I have been asked this question a few times recently and to be honest, most of the time, I feel like I don’t!
I have many hats… I work part time as a Personal Assistant to the Network Leader of the incredible Ivy Church in Manchester, part of the NewThing Network. I’m also currently planning an international conference for church leaders from across Europe to look at how we start a movement of multiplying churches in our nations with Exponential growth.
We have two incredible little boys. Our eldest is 5 and has the most vivid imagination, and our youngest is the cutest & cheekiest little 20 month old. I serve and lead alongside my husband, Ben at Ivy Kingsway, a church meeting in a Cinema here in Manchester. We are passionate about helping people to find their way back to God and I feel like my brain rarely switches off from thinking about ways we can share Jesus in a generation who has no reference for him at all. God has put on my heart to really Encourage and Empower young leaders within our church. Challenging them to find their place and fulfil their purpose within church as well as in their workplaces and with family & friends.
I love my family. I love my church. I love my work.
I have been challenged this week by a visiting speaker Phil Cooke to start to share my story, to share my struggles and successes, to be real and not insta-perfect (which is a much easier thing to do). I’m a photographer and am good at creating an image of life through rose-tinted filters. The picture below is of a beautiful moment on holiday with my boys, but it was after a week of illness for my eldest boy which had followed a series of little family illnesses which went on for months. It was a big celebration after a hard and intense time for our little family unit.
Life can be CRAZY – juggling deadlines, nappies, meetings, homework, babysitters & church events. I often feel like I should just pack some part of it in, but I know that this is just a season where it is particularly bonkers. I don’t do well as a Stay At Home Mum (you guys are awesome by the way), but I find that wearing many hats can be very tricky to do!
As I navigate the day to day juggle, I have to watch that I don’t wish the years away to a day where my children are less dependent on me. I am learning to savour these moments with my youngest before he goes off to nursery in a couple of years, and to go on adventures with my pirate fanatic before Mum is no longer quite as cool.
I can do this, because I am not on my own…
I am immensely fortunate as we live in close proximity of my side of the family. My Father is also my Boss and my Sister, Mum and Nan care for our kids beautifully while I am in the office. I also work with my amazingly supportive husband and with an incredible team of people who are sold out to see this world changed for the Kingdom. I have a few beautiful friends who I know I can always count on if needed for anything – even just to splurge at! I could not do life like this without these phenomenal people. They are my support; my rocks. So I guess a big part the reason I’m able to do any of this is due to them! If you’re one of those people, please know that we could not be more grateful for all the sacrifices you make and love that you show week in-week out to us as a family.
My eldest son has always loved to dress up (it comes from his Mother’s side!). He can be 5 different characters in one day, and often he can be dressed as one character but say he’s being someone else. Similarly, I can feel like I am wearing many outfits and struggle juggling them all. This wardrobe of personas often leaves me with feelings of guilt, frustration and doubt. I know that if I allow them to these feelings will breed into resentment, bitterness and pain.
So I don’t let them.
Instead, I need to claim daily portions of grace, wisdom, peace and patience. I frequently need to remind myself to lean on the one who is the source of these much more beautiful gifts, God. The intentional Creator who made me this way and who has called me according to His purposes. The Father who loves and cares for me so much that He sent His Son to save me.
He is the reason I CAN DO THIS. Even when I don’t feel like it, even when I feel like I’m not doing anything well, even when giving up seems like the best option. He is more than enough for me. I don’t need to do this in my strength but can do all things in Him.
This blog is designed to be a journey of me working some of this stuff through and I hope it helps some of you who can relate to this any way to know you’re not alone!