Surviving and Savoring

1So it turns out that having three children in the house is actually pretty crazy.

In the months leading up to Catherine and I welcoming baby girl # three into our family, we kept hearing the same line from parents who had been through the transition from two kids to three. It always went like this:

“Good luck moving from man-to-man defense to zone defense!”

I remember thinking several things whenever I’d hear this:

First, it sounds like you’re saying my life is about to get crazier. That’s wonderful. I’m so glad I ran into you.

Second, it sounds like you’re saying that this isn’t going to be easy. Is that right? I hadn’t thought of that.

Third, thanks for the terrible advice.

And now, just three weeks into the transition, I see that there’s really nothing else than can be said to parents about to enter the vortex of insanity which is the reality of being outnumbered by children who depend on you for everything. It’s such a privilege. And it’s such hard work.

Of course Catherine and I know we’ll survive. We’ll know we’ll look back on this time and it will have gone by in a flash. We know that we’re so blessed. We love our little girls so much and the minute they’re (finally) asleep, all we do is talk about how much we love them.

Parents live in this tension of savoring the moment on the one hand, and trying to survive on the other. Savor and survive. My goodness our girls are beautiful but if my four-year-old decides to change her shoes again before we leave we’re going to be here until next Christmas. All of this in one thought.

People in ministry experience this same tension. It’s demanding but it’s rewarding. Sometimes a lot more demanding than rewarding, and oftentimes we don’t see the reward for years after living with incessant demands, but faithful sowing always yields some sort of fruit in God’s timing, and whether in this life or the next we’ll eventually be able to savor the sweetness of being a part of God’s work.

Sometimes all you can do is just hang on and try to survive. And then sometimes you can step back and savor. But through it all, God is upholding you and remaining faithful. There will be seasons ahead that are crazier. And seasons ahead that are more calm. And then one day, like a breath, it will all pass away. In the meantime, just hang on and God will get you through it and teach you a lot in the process.

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