About the Author

Melissa Michaels is the NY Times Bestselling author of Love The Home You Have and The Inspired Room book. Her blog, The Inspired Room, was voted Better Homes & Gardens Readers' Favorite decorating blog in 2014 and 2015. Melissa is a church planter's wife and a mom to three human kids and...

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  1. “Thousands of little things that add up to a childhood that flew by in a heartbeat but seemed to go on forever until it’s over and you drop them off at college and cry all the way home. ”

    As I am already anticipating sending my first child to high school next year, this rings so true.

    In the day to day worldly comparing, I think I should be doing more…my audience should be bigger, my floors should be cleaner, my quiet times longer, and my kids should get along all.of.the.time.

    And yet, your words remind me that if I am loving my family and friends with all that He has given me, and loving God and trying to live to glorify Him, the other stuff really will fall into place.

    But I still do expect to cry on the way home!

    And those photos…what a fun series of seeing them grow up! Enjoy those sweet blessings!

  2. Thank you for this post. I am going through a major transition in my life. In 2 or 3 months time, I will be in very different financial and living circumstances. During this “limbo” time of waiting, I have been trying to justify my life, justify my existence, by talking to people about how great things are going to be – soon. What I should be doing more of is just living this day, this moment. Being there and doing more for my kids. Staying calm and focused. There may be a “bigger” time coming in my life, but it’s not right now and I have to believe God is making it happen this way for all the right reasons. I need to just be in this space and time – living it fully – and not rush into the next. Hard to do when I feel the world is “watching” but that’s the whole point of living according to God’s word isn’t it?

    • Wow Shelly- you said it perfectly when you said, “I need to just be in this space and time – living it fully – and not rush into the next. ” Amen and Amen! I do believe that if more women, moms, daughters, can catch on to that truth that they will have discovered God’s key to contentment and to slowing down the pace of life!

      As I like to say, the grass is always greener right where you already are.

  3. This was a wonderful article. You may not realize the ‘big thing’ until your kids are grown. We have done the college good bye several times plus the big one of watching your child walk down the aisle in the church she grew up, on her dad’s arm.

    It is so easy to get discouraged by others’ Big things. You don’t need social media to feel that way. Now I can look back and realize that little things raised three amazing adults!

  4. “it was all a big deal.” Thanks so much for this reminder, Melissa. I’ll be thinking about your words today as I carpool and wash dishes and laugh at jokes I still don’t understand:)

  5. just watch out when you are backing the car out of the dorm parking lot on college drop off day–my dad didn’t notice the telephone pole because of his tears! 🙂

  6. Thank you for taking us on that little journey. It all matters to Him who created every bit of what is here.

  7. I think this is a good reminder as I head into the IF: Gathering. As I seek out how God wants to use us, as I strive to make a difference, it is easy to think the answer must involve a “big thing.” This can be distracting – and discouraging when our “thing” seems so much smaller than everyone else. But if I am obeying God and pursuing His plans for me? That it definitely a Big Thing!

  8. As I started reading this post I wasn’t sure where it was going to go. Boy, am I glad I kept reading!!! What a nice post to wake up to!!!

    I often (as I am sure many do too) feel I don’t do enough for my kids and I definitely don’t have the Pottery Barn or Martha Stewart “perfectly” put together house. But, its our house. It’s where our memories are made, where we laugh, where we snuggle under the blankets and watch home movies and see the changes our house has made over the 11 years we have lived here.

    Ah, thanks for such a perfect post for me today. 😉

  9. “We somehow fumble our way through the early years only to discover we will continue to lay awake at night waiting, shedding countless tears and sending up thousands of desperate prayers that our teens will turn out OK in spite of our fears and our own weakness and failures as a parent.”

    Been there…

    “Thousands of little things that add up to a childhood that flew by in a heartbeat but seemed to go on forever until it’s over and you drop them off at college and cry all the way home. On that drive home you really get that it was all a big deal. You did a million little things that maybe only God himself noticed but you did them because YOU LOVE THOSE KIDS.”

    Done that…

    This is one of the best posts I’ve EVER read. You’ve written exactly what it’s all about. I appreciate your insights so much. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Sister- you hit it on the head! It is like getting out of the shower and finding out you forgot to rinse the creame rinse out of your hair!!

  11. Thank you so much for this reassuring post. I spent almost 4 years of my life building a blog that had gained almost 3000 FB fans and was viewed roughly 100,000 times each month. In mid-December, the Lord very loudly shouted for me to walk away from it all. I had BIG PLANS for that little piece of the world wide web. Things were going well and I was kind of a BIG DEAL. At least, in my eyes.

