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A Single Cup of Coffee

April 4, 2023

Gianna Soderstrom

Some days I don’t want to look up, to let God see me. I know that attempting to hide is futile, but shame finds fertile ground in the slightest soiled moment, and its roots grow quickly.

This morning I didn’t get the dishwasher unloaded while I was making breakfast. We didn’t start school on time. I had to apologize to my kids after losing my temper eight times before noon. I spent a good bit of time crying in my room with the door locked, wondering why God picked such a flawed human, such a human human, to mother these children I love so much. 

I didn’t even want to be around my children: I was too afraid of shouting at them again, or noticing fear in their eyes if they did something wrong. 

But while I cried in my room, and ranted to God about not sleeping well, my five- and three-year-old pulled the instant pot and two mixing bowls out of the cupboard so they could get to the Keurig. They scooped coffee grounds into a reusable K-cup and closed it carefully and filled the water reservoir using a mug with hot cocoa crusted inside. When I came downstairs, repentant, and tired from crying, they buoyantly explained their goal—making me a cup of coffee—and asked for my help moving the Keurig over to the counter with the outlet. 

I could still hear the echo of my own raised voice. Frustration with one child for not listening, frustration with another for leaving a messy residue from breakfast all over herself and the kitchen table. First I was angry with them and then I was angry with myself. I measured my patience; it was lacking. I was lacking. What kind of a mother shouts, anyway? I don’t like to measure myself; it seems I’m always coming up short. 

Sometimes this is the question that hides in the shadows of motherhood:

Is there grace for me, too?

Is there grace for me, too?

Is there grace for me, too?

It is moments like this that I am afraid to look up. I don’t even want to meet the gaze of my children. I can almost feel God looking down on me in disappointment. How could you? You are meant to be to your children a picture of Me: what is this?!

I get caught like a fly in a web thinking that motherhood exists, that I exist, to show my children the way towards a good God. I forget that we all exist for the glory of God, mothers and children alike. That sometimes we mothers lead the way, and sometimes we take their tiny, sticky hands in ours and let them lead us

And so when I walked into the kitchen to see the Keurig on the counter and two children busily trying to love me, I almost began to weep again. They’re making me coffee? I ignore the small pile of coffee grounds that spilled next to the stove and the puddle of water on the counter and the instant pot sitting out in the middle of the kitchen floor. Five minutes ago my sweet babes were crying, demanding apologies because I raised my voice at them. And now while I’m wallowing in my undeservingness, they have forgiven and forgotten and they are standing on chairs to reach the counter so they can make me a cup of coffee. 

I drink half of the coffee black because we have no cream in the house, and each bitter sip gives me hope again. I have been seen deeply, and found wanting, and somehow I am still loved.

There is grace for me, too. 

Featured image is courtesy of Lancia E. Smith and used with her glad permission for Cultivating.

The beautiful pottery is handmade by Cultivating’s beloved Jordan Durbin. You may find her work at

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  1. Libby says:

    Perfect vulnerability. Thank you!
    This helped fed my soul today.

  2. Amy Lee says:

    Such a beautifully and vulnerably drawn moment of grace, Gianna. I’m so glad I got to see their sweet faces again on Thursday, because I can better imagine their eyes watching yours over the Keurig. 🙂 Thank you for this.

  3. Bethany Roisland says:

    Beautifully written Gianna! So touching and relatable for the mamas in the trenches!

  4. Hillevi says:

    Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you. Every single word reminds me of the grace my children and my Lord have given to me. My son wakes up at 5 am to prep for work and before he leaves in the morning, he grinds the beans and prepares my Moka pot for me. Simple things say I love you. And it is my prayer that as your children grow older, those coffee moments become communion between you and your beloveds.

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