Years ago, I read a passage in a thick book from a guy named James. He said we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, followed by some nonsense about our life being a mist that hangs in the atmosphere for a time, then poof! Up in smoke. He also said if we try to plan our days, months, and years, this desire to control is arrogant.

Well, if planning is boasting, then apparently I’ve trumped the guy at the top of the government pyramid who doesn’t need to be named when it comes to bragging. My natural sweet spot for attaining serenity centers on having things under control. 

Then God gave me kids. 


There went control.

So, as moms who find nourishment from order, harmony, and predictability, what do we do about our control-a-betes?

Should we sit around shaking a Magic 8-Ball hoping for the best? No; the game is fixed. 

What I’ve learned is this: trying to control my need to control what I can’t control in order to refrain from the idolatry of the heart called control is . . . (catching my breath) . . . exhausting. 

One day, I finally stomped my foot, barked, “Fine!” to my Maker, ruffled my limbs, and gave in.

This was a couple of months ago. Exactly twenty-three years and five months into mothering. But I’m definitely not counting because if James says our life is lemon-lime soda, I’m too old to see and count the tiny mist particles.

God was elated with my surrender. He created the word patient, so of course, He’s very. 

However, He did ask if I’d be willing to share how waiting this long to remove my death grip on life only brought on premature gray, ulcers, sleepless nights, wineovers, a slew of broken household items, and yelling into the abyss-induced laryngitis.

I complied and here’s the gist: as a mom, how often do our first thoughts of the day race into a mind-maze of to-dos and plans? Before our feet even hit the floor we’ve mapped a meticulously planned schedule of events longer than a dual wedding in a Catholic church.

Mistake number one.

Then we swing our legs over the edge of the bed and hear a four-year old crying about a tummy ache. We meander to his room and realize he is burning up with a fever. As we tread to the bathroom to retrieve a thermometer, a strange sound coming from two year-old’s room catches our ear. We peek in and see a daughter grinning like an orangutan while ripping pages from several overdue library books.


Smoke plumes from our Franklin planner.

As our children grow up, apple carts tip all around us. If we are control freaks, we continue to scurry around picking up scattered fruit. We hope stacking the produce just right and maneuvering the wagon in a precise manner will maintain order and keep our plans on track.

Mistake number two–because our best efforts are never enough to manipulate the laws of nature. 

Manure happens. Like every day.

However, the stink isn’t in the disorder and chaos, but rather in our reactions, attitudes, and temperament. As moms, our kiddos are watching our every move. And their impressionable eyes represent the apex of why we must learn to go with the flow as best we can.

We need to decide if we want our nestlings to see calm and collected or frazzled and frustrated? Patience and mercy or anxiety and resentment?

If we aren’t mindful of our behavior, we risk passing the golden calf of control from our heart to our children’s through actions and words. Rumor has it, I’ve done this. And now I’m trying to alleviate the stench.

God knows what He’s doing, regardless of how out-of-control our lives feels. He’s already established our steps with a purposeful cadence. We are free to enjoy the walk the minute we let go.

Wait, what?

What are we waiting for? 

Let’s let go, mommas!

This post previously appeared on

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Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog

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