How Do You Parent When You’re Overcome by Your Own Mess?


A few years ago, I was clawing at normalcy. A few health conditions knocked me off my feet, and I was sinking into a pit of anxiety. Every day I felt like I was trending water, and any moment I could go down.

And the mess is so big

And so deep and so tall

We cannot pick it up. There is no way at all.

(Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat)

I was really struggling in all areas of life, and I had four kids with another one on the way. That season was one of the hardest of my life thus far.

I had a large piece of lead on me, and I was sinking.

The truth is, we are all broken. Some of us might be more broken than others, but we ALL are broken.  Raising kids is tough and raising Christian kids in our culture is even harder.

How Do You Parent When You Are Overcome By Your Own Mess? We are sometimes sinking in our own problems, and can't see beyond that. Do you ever feel like your mess will become your child's mess?

Throwing our Mess onto our kids

I’m afraid that my brokenness will bleed onto my kids. Doesn’t it seem like chaos congregates together? We look at one disheveled room and suddenly the whole house is disheveled.

We see ourselves as damaged, and we paint that onto our kids.

When we focus on our mess, it multiplies.

If I’m their role model and if they emulate me, here comes another walking disaster.

I can already see bits of me in one of my children. That child deals with problems the same way I do.

Yuck! Some things shouldn’t be passed down.

David’s Brokenness

If we look into the Bible, we can see this exact issue happening in King David’s life in 2 Samuel. King David made a lot of messes in his life. Adultery, murder, problems with relationships and love problems. Guess what happened, his children followed his example.

Ugh! My ears don’t want to hear this.

Do you ever think like I do? God, you gave me these kids so I think you should help me clean up my clutter so I can raise them better.  Or God if you take away my problems, I will work extra hard at showing them you.


My mess can lead my children to His message.

Instead of wishing it away, maybe I should be talking about my problems and showing my kids how much I need Jesus. Even if I take my children to church every week, they still need me to show them obedience and character every day.


Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee a mess-free life, but a messy life can lead to a need for a Savior.

When we look back to King David, his family did suffer from the sinful choices he made. But the one constant throughout the book of 2 Samuel was David remained steadfast with God.

When he sinned, he asked for forgiveness.

He got into trouble, but he depended on God.

Life got dirty, but David stuck to his Savior.

God was a refuge for David where he could escape the distressful situation, and David trusted that God would not disappoint him.

At the end of a day, isn’t this the example we want to be for our kids?

Mistakes, mishaps, and messes happen, but our kids see dependence and devotion to God. Here is the best emulation our kids could ever have: mastering life with Jesus.

The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed,
    a refuge in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9, NLT).


This post was shared at #gracemoments and #faithfilledfriday


12 thoughts on “How Do You Parent When You’re Overcome by Your Own Mess?

  1. Amen to this. I agree that when we focus on our mess in multiplies. This is why when I look at the kitchen, I immediately have a crisis that the bedroom is horrible, the bathroom, the laundry room, and then it’s a domino effect. Thanks for this reminder. xoxoxo Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Hey Julie,
    I stopped by from Moment of Hope to find your post today.
    Aren’t you grateful that God can use our real stuff to impact our children! In fact, the older mine get, the more I see how God can use the “real” in us to make a difference in their lives.
    I’m so thankful for grace.
    Hope you have a wonderful day!

  3. I too want to parent in God’s will despite my messes. Thanks for the inspiration to seek His will as I try to be the best example of a Christian mother for my child.

  4. Thanks for this reminder that there is no guarantee of a mess-free life — even for card-carrying Christians. But so grateful that God comes into the mess with me and then lifts us out as we follow and trust.
    Thanks for these heartening words!

  5. I wholeheartedly agree that being authentic about our struggles is a testimony for our children. Of course, we must keep the age appropriateness in check. Allowing them to see the redeeming and healing works in our broken selves is to allow them to see when we must say, “I am sorry”. When we go before God in prayer asking for forgiveness and in help in being the best Mama we can be. Thank you, Julie, for sharing this beautiful and hope-filled post with us at #MomentsofHope! Your heart and gifting is tremendous!
    Blessings and smiles,

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