Overcoming the Overwhelming for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’m reminded that this holiday doesn’t always feel so ‘happy’ for each of us. I’m grateful my friend Rachel Wojo understands this and is guest posting on the blog today to point us to Jesus in the moments that might be difficult this time of year.

Some days I would pick up the phone to call her, only to realize that I couldn’t. Since Mom had graduated to Heaven, one of my favorite months of the year became the most difficult.

May 10 is Mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day is always close to that date. Going to church on Mother’s Day became bittersweet after her death. I wanted to celebrate my children and the joys of motherhood; but I also ached to see my mama. A roller coaster of emotions resulted.

After Mom’s death, my daughter, Taylor was diagnosed with MPS at age 4. The diagnosis of a rare, terminal disease was tough enough, but to watch the gradual decline as neurological degeneration occurred was more than I could bear. With the loss of my mother still very fresh, watching my daughter lose her quality of life little by little consumed my heart and soul.

At age 6, the loss of cognitive discernment grew more evident. TayTay didn’t sleep well, and when she woke up in the night, she’d play quietly in her room. Some nights, I placed her back in bed so many times that I couldn’t hold my eyes open long enough to walk to her room one more time. So I’d sleep on the floor in the hallway to ensure that she didn’t leave the room or injure herself. Our family worked to make everything as childproof as we could. We moved the light switch to the outer hallway so she wouldn’t play with it. To keep her from harming herself by swinging on hangers and climbing on closet shelves, we placed locks on the closet doors.

Then Taylor developed a habit of placing her hands in her diaper. During the day, we kept a close eye on her diapering needs, but at night, it became more challenging.

One Sunday morning, I awoke early to prepare for church and before I hopped in the shower, I peeked into Taylor’s room. In spite of my early rising, Taylor had been awake for a while. She had taken on an art project of the worst kind. Because I had been unable to care for her diapering needs instantly, she had plastered the room with poop. The curtains, the walls, the bedding, the carpet, the doorknob, her toys. Everything.

I could hardly pull myself together enough emotionally to take her to the bathtub and wash her clean. I opened her bedroom window, closed the door, and took her to my bed to watch TV so I could take a speed shower. All the while, I sobbed and asked God why.

Why did we have to go through this? Why did she have to lose her mind? Why did I have to spend the afternoon after church scrubbing down her entire room?

And why did all this have to happen… on Mother’s Day?

I couldn’t do it. I was overwhelmed on every level and struggled to understand. Why does life have to be so difficult?

How did I begin to overcome the overwhelming?

How did I begin to work through those hard questions? I discovered that I needed to run to God’s Word when discouragement strikes. If Psalm 18 were written today, it might be known as “David’s Survival Guide for the Overwhelmed.” Take a look at the psalmist’s 6 tips for overcoming the overwhelming.

• Recognize that God is your strength.
I love you, O Lord, my strength. (Psalm 18:1) Can you repeat David’s praise as your own?

• Realize that prayer is your lifeline.
What does your prayer life look like right now?

• Remember the victories God gave in the past.
What has God brought you through so far?

• Refuse to focus on personal limitations and believe God will do His redemptive work in you.
What personal fears are holding you back from believing God will empower you for His work?

• Recall the details of God’s moment by moment provisions.
How has God provided protection for you, even in your overwhelming circumstance?

• Renew your perspective of the situation.
Is your vision limited by failing to recognize his never-ending supply of strength?

My perspective of being an overwhelmed mama has changed drastically since that dreadful Mother’s Day afternoon I spent cleaning up poop. I’ve learned that God is my total source of strength and that by continually talking to my Heavenly Father about everything, I will naturally take my burdens to Him as well. When I think about the victories God has given me by providing patience and understanding, I’m stunned by His provisions. I stopped focusing on my lack of abilities to care for a child with special needs and began comprehending that God chose me to be Taylor’s mother. I am the mom He trusts with her unique and precious life.

Years after the poopy art incident occurred, more heartache consumed our family when we lost a sweet baby to Heaven just a few months after conception. Like David, we found ourselves in a state of being completely overwhelmed. But that’s why it’s called a survival guide. We’re likely going to need the reminders again and again, right?

Two years later, another Mother’s Day arrived and in place of feeling despair, our family experienced delight. This day, May 10, 2009, was not only Mother’s Day, and not only my mom’s birthday, but also a special redemption day. We had prayed and God answered beyond our request or imagination. He ushered a baby girl into our lives on this very day, not only to answer our prayers, but to reveal His incredible power and attention to detail. He redeemed a significant date for our family by allowing Tarah to be born on her grandma’s birthday and Mother’s Day, the very day that I thought I could never be fit to be a mom.

