Shop the fall collection ➔

As I was putting away bathroom toiletries, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, oh, what a hot mess you are as I quickly glanced away, wanting to forget the image I had just seen.

My eyes darted around the bathroom from one mess to another. The disgusting ring in the toilet bowl grabbed my attention, and although it was a bigger mess than I was, it still hit me hard. The condition it was in, was a direct result of me not properly taking care of my home. Ouch, another hit to myself and what a mess I am.

After that, every eyesore in my house was capturing my focus as I walked through the halls, past the rooms.

The cluttered bedrooms.

The pile of laundry all over the couch.

The countertops full of all the things.

The thick dust on my blinds.

The incomplete list of to-dos on my desk.

The words, I can’t keep up, circled around and around my head. I whispered to myself, maybe I am not made for this.  

Everywhere I turned was a constant reminder of what I was not.

A reminder of what I wanted to be but couldn’t. What I was lacking as a wife and as a mom became my inner dialogue.

Failure. Inadequate. Not enough. All the ways I wasn’t measuring up hung heavy over my heart.

RELATED: Nothing is Enough Until He Is

How could something I felt like I was born for, be so hard for me? Why couldn’t I get the hang of keeping a home, raising kids, and being an intentional wife? Why wasn’t I able to balance work and family life like so many other women who made it seem effortless?

Friends, this downward spiral is called stacking.

I have a bad habit of stacking problem after problem on top of each other. Issue after issue, piling so high, I can’t see any goodness in front of me. You too? Often times when I notice one problem or mess, my focus moves to the next mess and onto the next one until I am so worked into a frenzy of failure and overwhelm, I am unable to have a clear perspective on my situations. My focus is far off from God.

Once I start the stacking game, my mood goes sour. My words become less than gracious. Anything extra on top of my already toppling stack (like kids fighting or a sassy attitude from my tween) can lead to a full-on mommy meltdown. Have you been here too? If so, I have some tips to help you go from feeling like a mess to more grounded and secure in who you are.

Five things we can do when we are stacking: 

1. Remember Who and Whose You Are

God tells us we are worthy just because we are His. There is nothing we can do to earn this status. We simply accept this beautiful gift from Him. Now we must remember it when the enemy puts those lies into your ear that you are a mess. We know God tells us otherwise and His truth reigns! (Isaiah 43:4, Luke 12:6-7)

2. Breath Prayers

My sweet friend Shara-Rae shared with me a beautiful (and quick) way she learned to find Jesus in the moments that overwhelm us. When your thoughts and situations feel like too much, stop whatever you are doing and/or thinking, close your eyes, and do a breath prayer. The prayer could be your favorite scripture or a line. For example, inhale, Jesus, and exhale, is my Rock. My friend’s favorite line is: inhale, Jesus and exhale, is my Shepard. This practice will take your unsteady feet and make them steady in Jesus. (1 Corinthians 10:4, Psalm 23)

3. Expectations Check

Are you measuring yourself against your own false set of expectations? Is what you are seeing on your social media feed taking away value from yourself? Accepting yourself as you are and letting go of the unrealistic expectations you created can feel extremely freeing. We are all made uniquely and we all have different things going on in our lives that may or may not affect us and our situation. What is easy for one person, may be hard for another. We have to stop comparing ourselves (this includes comparing ourselves against our own image of who we wish we were). (Psalm 139:14, Romans 12:2)

RELATED: Sometimes Trying Your Best is More Than Enough

4. Gratitude Check

The best way to combat discouragement is to praise. Make a list of five things you are grateful for at this very moment. It is amazing what a mind shift can do to your spiraling emotions. It’s also good to list what you are good at, no matter how small. Sometimes we forget all the amazing things we are doing for our family. Gratitude is good for the soul. (Psalm 118:1, Colossians 3:15)

5. Focus

If you do have things around your home which could use some extra TLC (including extra time with your spouse), make a list of all the things weighing on your heart. To steer clear of stacking, pick one thing off the list to complete for the day or for the next five minutes. Set a timer, turn on your favorite song, and focus on the specific area. It will feel so good to get something completed and this will spark joy in your heart. (Proverbs 4:25, Hebrews 12:1-2)

Most of all, know you are not alone in feeling this way.

