What Is The Reality?

whelm 1. to submerge or engulf 2. to overwhelm

As Teddy screams and the pile of dirty dishes multiplies before my eyes…. As I’m trapped in a bedroom caring for one child and three more argue in the school room… As I stare at half-finished home construction through tired eyes that have not seen uninterrupted sleep for years…

I am overwhelmed. Engulfed in motherhood and the many hats I wear. Submerged in daily tasks too numerous to keep track of, and too difficult to prioritize.

And yet, I’m pretty sure I was overwhelmed with one child, then two; convinced I was at my breaking points many times, only to find, once pushed, I could keep giving.

At what point, are we truly overwhelmed? At what point, is it not the perception of being stretched too thin, and instead the reality?

When is it no longer a matter of better planning and a positive attitude and one of truly fighting for your survival?

I’m struggling with my to do list and dealing with feelings of inadequacy when I can’t get it all done. How much is enough? I want to honestly evaluate my life and say, “Yes, I’m doing the best I can,” or “No, if I change this, things will get better or easier.” But honestly, I look at my life, my daily routine, and I’m overwhelmed. And people say, “Of course you’re overwhelmed; you’re doing too much.” But how can that be if God never gives you more than you can handle? Is coasting through each day “handling it”?

And then I think, this is just a valley of shadows and, for heaven’s sake don’t hit publish on this thing.

So this is where I’m walking, trying to find the path back out.  Experience has taught me to stop complaining and trust that it will work out. I just wish I could gain hindsight today.


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  1. Oh Kelly, imagine a big, long virtual hug coming to you. You have got much more on your plate than most people, and just to be able to get out of bed every morning and go through the motions required to serve the people God has given you is a great challenge. The evidence of God’s grace in your life is that you don’t run away from home. We’re not required to feel like we’re doing okay; God is only hoping that we’ll keep looking to Him for the strength to put one foot in front of the other.

    When you’re this stressed you need to have something to look forward to. What is a reasonable thing to hope for? An afternoon to take a nap? A day to focus on a project that will bring you more peace in the accomplishment of it? Talk with your husband and friends about your hope and see how God will use His people to bless you.

  2. The reality is that God does give us more than we can handle alone. But he doesn’t give us more than HE can handle so we have to ride it out knowing that He’s there with us. Easier said than done though and I know how easy it is to drown in the valley. My only other advice is this: Pick one thing, then do it. That’s all. Then, when that thing is done choose another. You may only get one “thing” done at a time but you know you are at least moving forward. This has saved me time and again when I am drowning.

    As Anna said, trust that He will put people into your life that will bless you if you ask.

  3. My prayers are with you.

    I don’t think it is ever a matter of what God gives. He doesn’t give us hardship. He doesn’t give us pain and suffering. But He does allow it. He allows it, knowing that, in His time, it will be used for good. And He allows it knowing that with His help, we can get through it, learn from it, grow because of it, and grow closer to Him in the process.

    But I don’t know how helpful that is when you are in the thick of it.

    God bless you in this moment of trial and I pray that at the very least His peace will rest on you.

  4. I love what Anna and Katrina both said. Whenever my life feels overwhelming, as it does right now, I realize that I fall out of my prayer routine and I put a lot of pressure on myself. Then something snaps, and I say (sometimes snidely) “Okay fine, God. You have me this. You handle it.” And He does.


  5. Oh I am right there with you. I try not to think about it because every time I have I’ve come to the same conclusion: God didn’t give me this, I made a bad decision and now I’m living with it. I gave this to myself. I don’t know if that can possibly be true but it’s a very scary thought.

  6. You probably WERE overwhelmed in the past. We grow & learn to handle our current challenges, then surprise! New ones appear. It’s okay to question your ability and sanity. It’s also okay to pat yourself on the back for just making it thru the day without giving in to the urge to run away from home.

  7. I’ve been there and get it. Although I don’t have a solid answer for you because I deal with it all the time. I look back at my overwhelmed with one child mentality of eight years ago and I just shake my head like “huh??? What were you DOING all that time?” But at the time it felt totally valid. You do have a lot that you are dealing with and I admire the way you handle it all (at least what I can see from this side of the screen!). I hope you are able to get some rest. For me, that is the difference between feeling like I just can’t do this life one more second flipping out on the kids and cheerfully singing while I make breakfast and feeling like I am so blessed. Unfortunately, sleep…well, you know.
    You can do this and I’ll be saying some extra prayers for you today.

  8. Praying for you. It is tough, no question. I have no answers to this, but a maybe slightly (vaguely… tangentially…) related thought – I think we have no idea how much the little things we do with love effect so many people lives, and I’m 100% sure you are still bringing so much light and love into everyone’s lives around you even when you feel overwhelmed. A big hug and a big thank you for your blog!

  9. I’ll be praying for you! It’s true that sometimes we feel really overwhelmed, but it might be a sign that we need more help, more sleep, alone time or more exercise. I’ll pray God shows you some way to get more help. Homeschooling moms need help or a break somehow.

  10. I love your blog posts and now I love them even more. This SO hit the spot – I feel the same way – sometimes (and since the 4th arrived in March; often), and I often wonder how you do it, because I think God might have slipped an extra cross into your basket, but hear this: I read your blog because you inspire me. If you read through your blog archive you’ll see why: because in all the hardship and challenges, you find the happy moments and the humor. I realize it’s a total cliche, but here and now, this is our life, and we should try to make the best of it. Nobody’s perfect. Mama said there’d be days like this.This too shall pass. Carpe Diem. Whatever. Anyways, you’re awesome, really, and opening up sometimes to your blog stalker across the ocean (and other readers) and admitting that life is hard is… just fine, or even great. God is with you and you will get through this.

  11. My goodness, but there are so many wise people commenting on this blog and I LOVE that your finger is willing to hit “publish” in the tough times. Me? I have a good cry, eat too much chocolate or ice cream or whatever, don’t pray enough in the tough times, and curse like a sailor. So I guess I don’t have that good of advise, but it’s nice to know that there are others out there who sometimes feel overwhelmed too. Hugs.

  12. Glad you hit publish. You’re human and not alone. I feel like I am drowning most days lately.

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