"I don't know how you do it..."

Another one-liner that I often hear. Only this one is more often spoken not by strangers, but those who know me: friends, family members, acquaintances. The tone in which it is heralded is never the same...sometimes it's accompanied by a head shake, bug eyes, or a sigh. Other times it's paired nicely with a hug and a "atta girl!" but more times than not it is the former reaction that I get. And I always ponder after these words are spoken "I just do", "do I have any other option?" "how do you do it?".

I believe that because Mike and I desire and have been called to live this "hands free/hands full" kinda life, that we are often perceived as an oddity of sorts. When I mean "hands free" I mean we have freely given God reign in every area of our lives right down to the one thing most couples hold on to or take charge of the most beside their money, our family size. When I say "hands full", I simply mean that while we don't have new flashy things, no brand new cars (I think something cosmetic breaks on our almost 14 yr old odyssey once a week now), and we don't take real vacations, we are FULL with all we need (and more) and have more blessings than we ever expected. (Although it is easy to sometimes become envious of another smaller family's travels or nicer house or vehicles if our hearts and minds stray)

Is it easy? No way! A humans natural inclination is to be selfish, to seek personal gratification and nix Gods voice. But the contradiction is this: there is complete freedom in it. Doing life Gods way is unmatched, but be prepared for the stretching and molding it brings. I am daily being refined and sometimes it's "painful" and some times I take back the reigns, but to my detriment only. I don't want control of how I "do it" because it's not worth "doing" unless God is in it.

I believe God meets us in the midst of our situations and while I won't pretend that I have it all together everyday just because I'm often perceived as a "super mom" figure (which I reject...I'm just a regular woman who receives an abundance of grace everyday), I cannot get through each day on my own strength. I've tried, it's stupid.

And I honestly look at other people and think those things thought about me "how do they do it?". I look at my gorgeous sister that lives alongside zero family besides the amazing husband God gave her and am in awe at how she's thrived caring for twins for almost a year now. I look at these families I'm blessed to know that live with their children on these mission fields, giving their lives to the Gospel cause. I even have a beautiful cousin that has been a missionary to Thailand for about a decade now and she's single and rocks it I tell you! I am in awe of her too! I have so many mothers I look up to and desire to learn from, they are all priceless to me. There is inspiration all around me and I am blessed to have these little masterpieces to draw hope and encouragement from. And in comparison to them, I feel very small. I feel like my impact is small. Like my day to day is less adventurous and mediocre in my little starter home in suburbia.

I only thrive and succeed at the plate I have been handed because of Gods mercy, love, and grace. Not because I have great ideas sometimes, or because I dare to act silly and purpose to make childhood as awesome as I can for my kids, all those things are great but I could do none of them if not for Gods hand in my mothering. He has to be front and center and those days and times when I don't put Him there, I suffer. You don't see those times, but they're there. And almost all of those times I'm too prideful to ask for help....or I'd rather just press thru martyr-style. Sometimes I think, "if God really wanted me to have help, He'd have one of my mothers call me right now, or a friend bring us dinner". And then I feel weak if I ask....(it's quite debilitating to have my brain sometimes.) So I'm a mess sometimes, but that's okay because my God isn't. And some days I doubt my purpose, but God reminds me that the purpose He has for me is important and more than worth it.

So how do I do it? How do I manage all those things stacked high on my mom plate everyday? I do it with my hand in Gods, we do it little by little, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year because this is what God has called us to. And this motherhood kinda life is a journey, not a drag race. (I live behind a drag strip so this seemed a most appropriate comparison...:)) I hope that every mother that reads this knows that whatever your "mom plate" holds that you are equipped by God as the perfect person for the plate you have. And if there are things on that plate that are keeping you from your husband or your children or keeping you from being the best mom you can be, trash those things. Take Gods hand and keep "doing it". For with God all things are possible.

-Alicia