Purposeful Faith

A Moment We All Need to Give Ourselves

A Moment We All Need

Occasionally you meet a person you know is an instant friend. Location doesn’t matter, distance doesn’t care and methods of communication aren’t valid – what you know is that this one counts for something. This is how I feel about Rachel Macy Stafford. She shines all things pure and beautiful and it is my delight to know and love her.

R.Stafford headshot

In other exciting news, Rachel’s latest book, HANDS FREE LIFE, has permanently marked my heart with awe-inspiring and heartfelt life change. I feel my life going from bouncy ball crazy, to focused and intentional. I feel my attention moving from scattered to attentive. I feel my heart charging from empty to full again.  I feel grace speaking, rather than condemnation. This book has reserved a permanent spot on my bookshelf of “keepers;” I will be referencing her words for my whole life, I know that. Thank you Rachel, just thank you. I feel your love in this book.

Welcome to Purposeful Faith as a guest contributor for a day.

Post by: Rachel Macy Stafford

Understandably, many people want to talk to me about distraction. More specifically, they want to tell me about the distraction incidents they witness in their neighborhoods, at restaurants, parks, and sporting events. They want to tell me about the texting drivers sitting next to them at stoplights. Many well-intentioned people want to tell me how sad it makes them feel to see distracted people oblivious to their loved ones.

I must admit, these comments make me uncomfortable.

My mission for sharing my Hands Free journey is not to bash the distracted people of the world. My mission for sharing this journey is to bring awareness … namely, self-awareness … the kind of self-awareness I was lacking a few years ago.

Because you see, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about where I came from.

I was that distracted person oblivious to her loved ones.

I was that distracted person texting at stoplights.

I was that distracted person who made excuses as to why I was too busy to spend quality time with my family.

I was that distracted person who couldn’t see my beautiful life slipping right through my busy little fingers.

But I can assure you the judgment was harsh. The judgment was cruel. It was downright unbearable at times. But this condemnation didn’t come from an outside observer, well-meaning friend, or loving companion. Oh no, this ridicule came directly from me.

If you have read my “About Hands Free” page then you know that taking an honest look at the way I was living (or more accurately, not living) was a necessary step in my Hands Free life transformation. In fact, meaningful efforts to let go of distraction would have never happened (or lasted) without honestly evaluating the cost of my distraction.

But despite the fact that assessing my behavior was a vital step in changing my distracted ways, living in regret was not. I’ve come to realize that continually berating myself over what I missed is a waste of precious time. Self-forgiveness and healing have been just as much a part of this journey as my difficult truths.

But every now and then I get waves of remembrance—a taste of “life overwhelmed”, just enough to sting me, just enough to bring tears to my eyes.

It happened the other day. I’d stayed up too late working the night before. I had several deadlines to meet, and I was not as close as I hoped on any of them. I needed to get the kids to a swim meet. We were late. I was tired. The word “Mama” began every single sentence that came from my children’s lips whether I was actually needed or not.

And there I stood in front of the pantry, unable to remember what I came there to get. Part of me wanted to shut the door to that little space, huddle under the boxes of Fiber One cereal, and cry.

That’s when I heard it.

That voice.

It didn’t use the exact phrase that originated in the years of my highly distracted life, but it came painfully close.

“You are a bad mom” was the token phrase my inner bully liked to hiss during my highly distracted years whenever I felt like I was falling short in the parenting department. I’d almost forgotten I used to say such hurtful things to myself.

But then again, I don’t think I will ever completely forget.

I gave up on whatever it was that I intended to get from the pantry and told my children I needed a moment. I went to my bedroom and turned on my fan for soothing white noise and began reminding myself.

I reminded myself that The One who loves me, The One who took my hand and placed me on this transformative journey, still loves me even when I fail miserably.

I reminded myself that I am not perfect and that even the “best” parents have their moments of self-doubt and frustration.

I reminded myself of how I reacted when a tornado came scarily close to our house. It was the day I realized the fierce love I have for my family outweighs my shortcomings, failures, and imperfections.

I would run through fire to spare them.

I would beg kidnappers to take me in order to free them.

I would offer my plasma, my organs, and every single one of my limbs to save them.

I would sacrifice my life without hesitation, without question, if it meant allowing my loved ones to live.

Even in my most distracted, overtired, stressed-out state, my fierce love for my family is always ready, willing, and able.

Once I was finished reminding myself of these important things, I said a prayer of thanks and released a heavy sigh. I centered my disheveled, puffy-eyed self directly in front of the bathroom mirror and said one word.


As in: Give yourself some, Rachel.

