The moment I held my oldest in my arms, I felt it immediately: the fact that she’s borrowed. It was almost inescapable—holding the baby who grew in my body, knowing in my bones that this precious person was simply a soul entrusted, someone eternal. Someone God picked for this exact time: here, now, and by my side.

I’m a mom of four kids today, and each of them is entirely different from the others. I carry the weight of growing them “well.” It’s a complex situation—being outnumbered enough that most days feel like drowning and each kid has his own caveat: one who struggles with anxiety, another with a traumatized past, one who is medically fragile … and an infant. Six years into it and I’m finding my footing in this: that the lives lived around my ankles are meant to push me toward our shared Savior—and I’m to align them in His direction.

I’m pressed to ask how to steward them well in a home that feels tumultuous. And when I can find the moment of quiet in my cup of cold coffee, I hear Him clearly: Keep confidence in the calling at hand. Learn them and love them; invest in knowing them and calling out what I have already instilled in each of them intrinsically.

I’m a natural at the rules and systems—it comes with my previous profession—so I love a good life layout. But this version I live now, with all of the nuanced need, is out of my element. I’ve gotten good at crouching down to my children’s level. I have mastered the muted walk to their quiet moments of consequence. This calling, however, is a deeper kind of constant: stretching and straining alongside God, who even brings good out of the misunderstandings I get myself into. Though the path at present is marked with mistakes, it has signs posted along the way that send a stronger message: that they are His, that I am His, and that the grace we are all under is sufficient.

This is my purpose and these children are my people: the backbreaking work set before us each morning is to connect with intention despite the chaos that often accompanies our attempts. It’s to look at my littlest and tell him he is a man of faith when he’s yet to master much outside of crawling. It’s to speak into my six year old that God has set in her a servant’s heart, readied and rooted to shine for HIS glory. It looks like leaning in and keeping close when I want to crawl back into bed. It means getting up earlier to get a glimpse of Jesus so I can be filled up—not pour from an empty pitcher. When parenting takes priority, it drains me down to the dregs of myself. Yet the utmost effort of my intentions is to sit with these children in this space of learning. As I mentioned before: this life is about leading us all toward Him.

I’m listening with both ears tuned to the voice I’ve come to know as His, clinging hard to what He says about me. I’m taking time to become a captive audience to the show set before me so that, somehow, I can lead these children until I launch them. Regardless of how massively unqualified I may feel to guide them—I’ve committed to doing that daily. I’ll take my toddler by the hand to tell her something my pastor always says: that our family looks different because of her. I’ll keep expressing that each one’s specific skills are unique and perfectly equipping for the purpose He has. That each one is crucial to the church and what he offers is needed. It is my joy to call them out but also my job. I intend to fill those shoes until theirs walk out our door (and, hopefully, for many years afterward).