A Secret Weapon for Stressful Holiday Situations

By December 21, 2011Becoming A Patient Mother

stress elf
photo credit

Note from Kat: This is a guest post from one of my dearest friends, Kellye. She does a lot to help with Hello Mornings (have you registered yet?). I hope you’ll make her feel welcome today!

Also? This picture TOTALLY cracked us up…

A Secret Weapon Against Holiday Stress

I love what Kat posted a while back about her secret weapon that allows us to walk in any occasion confidently. (Don’t you think she should really look into starting a blog of incredibly practical tips for moms or something some day?)

I thought I would share a secret weapon for stressful situations with you. And what better time of the year than the holidays!

I mean I’m sure your holidays are always full of moments where your children beg to dress up and smile and look at the camera to take Christmas photos. Or where your entire extended family joins hands and breaks out into spontaneous carol-singing when together. Or where Christmas baking and Christmas decorating always produces the Martha Stewart results you had in mind.

I, on the other hand, tend to get frustrated with events that don’t match the ideal in my head. And the really terrible part – it is beyond my control. But I seem to really like control.

For Me, Travel = Stress

This past summer, my family and I had traveled to a different state to visit family. For me, travel may as well be in the dictionary as the definition of stress. The trip had cost more than we wanted to spend on it. There was more tension amongst various family members than I was comfortable being around.

The time zone change left my already too-early-risers rising two hours earlier. The schedule of the extended family that we were expected to follow was the exact opposite of ours, so the kids were exhausted, waking all through the night, and very irritable. This left me feeling angry at those calling the shots on the daily activities. It was stressful.

My Breaking Point

Then there was this climatic moment where we were trying to keep the boys quiet in a hotel room early in the morning. They were on the other bed opposite me about the break out into a fist fight over angry birds and the ipad.

I did not feel patient. (Understatement of the year). I wanted to lecture. I wanted to cry. I wanted to bang my head against the wall. And then it was like all of sudden all the prayers I had prayed for patience and wisdom as a mom were answered in one realization.

I was angry because I was out of control. Really? Really.

The worst part of all the uncomfortable circumstances was that there was nothing I could do about them. I couldn’t fix them or change them.

This realization brought so much freedom to me. Because I know the truth.

The truth is that I have an ever faithful always trustworthy loving Father who has everything (EVERYTHING) under control. My job is so much easier than I act like on a daily basis.

The Simple Secret Weapon

So what’s the secret weapon? When I am headed into a potentially stressful situation or event, I’ve been taking some time beforehand to specifically ask the Lord what it is that is within my control. In the hotel room this summer, I knew the only thing I could really control was how I responded. I want to always choose to respond as the peace-bringing truth-speaking loving mother, wife, and friend.

I want to choose to respond as a woman who knows her place in the hands of God.

Action point: Are you feeling stressed? Make a list of the causes. Circle the items you can change, then make a plan. Pray over the things on your list and lay all of your burdens at the feet of God.

Philippians 4:6-7 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

Leave a Comment



  • Avatar Eliz. K says:

    Thank you. I really needed to hear this headed into the holidays and preparing to deal with potentially very frustrating situations.

    I know that something else I have to remind myself is that God loves me. It’s such a simple “normal” thing, and yet when I forget it (as I so often do), that’s when I have my meltdowns and feel like life is too much to deal with, that people drive me so much crazier. The control part is another part of that.

  • Love it Kellye! So good, simple truth..thank you!

  • Avatar sonja lange says:

    Thanks for the reminder that we can’t control everything. Going to my in-laws is always stressful and I dread it so much, but reminding myself of God’s love and preparing for all the things I CAN control will really help. Thank you for this.

  • Avatar Monica says:

    This is excellent!! Thank you.
    Indeed, if I TAKE THE TIME, to stop and pray that way, I am certain that things will go better than a typical stressful day. The key for me is slowing down to remember to even be aware like that. Good stuff,

  • Avatar Katie says:

    Thank you for this, Kellye..God used you to speak to my heart this morning. 🙂

  • Avatar Krymsen says:

    Thank you. This is exactly what I needed this morning! Merry Christmas and as my kids would say Happy Birthday to baby Jesus! 🙂

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    I really struggle with always wanting to be in control.

    “I want to always choose to respond as the peace-bringing truth-speaking loving mother, wife, and friend.”

    I rarely respond that way, but I long to!

    I am stressed, not really holiday related, and I had been thinking last night that I should make a list of things that I want to do to best prepare for the upcoming stressful event. After reading your suggestion of making a list of things I can change, I will do just that. Today!

    Thank you for the encouragement.

    • Avatar Kat says:

      I hope the list making helps you. I know that, for me, sometimes it’s nice just to be able stop trying to remember everything. Once it’s all down on paper, I can breath a little sigh of relief.

  • This is a great post. Not only for the holidays but for every situation in life. I know that I get all stressed and hollering at my children when I have a huge to do list and no control over it. it is controlling me and I am not getting it done. Then I remind myself who is really in control and what is important. I remember Martha and Mary and how the Lord Jesus said He would not take the best part away from Mary. Because what really matters is our relationships not our stuff and the things we got to do.

    thanks again for the awesome reminder. 🙂

  • Avatar Kirstin Kasa says:

    Thanks! That was so insightful!

  • Avatar Laura Edward says:

    This is great post I am stressed, not really holiday related, and I had been thinking last night that I should make a list of things that I want to do to best prepare for the upcoming stressful event. Thanks for the sharing.

  • Great post. I have been learning that a bunch this year. It is sad how much of my life I have wasted on stressing about things I can’t change.