A Reminder of Purpose Amidst Exhaustion


I stumbled off the plane delirious from emotional and physical exhaustion; poured myself into my car for the forty minute drive back to my sweet, very much missed children and husband. I pulled into the driveway as they exploded through our front door with exuberant screams of joy!! Their little arms enveloped me with tender love; I just held on, crying through the laughter.

I was so thankful to have made it home.

Not even two seconds after our overdue reunion, I noticed my 5-year-old’s eyeballs looked like giant swollen marshmallows with slits.

The rushing demand for full mommy mode sets back in immediately. Why is he sick? how can I fix him and the guilt of leaving them for so long. No time to let the moment overwhelm me instead I jump back into allergy meds, asthma treatments, dinner, lunches, laundry, permission slips all the things that dictate my tornado of a life as a mother of four. The kids all talk at once to unload the past week’s events as I scramble to get every little, unnoticed detail finished. I’m trying desperately to listen closely, failing!

Pure chaos and I’m not even done yet!!

I wrestle my squealing, greased piglets up the stairs, pass the unflushed toilets, overlook the bathmat which clearly someone used instead of toilet paper, scoop up the exploded toothpaste bottle and begin my bedtime routine with these animals.

Now I’m thinking why did I fly home and leave my brother who is in the battle for his life, again, against the onslaught of cancer?

I just want to go back down the stairs hide in a closet and drink a bottle of Nutella.

By the time I finish, my body feels like I ran a marathon with the flu and a broken foot in a hail storm. I’m now stumbling back into my bedroom wondering how am I going to get up in the morning and find the strength to do it all again? I’ve never been THIS tired.

And there it is as I turn the corner to my bed: the meaning, the purpose, the reward — the love!

I notice my newly made bed with my five-year-old’s prized stuffed llama sitting properly on my pillow as if to say, “I see you, Mama!” I see your concern, your tiring work, endless love and I understand! Somehow amidst all the craziness, he slipped away to give mama something he loved. Somehow all that he witnesses is molding him into that person who flies across the country to take care of their sibling. To simply love!

We moms find the strength to do 10 jobs because our kids watch every word, movement, and action. They mold these little souls to be the next parents who love perfectly.

To be love, to give love is what we will be measured by in the end; the only thing we take with us when we go!

“…faith hope and love and the greatest of these is love”

Elizabeth Grapes is a mother, wife, author and a warrior battling through multiple medical conditions. She graduated from the University of Georgia with an AB and pursued four years post-graduate work in emergency medicine. She attributes all of her life’s successes and trials to the beautiful will of God. Despite counseling from numerous doctors that she would not survive a pregnancy, she gave birth to five healthy children! Through teaching her own family about Christ, Elizabeth developed a passion for the faith formation of young ones. ABC’s By Jesus and Me is her first book, which she wrote as a tool to help parents teach their own precious ones to look to God in all things!