We snuggled up on opposite ends of our oversized couch, sunshine streaming in the window enough to light the room that perfect hue of morning soft, of peace. She had come over with coffee in hand, one for each of us, because all attempts to catch up at an actual coffee shop seem to be thwarted by little people these days. But friends who get that, who can walk in to your home during naptime and squeeze one hour of heart sharing in to their day, and your day, they are a special class of blessing.
With my legs folded up underneath me and hands wrapped around my warm latte, she started with the question we all start with, the default, the one that is clear enough to be universally understood but flexible enough to be taken to any level one chooses to answer with.
“Katie, sweet friend, how are you?”
Maybe it is the season I am in, but the days feel so long. I am up before the sun comes through my eastward office window every morning, circling phrases in God’s word with the intention of carrying their truth far in to my day, but the impact so often lingers only as long as it takes me to walk up the stairs when the first little feet start to pitter patter above me.
I get breakfast ready, fill the baby’s bottle with milk and more often than not have to prop him up with a pillow—holding the third child is becoming more and more of a luxury time does not always allow me these days. I find the preschool bag and finally remember to look at the notes the teacher sent home the day before. We needed to help refill the class snack closet? I’ll grab some animal crackers next time I am at the store. I play hokey pokey with my words for ten minutes before I finally convince the four-year-old to let me comb her hair, and then I listen to her tell me a dozen times how much it hurts when I do. It does not hurt, it’s just part of the deal to tell me it does. I get the two-year-old’s school bag and fill it with his favorite snacks, things he will be motivated to work for at therapy, food that he will happily pick up his picture cards, matching them to the correct name, and hand them to the therapist for. We find socks and shoes and pants and shirts and does any of it match? It does not matter. If it’s clean, or clean enough, it works.
And we are off. One parent does preschool drop-off and another does therapy and the baby goes along for the ride. It’s 8:30am. The whole day is still ahead of us and I already feel like a crazy person and didn’t I read something this morning about nothing being outside of Jesus’ control?* Someday I will remember with clarity, and maybe some application, what I read just three hours earlier.
But I am good. I’m so good. Because this is all I ever wanted. This life, with little mismatched socks and long blonde hair that hates to be combed and three small people who need me for so many things, it is my dream job, and I don’t deserve it. It’s a contradiction of sorts, this incongruity between the life I prayed for and the feelings I sometimes have for it in the middle of the day to day minutiae. But when everyone is buckled in safely and we are all on the way to our places for the morning, I’m overcome with gratitude. What beautiful work I’ve been given to do.
So yes, I am so, so good.
I went in to this new year with many dreams for my words, for the writing I love to do. I have a book proposal and essay topics outlined in pink and yellow post-it notes on the wall of my office and I look at it every day, sometimes with confidence and sometimes with a cringe. What do you want to do with this, Jesus? Does the world even need more words right now? Of course the answer is no. The world does not need more words; we need more quiet, more listening ears. But the world does need more obedience, more humble disciples doing their best with their gifts to make much of Jesus and not make anything of themselves.
Perhaps that is the source of my tension. I really have nothing to say if I am not in some way talking about how things only make sense in my head because of God, and didn’t I just read that nothing is outside of Jesus’ control? But in a world full, so full, of good writers and beautiful creators and social media mavens giving advice on how to increase one’s platform, my head is leaning in and listening and reporting back telling me “yes, yes, do all those things and keep-up-with-the-hypothetical-‘writing Jones’. But my heart pauses, telling me that my words should only be building a platform for the gospel to stand on, not me. Never me. What on earth do I actually have to offer from that platform?
But I am good. I’m so good. Because this is a beautiful tension to wrestle out. This life with a love of words and an even greater love for Jesus, it is my privilege to do the hard work of creating something meaningful but staying small in the process. It’s a contradiction of sorts, this incongruity between the dreams of ‘being a real writer!’ and the conviction that I am supposed to be the smallest, most insignificant part of that dream. But at the end of the day— or maybe I should say at the end of an essay— when somehow my own heart is still and in awe of the way God is weaving every detail of our stories into the most glorious picture, I’m overcome with gratitude. What beautiful work I’ve been given to do.
So yes, I’m good. I’m so, so good.
There are a hundred moving parts to our days, and every one of us has a posture toward God that affects how we handle, and what we build with, all of those parts.
Some days it is hard, it is really hard.
Some days it is fun, it is really fun.
Most days it is a mix of those things, like life generally is. We rejoice and mourn, celebrate and repent, gather and find solitude, and do our best to be busy with the right things.
So how am I?
I am a sinner saved by grace. It’s a contradiction of sorts, this incongruity between the life I deserve and the one I have been given because of grace. I am still figuring this all out, and I think I always will be. But when I think about that question, “How are you?” and I hold out the things that make up who I am, and I know what—I know Who—they are all for, I’m overcome with gratitude. What beautiful work I’ve been given to do.
In all of it— in the mothering and cleaning, the disciplining and special-needs-learning, the good work of words and the important work of loving others, in all things, God has supplied all I need not to make it easy, but to make it.
So I’m good. I’m so, so good. Because God is. May that always be my answer.