My Costco marinated salmon with beef flavored Rice-A-Roni seemed simple enough (I know, healthiest meal ever). But as I pulled the salmon out of the oven—with a crying baby grasping my ankle, another kid in time-out and the third screaming from the bathroom for help—I realized the fish had a crispy outside and a raw center. I started seeping tears.
Dinner time was 30 minutes ago and our stomachs and attitudes needed food.
This is motherhood for me. Everyone needing me at once and trying to accomplish a simple task sometimes feels like 10th grade algebra all over again. Why do they put letters and numbers together? So confusing.
I called in hubby for back-up, took care of urgent parenting matters, and then marched back into the kitchen and stood staring at the half burned—half raw salmon, and my pot of rice. “What should we do?” I asked the hubs, who usually cooks because he is amazing like that. “I’ll make something,” he consoles.
Today I almost lost it—I wanted to yell, wanted to spew hurtful words at an obstinate child. I drove to church to worship Jesus while my wonderful “Gift from the Lord” picked at my self-control resolve like woodpecker. Peck. Peck. Peck.
But the Spirit yelled within my soul: Be still. Strengthen yourself for love.
So instead of cracking, I cracked down—on self-control, loving words, and firm consequences.
WHEW! THAT WAS HARD.
Sometimes I feel like this parenting job is more like a dodgeball-throw-everything-at-mom game. And I end up crying through the bruises once the kids hit the bedtime sideline. Some days I throw back a ball (or two), but today—today—God gave me the strength for Holy Spirit resolve.
That is why I love the prayer from Paul to the Philippians. It is a wise field strategy packed in an empowering prayer pronouncement that suits us up for the ability—through Christ Jesus—to be blameless in the field of motherhood. No matter how many tantrum, name-calling, or rule-breaking balls slap against our legs.
Prayer is powerful. May this prayer from Paul to the church in Philipi be ours this week so that we can parent for the glory of God.
My family continues to encounter various trials. Death of loved ones. Broken car doors. Sickness that stretches out into weeks. Joblessness. Not knowing where to live. Saying goodbye to my childhood home—and the list goes on. No matter what the trials—big or small—they can leave us weary and discouraged. But I see progress in my own soul. Last summer I handled the trials very differently.
When we encounter hard challenges, is it possible to consider it joy?
This week’s reflection comes from James 1:1-4. I hope it encourages you.
Mamas, I thought I was the only one who struggles with mommy guilt. Ha! Just joking. But to read from another mama the tug of mental war about what we do and tell ourselves when we mess up—again—and lose our our calm and kind tone with the kids? Refreshing.
Sometimes God feels far. He feels far for me right now. I feel like a ball in a ping ball machine, bounced around in a chaotic rattling, but not really going anywhere. Only to return from where I came from, the bottom.
When life feels dark and we are pinging off of anxiety, depression, grief, and other threatening emotions, how can we find balance, peace, and truth?
Listen to this week’s video reflection. I hope it helps you and those you love.
God, I know Your Word says you never leave me, but you feel far away. Do you see me? The way ahead is clouded and I am overcome. Please help me. Please show me the way, even for just the next step. The noise and the chaos clouds me from clarity. Please, be my clarity. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
How about you? How do you experience God in the darkness? Please share. You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Mom died three weeks ago. I have hurried, organized, and pushed through in mothering, but it crashed around me today in my fatigue. And I realize again how I can’t do this on my own. Even with amazing family and friends. Only God gives breath.
Are you in a challenging season? Do you know someone who is?
But the Israelites would not listen. They were as stubborn as their ancestors who had refused to believe in the LORD their God. They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and they despised all his warnings. They worshiped worthless idols, so they became worthless themselves. They followed the example of the nations around them, disobeying the LORD’s command not to imitate them.
My six-year-old son juggles to gain acceptance with the kids at school. He often asks, “Can I get an iPad like Charlie?” or “Can you get me Pokemon like Colten?” He also acts as a classroom clown, even if he disobeys the rules, so his friends laugh.
I think us moms fall into similar spiritual traps.
We sometimes follow other moms to figure out how to live, rather than follow Christ. We long to fit in with our neighbors rather than risk standing out—fitting in with the truths of God’s Word.
One place to look so you can flourish
It’s great looking to other moms who love Jesus for examples and creative inspiration, but let’s remember, we follow Jesus and not what others think makes a good mom.
My friend Martha inspires me to read more with my kids and has great suggestions on books that teach little ones about the Lord. Amy’s creativity expresses itself in after-school tea parties to connect with her kids and pray for them. Yet if I don’t do either of those, I’m no less of a godly mom.
Godly motherhood is simply following Jesus in the moments of mothering.
God, please help me desire to follow Jesus more than the culture around me, including other Christian moms. Thank you for their example, but help me be the mom You created me to be. I desire to live for you. In Jesus’ name, AMEN
How about you? What is one practical way you keep your focus on Jesus rather than on others? Please share! You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Gayle Westover is a homeschooling, hubby loving mama of 7 and expecting #8 in 2017. She’s grown in her relationship with Jesus for 20 years and married for 23. She finds daily satisfaction, and lots of messes, in the joys of raising her kids—and encourages mamas to soak up the moments because they flash by too quickly.
As I look at our nation today I think about the many battles our children will face that we can’t yet see. Wars. Changes in politics. Social injustices. Spiritual challenges beyond our imaginations. How can our hearts prepare their hearts for the future?