Burnout is an ugly, hateful, soul-draining thing.
But sometimes this life takes everything I’ve got and requires me to spend myself well beyond my limits.
I do what I can to prevent it, but sometimes I can’t. And it’s worth it.
Some days I stand in front of the whiteboard and I don’t know how I’ll give my kids what they deserve: the very best, and nothing less.
But then the first child arrives and I take a big breath and start to teach. And no matter how exhausted I am, no matter how weary my soul, five minutes in, the miracle starts to happen.
I step into another place where the tiredness can’t keep up. My aching legs suddenly find their strength. My heart just lifts at the first child’s smile. It all falls away, the world condensing until all that matters is this child, this pony, this moment and my God.
I ask for strength so I can teach. But I think I teach so I can be strong. The Kingdom of Heaven comes to me every afternoon with sticky fingers and tousled hair and wide eyes, and after hours of work, I can feel my body aching, but I can also feel my spirit floating.
These kids thank me after every lesson, sometimes with heart-lifting smiles, sometimes with little arms around my legs, sometimes with a temper tantrum because they don’t want to get off. And every time they do, I feel vaguely guilty.
Because I have been receiving in far greater measure than I have given. I give everything I have, but somehow every time more just comes right back at me.
Burnout is ugly. That’s why I’m being more diligent about taking down time than before and why I don’t find myself here as often anymore.
But the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and God is amazing, and that’s why when I do slip up, or when circumstances do require more from me than I have to give, it’s the very work itself that drags my soul back out of it.
Sometimes I yell at them. Sometimes I misunderstand them. But there’s never been a moment when I haven’t cared. I’ve so often spoken about my love and appreciation for horses, and so seldom written about how I feel about my kids.
I think that may be because it’s much too big to put into words.
Sometimes running the yard still feels a little impossible. But God is good at impossible.
And every day I know I can contribute to something more precious, more valuable, more important, more world-changing than anything else on Earth. Something with eternal relevance. Something pressing, urgent, vital. Something beautiful.
The life of a child.
Glory to the King.