    The Lord has other plans for me, and He is refocusing my attention on the little things – being there for my daughter who is rapidly entering her teenage years, preparing a home-cooked meal each night for my family, sharing the couch with my hubby as we snuggle and watch a movie… These were things I rushed through to get to blog-related activities for so long, and the Lord finally shouted to my heart “Enough! Wake up and live your life!”

    So I did. I was faithful. It’s been a struggle because I loved my blog, but I love my life as it is now, even more than before, and I’m so thankful to NOT try to be a big deal anymore. I’m a BIG DEAL to my husband and my daughter, and most importantly, to my sweet Savior. And for that, I’m so thankful.

    • Amen. Running a blog is a time consuming endeavor!! What a blessing to be given the opportunity to just BE there for your family right now and find the sweetness of walking away from a distraction. That’s a big deal!!

  12. This really hit home to me as I constantly feel that I am not doing enough for my son. We struggled quite a bit when he was young but we managed to pull through and now as he has started college I know GOD had HUGE hand in getting us where we are today. I still worry that I could have done so much better and that sometimes my son takes me for granted that I will always be there when he needs his clothes washed or something ironed at the last minute or a meal prepared as he rushes off to work and did not have the time to do it for himself. BUT I WILL always be there just as GOD was ALWAYS there for me…Thank you so much for showing us that we ARE a BIG DEAL to our GOD when we don’t always feel those around us think that we are. Another encouraging post! Thank you.

    • I don’t think we ever stop wanting to be there for our kids, even as they grow and need to assume more responsibility for themselves….we still love those kids!! It’s not easy to let them grow up but there is also a sense of relief when they do :-). Bittersweet days! 😀

  13. This…this is the message to be preached and shared with women everywhere. You said it – all of it – beautifully and hit all the trigger points. I wish I could have read this years ago when my kids were little, but as a matter of fact it’s something I need to read right now, now that my children are all college age and adults, and I’m lamenting that I didn’t do something “big” then and wondering if I should be doing something big presently.

    But wait.

    I did do something big. I did three things big. I mean, c’mon – 2 of them are over 6 feet, so that’s HUGE!

    • Amen, you did something pretty huge and that’s awesome! And who knows what the future will bring?

  14. Thank you for such a wonderful post! My kids are all grown up now, the “baby” married his sweetheart this summer and what I know now is the small stuff IS the big stuff! What my kiddos remember from their childhood is not the one time we went to Disneyland after saving two years to get there, they remember how mom volunteered at school, “camping out” on the living room floor or day trips to the beach. It’s the day to day relationships, the love we show each other and yes, the messes that make us the big deal that we are. God thinks all of us are a pretty big deal!

  15. I was just sitting with some girlfriends talking about this last night! We are all in or fast approaching the transition of kids moving out to college or jobs and feel a sense of loss and feel kind of lost. As I look at my days, I see endless opportunities for how to use my time. I can get so discouraged as I compare my little story to bigger ones as you mention. So thankful that when I am faithful with the little things, they add up to a BIG life! I have learned to “do whatever I do in word or deed in the name of Jesus. ” Col 3:17 When Jesus asks us to swap a load of laundry, or empty the dishwasher, or drive a child to another activity- those matter to Him! And so they are BIG! Thanks for the reminder… it is so validating.

  16. I am so glad I am not the only one to wonder if the little unnoticed deeds are important. It’s a by-product of our fame- and celebrity-obsessed culture that we think unheralded equals unimportant. Not in God’s kingdom- which is right-way up, while our world is upside-down.

  17. Amen! What a lovely and true statement: You did a million little things that maybe only God himself noticed but you did them because YOU LOVE THOSE KIDS. That’s exactly how I feel.

  18. Teary-eyed mom of three small boys (4, 2,and 5 months) saying thanks for a beautiful message I definitely need to hear often! I, like many, long for that sense of creative achievement that I see others finding through blogging and such… but it’s always just out of reach as my days tumble one over the other, the jumble of all the apparently invisible little things I do squeezing the energy out of me until I collapse again into bed–hopefully having brushed my teeth first! Doesn’t feel like A Big Deal at all, but as you’ve reminded me today, my goal is a long term one, and that means lots of little things for lots of seemingly insignificant days over and over until the goal is reached. And I know I will cry!

