I suppose one of the main questions I'm asked when people see me with all my children is "How do you do it?" usually followed by "I can't even keep up with the two that I have." My standard answer has become, "One day at a time and by the grace of God." Which is true. I decide not to worry about what tomorrow will bring and just focus on each day at a time and trust God's grace to help me with whatever that day brings. Now saying that doesn't mean that I don't plan ahead. My day is full of schedules and plans. I don't think a large family works as smoothly without some kind of direction. But what I want to focus on today is the grace that comes from God that helps me with each day. I recognize that I could not do what I do without Him.
I start each day with a prayer that God will help me face whatever challenges I'm going to face that day and to react to those situations like He would have me react. I pray for grace, wisdom and discernment. I realize that I have a wonderful opportunity every day to show God's love to my children by my actions. I take very seriously my calling to my family and realize that every day is a gift. Do I ever mess up? YES. That's where God has taught me to be humble and ask for forgiveness. That in itself teaches my children that they are not perfect and how to humble themselves and ask forgiveness.
I grew up in a divorced home and didn't have my parents together from the time I was five years old. So, I love to read Christian books on parenting skills. Some of my favorites are, The Bible, Keeping Our Children's Hearts by Steven and Teri Maxwell, How to be a Hero to Your Kids by Josh McDowell and Dick Day, Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell (I think everyone who has children should read this book even if you don't homeschool), Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel and Bringing up Boys by James Dobson. Each night I also read a short devotional called A Cup of Comfort, Devotional for Mothers by James Stuart Bell and Jeanette Gardner Littleton.
I have learned, through these books, skills on how to be more patient, kind, and understanding, to have a meek and quiet spirit and how to see everyday as a gift and enjoy my children because they do grow up way too fast. I don't claim to have mastered all these skills but I do work on them everyday. I am thankful that having patience is not difficult for me. I do not anger easily and I'm pretty laid back and easy going. I still become frustrated sometimes and could always use more patience, just as God has always had patience with me.
I will leave you with a few encouraging verses that I try to keep in mind and hope that they can encourage you with what God has called you to do as a parent to His precious children.
"Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh everyday." Lamentations 3:23
"Guard what God has entrusted to you...May God's grace be with you." I Tim. 6:20-21
"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart..." Proverbs 15:30
"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." I Peter 3:4
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13