When Mothering is Downright Hellacious

It’s not the hour of power, that’s for sure.

It’s more like the crazy hour, or the insane-mama-hour. Or we’ll just plead it’s the hour of *temporary* insanity.

It’s that hour before dinner when everyone is whining and hungry and mama is trying to get food on the table without tripping on the kid underfoot and scalding someone on the way to the sink with the pot of boiling water.

The hour when kids are supposed to be doing homework but they’re sword fighting instead and someone gets hurt and the dog pees on the floor and the unfolded laundry is being hurled from the couch where you dumped it and is getting dangerously close to that pile of pee and the noise level is deafening and you’ve just about had. it. up. to. here.

Yeah. That hour.

If parenting means wrestling with demons, that hour has to be significant in the battle. That’s the hour of the day Jesus told His disciples to “come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Sounds so, so good.

Except when they got there, there was no rest to be had. A huge crowd had beat feet ahead of them and were waiting for Jesus and the disciples to arrive. Demanding and clamoring for attention.

Yeah. Sounds like battle hour.


You know that hour before dinner? The hour when you feel like you may go temporarily insane? When you feel overwhelmed, how do you find rest in motherhood? Think about what you do have. What is your grace today? There is always grace for the moment.


It was crazy late in the day and the disciples were in a remote location where resources were scarce and needs were great… and they were just plumb exhausted and fresh out of patience.

They had nothing left to give.

And Jesus looks at them and says, You give them something to eat.”

The disciples were asked …by Jesus… to give a huge demanding crowd what they could not possibly come up with at a time they most needed rest and food themselves. Really? Is this really what Jesus expects of us?

We can plead the need for a break or a vacation or a retreat or a conference and yes, we need self care but listen church: sometimes we’ll be desperate to get alone with Jesus and desperate for rest and we are doing everything we know to get it but the demands are still there and the people are too and this is still war. We can’t get to that quiet place with Jesus… and that’s okay.

Because here’s the thing. Jesus has this little plan in store. Take heart! Remember it was His suggestion to get alone with Him and get some rest and go to that place in the first place. He’s got something pretty amazing He wants to accomplish but it does require your participation.

Don’t check out yet because that crazy hour isn’t a hindrance to getting what you need most, it’s the means to getting what you need most.

It all starts with a question. In that remote, demanding, exhausting place, Jesus asks, “What do you have?”

“Quick, go and check,” He told them.

This question forces us to do a quick inventory of our resources and discover when it seems we have absolutely nothing, we do have something.

No, the disciples didn’t have enough bread and fish to feed 5,000, but they did have five loaves of bread and two fish.

And even though we don’t have enough love and patience and wisdom and strength for the needs of right now, we do have something. We have His presence.

“What do you have?” Jesus asks.


He hasn’t left us as orphans.

We have grace for the moment.

If, in the moment of need we can name our grace and see the small God has already provided us, we set ourselves up for a miracle. Those “least likely to succeed” moments of your day? Are the very ones He  does the miraculous in.

Because He takes that little bit of grace that we call to mind, that we bring to Him, and He multiplies it. 

Maybe it’s grace to offer a smile. Maybe it’s grace to make a phone call or get out of bed or forgive a spouse or pop the exercise video in.

If we can just acknowledge the small grace, the provision at hand!

And here’s the thing: Grace rarely looks sufficient. It looks small. It’s easy to overlook. Five loaves and two fish in the face of thousands of people? Looked downright ridiculous.

But it was enough.

We need to know when it comes to grace, appearances are deceiving. It doesn’t look like it will be enough. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to be enough.  But the small of grace is always sufficient.

There in that hour of insanity I hear the Savior say, “What do you have?”

And I say I’ve got a splitting headache and a messy house and a trembling heart and a sinful attitude and… I’ve got grace.

I’ve got grace to gently steer my child out of the kitchen while I finish dinner and look! It’s multiplying into grace to calmly ask a kid to clean up the dog pee… and grace to redo laundry and grace to receive forgiveness for failing and grace to believe again.

There’s always grace for the moment.

Small grace, yes. But sufficient grace to feed the multitudes.


