I Don’t Know How You Do It!

There is a thing that people say.

how you do it

People have said this to me (or some variation of it) regarding my divorce, my surgery in November, my near death, having a child in the NICU, taking the kids to the grocery store (honestly, I’m not sure how I do that one either), or just for having six kids.  I know that my friends who’ve lost a child, friends with special needs children, single moms, people who’ve had hard things happen, I know they’ve all heard it too.

“I don’t know how you do it!”
“I couldn’t do it.”
“I’d never be able to handle that.”
“I don’t know how you got through that.”

And I think people mean well.  They’re trying to encourage, trying to ascribe strength and courage to the person living the hard thing.  I hear it a lot about going home without Nora, or about her NICU stay for 8 weeks.  And it’s not a statement that hurts.  I think it’s just a statement that baffles.  Because maybe we don’t feel strong.  Maybe we don’t feel courageous.  Maybe we’re just doing our best to survive.  Maybe we’re just getting through it.

We don’t choose the hard things that come our way.  And we don’t know what we can do until we don’t have a choice about it.  I didn’t choose to have a child in the NICU. I didn’t choose to have placenta percreta.  It happened to me and I had to muddle through it as best as I could.  My friend didn’t choose to have a child die and another become gravely ill.  My friend didn’t choose for her newborn daughter to die days after birth.  My friend didn’t choose for her son to be born with a rare disease that has caused him a lifetime of hard days in his almost six years.  None of us sign up for these hard things.

If I had looked into the future and seen November and December when I was a younger mother, I would have said I couldn’t do it either.  But when the time came, no one was going to do it for me and I had no choice.  I had to do it.

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I don’t either, but here’s what I do know.  God offers grace for every hard thing.  God offers strength for every hard thing.  God offers courage for every hard thing.  His mercies are new every morning.  And so, when these hard things come our way…we just do them.  We just live.  

We just live.

And sometimes we handle things better than other times, but we live through it.  Because there isn’t a choice.

And if we open our eyes to His Hands on our lives, we can see those new mercies and see those good gifts and see how He holds our arms up through these impossible things.

I don’t know how I do it either.  I don’t know how we do it.  But we do.

All of us.  We live.  We survive.  We grow.  We change.  We receive His goodness.  We accept those new mercies and we keep on going.  We live.

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