Homemaking When Life is Hard

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When life throws you curveballs, managing your home can feel overwhelming. I want to encourage you to lean into your faith, embrace grace, and find solace in routine and self-care. Today I’m sharing personal stories and strategies for keeping your home a place of peace and order, even when your world seems chaotic. It’s a reminder that you’re not alone, and with the right approach, you can overcome any obstacle. Let’s about homemaking when life is hard.

Originally published January 7, 2016. Updated Januaray 2024.

The Ministry of Homemaking

You can find the rest of the posts in this series here: The Ministry of Homemaking Series.

My experience has been that much of the time life is just hard. Today, I felt like crawling back in bed and staying there. I know this post is very late and I apologize. I mentioned yesterday that the last few days had been tough and by the time we got home last night after 10 pm and I got the girls to bed by 11 and crawled in and rested my head on my pillow {which is just so comforting to me} I was wiped out. No energy to write anything – even if I had wanted to!

Bad News, Good News

{I usually want the bad news first…}

It’s Thursday and because of our grueling schedule on Wednesdays we always sleep in on Thursdays until around 9 am or so. At 9:30 am I was on the phone with my daughter Sarah’s doctor. Her appointment this morning had been scheduled for another day, but we needed to get the results of Monday’s CT scan.

The news was not particularly good. I mean, things could be worse, but the reality is we did not get the news we were hoping for. The abscess in Sarah’s abdomen is still present and it’s quite serious. They called in another prescription of the two worst antibiotics ever – Flagyl and Cipro. She just got off these medicines last week and this will be the third time in three months she’s been on them. {For those of you who do not know, she has Chron’s Disease.}

These medicines make her feel incredibly sick – like she’s dying – and she has to take them for two weeks. It’s very hard to watch her suffer like that.

They also referred her to a colorectal surgeon. So we have an appointment for next week to discuss – I’m assuming – surgery to drain the abscess. Next week were supposed to go the Nashville for a few days and she was planning to work at the camp and on the 14th {one week from today and the day before we see the surgeon} she has plane tickets to fly to Arizona and she really doesn’t want to have to cancel her trip.

So we’ve both spent much of the day crying.

Ok, so for the good news – and this really is good news!!! I also mentioned yesterday that my son’s sweet girlfriend was flying in from Florida to stay with us for a few days. They arrived home late last night. Well, in the midst of all our stress, I do have wonderful news. My son James asked Hannah to marry him yesterday – so now they are officially engaged and I am so thrilled – I can’t even begin to say how happy I am. Hannah is just everything a mom could want for her son.

So I have this roller coaster of emotions going on in my heart right now – one moment happy, the next worried and stressed and then back to happy.

Sometimes life is just crazy like that.

Homemaking When Life is Hard

So like I said, sometimes perhaps often times, life is just really hard to swallow. For a number of years I was a homemaker faced with the increasing demands of caring for elderly family members – four of them at once – and then three, then just two, and then finally none. Being a caregiver while also trying raise a family can be really hard. And if you are in the midst of that kind of situation and have been there – you know what I’m talking about.

I went from having a pretty predictable routine to everyday seeming to be a crazy mix of frustration, obligations, and stress with very little down time.

I’ve also had years when my chronic illness kept me bedridden for months at a time – and it was hard. Especially since during those years I had five young children to care for.

Sometimes there are circumstances that are beyond your control. It’s hard to accept. Because as humans, I think we naturally just really want to be in control of everything all the time. At least, that’s how I feel. I like feeling like I’m in control.

And when we feel like life is a chaotic mess and we’re out of control it’s frightening.

Homemaking When Life is Hard @ AVirtuousWoman.org

The Good News is that God is in control. He’s got your back and He knows exactly what you need and He will provide. But sometimes we’re so anxious to hang onto the reins that we don’t let God take control.

‘For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:13-14

For much of 2015, I felt like it was the best year I’d had in years. It was a really good year overall. Toward the end of the year Sarah got sicker and she’s been in and out of the hospital, and CT scans, lab work, doctor’s visits, and hard medications have become part of our weekly routine.