    • Yes, you’ve got so much to do right now in the lives of those around you! My husband and I often say the biggest thing we did for our kids was just BEING THERE loving them! It’s a pretty big deal!

  19. Thank you for the wake-up call, Melissa, for bringing our focus back to what’s really important: daily sacrifices that impact hearts and souls, one at a time.

    Years ago I read an article that asked: Do you remember the name of the Olympic gold-medal winner for [insert your favorite sport here]? Do you remember who won an Academy Award for Best Actress [insert the year you were born here]? There were additional, similar questions. I couldn’t answer a single one. Then the columnist asked: Do you remember your third grade teacher? Do you remember the coach who was a mentor, not just a sports-enthusiast? Do you remember the youth sponsors who took you under their wings? I could answer every one. Come to realize: it’s the quietly faithful people who have the most impact upon us. We forget that! And yet that realization should bring great satisfaction and fulfillment.

  20. This was spot on, I loved it!! Thank you for your encouragement!! I needed this as well as so many other mommas out there.

  21. Thank you so much for this! It’s hard to remember that it is all of the little things that add up. Love Pinterest and blogs and all that, but they do have a way to make one feel inadequate. We all need the reminder sometimes….

  22. I’m currently part of the Proverbs 31 online Bible study, Made to Crave. Though it talks mostly of food, there is a acknowledgement that other cravings can pull at us. One that is mentioned is significance. It’s true. We all want to be significant. To be a “big deal”. I’ve found myself drawn to so many blogs, because initially there’s so much inspiration and encouragement. Usually, however, it turns into discouragement, and brings me anxiety and depression, because “how does she do it all?” Travel for missions and book signings and speaking engagements, tv shows, magazines, homeschooling, helping husbands with businesses, and still have a pretty, CLEAN home and looks fit & stylish? It can make you feel like a loser. So I have to be careful. My life includes a very tight budget, six kids at home full-time, aging in-laws who require our care and assistance (with no other siblings around to help), a small hobby farm on which we cannot seem to keep animals alive, a husband managing his business up to 12 hours a day, and an on-going battle with depression. Not very glamorous at all. I have hopes and potential, I know that. But I am fully engaged with my days being full of the little things, that I know I’m not able to do those things that might make me a big deal. I’m learning to be ok with that, but sometimes it is very hard. My precious 10-yr-old son so encouraged me yesterday. He told me I’m an amazing cook (apparently I can turn a rotten banana into a piece of culinary art?!), and he thanked me for giving birth to him and his siblings. What a balm to my heart! So I know the little things are really the big things, and I will continue to seek peace in being a big deal in my own little world. Thank you so much for this post. It is good to hear someone from the “other side” recognize this as an issue and address it.

    • Aw, sweet lady you are doing great things. Big things. There is nothing more rewarding than being a big deal in your own world and faithful to do your best with the most important people God places in your life.

  23. Well good morning, I was driving into work today, feeling quite sorry for myself, one son home from college now done, another still there…..I promised God that I would take the BACK SEAT and let him take the WHEEL, I can sometimes be a bit of a control freak and have had to learn over the years that it gets me no where but fearful……I pray each day and each night for God to reveal himself fully to my boys, don’t get me wrong they love God, BUT really reveal their life with him. I am trying desperately NOT to get in my son’s face since he has moved back home after college, trying to leave God to work in his life and I am finding it difficult. But I get up each day and THANK God for taking care of my two boys and for leading their lives exactly how they are supposed to be and that is why I have chosen to try and take the back seat! HARD HARD HARD but I am trying my best. I know God has great plans for them and I do not want to get in the way. So thank you so much for your blog today, I really needed to hear your words and the words of the other woman and mom’s, it makes me feel so not alone! If there is one thing that I do feel that I have done right is be a MOM, I just want to be able to continue to be that GREAT MOM……so thank you.

  24. Thank you for this! It was something I needed right about now…I am having a difficult time with my 24 yr old son who is finally living on his own and had a heated discussion about our relationship…I have been second guessing everything I did for him growing up…was it good enough or just enough or should I have done more…I guess in time he will appreciate everything that I sacrificed for him and maybe say thank you…

    • We can only do our best but even our best is imperfect much of the time — that is where we need to be grateful for grace. God can still work even when we aren’t perfect. Whether our children appreciate it or not, along the way they have to grow up and take responsibility too and we can’t shoulder everything. They aren’t always as aware or grateful as we might hope (and at 24 they are still figuring life out!) but you can pat yourself on the back for all you did, take a deep breath that you got him this far, and just keep praying for the rest!

