We just welcomed baby number five into our home!

Life is busy.
My house is messy.
I live on less than four hours of sleep, yet somehow, school gets done.

When baby number four arrived on the scene, a couple years back, someone told me that my focus needs to simply be on survival. At that moment, I determined that I did not want to only survive, but to thrive in whatever season of life I am in. Yes, having a newborn in the house means I need to slow things down a bit, but that does not mean life has to completely come to a standstill. Rather than letting my guard down and wallowing in self-pity that my life is busy and challenging, I am determined to push through these times and let God do His work. Yes, it is hard, but I keep reminding myself that others have gone before me and it can indeed be done.

I get stressed out pretty easily. When the sink is full of dirty pots and pans, the toilet needs to be scrubbed and two children are in desperate need of diaper changes, I have to close my eyes and pray that I can keep it together. So how in the world do I homeschool on top of it all?

Only by the grace of God.

How does a pastor raise a family, visit the sick, perform weddings and funerals all while studying the word of God and allowing it to work in his life?

Only by the grace of God.

How does a missionary leave everything she knows and loves behind to serve others?

Only by the grace of God.

When I remember that this isn’t all about me, but about serving my children, everything changes. They are the ones that need to learn. They are the ones that need to be challenged and they are the ones that this whole thing is about. It is not about me being super-woman, because I’m not, nor will I ever be.

Instead of running from the difficult tasks that unfold throughout the day, I ask myself, what can my children learn from this? By setting up an attainable chore schedule, my children learn responsibility. By expecting more independent work from them when I have to tend to the little ones, they learn discipline.

I am determined to thrive and to see to it that my children do as well, even when the going gets tough. I find that the key to success when I know a major life change is coming soon is to face it head on. Rather than holding my breath and hoping for the best I need to make a plan. If I know that I will be having a baby soon, or a move is coming up in the near future I try to make things go a tad smoother by looking ahead and preparing. Even if it is just a few things here and there, it will help the transition go a bit more smoothly.

Manilla Folders– A few weeks before the baby was due, I would go through the children’s schoolwork on Sunday nights and prepare folders for the week with “busy work.” Math, spelling, writing, basically review or work they could do on their own. This way, when I had the baby, there wouldn’t be chaos in the house, but they would still be expected to get work done. This was a lifesaver and helped me tremendously.

Freezer Meals– Whether it’s a baby, a move or something in between, having some meals made ahead of time help to take a load off. I simply freeze some meals, write the directions for how to reheat it and have the kids do it when the time comes. It gives them a sense of responsibility without stressing them out too much.

Set Up Help– Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Plan for sitters, for help with meals or help cleaning. Believe it or not, people usually want to help, they just need to know what your needs are!