Last month my youngest son began day care, which means I now have two mornings entirely to myself. Each day, in those first moments after the front door shuts and a hush falls over the house, I breathe the quiet into my lungs, I throw open the windows, and I light a candle that reminds me of Charleston. Then I sit down at our beat up farm table, and I write.
This is a huge extravagance for a mother of small children. If you’re in this season, or have been, you know what I’m talking about. Time alone is a scarce commodity. You have to be intentional about it, even fight for it. And even when it comes, I can’t sit on the couch all leisurely and relaxed, sipping my coffee and reading a novel. I have a manuscript deadline, so my time alone is time to work.
My two free mornings are a gift, but even with this added time and a babysitter here and there, I don’t have a lot of margin to write. I scurry after nuts of time like a squirrel preparing for winter. I take what I can get because it’s my only option. And all along, as I gather minutes here and there, this is what I pray:
Lord, take what I can offer, and multiply it.
Here’s the thing–over the years, I have read a lot about the “ideal writing environment.” Quiet. Secluded. Inspiring. And whenever I read that I laugh, because that’s not possible for me right now. I’m lucky to get a few hours at Starbucks. A cabin in the woods is just not in my future. And because of that, I am always aware of my insufficiency. I can’t offer God the ideal writing environment, or even a clear head. I can only offer what I have.
And you know what? It has been freeing to admit that reality, and walk in it, because then I can let God handle the rest.
In a world that constantly tells us “we’re enough,” I operate out of a different conviction. Whatever “enough” means, I am not that. Not in an insecure, self-pitying kind of way, but as one deeply aware of my limits. I don’t have enough time to write, or read the Bible as much as I want to. I don’t have enough energy to be “on” with my kids all day. I don’t have enough patience, or wisdom, to be the parent I want to be. I don’t have enough humility to be the wife I want to be. I don’t have enough fortitude to be the woman I want to be. I don’t have enough talent to be the writer I want to be.
I fall short in all these areas, but I also feel completely fine with that, because I follow a God who takes my meager offerings, and multiples them. In Matthew 14, Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish, and he fed five thousand people. With leftovers to spare. He took a little, and made it into a lot, and He’s been doing it ever since.
The truth is, God’s math is different than ours. Ever since the Creation of the universe, God has been making something out of nothing. A lot out of a little. Life out of death. Whether it’s the many ways I fail as a parent, or as a wife, the ways my writing misses the mark, or the ways I fall short as a disciple of Christ, God steps into the gaps. He fills the cracks with grace, redeems the mess, and magnifies the good.
God doesn’t need enough, because He IS enough. He takes whatever we have to bring, and turns it into abundance. So if you are in a season of “not enough”–whatever that may be–I invite you to join me in praying this prayer. Ask Him to multiply. Ask Him to fill in the gaps. Ask Him to take your shortcomings and turn them into overflowing. More and more I’m convinced, this is the lightest way. It takes the burden off of us to BE something, and gives all glory to God.
Today, just give Him what you have, and let Him multiply it.