How To Hold On When the Little Messes Grow Too Big [Despair]

Yesterday, motherhood was celebrated. Fabulous tributes given to amazing mothers. It felt good. It felt right. 

But today … today is back to the reality of our days. And sometimes that reality seems like one not worth celebrating. Sneaking a peak into my world, you’d see not a supermom, but a harried mom. Not an organized, well-put-together Proverbs 31 woman, but a scrambling, praying-I-can-pull-it-off gal.


  • laundry piled in a heap so tall we have to mountain climb over it,
  • slick-worn spots in a boy’s only black pants and dress shoes sporting scuff-worn toes, both of which he has to wear tonight,
  • a work deadline missed,
  • weird noises spilling from my dryer and a broken cycle on my washing machine,
  • van doors that refuse to close properly,
  • mounds of paperwork burying my desk,
  • a Mother’s Day card still waiting to be sent: late another year,
  • strawberries left too long in the fridge, now rotting,
  • a misunderstanding so I only have right-eye contacts and 25-year-old glasses to see with,
  • a daughter battling a “bad bug” for nearly a month. 

A part of me just wants to close the door on it all. To go back to Mother’s Day and stay there—messes forgotten, failures overlooked.  


The Truth

Because all these little messes are striving to mold together to become overwhelming ugliness. Because despair pushes to take root.

I wonder if you, too,  feel it. This reality letdown.

Just in case, I remind myself (and you) of the truth. Laundry piles aren’t defining. Rotten fruit doesn’t dictate who I am. A late Mother’s Day card doesn’t make me less.

And God, He offers a reason to celebrate in the midst of all the messy reality. 

I want to hide from the reality of my days. But God says, “bring your burdens to me.”

I want to wear a mask of having it all together. But God says, “I am sufficient for your weaknesses.”

I want to give in to despair. But God says, “do not give up! I’m here.”

I want to see glory in my tomorrow. Laundry done. Appliances fixed. Clear sight. But God says, “Do not worry about tomorrow.”

Avoiding Despair

Reality is a dance of mess and beauty, making despair only a wrong look away. 

Reality is a dance of mess and beauty, making despair only a wrong look away. Click To Tweet

Look too far ahead and trip on the bumps in the road. Look one step ahead, to the illumined path and know just where to place your foot.

God doesn’t promise easy days, but He faithfully provides His strength in the midst of them. He doesn’t guarantee an uncluttered path in the reality of life, but He offers His light to see the next step. 

When we quit trying to make our lives beautiful on our own, that’s when we discover the glorious beauty of His grace.

When we quit trying to make our lives beautiful on our own, that's when we discover the glorious beauty of His grace. Click To Tweet

No, we don’t need perpetual Mother’s Day to avoid the despair of the daily messiness. We need only to look to where the light of the Lord illuminates and step in that direction.  

We don’t need to wear color-coated glasses or whitewash our days to find joy in messy reality. We need only grasp the grace He offers.

The grace of one moment at a time and a promise of something far more glorious in an eternal future. 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Reflections: Do you sometimes find the reality of your messy days overwhelming? When that happens, might I ask, where have you been looking? 

Linking up again this year with Ann Voskamp’s 2014 Joy Dare. Find the linkup at A Holy Experience. Beginning where I left off in 2013. What a blessing! #2798–2818, read the entire list by clicking here.

  • Fun and informative program at our women’s church group, including the “I’m a Little Teapot” song; Waking up to sounds and breezes of an open window; Understanding doctor in treating Rachel
  • Return of the Northern Oriole to our feeders; Wonderful growth opportunities Zachary had at West Delaware High School; My girl seems better
  • Helping high school seniors with community service projects; Hubby and Joey pitching in when mama is swamped; Wildflower trail nibbles–violets, yum
  • Clouds rolling over the treetops; Those made-up, “just-for-fun” games; Stacked-up editing deadlines behind me
  • Kitten’s attempt at getting out of its sleeping haven, laugh-out-loud funny; Unexpected trail for a quick walk; White violets
  • A morning of those rare moments when all seems well with the world; Potatoes and onions planted–thanks Joey; Early Mother’s Day gift–Yum, I had to sample early!
  • Afternoon spent in the presence of many wonderful mothers, one was my own; Daniel safely home for the entire summer–3 more months of family togetherness!; Cousins at play–love to know they enjoy each other’s company

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

3 comments on “How To Hold On When the Little Messes Grow Too Big [Despair]
  1. Jo Rose says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful gifts, I can really relate. My hubby came home to find me crying, because my 1 1/2 year old was throwing a tantrum and the house was a mess. He blessed me by listening, encouraging me, and helping me. I need to rest in God’s grace. Thank you for this reminder.

    • Julie Sunne says:

      What a wonderful husband you have, Jo Rose. Sounds like he had just the right response. Resting in God’s grace seems so easy, but in practice it is anything but. We want all to go well, everything to be as it should, or at least manageable in our own strength. But then, where is faith? May today be a brighter day for you, where you feel His presence and experience the joy only found in the Lord.

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