I was at the park today, and another mum was opening herself up, inviting advice about parenting – specifically about the balance of meeting kids needs versus meeting her own needs, and how much ‘present-ness’ and constant “yes” was really enough to meet her kids’ needs and to see them grow as healthy, whole, fulfilled kids. I must admit, I hung back. Parenting advice is a potential danger zone these days. As a psychology graduate and child and family counselor, the pop culture ‘experts’ grate on my nerves but that’s a whole ‘nother blog! I could talk at length about the nitty gritty of parenting, but there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution. There are principles, but each family expresses those principles in a different way. At the same time, I’ve had the slow-cooker of my mind simmering around language to describe how I, specifically, live by His power in my everyday. It needed to simmer, not because I don’t live by His power, but because, well, to be honest, I just do it. This is not a boast of arrogance, but an admission of need! I live by His power because I have to. I need His power! I am so very aware of my shortcomings, and His ability to bridge the gap of my weaknesses and His strength, of my black and white default settings and His rainbow of grace. And I think, as women, we do that – as soon as we have a sense of relationship with the Almighty, we begin to walk the tightrope that is the tension of truth between our capacity and His power. We begin to learn the rhythm of tug-of-war between maintaining our control and the sweet release of letting go and letting God. And all these big things happen in tiny moments of our every day, over and over again. And that is where I need to live by His power the most. If I could go back to that mum, and her very real question of essentially ‘how much of myself is enough to give and still have a sense of self’ I would say this: Honey, you are a master. As a wife and a mother, a sister and a daughter, as a friend, a disciple and a lover of Jesus, the first thing you do is relationship. Relationship is the context for everything. And when you look at your sweet kids and feel the pull between filling them up and filling yourself up, the gap where you need to focus is not looking at their needs vs your needs – it’s the health of the relationship. See, in doing family, you are essentially making music. In fact, you are conducting an orchestra. A glorious, messy orchestra! You set the tone, the pace, you track the harmony, the melody, you encourage the voices of each member, and you set this family to play. You see the score of the composer and with that vision you bring it to life with the very own unique voice of your own orchestra. Each family orchestra has its own personality. There are times when you, your time and your energy is focused on one player, and then he or she has the lead, but we all know there is background noise. And sometimes each player has to learn a lesson or two on their own, and sometimes that player has to practise their part alongside you, a collaborative effort of practise, training and mastery. There is an ebb and flow to His power when I trust him to show me what I need to be, to change or to receive, to nourish and bring life to the piece He has set before me for the now. I can’t focus on what next week’s piece is – that would be too overwhelming. And the now is complex enough. What do i need to give to meet each player’s needs. Is the flow of that relationship healthy enough to communicate well, do I have a clear enough vision of this piece, is the well of my passion deep enough to give from right now, and what on earth do I do with that line that just won’t make sense to me no matter how much I stare at it? How do I make this all sing together in sweet, soft, loud, perfect, chaotic beauty? Yes, there is a lot on our shoulders. And sometimes the burden is heavy, but the exhilaration is phenomenal, the satisfaction profound and the song heartbreakingly beautiful. You are a translator of beauty, grace and truth. You are gatekeeper of the family’s song. You, powerful woman, sift the small movements of the everyday, throwing good from great, better from best, and now from later or even not at all. When I think of the Creator, pouring His vision into us, and letting us speak it, express and amplify it in our homes, our relationships singing with the vibrations of passion, joy, laughter and love, I want to yell and whoop with joy! This is living by His power in the everyday. I see so much beauty in the small things. His heart of love in the cooking of a meal, His compassion in the holding of a hand, the wiping of tears. There is strength in the boundary setting and the releasing, the “No, i won’t let you do that” as well as the “Yes! Let’s do that together!” It all comes together in a piece of utter magnificence that is your family! See, lovely woman, you are a conductor of the most amazing group of individual, quirky, crazy, boisterous, shy and sweet players and voices that has ever been. They are your family. And by His power, you are the thread that feeds them, loves them, holds them together, translates for them and sees them play a symphony of His grace and power. Who you are is not LOST in the meeting of other’s needs – who you are is UNCOVERED as you navigate the meeting of needs, both yours and theirs, BY HIS POWER. In the everyday. You are STRONG, MIGHTY, POWERFUL and will have all the energy, wisdom and grace you need to bring His vision for your family to life, as you live by His power in the everyday.