I have to admit, I usually just giggle and shrug off that question. It's not that I don't want to answer, it is just that I honestly don't know how to answer it. It is just that unless I really stop to think about it, I am not sure what they are asking...what they are talking about. Do what? What is this?
"I am not doing anything," is really what I want to say. I want to say that, because that is what I truly believe. That might sound strange, but I don't see our family as really doing anything other than what God asks from each of us. That is, to love God and to love each other. Different people express and live out that love in different ways, and we are just living it out the way God asked and continues to ask us.
You see, I like to look at and look to individuals and families who are doing a lot more than we are doing. I actually keep their photos handy (I hope that's not too creepy?!) to look at throughout each day when I feel stressed and frazzled. "Surely so-and-so is stretched more thinly than we are," I say silently for comfort. Plus, I am truly inspired by the radical faith so many 'ordinary' people are embodying. Some have 'sold it all and gone.' Others have began organizations and ministries to support, educate, and empower HIV/AIDS widows and mothers. And yet many more and opening their hearts and homes to children, locally and globally, who were orphaned. It seems God is raising up our generation of Kingdom focused people and I don't want to miss out on that fun! God is at the helm in these stories and when God is at the helm, buckle up because it's going to be an exciting ride!
In reality, when people ask how we 'do this', I know they are talking about logistics, busyness, sanity, and mental and emotional energy. What I feel like they may be asking is this: "How do you parent five children, attend seminary, work part time in ministry, love your family, and have anything left over?"
"How do we get from here to there and back again?" "How do we make it to four different soccer games per weekend?" "How do we stay sane?"
So, I would like to take three words to answer all of those questions:
I DON'T KNOW!
Ha! I know that is not a very profound answer, but it is the truth. I have no earthly idea how day after day, we get five lunches packed and five kids off to school. How we keep track of science fair projects and stuffed animals. How I engage in deep theological reflection and read The Fire Cat for the hundredth time and gain deep joy and gratification from both. How the energy and resources seem to be just enough to get through each day, with not an ounce left over.
But then I think about those questions again, and I know the truth. That truly I am not really don't anything at all, yet it is God. We have given God full access to our lives and therefore God is being allowed to work through ordinary, everyday, sinful, imperfect vessels to redeem brokenness and restore us to health. The truth that left alone to my own devices and my own strength, I would have crumbled years ago. The truth, found in 2 Corinthians 12:9 when Paul states, "[God's] grace is sufficient for you, [God's] power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
So, that is the truth. That is how we do it. We don't. God does. Love does. And now that we know the amazing things God can accomplish when we allow God access to our lives, there is no way we would live any other way. God gave us purpose. God gave us a mission. And God gives us everything we need to see the mission through.
The same is true for you. Do you know what your mission is? Have you allowed God full access to the life he has given you? If not, ask. Ask for clarity and direction and purpose. But don't be surprised if God asks you to step WAY out of your comfort zone. I promise you this: once you take that first step, the following steps are much easier to take. So go ahead, let God's strength be made perfect in your weakness. Go after that God-sized dream or passion. You will have no earthly idea how things are falling into place and mountains are being moved, but you will, you most certainly will, gain a glimpse of heaven and realize how powerful and mighty our God truly is. Praise him!