In which I realize I might never feel ‘ready’ (to have more children)

mom and toddler swimming

Recently I’ve been wrestling with this internal battle about feeling ready to have more children. Or, more accurately, not feeling ready despite the fact that I desperately want to be.

As much as I love my littles I just can’t imagine that our family is done growing, and I also can’t imagine never having the experience of being pregnant and giving birth again. (Sorry, but I’m one of those ladies that just loves the whole deal.)

But despite all the wanting I am exhausted and stretched thin and grappling with what it means to have two spirited and super-active (and exceedingly loud) little boys constantly climbing all over me and vying for my attention. To imagine adding another little one to that mix makes me verge on having a panic attack. (Not really, but ya know what I’m saying?) The practicality of it all seems very distant.

toddler swimming with water wings

As I prayed about all of these big feelings at the turn of the year, I had this revelation (actually, I had this revelation again):

I don’t have the grace for three littles because I don’t have three littles.

Um, duh. (I remember feeling the exact same way when thinking about having number two, and then even after I was pregnant and preparing for baby number two.)

You see, God’s grace is cut to measure. It fits our lives and circumstances perfectly. It’s never too much, never not enough. That’s what Paul was talking about when he said “His grace is sufficient” in his letter to the Corinthians. (Go ahead, look up the Greek if you want to.)

“Cut to measure”, he described it – an exact fit. Sufficient.

And so perhaps I’ll never feel like I’m ready to handle three kids until I actually have three kids.

I know this stuff, friends. And I whole-heartedly believe it. So why is it sometimes so hard to remember the simplest of truths?

toddler in his swimmers

As we turn the page on a new year, I’m not beating myself up about lacking the level of discipline that I wished I had built into my life over the last year.

Nope, instead I’m using the flip of the calendar to remind me that His mercy is new every morning (and every year) and today is another opportunity to start fresh and be intentional and live well.

And this whole grace-being-sufficient thing? I neeeeeed that. I need to remember that it’s not about my readiness. It’s about my willingness.

This doesn’t just apply to the thoughts about expanding our family. It translates and trickles into every single goal and faith project and challenge and opportunity that this year will hold – both the expected and the unknown.

I don’t have to be ready, I have to be willing:

Willing to do less “stuff” that gobbles up my precious time, and listen more to the most important voices in my life.

Willing to say no to good-but-not-great offers, and yes to simplicity and true priorities.

Willing to slow down and take care of myself from the inside out.

Willing to sacrifice instant gratification for lasting results.

Willing to invest in areas where I’m longing to see “returns”.

Willing to change wrong mindsets, grow friendships, enjoy parenting more, and just plain old live more wholeheartedly and have a bit more fun!

And actually, maybe my being “willing” in 2013 is not all that different to my “discipline” in 2012. Maybe it’s actually just an extension of last year…

But that’s really what life is all about isn’t it? Growing and building on what was in order to make what could be.

And the best part of the news? His grace is sufficient—cut exactly to measure—for every need and circumstance, challenge and opportunity that you and I have.

Here’s to a wonderful year ahead, my friends!!

toddler jumping into the pool

Dear friends, what about your 2013 – what are you going to be intentional about this year? Are you waiting to be “ready” for something when perhaps you should just be “willing”?

p.s. And for the love, don’t go all crazy on me and pester me about having a baby now that I’ve shared that example. I’m just using that as a tangible illustration of what it means to access grace for the moment and not worry about grace for the future. Mmm-kay??? Just wanting to (preemptively) set the record straight!


About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Alicia
    14 January 2013 at 8:33 am

    Love your little disclaimer at the end. But I totally get what you are saying. And thanks for the reminder that His grace will be sufficient, cut to the exact measure that I need. So true!

  • tracy dickinson
    14 January 2013 at 9:16 am

    love this.

  • Audrey
    14 January 2013 at 10:19 am

    So so true – now little Teddy is 9 months, I have suddenly had a little switch go in my head that is making think about having a second. Only I also have to finish my PhD by the end of the year…so when to start trying/get pregnant/have a newborn is probably staying in the ‘willing but waiting’ column for a while yet. Thank you for this post – going from 2 to 3 is a little different from 1 to 2 but it is nice to know there are others in the same boat!

    Much love xox
    Audrey recently posted..squeakingMy Profile

    • Adriel Booker
      18 January 2013 at 12:54 am

      Hi Audrey, yes, it is different, but in many ways the same. It’s still the same heart we need to find, right? Coming to a place of trust that life won’t unravel if we add to the crazy? lol. Littles are such a blessing. But wow, can they ever be crazy?!!

      And look at you go – getting a PhD. You’re on fire! 🙂
      Adriel Booker recently posted..Spirit-Led Parenting: The Importance of ConnectionMy Profile

  • Gwen
    14 January 2013 at 11:47 am

    Love this: I need to remember that it’s not about my readiness. It’s about my willingness.

  • Mandy@ a sorta fairytale
    14 January 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I absolutely love this post!! I completely agree with everything you said and needed to read this right now!
    Mandy@ a sorta fairytale recently posted.."So, are you going to have a 3rd?"My Profile

  • Livy
    15 January 2013 at 9:31 am

    Hi Adriel,

    It’s been awhile.

    This post reminded me of the following quote I once read from Corrie Ten Boom.

    I burst into tears, “I need you!” I sobbed. “You can’t die! You can’t!” “Corrie,” he began gently. “When you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?” “Why, just before we get on the train.” “Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of him, Corrie.”

    I am so guilty of thinking something is wrong or that I should feel ready for something when I need to realize, like Corrie did, that God gives us what we need WHEN we need it.

  • Jody Lee Collins
    15 January 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Adriel… word for this year is ‘Fit’ (it kind of chose me when I was listening to Away in a Manger and being fit for Heaven.)
    SO, your phrase about God’s grace being fit to measure, well, was very powerful. Jesus will make me fit for Heaven (or His kingdom here on earth–even harder!) by His grace alone and my readiness and willingness, as you said.

    Great word, friend!
    Jody Lee Collins recently posted..What Students Can Teach Us–Poetry at WorkMy Profile

  • Courtney Kirkland
    15 January 2013 at 3:50 pm

    I love the way you put that…that you don’t have the grace for three children because you don’t HAVE three children. What a beautiful sentiment and SO TRUE! I didn’t think that I could (or would) be able to handle two, or that my heart could even hold the love for two children. I was so wrong. His grace is sufficient and always abounding. 🙂
    Courtney Kirkland recently posted..Thoughts on BreastfeedingMy Profile

  • Amber
    18 January 2013 at 6:33 am

    I never thought of it like that – you worded it all so well. And I also love the disclaimer at the end!
    Amber recently posted..the food part of my resolutionsMy Profile

  • Nessa
    18 January 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Did you climb in my head and hear my internal debate?!? God can I be a good mom to two – let alone three??? Oh I need that grace…
    Nessa recently posted..BurdensMy Profile

  • Lindsey Whitney
    22 January 2013 at 8:15 am

    We’re in the same boat. Abigail was 15 months when Malachi was born and now Malachi is 18 months and I suddenly feel like “I’m behind” on having the next one, even though the plan was to have a 2 year break. I just love having the house filled with children. Even still, I think I would crack if we had another little crazy kid. Good reminder about “cut to size”. Thanks!!
    Lindsey Whitney recently posted..Fight For Ford: Cultivating CompassionMy Profile

  • […] Preparing for baby number two? Here are a few for you: In Which I Realize I Might Never Feel ‘Ready’ to Have More Children, Preparing for Baby #2 – It’s Okay to Question Yourself, or Making Enough Room in My Heart […]


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