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A few minutes later, my children and I were on our way to the swim meet. I turned on one of our favorite songs, which beautifully articulates the value of human scars and imperfections. I felt a slight smile come to my lips as I listened to my children belt out the chorus from the backseat:

“These bruises,
Makes for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
t’s good to let you in again
You’re not alone in how you’ve been
Everybody loses—we all got bruises.”


I suddenly feel better.
I just needed a moment.|
Don’t we all?

I think we all do—at some point in our day … our week …  our life—need a moment.

And so when I hear someone describing the unbecoming behavior of a distracted person, I cannot join in the condemnation. I once was that person and remain a work-in-progress.  And that is okay. That is human.

The other day, someone I love and respect as a parent and human being said something powerful to me. My mother said, “Rachel, even at your most distracted, you were always a good parent.”

With those words, the divine light of forgiveness shined like a beacon for my misdirected soul.

Even on days when I can’t tear myself away from my distractions …

Even on days when I overreact over something trivial …

Even on days that I obsess over bulges and wrinkles and things that don’t matter one bit in the end …

Even on days when I want to lock myself in the pantry and weep …

Even on days when I am at my worst,
I remain that person who would sacrifice her life
to spare her loved ones from pain and tragedy.

Perhaps you know someone who would make the same sacrifice. I bet you do.

So when you see that less-than-perfect woman or man staring back at you in the mirror … or the one at the restaurant who can’t quite seem to put down the phone and see the gifts in front of him or her … I ask that you extend grace, rather than judgment.

We are not the sum of our distractions.

Sometimes we just need a moment.

And every moment is a chance to start anew.

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R.Stafford headshot

Rachel Macy Stafford is the founder of www.handsfreemama.com where she provides simple ways to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters most in life. She is the New York Times bestselling author of HANDS FREE MAMA. Her highly anticipated book, HANDS FREE LIFE, releases in one week! It is a book about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through life. Through truthful story-telling and life-giving Habit Builders, Rachel shows us how to live better and love more despite the daily distractions and pressures that try to pull us away.


Those who pre-order Unsaved Preview DocumentHANDS FREE LIFE from now
until September 7 receive the FREE e-book of HANDS FREE MAMA

Click here to learn more about the book and pre-order bonus.

Bloggers, share this offer with your readers and with @handsfreemama!



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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Oh, Wow! What a powerful post, Rachel! Thank you so much for sharing, Kelly! Love you and praying for you, sweet friend! Peace and many blessings to the both of you amazing women of GOD! 🙂

  • Rachel in this do everything-be-everything world it is so tough not to be distracted. I totally get it. As we multi-task and go from this event to the next this message is greatly needed. My favorite line in your post was “Even in my most distracted, overtired, stressed-out state, my fierce love for my family is always ready, willing, and able.” This is very true. May i remember to dish out a little grace for myself even when I fall short. Be blessed! – Kia

  • Kelly, I am just loving how my words look here in your home! You have been such a tremendous source of support to me — not just my writing, but to me as a human being who went through a hard time this summer. Your prayers throughout my surgery and my recovery gave me so much strength. I am so thankful we met through our dear friend Christi and that it lead to a beautiful friendship. Thank you for the kind, kind words you said about me in the intro. I am deeply touched by your continuous offerings of support and goodness.

  • Rachel, what a beautiful, freeing message you have! Thanks so much for sharing it. Why is it so hard to extend grace to ourselves? I find it much easier to show grace to the other guy than to myself. (well, to people outside my family 🙂 ) But I’m a work in progress, as you say, and sometimes we do all need just a moment.

    May God bless and use your and your book!
    (Hi, sweet Kelly, thanks for featuring Rachel here!)

  • Kelly, thank you for introducing us to your friend Rachel. And Rachel, I cannot wait to read Hands Free Life. It sounds like just the right eye-opening, heart-tugging book I need:) Many blessings on your book release!

  • Kelly, thank you for introducing us to your friend Rachel. And Rachel, I cannot wait to read Hands Free Life. It sounds like just the right eye-opening, heart-tugging book I need:) Many blessings on your book release!

  • What beautiful encouragement I truly needed to hear this morning. That “You’re a bad mom” voice yells loudly in my head far too often. I’m a distracted mom much more than I care to admit. Your book seems to keep popping up for me everywhere. I think it’s definitely a sign I need to get it :). This: “And every moment is a chance to start anew.” Amen!

  • I love your message of grace and hope for all parents who may fall into the trap of distraction. I know I am guilty of this myself. Your book sounds like a must read and it doesn’t matter that I have grown kids because this message is just as relevant to me. Praying for success as your new book releases and praying that it touches the hearts of those who need it most.