The truth of the matter is, motherhood is beautiful, but it is challenging all on its own. I think it is safe to say when we attempt to balance motherhood with all of our other parts of life, it can be chaotic and leave us feeling like a hot mess.

RELATED: Dear Hot Mess Mom: To Me You Are Perfect

But friends we are not hot messes. We are so much more than that. We are so much more than the state of our homes or our kid’s behavior or our unfinished workload. What we are, are moms who have big hearts, who care about all the things, and we just want to love our families well. Don’t let the stack take you down. Grab Jesus’ hand and let Him help you rise above it all.

As God tells us in Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Sweet mom, we have to remember who we are (holy and dearly loved) and to make sure to be compassionate, kind, gentle, humble, and patient with ourselves too.

Amber  Palmer 

Amber is a busy mom of two kiddos, wife, and blogger over at My Jars of Clay. When she is not homeschooling her daughter, you can find her writing to encourage other moms and helping them keep their focus on Jesus. Amber enjoys spending her time reading, singing when no one is around, and throwing random dance parties in her kitchen. She loves connecting with other moms in person and over on Instagram.

Take Courage

In: Faith, Living
Woman hiking with arms wide

My sophomore English teacher kicked off the school year by reading Anne Sexton on the first day of school, a poem called Courage. Fifteen-year-old me did not care much for poetry or even English class. Poetry has grown on me over the years, but I don’t miss memorizing Shakespeare or taking standardized tests or my huge literature book that took up most of the real estate in my maroon JanSport backpack. I wrapped my book carefully with a brown grocery sack that by the end of the year was covered in markers, drawings, and scratch-outs of boys’ names. Before I...

Keep Reading

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got: Touch Feet Every Night

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple touching feet in bed

Twenty-six years ago this summer, I got a tiny piece of advice on my wedding day that has kept me from making a huge mistake time and time again. A wise woman told me, “When you climb in bed each night with your husband, make sure that your feet touch under the covers. It’s hard to be mad at someone and touch feet.”  I had no idea, all those years ago, how impactful this piece of advice would be and how many times in our marriage this would be the small act that kept us united. This simple act of...

Keep Reading

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading

3 Simple Ways to Be a More Confident Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and young child smiling outside

Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.  Comparison makes...

Keep Reading

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

I Gave up on God but He Never Gave up on Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother hugging son, color photo

I grew up in a religious house. We went to church every Sunday. My mom taught Sunday school, and we participated as a family in most church events. We believed in the power of prayer, hope, faith, love, and forgiveness. As a little girl, I watched my dad kneel at the side of the bed every night and say his prayers. In the last six years, my faith has not been what it should have been. It has plummeted into the depths of nothingness, buried deep below the darkness. I have felt angry and abandoned by God. In response, I...

Keep Reading

I Count My Blessings Every Day

In: Faith
Mom and child by beach

I remember being jealous of my classmates often. I would look at the girls at my school who seemed to be living such a carefree life. They would do well in school effortlessly and go home to their moms, dads, and siblings, to a house they’d grown up in. I wanted that so much for myself! I wanted my mom and dad to be together, and if it wasn’t too much to ask, a sibling or two. I wanted us to live in a house where I could have my own room, but I wouldn’t mind sharing if I had...

Keep Reading

Dear Lord, Make Me a Grace Hunter

In: Faith
Woman with crutches looking out window, black-and-white photo

I want to be known as a grace hunter. Every day, I pray I would be given eyes to see the world in which we live through a lens of grace—a lens that causes me to marvel at the ways of my God and be constantly filled with wonder. I am thankful I have no choice but to live life at a slower pace. I pray for the ability to see the beauty and God’s grace in the seemingly small and insignificant things. RELATED: In the Midst of Grief, There is Grace I pray for eyes to see His grace even...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

So God Made Midnight

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and newborn

When God created a mother, He created her to love and serve in every moment. He knew the constant need would sometimes overwhelm her and she would have no choice but to rely on His strength and grace. He knew she would feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day . . . so God made midnight. He knew a mama’s days with a newborn would be busy and sometimes chaotic. He knew she would be distracted by meeting needs and attempting to find balance—that sneaking in a hot shower would become almost a luxury . . . so...

Keep Reading