. When you reach the end of your rope, He is the net. Fall into his redemption.

We can't survive another minute without Him.

Sitting in the loving arms of Jesus. That's how I do it.

{If you're struggling through life with a newborn, check out my friend Gina Zeidler's latest blog for more encouragement. You are not alone: