Moms: We Can Do It; He Can Help

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…
2 Peter 1:3a

I used to think I was a pretty nice person. I didn’t cause a lot of trouble among friends, didn’t like conflict, and tried to be kind and thoughtful. I would have considered myself easy-going and laid back.

Then I had kids. And parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Now, I find myself saying and doing things that are not kind at all. Its not uncommon to end the day – or end the first hour of the morning for that matter – with thoughts of inadequacy. Why did I have kids? I’m horrible at this. What was God thinking letting me be a parent? Some days I honestly believe I’m doing them more harm than good. I envision one kid leaving the house after high school graduation vowing never to return and the other winding up in Juvenile Hall. 

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world because there are lives at stake. Souls hanging in the balance. It is perhaps the biggest, most important privilege God bestows upon us. He gives us the opportunity to lay crate in the hearts and minds of little people who are more like amoebas than independent thinkers. It’s a job we have been doing for thousands of years and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks they’re failing at it.

This Was His Idea
So now what? Do I throw in the towel on a task God has assigned specifically to me? Psalm 37:23 says, The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (NLT) Nothing I face as a mom is an accident. God has led me to this particular time in my life to grow me into the woman He wants me to be. He believes I’m the right mom for these boys. I need to believe it, too. His plans for me are not to cause harm or evil, they are plans of prosperity and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) His confidence in my ability lifts my spirit from the fog of failure and I find the courage to try again. 

It’s Not Going to Kill Me… or Them.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 2 Corinthians 4:8 (NLT) In this battle for the souls of my children, I must expect to have difficult days. It shouldn’t come as a surprise when they challenge my orders or relentlessly try to get their way. I’m reminded how important it is that I spend time in the Word, finding comfort in the fact that I am not crushed by my circumstances. I have not been driven to despair, even though I am routinely perplexed by how to respond. Filling my mind with God’s truth combats negative thoughts about my ability to parent as seemingly mountainous conflicts shrink to molehills. 

Present, Not Purchase
There’s a unique difference between buying an item and being given a gift. It flips a selfish decision into a selfless gesture of generosity. Rather than buying a new purse on my own, I bring my husband along to buy me a “present”. It makes me feel special and I get to brag on him when I receive compliments.

Similarly, I didn’t choose my children; they have been given to me by God. He has granted me the privilege of motherhood. It’s an awesome thing to ponder – Wow, God gave this exact child to me and only me. Psalm 127:23 says, Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. (NLT) Although I’d like to believe I controlled the decision to become pregnant, I would be wrong. My role as a mom was given to me. God considers me equipped to parent difficult children so much so that He calls them a reward.

Hidden Power Source
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Corinthians 4:7) When I try to parent in my own strength, it doesn’t go well at all. I must rely on the treasure of Jesus to get me through. As the first part of 2 Peter 1:3 says, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life. He provides glowing illuminations of joy as fuel for a worn out parent; persistent patience when we are at our end; self-control when we’re on the verge of loosing it. When God’s presence is evident in our lives, our children see Jesus. And isn’t that what we all hope for?

Dear friend, be encouraged today that you are a mom on purpose, for a purpose. No one is perfect; mistakes made along the way will be forgiven. Your children are a gift, even when they drive you crazy. And God will give you what you need, when you need it.

Walking In Faith

And without faith, it is impossible to please God
Hebrews 11:6

 

“Take me back, mommy. Take me back!”

My son pointed to the pool stairs on which he was sitting before I took him into deeper waters. Despite my secure embrace and the life jacket fastened across his chest, he was frightened to leave the safety of the stairs.

Clearly, he hadn’t anticipated the feeling of fear that leaving the stairs would bring. He had, after all, asked me to “take him swimming”. His faith in me was overruled by a faith in the stairs. They were solid, predictable, and free from the possibility of causing him to go under. With me, he was no longer in control. He needed to trust that I would keep his head above water. He had to believe that I would keep him safe.

As a mom of boys, I aim to teach them to be courageous, wise, and kind. At times, a little tough love is required to do so. I hope to have a positive influence on them and understand that sometimes their trust in me will be questioned. But that day in the pool, I realized how differently I would have felt if he had been secure in my arms. I would have felt proud. Happy. Pleased with his fearless attempt of something new. Something a bit scary.

I imagine God views us in a similar way at times. He asks us to leave the safe, familiar environment we’ve been in for an extended period of time and join him in the unknown of life. He longs for us to jump into his arms, fearlessly trusting He is in control, has our best interests in mind, and that He will keep us safe.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. Although the theme of the chapter is faith, this particular verse refers to Enoch’s exceptional ability of to please God, as noted in verse 5: By faith, Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

Genesis 5 describes Enoch’s relationship with the Lord: After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years..Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (v. 22, 24)

How amazing would it be to have our transition to heaven be without a physical death? That the life we lived on earth was so completely intertwined with the Lord’s plan that our spirit melted from our flesh effortlessly. Enoch dedicated three centuries of His life to keeping in step with God. The Bible doesn’t give many details of how this happened or how difficult it may have been, but it probably wasn’t a walk in the park. And it won’t be for us. But our dedication to a journey of faith produces pleasure within our Heavenly Father.

God is proud when we choose to commit ourselves to His plan and purpose. As we declare confidence in Him, conviction in who He is calling us to be, and assurance in His presence, the Lord is pleased. It brings Him great joy to have us in His embrace, arms stretched out in reckless abandonment. He revels in our willingness to trust Him.

Despite my son’s initial fear, it wasn’t long before he realized how fun it was to swim in deeper waters. His faith in me grew as I proved myself to be trustworthy.

Is the Lord leading you to leave a comfort zone? To try something new? Let’s find courage in the pleased look on His face as we step out in faith, for nothing makes a parent prouder than to see their child living life in the freedom of confidence.