You Can Do It!


I love this picture! Susie and Kajse are still my two very best friends, Dennis and Fr. Tim are still Paul’s best friends and Tina (Paul’s sister) is his childhood best friend and partner-in-crime.

I’m posting my newspaper column on the eve of Paul’s and my twentieth wedding anniversary! Who can believe that? The time sure has flown and I continue to be in awe of God’s goodness to me, to give me a husband who treats me with such kindness and love, who adores our children (without enabling them), who is a steady shelter and a fierce protector and provider. What a good God we have, who gives us everything we need. I love you, Paul!

The other day, Henry (in constant search of food) walked over to me with one of those hard-to-finagle yogurt tubes and asked me to help him. I barely looked up from what I was reading, ripped the top off the tube and handed it back.

“Wow,” was his grateful reply, “it’s so important that you are good at opening these, because you’re a mom.”

As my boy began sucking down his treat, I reflected on his observation.

“Actually,” I told him, “I’m good at opening these because I’m a mom.”

Funny that. I can open a tube of yogurt and trim small fingernails and whip a twelve-passenger-van into a tight parking spot (while opening a tube of yogurt). I am mama, hear me roar.

But the truth is, these talents, these impressive abilities, are an acquired skill set that comes with the territory. My boy Henry thinks I’m an awesome mom because I can open his food; I know if it wasn’t for him (and his four older brothers and baby sister) I’d have very little interest or ability in any of this. We learn as we go, and we are amazed at all we learn.

When Paul and I got married twenty years ago, the list was vast and sweeping of Things I Don’t Know. It’s not that my mama didn’t raise me right; it’s that I had absolutely no interest in domestic capabilities. I remember once, when Paul and I were dating, him wondering if a station wagon was in our future. I freaked out.

And here I am, all these years later, driving a van and loving every minute of it. I take great pride in my excellent parking abilities and if you ask me how many times strangers have complimented me on this talent I will happily tell you. It happens a lot.

What a thing to boast about! What a strange turn of events. Who would have thought I could manage such things? Not I.

But God, in his infinite wisdom, knows better. And he gives us what we need in the moment. When I reflect back on where I started, and where I am now, I can only envision my heart as a flower opening a little more each day. Each day a slightly better capacity to love, each season a greater willingness to expand.

I never dreamed, when we said I Do all those years ago, that God would be so generous. That not only would he soften my heart to say yes to these children, but that I would find such joy and satisfaction in this beautiful vocation. And that I would be capable of the care and feeding of five boys and a girl.

That, to me, is the grand adventure of life — learning and growing. Doing the thing we think we cannot do. Mastering skills along the way, becoming someone we never dreamed we could be. We all have areas where God has dreamed bigger for us, where he has shown us to trust in him and be not afraid.

For me, I am proud to park the van and trim the nails and a million other strange talents I now have thanks to my life as a mother. Twenty years ago, I had no idea I had it in me.

Every step of the way, God is there with his generous grace. For each of us, in the things he has called us to do, he really does give us everything we need. He asks things of us, and then he gives us the tools to get the job done.

The key, I’m finding, if carving out the time to hear his voice. In the stillness, He is there. He wants to grant to us every good thing, and he waits patiently with grace and peace and joy, goodness beyond our wildest dreams.


  1. God’s Blessings to you! My dear husband and I celebrated 35 years yesterday. I find this inconceivable, because it would mean we’re…old.

  2. And THEN there are the laundry skills!!!!! I loved this post, Rachel. Happy Anniversary!

  3. This is beautifully written! It’s been 16 years of marriage for me and I am capable of infinitely more NOW than I ever thought I possibly could be.