Today I am awakened by an arm thrown over my head and a small child with her face right next to mine. Sweet songs and whispers of “I love you too” arrive, too often, too early. I am reminded of both how tired and how blessed I am. We put both girls to bed each night in their own room but all the rules changed when my eldest grew tall enough to open doors herself. In their nightly stealth moves, they crawl, uninvited, into our bed where we find them each morning.

After the morning routine of yogurt, strawberries and toast with Nutella, the mad dash begins to dress each girl and prepare their snack bags and water bottles for the day. As their father takes them to preschool and library time respectively, I have twenty minutes to quickly respond to e-mails, look over my day’s responsibilities, finish getting ready and make it to class as if I had a relaxed morning and was fully prepared for the lecture and questions my students have for me. Today, I’ve received two emails from former students who would like my input into various challenges with their youth groups. After brief responses and promises to call soon, I do a quick check to see if the yogurt handprints will blend in with what I am wearing and allow me to feign a professional look for the duration of class and meetings.

I am blessed to spend several hours of every day teaching classes to college students ostensibly on practical theology or youth ministry. Often, though, each class is an exploration of how we live our lives or share our lives based on our beliefs. For these several hours, I am in my element. I love the classroom and feel so alive professionally there.

We all return home from our various places in early afternoon to enjoy lunch and time together before the mommy and daddy mandated quiet time. Sidewalk chalk is the background for a chat about what my eldest learned in chapel that morning. The conversation goes something like this: S: “Mommy we talked about Sarah and her husband and their son this morning. They were so happy!” Me: “You mean Sarah, Abraham and Isaac?” S: “You know that story?” Me: “Yes honey.” S: “But you weren’t even in chapel!”

After the girls’ quiet time, I take our youngest girl, E, for a walk to the local coffee shop. I had previously agreed to meet a friend of mine there, in part, because it is great to catch up, but in part because this time she asked if a friend of hers could come along because she (the friend) had questions for a “theologian.” We make small talk for several minutes while my daughter crawls up and down from my lap thirteen, fourteen, or seventy-four times. I lose track. Then, the theological questions begin, and I listen intently, answer thoughtfully (I hope) and carefully (I try). My main concern is to help my friend’s friend feel heard, to stimulate her thinking, and to validate her quest for God and what ministry might look like for her.

My daughter and I walk back home, just in time to have dinner. My husband cooked tonight, though I cook most nights. We enjoy our forty-five minutes at the table without any electronics, and it somehow feels like the quietest, calmest part of the day.

After dinner, my husband and I leave our beautiful girls with gramma and papa for about two hours, as we go to a YoungLife Capernaum club meeting. We spend a brisk ninety minutes in the company of twenty friends with special needs, singing silly songs, catching up on one another’s lives, and talking about Jesus. We come away refreshed and yet tired.

As we return home, we finish off the nighttime routine with our girls, read them a story or two or three, and then unpack the day. I go through a simplified version of the Awareness Examen where I ask what their happy part of the day was, and then ask what their sad part of the day was. We get to thank Jesus for the happy parts and ask for help in dealing with the sad parts.

I stagger out of the room, and often still need to take the next ninety minutes to get my youngest child to sleep. She really fights it. She eventually falls asleep, though. I carry her to bed, then stumble into my own bed knowing I should grade papers but sleep must happen as well. Several hours later, an arm is thrown over my head, and I hear the whisper, “I love you too, mommy.”

Most of my days are not this busy, though some are. But so many of my days do revolve around simple connections with the people God has put in my path. I spend most of every day thinking about everything through a theological lens. Not because I’m holier than anyone, I assure you I’m not. But because, this is my world. I love the practical elements of theology and believe God is present in each moment. I love including my girls in as many parts of my day as I can. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s not. But I wouldn’t want to stop what I’m doing “out there in the world” because I had kids. In fact, I’m out there in the world because it is who I believe God called me to be, and by doing so, I can be the best me I can, and that’s a good model for my girls. At least, that’s what I’m going for.

Amy Jacober is a veteran seasoned minister who teaches, writes, and speaks. To read more of her writing, visit her blog Theological Curves.