This morning, I woke up out of a peaceful slumber at the crack of dawn to my screaming, but adorable ten-month-old baby, Danny. He has just started teething, so needless to say, he has been quite irritable, with sufficient reason.

As I carried my 22-pound baby down the stairs, half asleep, I was discouraged to see my house completely disheveled. Dishes were piled high in the sink, dry and crusty from the night before; we had run out of dish detergent yesterday.

The laundry was piled up on the living room couch. At least it was clean, I told myself. I stood there frozen, completely overwhelmed. I had only been awake for 10 minutes.

I gazed outside at the frost that covered the grass. I longed for my comfy bed upstairs, to pull the blanket over my head. Danny’s shrieks immediately brought me back to reality.

It was Sunday, so I was already feeling stress. Sundays are like a pre-game show before the big game, that is, the start of another Monday morning in high school where I teach, and all of the guilt that comes with being a working mom.

I want to take advantage of every minute when I am home with Danny on the weekends. I try to entertain him, play with him, and read to him. All of the things I miss during the day when I am working.

For example, while I get Danny ready for church, I do a lot of multitasking. I juggle feeding him breakfast and teaching him new vocabulary. As he plays with a ball, I point to it and say loudly and phonetically, “Ball! B-all!”

 I say this over and over again as I am trying to feed him oatmeal, neatly. Every time I say it, he drops it on the floor. I pick it up and repeat. Again.

As I scurry around the house to get his bag ready for church, I sing him lullabies, usually loudly and out of tune, to soothe his fussiness. This is usually as I am running around the kitchen cleaning dirty bottles and packing his snacks.

All in a day’s work, right? 

When we finally arrived at church, which seemed like the journey of a thousand miles, it became suddenly well worth it.

The following words were like food for my soul:

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Phil 4:6-9

I exhaled and felt a little bit lighter. It was a great reminder for me to make Jesus the center, of everything, because He would help me through the daily challenges of parenting and running a household and the never-ending to-do lists that accompany 21st century families today.

I felt my priorities shift and I could see things clearly. How simple it really was.

Trust Jesus. Give all of my burdens to Him. Put Danny in his hands and know that He will take care of Him, even if I fail to sometimes, no matter how hard I try.

In this way, Jesus reminds me of a quarterback in the NFL, who takes the ball and runs with it and all we have to do is snap it to him. And let go.

As I sat in church, I visualized giving Him every obstacle in my path and every burden and pressure that weighed me down. I imagined Him taking each one. I could feel the tension ease and my breath begin to steady, slowly. I remembered why we go to church every Sunday, despite the chaos. And it wasn’t because it was on our to-do list.

Throughout the day, as I hurried through my tasks, I paused to be mindful of my stress. When I felt myself becoming overwhelmed, I tried to remind myself that Jesus had already received my burdens in His hands. I forget that, too often.

In order to remind myself of Jesus’ presence, I sat down periodically, for a few moments. I breathed in and out and re-centered myself.

That is the difficult part about prayer. We pray, sometimes over and over and over again. But we forget to trust Him and let go, if only for a moment. Isn’t that the point?

I felt peace. When I began to read to Danny and play with him that evening, I didn’t feel like it was a burden. Instead it became a timeless activity that brought me joy. And for this I was so grateful. At last, I was ready to sit down with my husband and watch Sunday night football.

That was my touchdown and victory.

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Monica Braun

Monica Braun has a bachelor's degree in English from Michigan State University and a master's in education from Aquinas College. She teaches High School English in Racine, Wisconsin, and is an aspiring writer. She has one son (for right now) and is a follower of Jesus Christ.

But God, I Can’t Forgive That

In: Faith, Marriage
Woman holding arms and walking by water

Surrender is scary. Giving in feels like defeat. Even when I know it’s the right thing, yielding everything to God is scary. It also feels impossible. The weight of all I’m thinking and feeling is just so dang big and ugly. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes I cling so tightly to my fear I don’t even recognize it for what it is. Bondage. Oppression. Lack of trust. Oh, and then there’s that other thing—pride. Pride keeps me from seeing straight, and it twists all of my perceptions. It makes asking for help so difficult that I forget that...