We only share the poopy art days to reveal the glory of how He takes the worst mess and creates the best message. How He takes the hard days of loss and balances them with happy days of love. How He loves to take the overwhelmed and transform them into overjoyed. He did it for us; He’ll do it for you too!


If you enjoyed today’s post, you’ll love Rachel’s latest book, One More Step: Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving Up. We’ve got 3 copies to give away today! Just leave a comment below to be entered to win.


  1. says

    Rachael – I so appreciate your scripture and sharing. I feel that right now I am going through A deep, dark valley. I didn’t think things would get worse after having an emergency splenectomy in 2013, followed by a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. God saw me through these things (Whipple surgery took out the cancer and I have been cancer free for 1 1/2 years.). But since 2016 started, I have lost both my parents and my son and daughter are in the middle of a horrible argument which I am starting to see it will take God’s grace to solve. It is clear an attack of Satan on our family while I am trying to mourn my parents and carry out my duties as executer. Your message is so lifting..

  2. Joyce de la Rosa says

    Thank you for sharing your story. My mother would probably share one she had about my brother decorating a Grayhound Bus in the same way (happened back in the 40’s). Your story brought back that memory of which now I’ll have to call him just to rag on him a bit about it.
    I will pray for you and your family. My problems seem so minute compared to yours and others. Tay is a gift from God and He gave her to you because He knew you’d be the BEST mom for her. As I look back, I thank our Lord for ALL my children, (2 of my own and 4 step). They are all grown up now with families of their own. My baby is going to be a father in June and I just pray that I have given him the best of my knowledge for him to be a great father. I just pray that he brings his daughter up believing in God, as his wife is agnostic (believes in a higher power but doesn’t want to call it God) and won’t allow me to tell my granddaughter about God. So I pray about that every night.
    Well, Happy Mothers Day and may our Lord bestow His many blessings upon you.

  3. Sylvianne says

    I enjoyed your devotions and learned a lot lately how to depend on our Lord more and more He’s the only one we can depend on and trust

  4. Sharon Snyder says

    Thanks So much for the post!! I needed this today, a day before my 6th Mother’s Day. My 5 year old has been challenging me. ( Oh, yes, about 3 years ago, my daughter had painting poop-days, too. )Today, was tough. Ugh! My 2 year old little boy is allboy and my daughter is all drama. 🙂

  5. says

    Your devotional was wonderful.thanks for sharing . My husband has Parkinson’s and I thought some of my days were hard but nothing compared to your Mother’s Day. I count my blessings each day. God bless you in your ministry.

  6. Allison McElwee says

    Thank you for this post. I too struggle with Mother’s Day, for different reasons. But it was so encouraging to hear this mom’s story. As I celebrate my first Mother’s Day with a child away from home, I will try to remember how God has seen me through many Mother’s Days, and He will be with me for this one, too.
    P.S. My son did the same art project when he was little…every afternoon that I didn’t get him out of his crib fast enough when he woke from his nap!

  7. Jeni says

    Wow. I needed this. As a mother, this has been the hardest year of my life. I know eventually this chapter will end, but instead of just wishing it away, your posts and Facebook posts have encouraged me to embrace these moments and embrace Jesus during these moments. Thank you for all your encouragement daily.

  8. Carla Baker says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I feel very overwhelmed, and my heart is heavy with what I am going through right now with my children. I turned to Lysa Terkeurst’s page in the hopes that I would find a word of encouragement to go on. I found it through your inspirational story. God bless you and your family.

  9. Patty Prout says

    Thank you, for sharing your hard times as a mother, I too have a daughter who needs daily care she lives with a eating disorder, and don’t want help it tears my heart in pieces, I love her and don’t want to see her hurting. Sometimes I doubt I am a good mom because I can’t help her. Been dealing with it for over 10 years , plus went through breast cancer and taking care of a sick mom in her last year of her life. Thank you for your encouragement.

  10. says

    I appreciated your post and I particularly like the title of your book–“One More Step”. I’m a runner and I know the feeling of deep fatigue; the point at which all you can do is take one more step, and then one more, and one more after that. If you focus on the thousand steps yet need to finish the race, you’ll cave. This is the life of faith, dealing with each days tasks as they come. I hope I get the chance to read your book! Blessings to you. Keep “running on!” in Jesus!

