This. Is. Hard.

One question that I get asked a lot in relationship to parenting is “How do you do it?” My answer is simple. “I have no clue.” The fact is that I don’t have a clue. I am convinced that when God called me to the realm of parenting – especialy parenting three children who are all one year apart – He knew that I would need Him more than ever. There was probably a time in my life where I would try to do it all and take credit for it all, but I’m here to tell you that the absolutely only way I can do anything in my life – including parenting three teens – I do with God’s grace, mercy, and guidance.

I’ve written here about some of our challenges and how God has definitely used them to make me not only a better parent but a better person in general. This year alone,  we joined a new church, I got a new job, I rediscovered a passion that I allowed to lie dormant for almost 20 years, and our family re-joined the world of homeschooling again.

While I am glad I followed God’s direction on all of these things, I can tell you hasn’t been easy. Part of that is because sometimes I’m not the most obedient follower of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I know – don’t judge me.

Y’all. Life with three teenagers can be amazing and fun and exhilarating. They are busy and bustling with energy, and of course, there’s always something going on. Routines are beautiful, but just when we get settled into a new one, things change. Basketball practice is rescheduled, study group session times have changed, and SAT and ACT registration dates conflict with what we put on the family calendar.

So we adjust. And we laugh. A lot. And we pray. A lot. But the truth is this: We also cry. And some days are just hard.

There’s arguing.

There’s insomnia.

There’s the clamoring for attention.

There’s carelessness.

There’s non-essential text messaging. And SPAM messaging. Those messages say things such as, “I CANNOT BELIEVE WE DON’T HAVE ANY COOKIES HERE.”

There’s provocation.

There’s clapback.

There’s tears. Because all the cookies are gone.

There’s doubt.

There’s plenty of false accusations. Will we ever get to the bottom of the cookie mystery?

There’s the constant feeling of being misunderstood.

As a mom, this is the toughest job I have ever had. Every time I feel victorious, I simultaneously feel defeated.

So do they.

“I feel defeated when your life is so busy don’t understand where I’m coming from when I need to tell you something,” says the 17-year old.

“I feel defeated when you let the other two boss me around like I don’t know anything,” says the youngest.

“I feel defeated when I try to talk to you, MOM,  about the music I’m writing and you fall asleep,” says the singer/songwriter. (Note: It was 11:00 pm on a school night.)

What. Do. We. Do? How on earth do we get past all of our very human shortcomings when you live with three other people?

The only we we know how to do it. With a bible in one hand, the consistent prayers and encouragement from good friends, and the ability to talk through the difficult times. If we don’t start with God’s word, we won’t have the truth about who He is.

Twilli Family Rules

  • If someone calls a family meeting, no matter what, we stop what we’re doing and have it.
  • We are honest about our need for prayer.
  • We get enough sleep at night.
  • We give each other space.
  • We preserve our emotional and physical health.
  • We use boundaries.
  • We pray. Radically. Unconditionally. Intercessory. Cheerfully. Thankfully. Daily.

And as my friend Christie so eloquently posted this quote by L.R. Knots on social media recently, “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”

That broken world even includes when our families are broken.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

How do you survive the hard seasons of parenting and family life?

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