Warning: This picture does not represent real life.
Although, how nice would it be to get your hair and make up done every day?!?!
These pictures however, do.
Chubby baby and ugly selfie faces. Life is too short for beautiful selfies.
Wrestling at bed time that starts with laughter and often ends in tears. You know what I mean.
Airplane pics with no make up, a sweaty beautiful jet lagged baby and new wrinkles around my mouth.
Over the years, I've had so many people ask me; "How do you do it all?" That whole four kids thing, healthy marriage, growing and flourishing church, leading in life, juggling like a freaking clown. Yeah that whole thing.
Well, the simple answer is... I don't.
I've been called "supermom" often, but really, I'm just a smart mom. I don't actually wear knee high red boots, have a lasso on my hip, and wear the super hero outfit everyday under my cloths. Although that would be fun.
I used to buy into the lie that that you can do it all (in the same season at the same time)! And with that statement came extreme pressure that I put on myself. I lived under that pressure for so long until I got shingles (for the second time) after my 4th child was born and I realized something had to give. And if you're not aware, shingles come out when you are stressed to the max. Boo! My stress manifested itself in my body, and I needed to pay attention. Paul and I had a big talk and made some major shifts in our lives and continue to do so as needed.
So I'm going to tell you the truth about how I (we) do what we do, because I don't do it by myself. There is an army that has gathered, and from the outside sometimes it looks like "I can do it all!!!" But I'm not alone.
A releasing husband
I married the right guy. Biggest and BEST decision I made. He doesn't see me as infieror, but as a partner in crime, eh hem, I mean good. We are equal but very different and compliment each other well like a fine wine pairing. I married a man who loves to see the dreams God has put in my heart come true, as I do in his life. He is truly my best friend.
He also LOVES and ADORES our kids and doesn't see it as a secondary option to stay home with them if I am traveling and speaking somewhere. He is the head of our house, leads us, and covers us with strength and valor in every season. He is a man I will follow anywhere.
We love running together!
Kids that are called
Don't think for a second that I would ever sacrifice my children on the alter of "my calling". They ARE my calling. God put these children in my womb, and they are called to our families redemptive purpose on the earth. It's a together thing. Our family has a collective calling, and Paul and I pay attention to ebb and flow that come with each season. Sometimes my kids need more of my time in a certain season, and I need to listen to what they're really saying. I need to listen to God when the season changes, and then make adjustment accordingly. It will change year by year, but if I am truly a woman, wife, mom, daughter, friend, and leader led by Holy Spirit... I will be obedient and make appropriate changes as they're needed.
I know, I have it good. My parents literally live upstairs in the same apartment building as Paul and I live. And contrary to popular culture, my parents and Paul don't just get along, they love each other. We are a family unit that thrives living near one other. My kids run upstairs all the time and bust into Nonny and Poppy's house uninvited but always welcome. My parents give us the margin we need sometimes when the stretch is on. It's the way family was meant to function, and the way a healthy church family does too.
Another added bonus are Paul's extremely wonderful parents! They sacrificed it all in their 60's and moved from Australia to help us build the church... and they LOVE our kids as if they were there own. They have a place in Connecticut that provides a "nature retreat" from the city. Its so fun to go to Grandma and Grandpop's house!
Vanessa aka "Sessa" aka "Consuelo" aka "Nessa"
This woman is without appropriate adjectives. She swept into our lives right after my bout of shingles and has changed our family forever. We call her a "life assistant" because to call her a nanny downgrades what she actually does alongside us. She is called to our family in this season and does it brilliantly. What does a life assistant do you ask? Laundry, grocery shopping, meal planning, helping with the kids, planning activities, pick ups and drop offs when I can't be there... the list goes on. Hiring Vanessa was one of the most pivotal moves we made for our family and a huge reliever of undue stress.
A house cleaner
Only recently have we added this glorious bonus! Every two weeks or once a month, we get our house cleaned according to our budget. We make sacrifices in other areas, so that we can do a deep clean in the house and I can invest my energies in other more important things. A clean house really matters to me because it brings order to "my space" in a life that is constantly moving. The house clean releases me in particular, to not worry about things that would take up my time on saturdays or mondays when I just want to rest, relax and be with my family.
I have good friends.
My friends tell me the truth. My friends love me even when I am not perfect... And that is everyday people. My friends are iron that sharpen me. My friends believe in me and cheer me on in my race without comparison because that belief in them is reciprocated. We all allow each other to be who we are and it's a diverse group of friends. I couldn't do this life without them.
An incredible Team and Church
I can't believe the people that God has put in our Church. I really can't. We wondered if we were smoking something when we planted this church because it was honestly just 9 of us around a Central Park bench when it all began and that included our kids!!! Now there are hundreds of people that call Libertyhome, a staff and team that are anointed leaders in their own right, and we've only just begun.
No brainer. I am friends with, and my life is completely submitted to my maker and Father. I am deeply loved and in love, and out of that place, I live to please my God - the one who rescued me. Daily I choose to lean into Him... This is probably the greatest key to living in my lane.