I once had a neighbor with fewer and younger kids ask me, "How do you do it all?" I laughed. My secret? I don't even come close to doing it all.
I confessed I once forgot to take my daughter to the same scheduled and rescheduled orthodontist appointment three times. The office assistant was ready to strap me to the chair. It is a special occasion when you'll find my bed made. And never open the door to a closet in my home without a hand outstretched to catch falling items from above and a leg ready to stop tumblers below.
Women have many roles to fill. We are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, counselors, creators, employees, volunteers and much more. We can't expect to be able to fill all these roles with perfection - especially all at the same time. Just thinking about it is overwhelming.
However, I do have one secret for meeting the needs of all the people I care for. It's the miracle of multiplication.
One of the well-known miracles Jesus Christ performs in the New Testament is feeding a multitude with a few loaves and fishes. We often look at this miracle as a testament to Christ's power and divinity. Looking deeper, though, I've realized that this miracle has a very real application to the lives of mothers, and all women, today. Sometimes it feels like we literally have a multitude to care for. Christ can help us fill the many demands made on us and enact the miracle of multiplication in our lives.
Have compassion on those who need you
Children can be very needy. (So can adults.) Whether it's your own child, or a child you know who needs love and attention, don't turn them away. Christ did not tell those who had gathered to listen to him to turn anywhere else to have their hunger satisfied. He didn't think about the time and trouble it would cause him. He had compassion and looked for a way to meet the multitude's needs.
Rely on help from others
While you should answer the call of those who need you, there is simply no way to do it all on your own. Christ didn't just turn stones into bread, though he could have. He asked what was available in the multitude and used it. Don't be afraid to rely on others. Seek the help of close friends to care for your children, when needed. Seek advice from mothers and grandmothers. Let husbands, fathers, and brothers take on projects. Pour out your feelings and bounce ideas off your sisters.
Give what you have
Don't be tempted to hold back. Offer everything you can. This is where the miracle of multiplication comes in. The young man in the crowd may have thought, "What's a few loaves and fishes among all the multitude?" He volunteered them just the same. You might think, "What I can give cannot possibly make a difference." Christ will make it enough. He won't make everything go perfectly smooth for you and those in your care, but he will ensure that you have those things you need most and a little more. Christ fed the multitude and took baskets up still full after.
Let Christ multiply you
You may not be the best at calming crying babies, talking to teens, making healthy dinners or counseling a troubled friend. But if you try, Christ will make you more than you are. He will make you the mom that built up, the friend that understood, the sister who saved. We can't expect to do it all every day. Christ didn't feed the multitude every time he taught them. When it matters, he will help us come through for those who need us.
Don't try to live up to some mythical supermom perception. No one can do it all. There will always be missed appointments and messy closets. With Christ working the miracle of multiplication in our lives. We can do the things that matter most.