With no arrogance intended, I get asked this question a lot.
How do I work full time, mother three beautiful children, stay happily married, have a (relatively) clean house, be a volunteer leader at church, go to school full time, be pregnant and still have a little time to do the things I enjoy?
Or, from those who know my story, I get asked how I can be happy and semi-well-adjusted even having lived the life that I've lived.
Both questions have the same answer. Jesus. He's the answer to a lot of the questions in my life.
How do I keep my children motivated, encouraged, moving in the right direction, safe and growing? Only with help from Jesus.
How do I stay emotionally healthy when I have multiple women in my office each day crying their eyes out, sharing stories of the horrendous abuse they've suffered. Or when I watch children be neglected or abused and I see the pain and hurt in their little eyes... How do I cope with that on a daily basis? Jesus.
How do I move on after suffering the abuse that I have experienced? How do I let go of the memories and the pain? Jesus.
How do I make my relationship of 15 years work - and have it get better over the years instead of dull and boring? Jesus.
How do I deal with a husband who has a temper and who works ridiculous hours and never sleeps enough? Jesus.
How do I forgive myself when I repeatedly screw up and not live up to my own expectations for myself? How to I let it go when I am not a good wife or if I'm a grouchy mother or an inconsiderate friend? Jesus, Jesus and more Jesus.
So, really the question becomes, how could I get through life without Him?
I sin everyday. Some days, I S-I-N!! But He gives me grace and forgiveness and love and allows me to share them with others. He moves in my heart and softens my anger, lessens my hurt and allows me to forgive.
On days when I'm not paying attention to my relationship with Him, my temper is quicker, my feelings get hurt much easier and my focus is almost always on myself. And that makes for a person that no-one wants to be around - not even me!!
So, I make a choice. Daily. I decide to put my eyes on Him and to let Him guide my steps because I believe that not only does He do a better job of directing my steps than I ever could, but that I am better at loving people when I have my heart in tune with His.
I make a choice. Its not an easy one, and I'm not always successful, but I keep trying.
Jesus said that those who follow Him must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Him.
I believe its worth it. Its the only way I know how to get through life and still have joy.
Jesus also said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He carries the heavy stuff so I don't have to. I just make the choice to follow Him.
So really, I can't take credit at all - I'm cheating. Jesus is doing the work and I'm just following along letting Him carry me on bad days and skipping along on good ones.
Either way, I'm thankful. Because I couldn't do it without Him.
"So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
So I'll stand
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered
All I am is Yours"