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The time I measured our growth by lunch at Chick-fil-A

A few weeks ago I took my four children to Chick-fil-A for lunch.  We had just finished our semester of homeschooling and I thought celebrating with lunch out was a good idea.  This may not seem like a big deal to any of you who are reading this; Moms take their kids to Chick-fil-A every day.  However, for me it was huge and it was during the hour that we were there that I realized how much our family had changed and how faithful God had been.

You see a year ago, the very thought of taking my children out to eat by myself was enough to make me cry.  My two youngest weren’t walking, and the oldest two were just four and five years old.  Getting everyone into the car was an accomplishment, and I limited our errands to grocery shopping–to stores where there were two-seated carts–,Target for diapers and wipes, and occasionally the library, where I could easily use our double stroller.  The park was possible only if I could rotate the younger two between the swing and the slide.

Costco cart

Life was a juggling act and I could only handle so much in the air at once.

So, when I pulled into the parking lot at Chick-fil-A a few weeks ago, I took a deep breath and decided that it was worth a try.  The kids held hands as we walked into the restaurant and found a table.   With one in a highchair, one in a booster, and a bag of pretzels for the older two to keep everyone happy, I made my way to the counter to order our food.  I could see the kids from my spot in line and they did great.

Our food arrived at the table, and as I began tearing up chicken nuggets and divvying out the french fries it hit me:

This was doable.  And enjoyable.

Something that had seemed like such an impossible task was now working and I didn’t feel overwhelmed, tired, or irritable.  I was having fun and it was delightful to watch my children enjoying themselves.

I don’t share this with you to pat myself on the back and say, “Look at what I can do“, or “I’m such a great Mom.”  No, I share this story with you because I think it’s important to remember where we’ve been and how far God has brought us.

To remember the hard days.  The tears and frustration.  The feelings of inadequacy.  To remember our moments of deepest desperation.

kids eating a snack

And then to see how far God has brought us.  The difficult becomes easier.  The challenges are more manageable.  The pain of loss less severe.  The juggling is smoother.

Changes happen in life whether we plan for them or not. Maybe you graduated from college and find yourself without work, gave birth to your first–or fourth–baby, began a new job, lost someone you love and experience grief for the first time, moved to a foreign country, etc., etc., etc.  Each of these changes create new roles that we learn and grow into.  Change is hard no matter how much we wanted it or not.

It’s in the struggling newness of change that we find our greatest strength in a faithful God.  We can do nothing on our own.  But with Him we have the power and strength to fulfill whatever task or role He has given.  And then as He grows us into our roles we continue to depend on Him realizing how much we need Him to do anything.  His power is made perfect in our weakness.

For me, it was growing into the ability to take my children out to lunch.  In the grand scheme of life, no, that’s not really a big deal.  But for my heart, it was good to be reminded that God had grown our family and what was once so hard was doable and enjoyable.

eating at a restaurant

God is faithful in every season.  One of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs speaks of God’s faithfulness.  Part of the song goes like this:

“You are there, in every season of my soul.  
You are there, You’re the anchor that will hold.
You are there, in the valley of the shadow.
You are faithful, God.”

No matter how wonderful or painful change might be, God is faithful.  We need only to anchor ourselves in Him and He will carry us through and bring about the growth necessary to live out the tasks before us.

 

How has God grown you through change?  I’d love to hear your stories.

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3 Comments

  • Reply Lydia

    Thanks, Lauren, for this reminder. I know I needed it today!

    June 4, 2015 at 12:42 pm
  • Reply Cassidy

    Tears were inevitable upon reading your post this afternoon. i was directed to it by my sister who was the unlucky recipient of a “I-cannot-do-this-parent-thing-to-any-capacity-of-success-and-still-keep-my-ever-loving-mind” meltdown. Poor girl. But with a bored five year old, potty-training two year old, and unplanned first trimester surprise making me sick the sight of every cup of coffee I see (a real tragedy), I’ve effectively reached the end of my rope. I thought yesterday after the third tantrum of the morning, “This is never going to end. This will never get any easier. They will be preschoolers FOREVER. I’ll be soaked in urine…FOREVER. Every one lied to me.” I know sleep deprivation, hormones, and strong-willed boys really deprave the senses and ruin truth, but I’ve felt I’m on a hamster wheel running reruns of the same Dora-nugget-tantrum-exhaustion-filled day. Thank you. Thank you for the hope beyond this weariness…for putting words to the fact that it does get more manageable (or at least we become more dependent on God when our stores long expired). Thank you for a broader scope perspective when my face is pressed hard up against the nearsighted fishbowl of my little world. I greatly appreciate your words and hope and encouragement.

    June 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm
  • Reply Jenn A

    So true! My youngest son (he has autism) just finished with preschool and it was so good to reflect on how far he had come since starting preschool. Even though there are still plenty of challenges, he has made a ton of progress! And yes, God is faithful to carry us through those times that we feel overwhelmed and can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.

    June 5, 2015 at 9:13 am
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