People often ask me "How do I do it?". What they mean is, how do I manage a household of 6 children, home school, keep up with the household chores and not lose my mind. The thing is, without God's grace I really don't. Often God likes to remind me of this. Sometimes I forget I have limitations, I try to do things in my own strength and then it seems that God will withhold his grace from me. I will then end up in tears and completely overwhelmed until I realize how weak I really am, that I need him for everything I do and surrender myself again at his feet.
It also is never a good idea to compare ourselves with others. We must remember that we do not always see the full picture of other people's lives. What works in one family might not work in another. If we compare ourselves with others we are always going to feel inadequate, but is that what the Lord is saying to us?
2 Cor. 7:10 says that "Godly sorrow leads to repentance, without leaving regret, leading to salvation but a worldly sorrow leads to death." If it is the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin then there is hope and the Holy Spirit will give us the grace to change but if we get down on ourselves because we do not feel we are measuring up to the standards of the world then that can lead to despair which is not good for our soul.
Sometimes we may have a hard time discerning the Lord's voice from the voice of the world. An important thing to remember is the Lord likes to encourage. About a year ago I was at a homeschool support group meeting. Some women were sharing with us how they do scripture verse memorization everyday with their children that stresses different positive character traits. Initially I felt a heaviness in my chest because this isn't something I was doing with my kids. The thought then came to me that what I was doing with my kids was just as if not more important. Every morning before we we start school, we pray a decade of the rosary. This is teaching my children the stories about Jesus and hopefully helping them to fall in love with him. If they fall in love with him then the law will be written on their hearts and we won't have to go through every positive character trait there is. (Disclaimer: If the Lord hasn't yet put this on your heart to do, don't fret, I didn't do this with my older girls and they turned out well and love the Lord very much!)
My main prayer has always been that God will make up for where I am lacking. Amazingly he always has answered that prayer. My older two girls who are teenagers, love God with their whole heart and desire to serve him. This amazes me because there have been days where I lost my cool, had no patience, failed to spend quality time with them and failed to give them Jesus. I can only credit God's grace.
In case it hasn't been apparent yet, I am a very visual person. I often like to envision myself leaning back into the outstretched arms of Christ and relying on his strength which I need so desperately! I also like to do visual type prayers for my children. I like to visualize the Sacred Heart of Jesus and then in my mind, visualize each of my children, one at a time and place them into his Sacred Heart. Then I leave them there, trust God with them and not worry about them.
I once told my older girls about my vision of placing them in Jesus' Sacred Heart. They got a kick out of that and visualized themselves being shrunk and being picked up by the back of the shirt with their little legs flailing. It may seem silly but I think it has worked for me!
As parents, we are often hard on ourselves concerning our parenting ability. Instead let us trust that we are clay in the Potter's hands and the Potter knows what he is doing. Let us not question the Potter's ability or how long we think it is taking him to mold us. Instead let us lean back into his chest, rest in him and learn what his heartbeat sounds like. Only then will we be able to be the parent we dream of being.