When You Are Sinking

August 25, 2015  - By Gretchen Saffles

It has been a while since I have blogged and shared my heart. My fingers feel a bit rusty. There’s so much on my heart that it feels like a volcano about to erupt. Slowly, God is letting the lessons and truths He is teaching me trickle out of my mouth and into fingers as I type, but only once He has let it settle deep in my soul. Life as a mommaprenuer (aka – a wife, momma, and business owner) has presented more challenges than I expected. Finding time to do all the things I feel I must do is a great feat I attempt to overcome each day. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this new season of life, it is that I must boast in my weaknesses. When I am weak, and when I recognize that I am weak, I lean wholly on God’s strength. I find myself leaning more and more on His grace every day. 

Motherhood has been a soul scrubbing journey. As a little girl, I dreamed of being a wife and a momma. Now, instead of carrying a babydoll on my hip I have a real baby that I must nourish, care for, and watch over daily. It often feels surreal and like a dream. A sweet, sanctifying, soul cleansing dream that is better and different than I could have imagined. When I first began Life Lived Beautifully, the Lord impressed on my heart that a beautiful life is not a perfect life. Every day we strive to attain the perfect that is impossible apart from Jesus Christ. Through Instagram pictures, the lure of social media, and the pressure to have it together at all times, we as women often trip over our own steps trying to be perfect. In this search for perfection, the first thing to go is our joy. I have felt this firsthand as I’ve taken on the role of being a momma. 

In the highs and lows of motherhood, my heart has searched through the moments of each day for the joy of the Lord. Before having Nolan, I was convinced I could own a business, do ministry with my husband, care for my baby, and keep a home – all on my own. I would be that mom who has it all together and finds time in each day to do everything well. After all, we have 24 hours in each day, right? Surely that is enough time to get it all done! But then reality set in. Most of those hours are spent holding my baby, doing laundry, trying to get him to sleep, and hopefully, in between those moments I can grab a bite to eat and spend a few moments in the Word. Lack of sleep and unrealistic expectations in my days resulted in a lack of joy.

Motherhood is a fight for joy. Every single day I have a choice to make: live out of the overflow of what Christ has done for me or live in the undertow of what still needs to be done on my to-do list. I’ve come to embrace the fact that the days when the laundry is completely folded and the house is spotless will be rare. However, in this mess, life is being lived and love is being given and received. Could it be that our fight for joy isn’t really a fight, but a means of surrender? 

Joy is not natural for us in this world. When we give and give and give some more, the last thing we want to do is to have joy. We would rather sit back and receive. But Jesus shows us a different way of life. Even in the moments when He was tired (remember, He was human and felt the things we feel), He took every opportunity, interruption, and need from a disciple or needy human to give God glory and share His love. Often, He would get away to pray, only to be found by a disciple who was looking for Him. Any mommas know what it’s like to be interrupted during your time of prayer or rest? Jesus didn’t get frustrated with the disciples. Instead, He went with them and lived from the overflow of God’s grace upon grace. Jesus didn’t live in the undertow of the human life. He lived in the overflow of the glory of God. 

At times, I’ve felt a bit like I’m sinking in the undertow. I’m in a boat that has too much baggage and too many things to-do and I can’t seem to get out of the storm. The waves are crashing over me, my phone is ringing and dinging off the hook, and my feet keep stumbling on unfolded laundry. I feel a bit “seasick” from the new journey. I can definitely identify with the needy disciples I was talking about earlier. In Mark 4:35-41 Jesus told the disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake. While the disciples were traveling on this journey Jesus directed them on, a mighty storm erupted and their world began to swirl around them as the boat rocked back and forth as if being kicked by the waves. They looked over to their fearless leader, Jesus, only to find Him sleeping. Their response? “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (verse 38)

Stop right there.

I have read this story many times and felt disappointed by the disciples. Goodness, don’t they have any faith? How dare they talk with doubt to JESUS! In many ways, I’ve felt better than them and thought, when the waves are crashing over me, I will have more faith than they did. However, when the storms of life began to make my boat sink these past few months, I’ve found myself saying the exact thing to my Savior.

Jesus, do you not care that I am overwhelmed and can’t see beyond this moment?

As I’ve cried out to Him in my weaknesses, He has been faithful to listen and calm the storm. Jesus wants us to cry out to Him. He wants us to ask for help. He wants us to admit our weaknesses so we can witness His strength. The disciples lack of faith opened the door for Jesus to strengthen them and display His love. God doesn’t show us His love by letting us bypass the storms of life. He gives us grace IN the storms so we can see that He is in control and He is stronger than the winds and the waves.

If you are currently in a boat that is rocking and tumbling and being tossed about by the waves and the wind, cry out. Tell Jesus that you are weak. Ask Him for His strength. Receive His joy and His grace upon grace. He is with you in the boat and He is for you and for God’s glory. Your sinking boat could be the avenue Jesus wants to use to show you His strength. Jesus responded to the disciples with three simple words – “Peace! Be Still!” And then storm ceased. Be still when the world is crumbling. Be still when then the boat is filling. Be still when the waves are crashing. Be still and know that HE is God. When we are still, we remember that Jesus is in the boat and Jesus is stronger than the waves. 

Jesus, do you not care?

His response has always been and will always be – I care.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17

“Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in all the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (AMP)

your sister,



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  1. Maggie says:

    Just what I needed to hear today. Thank you from one new momma to another. Praise Him for His grace upon grace!

    • gretchen@lifelivedbeautifully.com says:

      Maggie, I am so grateful this encouraged you! It has been so heavy on my heart to share. I am see His grace in new shades every single day. It is my deepest source of joy as a momma! Praying for you today.

  2. gmariela027@gmail.com says:

    I needed this reminder. I can tell myself these things but somehow when I read it from others it’s like I feel He is telling me it himself and makes me cling to Him more

  3. hello@sailawaycreative.com says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I’m currently feeling like I’m sinking in the undertow and this really helped.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Like is not enough here, I want to thank you… God use this post to talk to me right now about my pain. Your fatih inspire me.

  5. Kira says:

    Thank you for being faithful to share what God is teaching you. It has really blessed my heart (and obviously many others!) I too am a new momma… Really new, as in my baby is 8 days old! This has been such a hard transition for me and I was not expecting that at all. I’ve felt guilty for my lack of joy… So it’s good to know I’m not the only momma fighting for it. Sure it could be explained away with hormones, but I really believe this is a spiritual battle. Life is so precious and family is so precious, and the enemy can’t stand that! Thank you for the reminder that the storm has a purpose and grace is found there ❤

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