He trusts me. Even when I don't.

Every morning my husband rises while it is still dark, prepares for his day, kisses my sleeping head, and leaves for work, trusting me to run our home and care for our children while he is gone. 
He has full confidence in me, even when I am unable to muster any for myself.

Two weeks ago I sent him a text which read, "I am a failure. I'm sorry. I have failed you because I have failed your children. I am overwhelmed and under-equipped. Every day I wake up thinking, "I can do this!" But before the clock strikes 8:00 am, I have sinned. Frustration, anger, impatience, annoyance - pick one. I am not a good mom. I don't meet all of their needs ... I don't even know if I CAN. I'm sorry. Forgive me for failing them - and for failing you."

I do not remember any of the words he wrote in response except these: 
Failure is an action, Michelle, not a person.


I have not been able to stop thinking about something else Dennis said, at Tyler's memorial service.
Boys ask, "Are we done yet?"
MEN ask, "What's next?"

Right now, I feel like a 7-year-old boy whining, "Am I done yet? Can I go to bed? I'm tired. Weary. Emotionally drained. Out of patience, kindness, and grace. ARE WE DONE YET? Please, tell me we are done!"

But I am not a boy. I am not a girl. I am a grown woman. I too should be asking, "What's next?"

Rising early when I am still tired. What's next?
Breakfast and chores and prepping for the day. What's next?
Teaching lessons, checking for understanding, grading. What's next?
Driving kids to classes and fulfilling requirements of said classes. What's next?
Shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, running errands, paying bills. What's next?
Understanding, accommodating, and adapting life and lessons for five dyslexic children. What's next?
Praying for wisdom, understanding, and compassion for our children with learning/social needs so I can serve them better and encourage them in their struggles and in their successes. What's next?
Spending intentional, purposeful, productive time in the Word and prayer. What's next?
Serving my husband, meeting his needs, encouraging and helping him. What's next?
Exercising my spiritual gifts to bless the body of Christ and honor the Lord. What's next?
Personally investing in each of my children so they feel connected and wanted by me. What's next?
Ministering to extended family. What's next?
Investing in and maintaining friendships. What's next?
Health and fitness so I am strong and able to serve the Lord and my family. What's next?

Lord! I do not want to be a petulant child who complains or grumbles about the tasks set before her. I want to be the WOMAN who does what You call her to do and then looks up eagerly to ask, "What else, Lord? What else do You have for me?"
I love being a wife and I love being a mother. Many things come naturally and are accomplished without effort because I am who You designed me to be. But there are so many things I do NOT do well, and You know how much that truth bothers me. I no longer compare myself to other moms for I know nothing is ever as it seems, but I do compare myself to Your Word, as I should, and within those pages I find myself wanting. 
I experience the fruits of the Spirit because the Spirit dwells within me, but I am not driven by joy and kindness and patience and self-control. Please, Father, teach me how to plant, harvest, and consume spiritual fruit - every single day of my life - so the fruit continually falls on the everyday parts of motherhood. 
Scripture says that Your grace is sufficient for me because when I am weak I am STRONG. But it also says, "The JOY of the Lord is your strength," so I am asking You to give me that joy! The kind of joy that provides the strength needed to do Your will because You are not finished me with me yet. Until You call me HOME to glory You will continue to accomplish Your purposes and plans for my life, and there will always be a "next."
I want to be faithful, Lord. To You, to Dennis, and to Micah, Luke, Caleb, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie.
On my own, I will never succeed, but with YOUR joy and YOUR strength I can do anything you ask of me, and when I do, I will be teaching my children - to do the same.

As I look at these faces and think about the role God has chosen me for, with all of the beauty and struggle, trial and triumph that accompanies motherhood, there is one verse that keeps spinning through my mind.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. I Corinthians 15:58

Thank you, Dennis, for reminding me that failure does not define me. When I do fail (a verb, not a noun!), it is an opportunity for the Lord to show me my weaknesses, remind me how much I need Him, and strengthen me through the power of His might. Thank You for believing in me and trusting me when I do not trust myself. You are good for me, and I need You. Michelle