  • Oh Rachel, Thank you. I needed this so much. I’m living distracted and God is turning me back home. Kelly has raved to me about your new book and I know that this tightly wound woman needs to read it. Is it bad that I’m scared to? Because the journey back is gonna hurt but I know it’ll be worth the cost. I feel like you’re a kindred and that you understand the weight behind these words and the depth of freedom that awaits. P.S. Thank you Kelly for hosting these timely and beautiful words today.

  • Rachel, I can so relate to the “bad mama” thing. I ended up a single mom and often thought I was a “bad mom” because my kids didn’t have what a lot of other kids had in the privileged town we lived in. They had to work for what they wanted, and my daughter made a point of telling me how much she hated me for years. When I remarried, she ended up living with her father–talk about feeling like a bad mom! I felt like I’d failed for years! But I look at the adults they’ve become and their work ethic and morals is the exception, not the norm in today’s younger generation. I am so proud of who they’ve become, and I think I should take some credit for that, don’t you?! We beat ourselves up WAAAAY too much. Thanks for sharing your post and your book. Looks like a must-read. And thank you Kelly, as always, for hosting!

  • What a beautiful, freeing message. Kelly, thank you so much for featuring Rachel here. I am my own worst critic and one day I felt the Spirit prompting me, asking me how can I extend grace to my kids when I don’t give it to myself. I am a work in progress, but sometimes when I look back and see how far God has brought me I am in awe of HIM. Love and hugs to you both!

  • Amen, Rachel! Couldn’t have said it better myself. We all need a moment every now and then. Weekly, daily, and especially whenever things feel off kilter. Congratulations on the book by the way! So honored to also be a part of your launch team and already working my way through the book! 🙂 Blessings to you!

  • Thank you Kelly for sharing this space with Rachel. I too know the self condemnation but am grateful today to receive and accept His grace. There is no condemnation.

  • I am just as guilty as the next person as being distracted. Grace is such an awesome unbelievable gift. You’re so right…we need to be better about extending it to each other. And yes, indeed, we all do need a moment now and again. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Love this post. Touched deeply by this –> “Grace.” As in: Give yourself some…” That’s a biggee for perfectionist people. Can you tell I understand? Rachel, you swing us back into the courts of the Almighty, a place where there is praise and yes, grace. I think your book is calling my name. 😉 Best wishes, God’s best as He touches lives through you. And Kelly, thank you for opening your blog pages. There are always golden nuggets to be found when you do so. xo

  • Kelly/Rachel,
    Thanks, Kelly, for introducing us to Rachel! Thanks you Rachel for an upbeat and uplifting post for all of us distracted women out here. So glad that God whispered that He wanted to convict your heart – not condemn it!! Beating ourselves up or letting the enemy bully us serves no good purpose. We all need moments to gather ourselves, ask God to fill in the gaps where we’ve fallen short, and then go forward! Great post!

  • I want to be a mom like that – like yours, who speaks goodness into their children’s life:) My boys are older now – and they see the imperfection – recognize it – but I know, too, that one day they will see me through grace – just as I see them through God’s grace. Thank you for the encouragement to keep on seeing me how God sees me – and to forgive me as He does. Such blessing!

  • This looks like a great book! Thank you for the reminder of extending that grace to others. We all have days like that, it is true and it is so hard when people just stare and think the worst of you instead of offering up some grace or a smile to know it is going to be ok. I have learned to extend that out to other Moms. Thanks for sharing your article and thank you all for hosting the party 🙂

  • Oh, Sister…
    These words are vitamins of grace that we all need to take daily. Thank you! I had a heart-to-heart with my grown woman child which included some repentance and maybe a few tears, and she offered grace in the same way reminding me that sometimes…no many times…well, all the time, I am the hardest on me.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Thank you so much for sharing Rachel’s words of encouragement with us Kelly! Just yesterday I was about to blow up with negative thoughts and felt the attack of the enemy so strongly in my life at work … did I tell you I started a Bible Study group in the office last week?! Yep in a Real Estate office! The enemy wants me out of that place! I was close to being defeated when the LORD sent a sweet agent to my desk … she looked me in the eyes and said “Something’s going on with you today, I am going to sit at your desk for as long as you need … go and take a break!” I went for a walk outside and had “a moment” and came back to work the rest of the day renewed! It’s incredible how transformational a moment with the LORD can be! 🙂

  • These words were exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you for the encouragement and the reminder that even when I’m far less than my best, I’m still okay! And yes, I must put into perspective that even when I’m distracted, I would sacrifice my life for the precious people God gave me!
    Thanks, Kelly, for sharing Rachel!
    And thank you, Rachel, for your heart for Mamas everywhere!
    Blessings and smiles,

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