“Momma! Momma! Wet me innnnnn!!!”
Sitting on the bathroom floor, eyes closed, tears streaming, I’m trying to transport myself to a different life—one that I’m a little better at handling. Although, at this point, it feels like the only life I could handle is one where I eat ice cream all day, watch Netflix and read books.
“I know you in there, Mommmmmaaaa!”
So, apparently, this teleportation thing isn’t going to work out for me, either. We both knew it was a long shot, anyway.
So I unlock the door and two frantic, wild children fling themselves at me.
“I couldn’t find you!! I be looking foreveeerrrrrr!”
It’s going to be a long day.
Some weeks it feels like we go through one long day after another. We’re working on one issue with one kid, another issue with the other. We’ve got our own struggles, our marriage struggles, our financial struggles and the list goes on and on.
And, sadly, it doesn’t take long before we’re defeated—hiding (not so well) in the bathroom.
Parenting is hard work.
Marriage is hard work.
Being a Christ follower in a broken world is hard.
So how do we make it through?
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The Secret to Getting Through Hard Days
It’s probably not a real secret, but when I heard Melanie Dale (author of It’s Not Fair: Learning to Love the Life You Didn’t Choose.) mention it on a podcast it was a major lightbulb moment for me.
She said one of the things she does to get through the muck is “count the wins.”
Counting the Wins
She simply makes note of all the good that happened. Did she get out of bed? Brush her teeth? Take the kids to school?
Win! Win! Win!
It may seem hokey at first (at least it did to me… until I tried it.). But when we focus on what’s going good and not solely on the hardness of our day, we start noticing the good more than the bad.
Both Big & Small
So we count the wins—both big (obviously awesome!) and the (seemingly insignificantly) small.\I exercised this morning.
- I got out of bed.
- I went to church.
I know the tendency here—whether big or small—is to add a “but” on the end.
I exercised this morning, but… I only made it 15 minutes.
I went to church this week, but I then gossipped about my co-worker.
Replace the But with Thanks
So I’ve started to replace the it-doesn’t-count “but” with a thank you, God!
I exercised this morning. Thank you, Jesus, for a body that moves. Thank you for daily strengthening my body. And for creating in me a heart of perseverance.
I went to church this week. Thank you, God, for a body of believers to worship with. Thank you for giving me the courage to go. Thank you for always welcoming me—despite my sins.
Turning the Insignificant Into Praise
What you are doing is turning the overlooked blessings of your day into praise to the Giver of all the goodness.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17 (emphasis mine)
You’re taking a moment to leave the muck—the real hard, legit mess—to pause and say “Thank you. I know you haven’t abandoned me, God. I see proof of your love and goodness in these moments. I know You’re faithful.”
Putting It Into Practice
Uh, Kelsey? How is this different than keeping a gratitude journal?
Well, friend, we are not simply making a list of “good” things. We are celebrating (and thanking God for) all of the good moments/choices/actions (wins!) from our day.
Typical Gratitude Journal Entry
Counting Your Wins
- I was patient with my son when he had a tantrum in the store. (Thank you, God, for keeping me in perfect peace, even when my circumstances aren’t peaceful.)
- I took a shower and got dressed today when I really wanted to stay in my pj’s and sulk. (Thank you, God, for giving me the strength to persevere.)
- My husband called me just to chat on his lunch break. (Thank you, God, for working on both of our hearts and giving me a glimpse of your restorative work.)
You can write them in a journal, in a Word document, in the notes section on your phone. The where and how is less important the “do.”
- Acknowledge the good.
- Refrain from adding the “but.”
- And praise God for His work in your life.
But How Does This Change My Hard Days?
This is all good and great, Kelsey, but we’re still struggling with a cancer diagnosis, my marriage is crumbling, my child is doing drugs, and I just got laid off.
I’m not promising that if you “count your wins” that you won’t ever find yourself desperate on the bathroom floor with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. This “secret” is about getting through hard days… not stopping them altogether.
The truth is… we live in a broken world. And until we are in heaven, we will have heartache and pain. So we do our best.
We praise God. We rely on His strength. We repent when we mess up. We continue to build each other up.
And we count our wins.
So, sweet friend, what wins have you had, today?
My Favorite Book that Helps Us Put First Things First
This book has been a balm to my weary, striving soul. Shauna (who already is one of my favorite authors/speakers) completely wrecked me with her vulnerable truth and journey towards healing. If you’ve excused your busyness and striving by reasoning that it’s “good work—for Jesus work” you need this book, friend!