Focus on the Family

Mothering When Life Gets Hard

Kara Tippetts on shepherding the hearts of our children amid the stress of life.

My husband had, countless times in his sermons, challenged me with the question, What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness? My life often felt ordinary and mundane, but this quote reminded me, encouraged me that my days certainly did matter. The living I did behind closed doors made a difference in the life of my family. The love I was investing in the quiet mom moments mattered.

Then one day in a small room without windows, three words changed my world: You have cancer. And in that terrible awful, I saw all those little moments become my giant moments, and the time spent next to my little ones as the biggest and best moments of my life. They were not simply minutes to get through, but they were the grace that Jesus had delivered to me. My life suddenly felt far from mundane. And I wondered how I would live seeking grace and loving my family as I entered treatment and met the bottom of myself. Could I expect God in His grace to carry me through, and could I still live in faith and kindness behind closed doors?

My hard in life

Through my season of battling cancer, I’ve learned that the hard in life is not the absence of God’s goodness — it is often what Jesus uses to draw me to himself. I’m learning to lean on God and His faithfulness.

My hard in life is cancer and I have prayed throughout my journey that it would draw me closer to God. You may not be living in the same hard, but I’m convinced that all mothers are intimately acquainted with hard. We understand sleepless nights, financial pressures and struggles in sibling relationships. And in the midst of it all, we’re called as mothers to faithfully shepherd, to minister to the hearts of our children.

Your hard in life

You may find yourself in the endless cycle of bath time, laundry and feeding, and you may not see the gift of those little moments. You may be fighting for faithfulness in the small moments of today. I can now say that the time, the energy and the effort I spent investing in my family during my healthy years provided the connection and grace to get us through the hard moments today.

So how can your laundry be an expression of love and service rather than a chore that simply wearies you? How can you live looking for grace in your day today? And when the hard comes, will you love your family even at the bottom of yourself, or will you grow bitter? Grace will be provided for that hard day, but it takes strength and humility to look for that grace when all is well. The practice of looking for grace today will prepare you to look for grace when suffering comes. So live in faith. Love big — from God’s abundant overflow. Build relationships, look for grace and pray for eyes to see Jesus even when it gets hard (1 Peter 5:10).

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