I often feel like a swan, appearing to have it together on the surface but underneath madly paddling just to stay afloat.
Circumstances often leave my head spinning. Children playing noisily, a baby crying, a teenage meltdown, the phone rings, the washing pile stares menacingly at me, a meal needs cooking and schoolwork needs doing. Where do I start, how can I find a way forward when everything seems urgent?
My go to phrase is do, ditch or delegate. The challenge is thinking of which to do when your head is spinning, tiredness dulls your mind and hormones rock your emotions.
Having a new baby has certainly given me more opportunity to grow in patience and it’s forcing me to up my game. I know I’m struggling because I crave treats more, chocolate, wine, takeaways, meals out, baths, any escape route from the excess weight of work. All of this is normal, but it’s still hard. Hard isn’t bad though, it’s just hard and success normally involves hard work.
What’s the success I’m aiming for? I’m certainly not looking for a perfectly clean and tidy house, I’d just like to be able to find stuff when we need it. I don’t need perfectly turned out children, just clothes which fit them, are appropriate for the weather and don’t have holes in them. I’m not expecting to churn out a family full of Einsteins, but I would like them all to achieve their potential. I don’t expect harmonious relationships all day long, but I do encourage them to be kind even when they are tired, offended, hungry or hormonal (that point is needing lots of work at the moment!). Mostly I want to be able to stand before the throne of Grace and hear Him tell me I was a good and faithful servant, that I pointed my children to Jesus through my words and actions.
Success is easier to quantify in a workplace setting, but success in family life doesn’t come with pay rises, bonuses or even a pat on the back. We can never resign and we’ll never really get to the end of the ‘project’. We have to find little wins and relish the good moments, strengthening ourselves for the challenges ahead by filling our ‘happy banks’.
For me the way through the overwhelm is living in the moment and giving myself grace. I would love to do everything better, but I’m only human and accepting ‘good enough’ is one way I find peace.
I used to have everything in order, way back when we only had a couple of children. Routines were adhered to with military precision, meals were carefully balanced, activities calculated to ensure maximum learning potential and clothes carefully laundered but I had no ability to be flexible. I knew what I wanted to do for the next 5 to 10 years. I thought if I kept control, life would be good.
Secretly I admired mums who were more relaxed, but I just couldn’t let go. I thought I would never manage more children, broken routines, nutritionally imperfect meals or if I did I would be failing my children. Am I failing them when they eat a biscuit instead of a rice cake, or eat chips 3 times in a week? Am I failing them when we don’t get all our schoolwork done or I shout at them because I’m tired and overwhelmed? Maybe some people would say I am, maybe some people would say I should have stopped at 2 and done my job better, but I think I see it differently now.
Our children are learning about compromise, sharing, waiting, patience, tolerance and caring for others, these are the skills I want them to go into adulthood with. Of course I want them to eat well, learn well and stay clean and tidy, but I’ve learnt to let go of perfection and with that I have found a way out when life gets overwhelming.
Sometimes I wish I could press pause, sit down and have a cuppa, but when that doesn’t happen I try and make it happen. If I need to rest I ask the One who created rest to find me a moment. I use that moment to pray, eat chocolate, drink tea and go the loo alone! God sees my tears, knows my fears and struggles and only pushes me as far as I need to be pushed, in order to fall into His arms.
I’ve learnt to let go of the future, my plans are irrelevant, God’s plans are much better than mine. I would have chosen a safe, predictable life which didn’t push me out of my comfort zone, but I would have missed out on so much. Stepping out in faith is scary and it often leaves us overwhelmed, but that’s when we need to turn to God to bring us through that which He got us into. He’s always been faithful to meet my needs (not my wants) and he’ll meet yours to, if you ask.
Sending blessings to you all and praying you finding the joy of the Lord today.
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13 thoughts on “When Life Overwhelms Us”
So utterly honest , an inspiration to some mums who are getting it tough! I feel for new mums they see these glamorous mums,pushing beautiful buggies, fully made up with friends in trendy coffee shops when in reality many new mums can’t even wash their hair . Have not slept and can’t manage a face wash never mind make up .
Your posts remind me about Gods hand on our lives . Personally I am struggling and I do find myself doubting his hand on mine at this time !! Your posts remind me that it’s not all plain sailing !
Vicki Goldby says:
I’m certainly glad I’m not a first time mum in an Instagram world. The wealth of information and the images of perfection are totally exhausting. Real life is nothing like the edited posts and pictures we all see, it’s more a form of art than a true reflection of all the colours of life.
Vicki you are doing so well an inspiration !
Lorraine (Laurie) Everitt says:
Well, dear Vicki, I think you do an amazing job. Your children will be blessings to everyone they meet, both now and always. Lots of love to you all xx
Hebrews 11 NIV
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d]
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
This beautiful passage unlocks Old Testament truth so clearly, thank you Jonathan and thank you Vicki.
Thank you Dora,
May all that read (or stumble upon) Vicky’s Blog be strengthened in their faith
At times it is very hard, but through faith in the Messiah the risen Son of God we can achieve what we once was thought impossible
thank you SO MUCH for this honest post! More often than not I’m struggling with all that you’ve mentioned, even though I only have 5 kids between 2 and 10.
I love to read blogs and watch vlogs of mom’s with many kids, and they mostly seem to have it all together, so it makes me feel inadequate somehow. The being kind to one another part is also a big thing here right now and sometimes it feels as if I/ we did it all wrong…
I can also totally relate to your ways of stress relieve. Hardly anyone talks or writes about things like that openly.
But the www us so full of people showing their best sides (with good intentions I suppose) that I sometimes find it hard to be content with my reality which seems far from perfection in any way.
And those thoughts if failing my kids…been there…
Really, what you’ve shared meant a lot to me!
Thank you for taking the time to write and post and being so honest.
God bless you!
Vicki Goldby says:
Angela, thank you so much for commenting, yours words mean a lot to me. Being real, raw and honest is so important to me. I want people to see that it is only through Christ that I can do all this, therefore, with His help, anyone can do what I do. It’s not easy, but He strengthens our arms every day.
Great is thy faith Vicky
I pray that my faith may reach the level you have achieved Vicky, & that through faith, prayers will be answered that God will heal my loved one of dementia, through Jesus Christ God’s Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with God, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Matthew 9:28-30 KJV
And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH be it unto you. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
Vicki Goldby says:
Jonathan, I will continue to uphold your loved one in prayer. Thank you for always being an encouragement.
I owe my thanks to you Vicky, for your words have brought me closer to God as my faith continues to be tested. The Holy Spirit has been given to those that believe, so that we can know who God is, and truly know how to follow & worship him.
Thank you for your prayers Vicky
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
I pray that all who read your blog will be guided by the Holy Spirit to search the scriptures for truth & light that we may all know God’s will for each one of us
God sees every tear that falls…
Beautifully said as always. This is an encouragement to me today. Thankyou.