You are stronger than you think you are

There is one simple phrase can get you through the hardest days.

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  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Susan Stearns' blog, Crazy Tuesdays. It has been republished here with permission.

  • "You are stronger than you think you are."

  • Five months ago one of my friends said this to me. When she said it I thought it was a nice compliment but honestly, I didn't really know what she meant.

  • And yet today, I realize it was a seed of hope and strength that she was gently placing in my heart. Today, I find myself saying that sentence to myself almost every day. Sometimes hourly.

  • You are stronger than you think.

  • This afternoon I didn't think I could parent with even a single ounce of love for the second half of the day. I was exhausted. The kids woke up from their naps grumpy, whiny and mean and I wanted to check out. Emotionally, I couldn't show any more compassion or grace. Mentally, I couldn't think of ways to entertain Minka and distract Cooper. And physically, I had no energy to play, clean and least of all cook. The afternoon was full of crying, cold cereal for dinner, me flying off the handle, Cooper putting things down the toilet and dishes piling up.

  • You are stronger than you think you are.

  • This evening Cooper bit my hand half a dozen times while I tried to brush his teeth before bed. M refused to go potty and it took me a good five minutes to physically hold her on the pot until she went. Then, right when I thought I had them settled in bed we realized the nightlight had mysteriously gone missing and they both cried the entire 30 minutes it took me to find it. Inside Cooper's rain boot by the front door.

  • You are stronger than you think you are.

  • Once the kids were quiet in their beds, I looked around the house at the pile of dishes, the dirty floors, the DVDs emptied out of their cases and thrown about, the cereal that cooper threw and scattered all over, the banana that Cooper smashed into the couch, the laundry that was emptied from the hamper, and the garbage that needed to be emptied and I started crying.

  • I can't do this.

  • You are stronger than you think you are.

  • Can't I just sit on my butt, complain, eat an entire package of Oreos and dwell on my feelings of frustration and inadequacy?!

  • You are stronger than you think you are.

  • My job as a single mom is harder than I ever imagined it would be. And sometimes I find myself thinking that it's too hard. That I was a better mom when I was married.

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  • You are stronger than you think you are.

  • Over the past 5 months that seed of hope that my friend so wisely imparted to me has planted itself so strongly in my soul that I know it to be true. I am stronger than I think I am. Because God has given me a spirit of power.

  • Of love.

  • And of self-control.

  • And I know this to be an absolute truth in my life.

  • "You have not been given a spirit of fear. But of power, of love, and of self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

  • You are stronger than you think you are

  • And you are too.

  • You are stronger than you think you are.

  • I don't care if you are a single parent, in a supportive marriage or a spouse of a military member. Being a parent is hard. It's hard because it involves investing yourself. It's about giving and then some days thinking you can't give anymore … and then giving more. And more. And more.

  • And more.

  • And the giving, and the sacrifices, and the selflessness and exhaustion are things that all parents struggle with; single or not.

  • And that giving, those sacrifices and the selflessness are things that all people struggle to do; whether they have kids or not.

  • It's what makes life really hard sometimes.

  • It's what makes life beautiful.

  • And absolutely worth it.

  • When we think we have nothing left to give because it's too hard, we are too tired, we are too busy, we aren't good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough We. Are. Wrong.

  • We are stronger than we think.

  • When my friend said it to me she probably didn't know the weight those words would hold. A weight so strong that it would anchor me when I felt like I was lost during some of my darkest storms.

  • Maybe she didn't know.

  • But I think she did. Because I think she gets it. She hasn't gone through what I have gone through. Her story is different than mine. But when she spoke those words she knew I was taking my first steps down the road of life as a single parent.

  • I think she gets it because she too has been down paths that were covered in big scary bushes that were overgrown with thorns. And maybe the path was so covered and challenging that it was dark and she couldn't see any light or hope that the path would eventually clear. She thought it was just too much. Too hard. She just. couldn't. do it.

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  • But then … maybe someone saw her. Just like she saw me. They got it. And they told her,

  • "You are stronger than you think you are."

  • To my dear friend, thank you for speaking God's truth to me in strength and love.

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