  11. Jesseca Morales says

    Thank you so much for all your dedecation and time. Through life struggles Your posts and emails are such an encouragement to me and help me daily with my walk with Christ.

  12. Geegee says

    Hello your blog about your daughter is encouraging i too need to be saved and changed for me and my family. Pray that ill repent and submit to God and resist the devil. In jesus name. Thanks.

  13. says

    I to am struggling with a diease that is really hard to deal with, espically when your older senior and you are very alone with no one to help or support you. I have a mother but she lives several states away and didn’t even acknowledge the special card I created for help. Why am I so alone?

  14. Megan Blazovic says

    Absolutely beautiful! God’s attention to detail is amazing and revealed in your story. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  15. Nicole S.H. says

    Hi Rachel
    Your post inspired, and encouraged more than you can know.
    We’ve all have those days, weeks, months, and even years, living under an im-moveable dark shadow, where everything seems to be ‘going to hell in a hand-basket’ and it can be an almost monumental struggle to keep ‘getting up and going forward’ with our ‘brave mask faces’ to deal with ‘one more thing’, ‘one more time’, just when we are at our most discouraged, beyond weary, and frustrated. (ie as per the song by Mandissa “Just Cry”). Those times when, with every fibre of our being is screaming for a ‘time out’ to stop the negative spiral, and to allow us to just savour a few refreshing moments of ‘normalcy’, rest, and a change of scene. My heart aches for you and your family that you have suffered deeply, witnessing, and living with the tortured progression of your daughter’s MPS, every step along with her. Through it all, she is God’s gift to all of you, as equally as you are all God’s very best gifts to her and the best-est ‘family’ to bring her through this, whatever God’s will, though God willing may he choose to provide you all ‘your needed miracle’. As you have alluded to in your post, such is the magic of God’s ways, that like the Phoenix, he can transform the greatest good(s) beyond what we can ever imagine, from the ashes, and darkest places of our lives to inspire, encourage, and bring about much good, holy, and positive into the dark places of multiple others’ lives. I am thankful for you, that you have been able to come out the other side, to find/see your light again and a nourishing source of hope, joy and ‘soul food’. Thank you for taking the great courage to share from one of the most vulnerable, painful places of your life, and to allow from it, TayTay’s and God’s hope and life to shine forth from it to give as a great gift for others.

    I just love you ‘sisters’. You do not really know me, though amazingly enough you all still you just so ‘get me’, and those past hard places of my life. Helps to know that we are not all alone in these, and that we can help each other carry on with our ‘true and authentic’ brave faces. Nicole

  16. Kellie Smith says

    My husband and I just separated (he has been having an affair). I have 2 young children, 6 and 3, who I have been a stay at home mom with almost their entire lives. My son is in kinder, and we have been so blessed to have him attend a private Christian universitity model school where he goes to school 2 days a week and I homeschool him 2 days. It has been my dream and the biggest blessing to be at home raising my children. Now, I’m unsure I will be able to continue with the homeschool, and keeping my 3 year old at home all the time, and my heart is BREAKING. Reading your post is such an encouragement to remember all God has brought us through as a family, and that he knows the desires of my heart, and loves my children even more than I do! Which is amazing! Thank you for sharing and showing me to go back to God again and again where He will give me hope and rest, and most importantly make sure my children’s needs are met.

  17. ricky says

    It just goes to show GOD can take our poop and our struggles to deal with it and make a blessing not on our timing but his. I find myself trying to fix things NOW and not waiting on GOD. What is his plan? If I am not being stretched am I truly living God’s will?

  18. Sharon says

    I could not believe the words when I read of your loss on May 10, Mother’s Day, and of the Lord’s reclaiming the day for you. I can so very much relate. The very thing thing happened to me. My husband was killed on May 10, Mother’s Day. Whichever date it fell, on Mother’s day or near it, I was in pain until 1989 when my second grandson was born on May 10. God redeemed the day for me! That grandson is now 27. Our God definitely pays attention to the details! Thank you for sharing your story!

  19. Suma says

    Thank you for sharing your precious story. Every time I feel discouraged or overwhelmed, God lovingly encourages me through songs, prayers, and touching stories from people. Tonight, God put hope in my heart and spirit with your words.
    Thank you!

  20. GRACE says

    Thank you Lisa you did it again, touching the most hurting places of my heart, by allowing God to use you to inspire me and the rest of the sisters, am pressing on. God bless you