Psst… there’s an honest-to-goodness present for you at the end of this post. Don’t miss it! But first, a story.
I don’t know if you know this, but if you ever have a baby, after awhile all the people leave you alone with that baby. The midwives, nurses, doctors, whatever you’ve got: they all go home to their regular lives, and you go back to your no-longer-regular life, and you take the baby with you.
Nice work! They say. Look what you made! Now take good care of it. We understand that you have no idea what that means, but this is the system. Good luck!
(Maybe they don’t say that, maybe that is just what I imagine they meant.)
The first day that Dane had to go back to work after our first baby was born—leaving me with eight pounds of swaddled girl-baby to look after—I was hit with a wave of mild panic. I held her, all tiny and helpless and trusting, tight to my chest and looked over at Dane with wild eyes. “What if I can’t do this?”
“You can do this,” he said, and then, in case I did not quite believe him, “We’ll figure it out.”
We’ll figure it out.
It’s a solid plan, one you can work with.
We’ll figure it out. (We are still figuring it out.)
It’s a plan that makes sense, until your heart starts to whisper that maybe you don’t quite have what it takes. Maybe I wouldn’t know what to do. Maybe I wouldn’t have enough energy, enough patience, enough creativity.
Maybe I would never be on time for anything, ever again. Maybe I would forget the diapers. Maybe I would never leave the house so I wouldn’t have to risk forgetting the diapers.
(The last time I looked around and wondered what if I can’t do this was this morning. At least I am consistent.)
“We’ll figure it out” was a good starting place.
It meant we were in this together, and we would do our best. I needed to know that. But there are plenty of things that we really won’t figure out. Why is she crying? Why won’t she sleep? And later: what’s the deal with not wanting to eat broccoli?
After awhile I realized that parenting, like living, like breathing—it’s not about figuring it all out.
Even if I never figured anything out, that was actually okay.
(I mean, it would be frustrating. But figuring things out wasn’t the whole point.)
I needed to know that we would figure things out, but I really needed to know that this was my life and I was made for this.
I don’t mean I was made for being a parent or made for changing diapers with one hand or made for solving toddler conflicts or made for working at home or made for any other particular thing.
I mean I was made for this life, whatever life I am living.
This life is mine, and I was made for this.
I can do this, because “doing this” doesn’t mean figuring everything out and rocking whatever I’m doing. It means showing up and being myself.
I was made to show up and to figure some things out. I was made to pay attention and to tell the truth and to live with an awareness of grace. I was made to be present, right here, right now. I was made for THIS.
I don’t know what today looks like for you.
I don’t know what this season looks like for you, and I don’t know what’s coming next. I don’t know if you’re going to win or lose, succeed or fail, or what. (This is a good pep talk, right here.) But I know that whatever today has for you, you can do this. You can do today.
But YOU CAN DO THIS doesn’t mean you do everything, it doesn’t mean you do it all on your own, and it doesn’t mean all the things always work out how you expect.
You can do this—and asking for help is doing. Trying is doing. Failing is doing. Maybe the path is not what you thought it was. Maybe your task is not what you thought it would be. I don’t know what today will be for you, but whatever it is—
I know you were made for this.
This life was made for you, and you were made for this.
I am not saying you were made for heartache and trouble, even if that’s what today looks like. I am saying you were made for a world where those things exist, and you were made to be you in the face of those things. You were made to be you sitting with those things, and you were made to be you moving through those things.
How do I know you can do it? Because you’re doing it.
How do I know you’re strong enough? Because your strength grows in the doing. When you meet suffering, that suffering leads to perseverance, and perseverance builds character, and character gives you hope. You were made for this, too.
Whatever today looks like for you, you’ve got this. You know how I know? Because you were made for this.
When that cranky voice in your head starts whispering, “not enough,” and “who do you think you are, anyway?” You can remind yourself:
This is my life, and I WAS MADE FOR THIS.
Because you were. (Me too.)
I don’t want you to forget. So I asked my friend Ashley at The Curio Co. to design something just for you.
She created this gorgeous, hand-lettered reminder that whatever today looks like for you, you’ve got this—because you were made for this.
Choose the 5 x 7″ print or the phone screen (or both!), choose your favorite color (there are SIX!), and go to town.
Print it out on the good paper and put it in a frame where you’ll see it every day. Or save a screen to your Photos, then go to Settings to change your wallpaper or lock screen. Either way, I hope you love it.