      • I went to hear a Christian parent counselor last night, and she said one thing that will stick with me. Your kids will never fully understand why you did what you did until they are in the same situation themselves (i.e. being a parent). That’s when they appreciate what you did for them.

  25. Being faithful to the task right in front of me is what I took away from your blog. Truth in what you write.
    The specific line that touched me was about willingness to open my door to neighbors

  26. Everyone should read this every morning. It had me all teary eyed in Panera this morning. No matter your path each day, someone is glad you showed up 🙂

  27. Thank you so much for this post. I am in the middle of “doing all the little things” in life right now, and frankly, I am grateful and feel blessed to be here, but it is so easy to feel inadequate or dissatisfied when you allow all the external noise to tell you that its not “big” or not enough or that you’re not living to your potential. My goal is to raise a kind, happy and responsible human, and I’m going to remember that this is a big deal. Thanks again.

  28. Beautiful post. When my son was 14 he got a science and math award…I remember saying that it was the first outward sign that we were doing something right! However..you are right…its a million little things every day that make up a family.

  29. What a gifted writer you are, Melissa. I agree, there is so much noise on Facebook and this year, it is my goal to detach a bit from all that noise and get back to the real world. Thank you for this reminder that all moms are big deal moms!

    Love you, sweet friend!

  30. Melissa-
    I have been home schooling now for four years. I taught public school previously four twelve years before my first child was born. Three kids with health issues and one income. I have people all the time making comments about what is wrong with me. How could I ever leave a high paying job to stay home and teach my own. We struggle from pay check to pay check. But God sees us through somehow. I was thinking this morning again how I feel like a failure. Not getting to go on vacation or out to eat or saying no to a friend’s invite because I need money for gas in the car. I get to do and see my kids talents and blunders everyday. You have reminded me about “not sweating the small stuff.” The picture of your kids on a front porch with smiles reminded me how much I love my own children. These are the times I cherish and will remember forever. My polite, smart, funny kids who learn at home are a blessing. Your comments lifted me up this morning. I don’t always hear Jesus… well I heard Him today through you! God Bless. Now off to teaching some more…. have a good one!

    • Ah yes AMEN Janna! THOSE moments together are the times you will miss the most, so cherish each one you can be a part of due to your choice to be with them. You are blessed! 🙂

  31. Melissa,
    This was a wonderful post! I’m a grandmother……..was a stay-at-home-mom with 2 daughters in the 70’s and 80’s. So thankful for that time with my girls. It went by much too fast! Now I have a successful decorating business and career…..which I love, but nothing compares to being with my daughters during their growing up years. They are now beautiful young women that are serving God through…one raising her 2 boys in GA and the other teaching at a community college in CO. My husband and I are truly blessed….to God be the glory! Thank you for the encouragement you give to all the young …..and old women who read your post. As a decorator my goal is to help my clients create a beautiful place where their family and friends can come to be loved, refreshed and encouraged. Your post to that for me! God bless you as you serve Him through this ministry of encouragement.

  32. Thanks so much for this post, it spoke to me in a very personal way! I am so glad that I found (in)courage! You ladies are just what the heart needs!

  33. Lovely post! As always your writing speaks to my heart in exactly the way I need to hear it when I am struggling.

  34. As your children grow you hope and pray that you have made all the right decisions, done all the right things, been there for them when they needed you and on and on. But, you never really know. Or so you think. Then the unimaginable happens and your son dies as mine did several months back. He had just finished helping us move and died in seconds in front us of an aneurism.. From this nightmare has come a true blessing, his friends. From his friends we have learned what a loved man our son grew into and l we have been given new memories of him, the stories he .shared about his life with us. How much fun he had and how very much he loved us. So, when you think you will never know…know this, you have made a difference. Whether they say so or not and…. just keep loving.

    • Hi Carol, I’m so sorry about your son. I think about that a lot, I know friends who have lost children (at whatever age) and I can’t imagine how difficult that journey must be — it can happen to any of us any time. It is unimaginable.

      You make such a good point, that we aren’t ever promised to get to see how things will turn out with our life or our kids or with the people around us, but we just have to invest in where God puts us and in who crosses our path right now, in the present, knowing it matters in ways we may not know or see.

      Being in ministry my husband and I invest our hearts in people all the time who end up just walking away either from their faith or from the church or from our life. It’s hard but somehow you just have to know that what you did mattered and God is using it.

