I have found myself saying that a lot to people recently when they ask me how we are doing. Before Son #2 was born, I remember telling people how two children are really easier than one because they play together, or how next semester wasn't going to be so bad because I had arranged my classes and work in this or that way. When the baby was born, I don't think it really hit me for the first month. I just ran on adrenaline. But little by little, the sleep deprivation started to take its toll. I started getting more cranky with my husband, I couldn't think straight...
I had to start school and go back to work as a grad assistant when Son #2 was only 6 weeks, which was earlier than with Son #1. I actually started at 10 hours a week instead of the normal 20, I still haven't started one of my classes, and the one I am taking is relatively easy. And still I come home and complain, "This is so much harder than I thought it would be!"
When the Son #2 first arrived, I remember someone asked how we were doing, and I responded, "There isn't enough time, energy, resources..." or something like that. I really felt convicted by God after I said that, because one thing He specifically spoke to me about the new year of 2012 is that "there is enough." There is always enough. Maybe not as much as as I thought there would be, or as much as I want, but there is always enough for what I need. That is a hard concept for a rich, fat, white North American to grasp (meaning myself here, people). I mean, it's Biblical... when Paul asked God to remove the "thorn in his flesh" whatever that was, God responded by saying, "My grace is sufficient for you." Meaning, "No, I won't remove it, but I will give you my strength, my provision, my annointing to get you through."
The children are not "thorns in our flesh" or our "cross to bear" in a sense. We don't want God to remove them, anyway, although sometimes I feel a little bit on the edge at 3 a.m. In another sense, they are the very thing (or people, rather) that is helping us to die to ourselves daily, if we will allow God to do that in us and we don't resist the process completely. We said "yes" to God about marriage. We said "yes" to God about children, even so close in age. We knowingly chose to follow God and take what He has to offer us. We went in with our eyes open, so to speak. But even so, it's so much harder than I though it would be.
I said to my husband the other night that I have never had a semester (because I measure my life in semesters, Christmas break and summer break) where I haven't had to cry out to God for help. I don't just mean a little help. I mean, "God, if you don't actually do it through me, it's not going to happen." And every semester He does it. He works miracles, He works through me, He gives me strength, wisdom and strategies to finish. Every time. He always finishes what He starts. And He has started a good thing in us. We are so blessed, we have more than we need, and eventually it will get easier. Or so I keep telling myself.