Related: Christian mothering is spiritual warfare.  Parenting Means Wrestling Demons on Desiring God. 

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  1. Oh, so true–but so hard to remember in the midst of the moment. Thank you for the reminder to slow down and take stock of all the Christ has done and desires to do in and for me yet–if I will let Him. Recently listened to a speaker that reminded us that in those crazy moments we need to remember to breathe as it can change the dynamics of what is going on. I want to get where breathing is more than that–it is letting Jesus breathe His grace into the situation and me. I needed this today–thank you.

  2. Grace for the moment….salve for the soul. There are so many times when I feel like what I have is insufficient in so many areas. Thank you for reminding me that I have exactly what I need…my five loaves and two fish and Jesus.

  3. So glad I read this today. I’m past the toddler days, but today it’s “where are we going to come up with $15,000 for college tuition, guinea pig has a huge lump on his side, dinner, home schooling. You have the idea! I’m looking at what I do have: GRACE! Thanks.

  4. What a grace filled post. I never looked at the Feeding of the Five Thousand from the disciples point of view. There are times when I feel like I have no more left to give but , you are so right, that is when we can tap into God’s sustaining power !!!! Keep up the encouraging work !!!!

  5. God’s promise that His grace is enough has sometimes seemed rather ho-hum to me. Enough? Really? We don’t expect the miraculous to come from “enough.” It’s one of His paradoxes that draws that much more glory to Him when “enough” does indeed yield a miracle. Thank you for highlighting this for us!

  6. This speaks volumes to me today. I was exhausted when yesterday started and I said, “Yes” to Jesus over and over and by the end of the day I had to dig deep for more resources in an already empty bucket. But he is faithful!

  7. I love that you say He multiplies it. I have never thought of it that way. It’s comforting to think of…especially when we are weary and feel like we have so little to give.

  8. This is so, so good. The other day it was that dreaded dinner hour and my hubby was getting home late all week and I had just had it with the whining and fussing and leg-clinging and by-golly I was GOING TO FINISH THIS MEAL I HAD STARTED. And I did. But it was at the cost of what mattered more–nurturing the little ones who so needed me and loving them well. I was mean-spirited and impatient trying to get my “list” done instead of just settling for pb&js and snuggling on the couch. Sometimes I think our expectations need to be placed at the feet of Jesus so we can pick up His plans for us instead. And either way, those small graces are there for us to work with. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Thank you for sharing this Summer. I an so relate and it is encouraging to hear how you are reaching to “pick up His plan” the next go round. Appreciate your thoughts!

  9. Arabah Joy, these words here make me want to jump for joy! I’ve been waiting all week to read this post, and it was so worth the wait. A loud Amen to these words here:” We can plead the need for a break or a vacation or a retreat or a conference and yes, we need self care but listen church: sometimes we’ll be desperate to get alone with Jesus and desperate for rest and we are doing everything we know to get it but the demands are still there and the people are too and this is still war.” Yes, we’ve been learning that lesson these last couple of years. And last time I got a bad attitude because I couldn’t get a break, He reminded me that His grace is sufficient. I just want to take a highlighter to every part of this post! Thank you for sharing truth in the hard moments, friend.
    Jen :)

  10. Oh my dear girl I remember the days…only I didn’t have Jesus…I didn’t have a clue what rest even was.

    Thanks for bringing us home with these words and the reminder of His loving grace that we have to expend upon ourselves and others in our desperate times of need!

    Bless you!

  11. Thank you. I needed this so badly today. At this season of my life, I feel like EVERY hour is the warring hour; life has toppled in on top of me. But I am reminded today that even though I am not enough, HE IS. And His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

  12. Undiminished, because the Lord’s hand is upon you and carries you , yes I have been in that place of exhaustion, and yet others tell me I am undiminished – thankful for His hand upon me daily

  13. Thank you very much. Be blessed. I have been un happy mom since i had my 4 years old daughter. This frustration has turned me a bitter mom…to considering myself as a worthless mom and seeing my child not precious,perfect or as a gift that God blessed me with.
    All i need is forgiveness, fast furious and on the spot..
    With God’s help i can change this around cuz my child deserves a
    proper and Godly parenting.


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