"I don't know how you do it."
Can't tell you how much I've heard that. It doesn't offend, but it does puzzle me a bit when I stop to think. I'm not sure what to say. I know it's meant well, because I've heard it out of the mouths that are dearest to my heart in this life, and I know I'm the same to them.
Since I am the overthinker that I am, I've thought about that comment a lot. Obviously, I've decided to take it as an encouragement and sweet honesty from hearts who care for us.
The thing is, I can't stop thinking the same thing every time I hear it.
Usually I'm frozen in a state between not wanting to overload the speaker with information and not wanting to complain or hurt my children... or let's be honest, Ryan... by admitting that you know what? It's rough sometimes. It's hard. And honestly, I don't know how I do it either.
I do know how it's done. It's done by the grace of God.
In bible study at church Thursday, we were discussing the difference and yet need for coexistence of the law and the new covenant in the gospel using the contrast between Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion. There were only three of us in the room who grew up around them, the facilitator, my mother, and myself. There were things I hadn't thought about regarding the mountains I grew up around. The thing I thought first was the fact that you can tell the mountains by their shape and can even sort of see how to get back home by which mountain is where on the horizon.
But you know what I hadn't thought of that the facilitator brought to light? The look of any mountain completely changes with your personal proximity to it. Standing from a distance, you can see that a mountain is high, wide, and that you might be able to climb it. When you're at the foot, you're close enough to think "maybe not."
Standing on the mountain, during the climb, all you can see is the ground in front of you.
Oh, sometimes you look up and see what's ahead and it's terrifying. At times you look back and think how different you are now and how far you've come. But you also can't help but notice the muscles you've built during the climb and how different you are... and maybe even how you don't want to be the person you left at the bottom ever again.
The most important thing, by far, is giving God the credit he is definitely due. Praise and thanks for carrying us when we can't take another step, for the times of encouragement that are wind at our backs, and for giving us himself in which to place our trust.
But a close second?
Remembering that we all have a mountain. They're all unique. And no one can know the journey and its difficulty or ease than the person climbing. No one knows the fatigue better than the feet taking the next steps. And no one knows the joy of accomplishment better than the hands raised in thanks and praise for another milestone in the journey.
We're not called to measure each other's mountains. We're not even really called to measure our own. We are, however, called to climb. We're also called to encourage one another in the climbing.
So how do I do it? I don't.
Thanks be to God for being the one who does.