Image credit: Alan Cleaver via Creative Commons
I grew up believing that as long as I tried my best, it would be enough. “Always do your best,” my mom said, and I generally did.
Now that I’m the mother, sometimes even my very best isn’t enough to cover everything that needs covering. I was only born with two hands. Most of the time, I could use twice that many (at least).
It’s already almost 8:30 in the morning. My husband can’t find his keys. My preschooler is demanding more juice and a second bowl of cereal. The twins are crying to be picked up from their cribs, and I know that picking them up will mean changing their diapers, dressing them and bringing them to the kitchen with the rest of us, where the dishes are already piling up and I’m tripping over a basket of unfolded laundry and a pile of matchbox cars and magic markers on the floor. All I want is a cup of coffee, yet I know I’m at least half an hour from being able to sit down and drink it. My son asks again for the juice.
Taking a deep breath, I try my best not to snap at him. “I am trying,” I tell him. “I’m trying really hard this morning. I need you to wait a minute.”
He scowls at me, stamps his foot on the floor. “But I don’t want to wait. I want juice now.”
I try again, speaking as quietly as I can manage. “I am trying as hard as I can. I will be right with you.”
“Mama,” he says calmly, looking up into my face with his little brow furrowed, “trying harder is not working for you, so maybe you should try easier.”
In this moment, I want to shake him (or at least pour the juice and set it down with great force – blam! – on the table, so he knows I’m irritated).
But maybe he has a point?
“My grace is sufficient for you…my power is made perfect in weakness.”
– – 2 Corinthians 12:9
On mornings like this, I’m the definition of weakness…I just want to sit down!
Some moments in motherhood feel about as futile as trying to climb out of a deep hole without a ladder. These are the days when I wake up and already feel behind, when there are more things to do than there is time and energy to accomplish them. These are days when all the effort in the world can’t get me there…when my trying and striving and teeth-gritted stubbornness only makes the hole deeper and the mess bigger.
How is one person supposed to be everything to everyone? How can one woman take care of so many needs? How can one mother respond patiently, kindly, calmly in the midst of a difficult moment with a challenging child on a day that is testing her beyond her limits?
The truth is, she can’t. I can’t. I’m not infinite…and my limited human resources can only stretch so far before they reach their breaking point.
But God’s grace is limitless, and it is sufficient…even for me.
“When I am weak, then I am strong.”
– – 2 Corinthians 12:10
I might never be enough, but God is always enough…and with God, I have what I need.
Taking a deep breath, I carefully pour the juice and set it down, resolving to remind myself as many times as necessary that I’m not actually doing it all on my own, after all.
By Abbey Dupuy, Surviving Our BlessingsLeave a Comment
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) says
This is so well written and so needed today. Thank you!
Thanks, Brittnie- I’m hoping it was a “trying easier” day for you!
Thank you!!! So very refreshing.
Thanks, Heidi- blessings to you.
Amen Sister! Thanks for the reminder 🙂
🙂 Absolutely- I might need to tattoo it on the back of my hand or something, as I can be a bit hard-headed.
Beautiful message! I remember days like this when my kids were younger. The only way I could have gotten through that beautiful mess was with my Savior.
A “beautiful mess” is a perfect way of describing it…so often, I think I only see the mess and not the beauty. Thanks for your encouragement!
Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas says
Lovely post, Abbey. I needed to hear this after a really rough morning with the 4yo. Wouldn’t you think the 5 day old baby and the 19 mo would be the exhausting ones? Whew. Taking a deep breath before going in to ask him to quietly rest during naptime instead of banging around singing the Star Wars theme…:)
You know, I think 4 must be a hard age to be. Or maybe it’s just hard to be a mother to a 4 year old. Anyway, I hear you! At least his taste in music is good. 😉
What a marvelous writer you are and I agree with your preschooler, all of us should try “easier”
Thank you, Suzanne!
Amen! I am right there, as well. Praise God that in those weak moments, He is strong.
Thanks for sharing!:)
Thank you for your Amen!
KelleyAnnie @ Over the Threshold says
So good, Abbey. Sometimes I think Sam must be smarter than us all.
Oh, Kelley…he’s uncanny sometimes. Thanks for coming by!
Julie Sunne says
Your little guy is quite wise. Trying easier is a good recipe for allowing Jesus to lead.
It’s always amazing to me when our little ones say things that are truly profound. One would think I’d get used to being surprised by the deep things that come out of my son’s mouth, but I never do. And yes, when we get out of the way and stop spinning our wheels with so much EFFORT, it is clear that Jesus wants us to rest in Him. 🙂
Jenni Baden Howard says
Oh, just the photo at the top makes me feel not alone and in-couraged (and I know I won’t be able on that one!!) – even before I started reading! 🙂 As well as verse about His grace, the concept of “trying a little easier” is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing that, and God bless you with abundant ‘easier’ grace!! 🙂 XX
Jenni Baden Howard says
So sorry – resending that comment as I spotted a late night (here in the UK!) typo in the first line!! Here it is, amended (so sorry!!) 🙂
Oh, just the photo at the top makes me feel not alone and in-couraged (and I know I won’t be alone on that one!!) – even before I started reading! 🙂 As well as verse about His grace, the concept of “trying a little easier” is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing that, and God bless you with abundant ‘easier’ grace!! 🙂 XX
I’m so glad you liked the sink. 🙂 Blessings to you!
Barb Kennedy says
I’m sorry but I couldn’t help but laugh, I know at the time it sure don’t seem funny when everyone is pulling you in every direction. For all you mom out their raising kids in christain home I applaud you.
You know, you’re on to something there…sometimes laughing is better than crying when things get really thick!
Thank you for your very honest look at motherhood. I sure remember the days when my girls were young and everybody wanted something. I think your little guy is a genious though! I am pasting his idea on my wall at work. “work easier”
God bless you as you do a little less today (I hope)
Thanks, Lina- it really is good advice. I wish I had thought of it myself. 🙂
Beth Williams says
I can only imagine what it feels like to have oodles to do & little time, while people demanding stuff from you.
I, too, can get a little irritated at people and situations. Maybe I just need to “try a little easier” and pray about situations.
Thanks for a great post!
Thanks, Beth…I think all of us probably try too hard sometimes when we are trying to rely only on our own strength to face what’s in front of us. Why is it so difficult to rest in God’s grace and trust His strength instead of our own?
Ashley @ Draw Near says
Abbey, my friend — so great to see you here! I love this post and am amazed by your little guy’s wisdom. Good to recall our finite-ness. How we CANNOT be everything that is needed. Why is it that we know that (too well) and yet keep trying to live like it’s not true? Anyway, thank you so much for these words from your boy and your wise reflections in turn. And that sink? Looks about like mine right now.
Courage | Make everyday Outstanding says
[…] When Trying My Best Doesn't Work | (in)courage https://aws.incourage.me/Image credit: Alan Cleaver via Creative Commons I grew up believing that as long as I tried my best, it would be enough. “Always do your best,” my mom said, and I generally did. Now that I'm the mother, sometimes. […]
Thank you for sharing this post. Your son is wise beyond his years…totally going to come up with a way to display/post “try easier” in my house as a visual reminder to myself.