The last few months have been a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly and I know God is in control, but I still have a hard time letting go. I’m so thankful we have a Savior!

There is no easy button for homemaking when life is hard. I wish there was! It’s just a fact that it’s going to be hard. That’s why we need to willing to accept God’s grace for the moment. Putting systems and routines in place will help make things a little easier and we’ll be talking about all of those things soon!

When life is hard, it’s important to take time for yourself to rest, relax, spend time in prayer, smile, or even cry if that’s what you need to do. There’s been quite a number of times over the last few years when I have just needed to go in my room and cry by myself because of a discouraging diagnosis. And when it’s your kid whose sick, it’s so hard because sometimes you just want to break down, but you know your child needs you to be strong.

5 Ways to Nurture Yourself when Life is Hard

  1. Get plenty of sleep. Life seems even harder when we feel tired.
  2. Find time to read your Bible and pray. When life is hard and feels out of control, we need to find strength in the One who is always strong. You can tell Him anything and He always listens patiently!
  3. Make time to sit, relax, and laugh. For me this usually means spending time with my kids playing a board game, chatting and telling jokes, or watching funny videos on YouTube. Laughter is good medicine for a weary soul!
  4. Find a hobby that reduces your stress and set aside time each day {or week} to enjoy it.
  5. Take a soaking bath when you’ve had a really stressful day.  Soaking in a tub of hot water relaxes your muscles and helps relieve tension. Add some fragrant bath salts, light some candles, and you can feel special even if it’s just for 15 or 30 minutes.

I spent a few hours this morning resting, crying, and on the phone. Now, I’m writing this and when I hit publish I’ll be heading to the kitchen to get it cleaned and get supper started. I have planners to print and and package. I need to get the house straightened up and help Hannah and Laura finish up their school work. I need to spend some time smiling and laughing with my family. I’d also like to get a bag of stuff cleaned out of my closet for my 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge – which thus far has been a bust – my week has been brutal.

And we all need to get to bed early enough that we can have a good day tomorrow when we head to Johnson City to the doctor’s office and then to run errands before heading home.

God is good, and I know he’s right here, holding me – and you – in the cradle of His hand. We don’t need to worry because He already knows what tomorrow will bring.

Home Work

Answers these questions below in a journal or notebook. Or, download my journaling page here.

I am Called to the Ministry of Homemaker
  • Look up and write these verses down in your journal: Isaiah 35:4 & 41;10, Psalm 55:22, Luke 12:22-26
  • Are you going through a hard time right now?
  • What is weighing most on your heart?
  • How can you nurture your family during hard times?
  • What would nurture your own heart most during hard times? Write down five things you can do for yourself to make sure you are taking care of YOU when life is hard.

