Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

For the Mom Who Only Sees the Mess


Today I have a special treat I think you’ll enjoy: a guest post from Abby McDonald at Fearfully Made Mom. Abby inspires me with her uncommon insights on motherhood.

Image AbbyAbby McDonald is a mom, wife and southern girl who fell in love with writing at a young age. She currently lives on the mountain side of Maryland. She started Fearfully Made Mom because she felt God gently pushing her to share her writing with others who may feel alone in their struggles with self-doubt, accepting God’s grace, and finding their identity in Christ. Her desire is to show women they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who will relentlessly pursue them, even during their darkest times.

When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, Abby enjoys hiking, photography, reading, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.


Abby graphic

One of my two-year-old’s favorite pastimes is destroying the Lego masterpieces his older brother meticulously puts together. My oldest son spends hours putting together intricate creations, only to find them later in hundreds of tiny pieces.

Often my toddler takes the same approach to work I’ve done around the house. I make the bed. He unmakes it. I clean up. He makes a new mess.

As a tightly wound woman and recovering perfectionist, I often have to remind myself that these things are just tiny inconveniences in the bigger picture of motherhood. I like for my work to be seen. I want to have items checked off my to-do list. But I don’t want a list of chores to rob me of the joy of being a mom, wife and friend.

In my search for perfection, I often miss the most important work which is right in front of me.

The opportunity to love those around me.

To speak the language of these tiny human beings I am raising to become thriving, Jesus-following adults.

Sometimes I need to remind myself that my kids, my family and the people I do life with are not a task on a list. I look at the mess around me and feel like I’m unraveling. I want for someone to pat me on the back and congratulate me for a job well done, but joy and growth is found in the journey and in stops along the way.

In the continual work of motherhood, I can choose to be fully present in the little moments. Because it’s in those moments that memories are made.

Last Friday, I saw that there is grace found when I loosen my grip. When I just let go and unwind.

We were having company over after dinner for the first Bible study we’d hosted in our home. I was trying to clean. My two-year-old had other plans. He wanted to play. He wanted to jump on the bed. Yes, he wanted to be a kid.

And to be honest, I really didn’t want to oblige him. I wanted to continue with plan A. I could feel my blood pressure rising.

But instead of throwing a mini-tantrum, I took a breath and seized an opportunity to make some memories with my son. We had a pillow fight. We wrestled. We laughed and giggled.

Despite all my striving for my work to be visible, I could sense God saying that this time when I slowed down glorified him even when others did not see. He gave me one command: to love. And in that moment I loved my son in a language he understood.

No one else saw it but me, my son and God, but that was enough.

Colossians 2:17 states, He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

Even in the space of time between a mama and her toddler on the bed, He is there. While we may see the mess and the pile of dishes, He sees the heart.

He sees it all, and I’m convinced that when we choose to love, He pronounces those little moments as good. Very, very good.

Now it’s your turn. Do you feel like you sometimes miss the most important job right in front of you? Is laying your to-do list aside hard? 

Linking up with Holly Barrett, Meredith Bernard, and Holley Gerth



Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

26 thoughts on “For the Mom Who Only Sees the Mess

  1. Pingback: I’m Giving You a Gold Star Today, Mom | Fearfully Made Mom

  2. So loved this. We can miss the moments in time so easily. Thank you for this reminder today!

    • I miss those moments too often, Joanne. God is teaching me to appreciate them more. It’s those little things I remember from my childhood. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

  3. So often we think we are only glorifying God when others can see it. Thanks for this perspective that God is glorified when we obey regardless of who else knows. Appreciate you linking up to Testimony Tuesday, Betsy!

    • Yes, I think that’s a hard concept for me to grasp sometimes- that he’s being glorified regardless of who sees, but he’s been showing me this more and more lately. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Holly!

  4. Abby, I think it’s funny how God divinely merges certain paths together. Though you and I basically know each other through a (very brief) introduction at SheSpeaks…followed by comments and Facebook chats, I know God wanted me to be exposed to your words. Because I get you, so very much….and I thank God for the reminders He gives me through your words, to enter fully into the moments. Sounds kind of silly- but you’ve inspired me to pray that God would give me laser-like focus on the people around me, rather than the mess. That he would put blinders or something over my OCD-eyes, so that I can see into what really matters. I’m rambling again. It’s just what your words do to me!!

