Can You Handle It

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By Kristen Johnson

vine

As 2016 begins, I am preparing for a major change in my family: we are adding baby number 3 in March.

This was a huge decision for my husband and I. Two kids seemed like a no-brainer. Vacations are created for families of four. Normal cars fit two car seats easily. Our house has three bedrooms on the same floor. One kid’s not enough; one kid needs a playmate. A third kid would undoubtedly rock the boat that had been carrying our little family of four. Needless to say, a third baby would return us to the world of sleepless nights and diapers.

But, we just felt like we should go for it, so we did.  And, here we are, on the brink of rocking the boat.

One of the main emotional obstacles that I faced when considering a third child was my own abilities as a mother.

My children are not exactly what I would call easy-going.  I think the politically correct term is “spirited.” I questioned myself: could I really handle a third spirited kid? Could I give even more attention to yet another child? Could my brain and heart be divided by three instead of just by two?

Could I handle it?
Let me tell you the answer to that question, moms and dads, friends and family.
No, I cannot.

And whatever it is that you are staring down, that thing that seems impossible and overwhelming to you? You can’t handle it either.

I’m not trying to be negative and discouraging here. I’m being truthful. We can’t handle everything well; we can’t excel or flourish or soar on our own. And I just don’t want to handle motherhood. I want to be amazing! I want my kids to be the absolute best they can be. I know that is what you want too. You want to be the best, do the best, and give the best. However, we as humans cannot do anything well without God.This is a topic Jesus addressed during his time on earth. He must have known (of course he did!) that we would be faced with tough and overwhelming situations. In John 15, Jesus said,

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (v. 5, emphasis added).

We cannot do anything of real value without the help of Jesus. We must fully rely on him, just as a branch relies on the vine for life. Being a good mother is one of the most valuable jobs we can do.  We must rely so heavily on Jesus each and every day if we want to do more than just “handle” a situation.

So, I am looking forward to this new baby. I believe that he will just draw me even closer into relationship with Jesus, the only one who can help me excel as a mother. And in those times when I feel I’m really struggling, I’ll turn to His word for truth and encouragement.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

 “Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:24).

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

So you see, friends, we are not able to “handle” everything on our own. We weren’t made to (sigh of relief!). We were made to remain attached to our source of life. Jesus is our source of life, hope, and strength. Thank goodness I have someone to turn to! I thank God every day for his help and strength … and I know my kids do too!