      It sounds like your son was a great young man and a blessing to others — you shaped him, so in turn his life has shaped those around him — it all matters. God bless you, Carol. {{{{hugs}}}}

    • Carol,

      Prayers for you and your family as you continue to mourn the loss of your beloved friend. I am pleased to know that God sent angels to you to bless you and make known that your efforts were not in vain.

      May God continue to bless you and surround your family while you grieve this loss.

      Blessings! 🙂

  35. What a timely post. I read something earlier today that denigrated my choices as a mom who stays home with her children. Though I “know” in my heart my efforts at home are important, it’s always nice to have a little reminder. Thank you for that.

  36. So beautiful! Recently in a car accident and quite disoriented from it, I have felt like this year has come to a screeching halt before it’s even started. Thank you for your gentle reminder and loving words. Have an amazing day!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that! I pray you’ll heal up soon and feel better so you can get back to where you were planning to head this year! Life does have a way of throwing us some curve balls and we need to be gentle with ourselves xo.

  37. Melissa,

    This post rings true for every aspect of life. It can be hard to keep going and doing the same mundane tasks over and over daily.

    I have found it difficult at work the past few years, then I remembered the words of God “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” Luke 16:10. I would recite that over and over to myself. I also remind myself that I am working to please God and not man–so don’t worry what others say or think about you.

    Thank you for a very great thought provoking post! Blessings 🙂

  38. Melissa, I know you have a bunch of thank yous for posting this, but I wish I could look in your eyes, give you a big hug, and let you see the tears in my eyes, as I THANK YOU sincerely for this amazing post!! It was beautiful and heartfelt and sincere. I’m a momma of 8 amazing (but stubborn) kiddos, and every night I cry myself to sleep and stay up most of the night worrying about them! Yes they’re amazing kids, but have I done my job in rearing them the way my Heavenly Father would approve? I still have all of them for some years, but you and I both know how time just FLIES! But I felt some encouragement and hope in reading your beautiful story. Thank you SO much for sharing it!–♥Angie

    • We live in such a competitive world. Thanks for bringing light to all the little things we do every single day. They do add up and they are a big deal! You are an (in)couragement to many of us. Your gift of writing is touching lives and changing souls.

  39. Thanks for this post–it is SO MUCH my life right now! And I like my niche just fine…until someone belittles my niche for it’s lack of bling. Some days it’s hard to remember that bling may glitter, but taking time to truly care about others is a treasure that pays great dividends!

  40. I’ve been feeling not so big lately, comparing myself to others, and that what I do doesn’t really matter. I served a tortellini soup I made at a children’s hospital a week ago. My soup was the last one left and seemed to be the least popular. I got an email today that a mother informed the staff she was so appreciative of my soup and that it was the only thing her son would eat. She tried several things on the hospital menu and he wasn’t allowed to leave until he ate. The little things we do, do matter. It’s helpful to be reminded every now and then. Thanks for the reminder. My son will be going off to college in the Fall.

    • Aw, I love that your soup ended up being such a blessing to a patient! It’s so hard when we are trying to help and do good for others and our effort seems unappreciated! I’m glad you got an email to encourage you that in fact it was a hit after all!

  41. Melissa- may I add another thank you for this lovely post. I have had many of those feelings…of being small in a great big world of awesome. =)
    I have to keep reminding myself…its the little things they matter too.
    Blessings
    Thanks so much
    Teresa

  42. I loved this post – it was exactly what my heart needed to hear in this moment. Thank you for obediently listening to His prodding and bringing other hearts along for encouragement on the way. Bless.

  43. This is a fantastic post and I thank you so much for hitting it home with reality and THE LITTLE THINGS. We are all important and don’t need to broadcast it. God bless you and your family and keep doing a great job. I hope everyone stays healthy! xo Nancy

  44. “You did a million little things that maybe only God himself noticed but you did them”
    Thank you, really needed to read this today. Nursing a sick little one all weekend, getting sick myself, it’s just a nightmare. It’s so hard to feel unappreciated, because really all those things we do, to do them alone, without credit, without recognition, without anyone to realize wow – she really is a superwoman – what a hard burden that is for a heart to carry. Children, husbands, family and friends, how little do they see what we’ve actually done. I think that is why it is so easy for us to connect with other mothers across time and space, because maybe they’re the only other ones who understand, really, the effort and sacrifice and love that we pour into these small moments.