    • Amy, I truly believe God divinely merged our paths to and you have so blessed me with your thoughts and encouraging words. I’m so thankful for you and hope to connect again at a future conference. I hear from Meredith that Allume was awesome, so I plan to attend next year. And of course, there’s Declare too! Focusing on people rather than the mess is a process for me and I’m still learning, but I’m grateful for what God is teaching me. Much love, girl.

    • I love that: “laser-like focus on the people around me, rather than the mess.” I need blinders myself in order to forget the mess! 🙂

  5. Abby/Betsy,
    So glad I stopped by!! Abby, I wish I had had the insight that you do at your age. I, too, was a recovering perfectionist until God really gave me some lessons on what truly is important. The laundry and cleaning will always be there…believe me it waits, but the tiny smudgy fingerprints on your glass door will not be there forever. I encourage you to keep looking beyond the mess to see the Messenger and what is truly important…love your posts!

    • Bev, you are such an encouragement to me. Thanks so much for stopping here today. I’m so blessed that Betsy is sharing her space here and for the opportunity to share what God has laid on my heart. Much love to you.

  6. Abby, I have just recently started following your blog and I can honestly say that I have been so blessed by what you share. This post in particular really hit home. The past few weeks have been long and hard, but it is those shared moments of randomness with my boys that pull me back to reality. Thank you for your encouragement!

    • Thank you so much, Jess! That means so much to me. We moms need to stick together, right? 😉 I am looking forward to catching up on some of your posts this week as well.

  7. Are you reading my story, Abby? You are telling it. This is EXACTLY what God’s been putting on my heart lately, especially after this weekend at Allume. To just love these people…my people. That’s my number one call and most important priority…and it’s certainly going to be messy at times and that’s ok, too. As long as I’m loving them. I’m so glad you played monkey on the bed and I hope to do the same when the chance arises. Your words always speak to what I’m feeling or needing to hear. Love you and love seeing you here at Betsy’s! What a great place to be today. 😀 Love you both…mb

  8. Being fully present in the little moments… how easily I become distracted by my plans, my expectations, social media, ugh! Just ugh! Thank you for this beautiful reminder to keep our priorities straight. I never tire of reading things of this nature. Probably because I need it more often than not! 🙂 Blessings!

    • Oh, I need it too, Kaylene. That’s why I write about it. 😉 Thanks so much for your encouraging words today! Priorities are hard for me to keep straight too, but I’m a work in progress. 🙂

  9. I love this post!!! Its a great reminder how blessed I am to be a momma!!!! I waited and dreamed about having children for a very long time. Its hard to let my house go untouched to serve my children’s needs first. My house gets cluttered often and it drives me nuts. But I rather play with my kids and have fun. I just need to find peace in the chaos. A little hard to do when clutter makes me crazy and my to-do-list gets longer each day. Thank you for reminding me that making memories with our children is the most important thing.

    • We are blessed aren’t we, Lisa? I am so much more at peace when I remember that. When I get caught up in the mess it’s easy to forget. Thanks so much for your kind words. So grateful to be connected with you.

    • Oh Lisa, you’ve reminded me of something I’ve forgotten and want to keep in mind! I also waited to have kids a long time! (Didn’t even marry until I was 31.) If I waited for them this long, I’d better make enjoying them a top priority.

  10. I definitely struggle with this. Oftentimes I only see the mess and forget to spend quality time with my kids! Some days Im just merely surviving the chaos and its hard to embrace the mess.

    • I have those days too, Kortney. I’m a little O.C.D. at times, and it’s difficult for me to see beyond the mess. God is working on me, little by little. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  11. Absolutely! I have a huge and never-ending to-do list and it’s taken me a long time and a lot of mistakes to learn to set it aside for the spontaneous–even for those spontaneous acts of speaking someone else’s love language. For those of you with little one, you’ll never regret the time you spend making memories with your kids–they will always remember. It takes two goods to counteract one bad–so if you speak impatiently, it takes two encouraging interactions to balance out words spoken in haste and unkindness. I almost missed this lesson, but came to my senses when my girls were almost beyond my reach (think, pre-teens). We instituted weekly dates (they got to choose) and we established our relationships. I’m so glad I did!

    • That is a great idea, Anita. I find at this stage in my kids lives I really need to spend one on one time with them. My youngest is very demanding of my attention so I try to make sure my oldest gets the time he needs as well. Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

  12. I too often look back on the day and see those opportunities. We are all works in progress, so God knows we will mess up. I think the best thing for us to do is be aware so we don’t miss them as often. Getting in the habit of being in the moment should start happening!

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