It wasn't SURPRISING: The "how was your summer/vacation/life?" question from a friend who'd been keeping up on instagram had been asked.

All of those pictures? The one of the belly flop or the time we dressed up like cows to score some free Chick-fil-a? They were all real, fun memories that I am so thankful for. But as any parent (or human!) knows, in-between those smiles and the silliness are times that aren't so picture worthy. Frustration. Disobedience. Attitude. Those are the not-so-fun parts of parenting that have me asking myself, "why did I sign up for this again?"

More and more I want my friends to actually know me. I want them to be praying with me. And for me, it's a lot easier to just let the world assume that we are skipping along this road, whistling away, while in reality it feels a lot more like stumbling along and asking God for a lot of peace and grace right now. I knew that no matter who asked, I wanted to answer in truth and vulnerability. I would need to be honest about the struggle that is there too. I would have to express the weariness I often feel and the weaknesses that are exposed daily.

In addition to the difficult task of learning how to teach and guide pre-teen and teenage boys, we are currently in the process of renewing the boys' student visas. If you remember from last summer, it's an incredibly stressful time.

The other night, I stumbled upon a blog post written for foster and adoptive parents. I'm technically neither of those, but having the boys with us is it's own form of unconventional parenting and the words I read were a much needed balm to my soul.

"your brokenness isn't a sign of failure; it's an outcome of faithfulness. Jesus knows exactly how that feels. Your struggle isn't a sign of weakness; it's an expression of faithfulness. It shows you care, even when it’s hard. And your exhaustion isn't a sign of frailty; it's an embodiment of faithfulness. It's means you're giving all so a child can gain much - and that is remarkable. There's always another side to our struggle - a hopeful one, if we're willing to reframe it and see it that way."

read the full article HERE.

God, your will is my ultimate goal. May my brokenness, weakness and struggle be a platform for Your glory.