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  1. I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is sick. I will keep her in my prayers for a quick recovery. Congrats on your son's engagement too. Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your blog. I love your ideas, and advice. Hope things get better for your daughter. Blessings.
      1. I can't stress this enough. I want to encourage you to go to YouTube, and look up Dr. John Bergman. He is not a medical doctor that pushes drugs that harm the body further! He's a gift from God. Please look into this for your daughter. This guy cures the incurable all the time. I'm a personal patient. Take what the doctors tell you with a grain of salt! Following Dr. Bergman has changed my life
      2. Hi Crystal, thanks for the recommendation. Sarah's been off all drugs for 1 1/2 years now and is seeing a doctor that is naturally treating her. I'm so grateful!
      3. FYI, with God's leading, I overcame a so-called "autoimmune" disease by doing a fresh raw juice cleanse for a week, and a second by continuing on a mostly raw-vegan diet. I hope this may help you.
  2. Hi Melissa Thank you for writing this blog and for being an encouragement to many young mothers like me. Your blog brought me to tears today. You've made me realise that I have not been thankful enough. I'm going to pray for you today. I just wanted to let you know that your blog blesses me so much. My mother passed when I was just becoming a teenager and I feel like your blog is teaching me the things I never got to learn from her. You inspire me to be a better wife and mother. Thank you very much!
  3. Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about Sarah's absess. She's been through so much. What a tough cookie you have raised. Prayers for healing and strength and timing. Not sure if she can have ginger ale, but if so, the Canada Dry brand is one of the only "cheaper" ones that has real ginger in it to calm the stomach. Not even sure if this would help, but perhaps an idea? And happy for your news of the engagement in the family. What is that expression? HappySad? Kind of like a mix of storm clouds with the sun trying to peak through. Just rest in His hands.....super advice I needed to hear! Thank you for sending out that encouragement, even when it sounds you could use an encouraging word. Hugs from your cyber friends!
    1. Thank you, Paige. I appreciate it! She does drink ginger ale sometimes. The nausea with the antibiotics gets so intense and doesn't subside until she's off the medication. Not much helps relieve it. Last time I tried pressure point massages on her feet and fingers and that helped some. It's just hard. I appreciate your encouraging words. It means a lot to me!
  4. Melissa, I am new to A Virtuous Woman and wanted to thank you for this resource. I am very sorry to hear about your daughter's illness. I pray she finds healing soon! I appreciate your thoughts on homemaking in difficult circumstances and the scriptures you provided. I suffer from an anxiety/panic disorder and my 7 year old daughter also shows signs of the same, so the thoughts on fear are timely. Some days are very difficult, but other days are amazing and I am grateful for the joyous moments. I've been learning how to lean into my faith in God. I'm also learning that if my calling is to be a SAHM and wife/homemaker, I am right where God wants me. I appreciate your insight and support, and will continue to visit your site. Thanks again!
    1. Hi Jenni, thank you for sharing some of your story with me. Life can be so hard sometimes. I'm glad you're leaning on God. He'll never let you down. Let me know how things are going for you!
  5. Bless your heart, dear Mother. You have my deepest empathy for what you and yours are having to endure. 2015 was absolutely the worst year ever for me & mine as well. However, now that the shock and depression has begun to wear off, I have to honestly say that nothing happened that the Lord Is not easing us all through in some way. I came to realize that no matter how much I love and adore someone I can't number the hairs on their head or be the keeper of their breath of life, but PTL, God can and does! We have an appointment to meet our beloved son-in-law of less than five weeks, who was killed instantly in a car accident when another car pulled in front of his car, at The Tree Of Life, where he will also meet his beloved sister - who will be free of Chrons disease.... Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
  6. Question number 3 really hit home.... I never think about nurturing my family when things are rough, normally I get the strength to get through the day, make the quickest dinner possible or get take away, skip their reading practice and send the kids of to bed (usually a bit early if its been a very bad day) and sit on the sofa watching t.v eating loads of chocolate crying. Now, i think i'm going to get reading and dinner done early and snuggle up with them with all of us watching one of their favourite films, as i'm sure they need the hugs as much as i do.. if not more! Really praying you're daughter gets through this rough time swiftly and as least painful as possible xx
