“…the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.” 1 Corinthians 10:24, The Message

God blessed us with a beautiful daughter. She is our rainbow baby, our gift of grace and mercy after a heartbreaking loss. All nine pounds of her completed our lives in a way my husband and I never knew we needed or wanted, but God knew.

God also knew how much I loved to sleep and how unprepared I was to have a gorgeous baby girl who hated sleep with every ounce of her tiny being. I joke that I’m going on five years of sleep deprivation – a statement that has far too much truth in it to be funny. Napping has long been given up in our home, and bedtimes (until a few months ago) were nightly battles. Even now, our bedtime routine might be easier, but I’m still up one or two times in the night.

I’m tired. Very, very tired. Long ago I reached the point of exhaustion that makes you break down and cry. Now it’s just my normal. Four solid years of surviving, putting one foot in front of the other, doing the necessary tasks and trying to “adult” – it left no time for thriving. I couldn’t imagine a day when I would be able to do more than just the bare minimum of motherhood, and even that required a tremendous amount of Jesus and a few buckets of coffee.

But God. He knows how I grow, and as He took away something I thought I wanted (sleep), He replaced it with what I needed (Himself). The surviving years will happen. There will be times when making it through the day with everyone alive, fed, and clothed will be enough.

But there will be some seasons to thrive.

We won’t just be getting by – we’ll be doing the little extra things to help our families live well. Maybe thriving looks like say “yes” a little more often, despite the impending mess. Or it could look like being truly present and invested at an activity your children love, instead of just watching them do it. Thriving as a mama, for me, means, truly, seeing my daughter and recognizing that she is made in Christ’s image – so how can I love her well today? Despite the lack of sleep and the dirty dishes and the piles of laundry, how can I show her that she is loved, wanted, and cherished?

At bedtime, I tuck my girl into bed after stories and brush the hair off her forehead. And she whispers,

“How much do you love me?”

“To the moon and back and even more,” I say.

“How long will you love me?”

“Forever and ever and even more,” I say.

“Would you ever choose another daughter?”

“Never.” I say.

She snuggles into her blankets, content. And I leave her room knowing that we are in a season of more than surviving.

Right now, by God’s grace, we are thriving.