By Diane Hwang
Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘tap out’ in parenting? It is often used when one parent is simply at the end of their rope and needs to tap out and have the other parent take over. I often hear about this among other stay-at-home moms when they reference having one of those exhausting, ‘one thing after the other’ type of days where they desperately need to “tap out” once their husbands gets home from work, even if it’s just for ten minutes to regroup.
Well, I had one of those days recently – one of those seemingly endless days filled with overwhelming emotions and heavy exhaustion. My normally happy infant was only content in my arms and was crying anytime I set her down, while my toddler was melting down over every little thing, including his spilled crackers, having to wear something other than his rain boots, and his water that he poured out all over the floor.
I was at the end of my rope by about 3pm and decided to pack up the kids and head to Trader Joe’s hoping that a change of scenery would solve all my problems…along with a container of their Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. As we headed out the door, I was complaining to myself about how I wished that my husband was home so that I could just tap out and hide in our room for the remainder of the day, and that’s when I heard the Lord whisper so clearly:
You may not be able to tap out, but you can tap into Me.
I instantly felt great peace as I realized that although I couldn’t tap out and escape into my room for some peace and quiet, I could turn to the Holy Spirit for help; something in me shifted as I realized that I wasn’t stuck parenting alone, but had access to an all-powerful, all-knowing, limitless and loving God.
So, if you find yourself at the end of your rope with no one around to take over, just as I did the other day, remember the following four things:
1. Tap into His peace
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Turning to God in the midst of those chaotic moments of parenting won’t necessarily change our circumstances, but it will make room for His peace and allow us to rise above our own emotions and finish the day well. I may not tap into His peace nearly as often as I should, but when I do, it always shifts not only my attitude but the entire atmosphere of our home.
2. Tap into His joy
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)
The amazing thing about God is that He doesn’t offer us partial joy or make us earn it, but He freely gives it, in its fullness, as we enter into His presence. While ‘entering into His presence’ might seem intimidating or too difficult when you’re in the thick of it, it’s actually as simple as pausing and saying “Jesus, I need You.” As we position ourselves toward Him, ready to receive His help, our frustration and irritation give way to gladness and delight.
3. Tap into His grace
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In the heat of the moment, when we feeling like throwing in the towel, we must remember that God’s grace is enough and He gives it to us freely, even when we seemingly find ourselves falling short as parents. No matter how frustrated we are and no matter how badly we’ve ‘failed,’ God’s grace is sufficient and equips us to start again, refreshed and strengthened.
4. Tap into His rest
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
When I’m exhausted and on the verge of a breakdown, I love that I can find rest for my soul in Jesus. I may not be able to tap out and escape to my bedroom for physical rest, but I can allow Him to breathe fresh life into me and bring rest to my heart, my mind, and my emotions in the midst of the whining, the meltdowns, and the busyness of raising children.
As my husband has started his new career as a police officer, a career with long hours, odd shifts, and less flexibility to help me whenever I need it, I’m learning to rely on God more and more; and I’ve discovered that just as my husband takes over with no questions asked when I need to tap out, the Holy Spirit provides supernatural help with no questions asked when I tap into Him. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with tapping out and allowing others to take over when we need relief (I am huge believer in self-care), everything changes when we make room for the power of God to show up in the midst of our messy and exhausting days and receive all that He has to offer.
Diane and her husband have been married for three years and are raising their two small children in the rainy, but beautiful city of Seattle. After years in sales, Diane is enjoying her life as a stay-at-home mom and volunteers at her local church while her husband begins his new career as a police officer. She’s a lover of coffee, fresh mountain air, quality time with family and friends, and the Pacific Northwest. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!