  7. Melissa, My name is Katie. I am also new to A Virtuous Woman. What an incredible vision and passion you share. As Christian women, we must stick together and share His Good Word. Thank you for being a light. I realize this is weeks after you posted this entry, but I felt drawn to reply, especially about your daughter, Sarah. (And to think I came here for tips on homemaking! But I'll be back for that.) I, too, have Crohn's disease, just over seven years diagnosed now, about nine symptomatically, though. It is a horrendous disease that can make one feel hollow, alone and weak. Suffering does not have to go on forever. I was miserable and weak at barely 21 years old when I was diagnosed, and long story short is I suffered severely for three years with three gastroenterologists, three colonoscopies, countless medical procedures and scans until I was finally referred to a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who, frankly, saved my life. I was down to 83 pounds w/ a feeding tube in my arm just prior. I have even been able to have two children since the surgery (when I had had two miscarriages before). I see Sarah has (had by now) an appointment w/ a colorectal surgeon also. I hope it was all good news in pure confidence to a plan for hope and healing to a quality of life that far surpasses where she is now. I am now only on one medication, humira, an injection my husband gives me every 14 days--waaaay better than all the pharmacies I've been on in the past. Oh, and I have been on cipro and flagyl many times also. I remember w/ flagyl that the metal taste it gives/leaves in the mouth is lessened greatly if you take it w/ sprite (amazing what trial and error gets you). Not that I am a soda drinker, but sprite has now been ruined for me because of this, but boy did it help alleviate the rank taste of that drug. Just a tip that helped me! This has been my history, and I would love to share more w/ you and Sarah and see how she is doing. My prayers go out to you and your family. You are involved in a great work, not just as a mother and homemaker, but by sharing your education and beliefs in these as well as religious matters. Thank you, and may God bless you and your family at this time and always.
    1. Katie, thank you for sharing your story and for your encouraging words. Sarah's still having a hard time and we're currently back in the hospital with a new large abscess -most likely a complication of the surgery. Recovery is slow. I so appreciate your prayers!
  8. Good morning Melissa, I just subscribed to your Blog a few weeks ago, do not know at this moment how is Sarah doing, but I am prayng for her. You wrote "...we find strength in the One Who is always strong", so very true Melissa! We never walk this road alone!! His very precense infuses strenght in our hearts! Blessings of healing and peace to you, peace and that passes all understanding!
  9. Dear Melissa, I have been a Christian ever since I can remember.I am now almost 57 yrs. old. I have been diagnosed with MS, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes. I am on meds for these plus high cholesterel, high blood pressure, and depression. I am married to a man I love very much. We have a herd of dairy cows. I helped my husband for years in the barn, but I don't seem to be able to any more. I worry about his health breaking down with all the pressure he's under. I have prayed for him, but I can see him breaking down. We do not have any children and no close relatives we can call on. Do you have any advice for us as we are strapped financially, also?
  10. Congratulations to family on your son's engagement. And thank you for the reminder that God is in control. I particularly needed to be reminded of that today - and my life isn't even that hard right now. I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's health struggles. My sister was diagnosed with Crohns over 25 years ago. She has been pretty much in remission since she had the ulcerated portion of her large intestine removed (shortly after her diagnosis). Have you heard about the GAPS/SCD diets? Many people have been helped and had symptoms of bowel and other conditions alleviated by modifying what they eat. I am not affiliated with any of these websites, but you can find more info at GAPS.com or breakingthe viciouscycle.info. One woman, whose family did GAPS, has written an intro guide. I found it helpful when I went on GAPS to help with IBS issues. Her site is healthhomeandhappiness.com. Hope some of this info helps your daughter. God bless.
  11. Hi, I am new to your blog. I will be praying for your health and your daughter's health. I personally have 2 autoimmune diseases, and the medications and possibly diseases have caused uncontrollable diarrhea many, many times------the last time was at a new job-------not fun. My stomach doctor strongly encouraged me to stay on VSL # 3 Probiotic medical food----one twice a day when having bad stomach issues, and otherwise one once a day. It is used for treatment of ulcerative colitis and many bowel issues. I am a nurse, so I can't prescribe. I can only tell you what has worked for me. You can get this from many pharmacists if they have a refrigerator behind the counter, I just found out-------we just it from Costco. It is about $40 or so for a bottle of VSL # 3---the stomach doctor may have coupons for you--------if not, please e-mail me and I will get some sent to you. It is not covered by insurance. It works great for me. I hope it will help your daughter's inflammatory process in her bowel to settle down. Also consider looking up anti-inflammatory diet---I try to use that info as much as possible and it does really help to avoid processed foods and non-organic tomatoes/corn for me. Limited organic tomatoes and corn are okay, but I still don't do that very often. This article is great---I have been in the "sandwich generation" like you in years past, and that is not an easy road to walk.
  12. Melissa, being a mother is sometimes the toughest job in the world. I surround you with my prayers. I understand having a child not feeling well. Years ago we moved with my husbands job about 100 miles from either of our families. Less than two years later our youngest son was diagnosed with leukemia...neither of our families had time to help us with anything...the battle with leukemia and rebuilding his body took five years. Yes, he is still with us. Life went on will multitudes of bills. When my husband turned 65 the courts would no longer let the collectors collect. Almost four years ago my mother in law presented a right side stroke, no communication or walking. Through our journey we found the message was the same..Come Bokdly to the Throne of Grace.