Grace-Based Motherhood: A Fishy Tale

I got seasick.

The wind whipped my hair on the 45 minute trip from the shore to the middle of the ocean in a large fishing boat. It was thrilling for my family, a first for us, until the boat anchored and the waves dipped the craft up and down.

Down and up, with 3-4 foot swells.

I only cast my fishing line one time.

The rest of the four hour fishing trip, I longed to lay down on the metal floor of the hot, stinking ship. Instead I sat perfectly still with my eye on the only constant in the waters around me: a buoy about half a mile away. As long as I didn’t take my eyes off of it, I didn’t throw up.


I had planned this little outing for my family-we love to fish, but rarely get the chance and I knew our little vacation to the coast an hour and half away would be the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy each other.

Only life doesn’t go as planned and I was green around the gills, irritable and counting down every miserable minute.

After one harrowing trip the ship’s bathroom (my one mistake), my kids met me at the door, “Mom, isn’t this fun?” I could smell the squid bait on their hands and I snapped ugly at them. “Go away!” I demanded as I ran for fresh air

And I searched for my buoy.

I was so disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy the trip and even more that I was too miserable to watch my family enjoy the trip.

About halfway thru the trip, this happened:


Thirty pounds of dinner and one very happy husband. And finally some expired motion sickness medicine I bought on the boat brought enough relief for me to snap a picture.

My kids fed tiny squid parts to nearly seagulls and their giggles almost made my nausea worth it.

My family offered grace. The kind a mom desperately needs to receive when she’s too hard on herself, when life doesn’t go as planned (does it ever?) and the kind I want to give them when I can’t stand their fishy hands.

“If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.” —favorite song

Grace is my buoy in this motherhood journey. It keeps me afloat when I’m drowning. It’s the life preserver on a hard day. It’s the constant in this ebb and flow. Grace keeps me going–it gives me the power to forgive others, to forgive myself, to keep going in rocky waters and threatening gales.

You know what’s crazy? I would get out on the boat again in a second.

Because grace is what I remember most.


  1. 2

    HeatherS says

    So sorry you were sick. That happened to me too the one and only time I went on a similar sized boat on the ocean and it’s a miserable feeling. Thank you for the grace reminder. I know I really needed that grace myself after a mommy meltdown last night in which I ran away from home. Ok, I only made it as far as the frozen custard shop but the moments before I left were not pretty. It had been a long day full of a hormonal mom and two need-to-go-back-to-school-soon kids! Grace (and a brownie sundae) were needed.

  2. 3

    Sue Montague says

    Isn’t it amazing – that when you kept your eye on the buoy you were not sick. Just like when we keep our eyes on Christ – we don’t get sick. He is the constant and the steady. But when we look elsewhere – boy are we in for it!
    Thanks so much for your posts!

  3. 4


    Thank you SO much. A friend linked me to this post, and I cried through it. With family visiting, a busy summer, and strong bouts of crippling fibromyalgia, my family has also been showing me grace through the whole time. As moms we need down time too, and this put it perfectly.
    Thank you for writing.
    ~Heather @ The Welcoming House

  4. 7


    Isn’t it great how readily our tiny people hand out grace to us? Always serves as a great reminder to me to do the same unto them. Thanks for sharing!

  5. 8


    Sea-sickness is the worst. I’ve so been there. Dramamine is my new BFF. I’ve been battling morning sickness the last 10 weeks and my kids go back and forth between, “Are you ok mommy?” to “What’s she throwing up this time?” Got to be honest though, both reactions make me smile. :) Hope the rest of your trip is amazing.

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