Keep Reading

Dear Dad, I Pray for Our Healing

In: Faith, Grief, Grown Children
Back shot of woman on bench alone

You are on my mind today. But that’s not unusual. It’s crazy how after 13 years, it doesn’t feel that long since I last saw you. It’s also crazy that I spend far less time thinking about that final day and how awful it was and spend the majority of the time replaying the good memories from all the years before it. But even in the comfort of remembering, I know I made the right decision. Even now, 13 years later, the mix of happy times with the most confusing and painful moments leaves me grasping for answers I have...

Keep Reading

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

God Has You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman hugging herself while looking to the side

Holding tight to the cold, sterile rail of the narrow, rollaway ER bed, I hovered helplessly over my oldest daughter. My anxious eyes bounced from her now steadying breaths to the varying lines and tones of the monitor overhead. Audible reminders of her life that may have just been spared. For 14 years, we’d been told anaphylaxis was possible if she ingested peanuts. But it wasn’t until this recent late autumn evening we would experience the fear and frenzy of our apparent new reality. My frantic heart hadn’t stopped racing from the very moment she struggled to catch a breath....

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

She Left Him on Valentine’s Day

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband kissing wife on cheek, color photo

“Can you believe that?” Those were the dreaded knife-cutting whispers I heard from across the table. I sunk deeper into my chair. My hopes fell as everyone would forever remember that I had left my fiancée on Valentine’s Day. Maybe one day it would just dissipate like the dream wedding I had planned or the canceled plane tickets for the Hawaiian honeymoon. Some bridesmaids and guests had already booked plane tickets. It was my own nightmare that kept replaying in my head over and over again. I had messed up. Big time. To be honest, if it made any difference,...

Keep Reading

God was In the Room for Our Daughter’s Open Heart Surgery

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child's hand with IV

I’ve had a strong faith for as long as I can remember, but I always felt bad that I never had a “testimony.” I had never gone through something that made me sit back and say, “Wow, God is real, He is here.” I have always felt it to my core, but no moment had ever stopped me dead in my tracks to where there was no denying that it was God. And then, that moment happened to me on December 5. After five months of fervently praying for a miracle for our daughter, the day came for her heart...

Keep Reading

A Benediction for the Worn Out Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman leaning against kitchen counter, black-and-white photo

Blessed are you, Father, for bestowing upon me the honor of motherhood. For allowing me to experience the deep joy of bringing forth life—a joy I often take for granted and instead choose to begrudge. My children’s cries and demands have worn me down. I do not recognize myself. I selfishly long for the old me. My thoughts are an intangible mess of never-ending tasks, self-criticism, and comparison to those around me. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama But Your word says you are near to the broken-hearted and downtrodden. You do not forget the cause of the tired and the...

Keep Reading

God Doesn’t Forget You When You’re Lost and Unsure

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking into camera, color photo

I’ve been wandering around feeling lost for over a year. Wondering where I’m going, what I’m supposed to be doing. Nothing seems to make sense. I felt purposeless. I felt stuck. I questioned everything: my faith, my marriage, my career—if it could be questioned, I doubted it. And I was completely clueless how to fix the funk. For over a year, I’ve been in the wilderness. I’ve wanted to find my way, but every path seemed like another dead end. The wilderness. I’ve been residing there. Not feeling fed. Not feeling heard. Not feeling seen. Struggling to find a purpose....

Keep Reading

And Then, the Darkness Lifts

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother with baby smiling

Today when I woke, it had lifted, like sunshine peeking after rain. And as my toddler clicked on the lamp beside my bed to see her mama, I saw me too. I got out of bed and I walked down the hall. And the coffee pot sat there waiting for me, as always, like my husband at the kitchen table with his books. He smiled at me, and I think he could tell as I took my medicine, took down a mug, and poured my coffee. I opened the secretary desk and pulled out the chair and my Bible, like...

Keep Reading