Do you have moments when parenting seems like Mount Everest and your weak legs tire after a few steps? Whew. I sure do. I need help with strength.
Sometimes watching moms leap ahead with such ease makes me feel inept.
They seem to excel at everything: perfectly clean and designed living space, creative child play, children that obey quickly, family devotions, healthy homemade meals, physical fitness, and a side business or full-time job outside of the demands of motherhood.
I need to stop to catch my breath after a couple strides.
Other times I stumble over the rocks of disobedient children , no matter how many time outs or things I take away they still refuse to follow the path.
Then I scale the edge of the unsaid, but deeply felt pressure to excel at housekeeping and cooking when I still lack the endurance to keep up—after more than six years of parenting.
Add to these the anxious unknowns around the curve of taking care of a child with unique physical and emotional needs when I never went to medical school.
How about you?
What obstacles block your ascent up the Mount Everest of parenting?
At times when we want to return to basecamp we need God’s Word to strengthen us.
1) God will give us strength.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
None of us scale mountains naturally. It takes training to gain strength and skills.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul expresses his ability to live in every circumstance. He specifically talks about abundance and lack with material needs, however, the principle he teaches is true for us as moms over all.
No matter what lay ahead of us on our trail throughout the day, whether we lack the resources or are abundantly supplied, through Christ we can do all things.
I am so thankful the Bible doesn’t say “try harder.” No. It says through Christ we have strength.
As I learn to include Jesus as my sure footing, I gain strength for the steps ahead.
I still slip—
yelling at the kids (again)—forgetting the special dress-up day at school—or a myriad of other mama mess-ups (don’t we all mess-up?). I reach out for Jesus’s grace to lift me up and cheer me on to keep climbing. Sometimes He just gives me strength for the next step. And I find grace in that one step.
2) Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
The grapes I buy for lunch bags, once severed from the grapevine, have lost their nutrition to grow and multiply. Left uneaten, they rot.
And just like those grapes, if we, the branches, strive at parenting apart from the vine (Christ), our fruit shrivels.
We might excel at the “religious mom” thing—or the “striving for perfection” mom thing—but on our own effort, the real-powerful- transformative-Christian-mom life shrivels unless we abide in Christ.
Sometimes I abide—and sometimes I hide.
The fruit that blossoms out of me displays my choice. I hide when I snap at my kids because I want to control them rather than coach them. I abide when I hold my tongue and kindly respond to a fussy child.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)—multiplies when we choose to abide.
We can do this mom gig, but we need God’s help. He will strengthen us as we live in Christ, and the Spirit will produce fruit to love well as we abide.
How do we abide?
1) Take in His Word.
I know it is hard to find time mamas, but this is vital to our abiding: renewing our minds. Do you have a smart phone? Listen to his Word on a drive. Do you have a break at work? Read His Word in your office or car. You can find the space. Be creative!
2) Pray about Everything.
Everything. No prayer is too small or large. When we pray, we invite the Spirit to work in the corners of our lives. Pray about what to cook for dinner. Pray about your kid’s day at school—or the strength to homeschool. Pray for wisdom with your words. Pray about everything—with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6).
3) Yield to the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit lives inside every believer and aids us as our counselor and guide (John 14:26, 16:13). He speaks to us through that still, small voice that pokes at us to respond in kindness, practice self-control, and all the other fruits of his nature (Galatians 5:22–23). He also guides us in wisdom, bringing to mind all Jesus taught in the scriptures we hear and read (John 14:26).
How about you? How have you seen God give you strength in parenting? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
PRAY: Lord, God, I need your help with parenting. I grow so tired as I climb daily, trying to honor you and raise up the one(s) you put in my care. Please help me depend on you and not my own effort or strength. Take over. In Jesus’ name I ask, AMEN.
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