Coming Up for Air – Three Ways to Keep from Drowning

Swim team was the only sport I participated in growing up (besides a brief and awkward soccer stint). I remember the endurance and concentration it required and the need for rhythmic gulps of air to keep going. 

It’s very similar to what my life is like now.
Chasing four tiny hooligans around calls on every ounce of strength and concentration I have. As soon as my eyes open in the morning I take a deep breath and dive into the day: Change the baby, get the older kids cereal, change the wet bedding, break up a fight, switch over the laundry, plow through the dishes, etc. There are so many tasks ahead of me pertaining to pure survival that sometimes I forget the most important part: coming up for air.  

What does coming up for air mean for a busy mom? It means taking time to draw in deep breaths of grace to renew our energy so we don’t drown. It’s not just about getting through the day. It’s about embracing this crazy phase of life and learning how to thrive in it. 

Here are three tried and true recommendations on how to keep from drowning:   

1. Laugh with your kids – and at them. Yes, at them. Sometimes their shenanigans are so disruptive to our day that we forget how funny they actually are. 

Last week I had a new friend over for coffee. It was a clean slate, a chance to develop a new friendship. We were in the middle of talking when my three-year-old waddled in awkwardly and yelled, “I can’t get my underwear out of my bottom!” Sigh. Disruptive and slightly embarrassing? Yes. But it was a chance to laugh. And I did. 

I walked into the living room yesterday to see items from every room in the house laying all over the floor. But the four-year-old had used them all to make the coolest spaceship. It was so creative all I could do was laugh. There will be seasons for uninterrupted conversations and clean living rooms, but the season to laugh with your beautiful children is now.    

2. Be affectionate. Sometimes we see our kids but we don’t really see our kids. We see a diaper that needs to be changed or a discipline issue that needs to be addressed. Tell them you love them. Give them a hug. Pull them onto your lap and ask if they are having a good day. 

I love days filled with cuddling on the couch, but I’ve also experienced hectic days when I tuck my kids into bed and think, “I don’t think I talked to them today unless it was to discipline, direct, or answer a question.” Some days will be like that. But when my sticky toddler runs by and I grab him for a quick, squirmy hug I know I captured a little piece of his childhood in my heart forever.

3. Meditate on scripture. Choose a passage that lifts the burden off of your heart and shine it on all of your tasks throughout the day. This is the passage that brought me up for air this week:

Psalm 37:3-6
Trust in the Lord and do good;
<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-14454F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-14455H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-14455I" data-link="(I)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>give you the desires of your heart.
<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-14456J" data-link="(J)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-14457K" data-link="(K)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>your righteousness as the light
And your judgment <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NASB-14457L" data-link="(L)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>as the noonday.

I love the simplicity this passage brings back to my life. It quenches anxiety and relinquishes control of everything back to God. Find a passage that does that for your heart. 

Grace is our oxygen. We draw strength from it when we take time to soak up our children and meditate on God’s Word. 

What brings you up for air during the day? 

The Gospel-Centered Mom is a huge gulp of refreshing air for moms who are in the thick of raising kids. It takes your eyes off of your performance and places them on the one who performed perfectly for us.” 
– Jessica Thompson, co-author of “Give Them Grace.” 
Available on Amazon and Etsy!

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5 thoughts on “Coming Up for Air – Three Ways to Keep from Drowning

  1. Wonderful post. I'm a mom of 5 kids, but they are all grown up. Dear Sara- you have hit the nail on the head again here. I totally agree with your non-performance and completely relational approach to parenting. Your children are blessed to have a mother who knows this. I have subscribed to your blog and will be sharing it with others – that they may be encouraged too. God's grace is our life breath. Great analogy! 🙂 Love, Alexandra McGee (


  2. I'm really enjoying your blog!! I've been trying to focus on being present with my kids, not just rushing on to the next lesson or activity or meal. Just sitting with them on the floor, and read to them or just watch them playing. 1 Peter 5:10 is my life verse, which I call upon when I remember to…..and it reminds me that God has a future plan, and I can think beyond diapers and legos and vowels… “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 🙂


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