Encouragement for the Weary Mom

KATIE POLSKI|CONTRIBUTOR Just a few days ago, I picked up my phone to facetime my oldest. I looked at my reflection in the phone as I waited for my daughter to answer and noticed how tired I looked. “Does my face always look this exhausted?”  I asked my daughter when she answered the call. “Mom,” she said, “you look like you always do.” I suppose it should be no surprise that the daily grind begins to show itself physically. Work, grad school, and other responsibilities certainly make me look forward to laying my head on the pillow each night. But where I feel the greatest weariness, at times, is in mothering. Being a mom is one of the most rewarding jobs the Lord has given me, but it has also been the most wearing. From infancy on, a mother regularly plays the role of referee, chauffeur, counselor, comforter, guider, provider, educator, prayer warrior, discipliner, and the list runs on. It’s no wonder motherhood can make us to feel worn down and inadequate. There are many days that I just don’t feel up for the job of being a mom. And thank the Lord for this. Gratitude For Our Insufficiencies Why be grateful for my inadequacy? Because if my children always obey, if I always feel like supermom, then I would have no reason to cling daily to the cross. Without coming to the end of my rope, I would stand in my supposed self-sufficiency rather than recognize the necessity of Jesus’ grace...

Encouragement for the Weary Mom2023-05-01T14:09:56+00:00

Motherhood: A Chrysalis to Flight

MARIA CURREY|CONTRIBUTOR Much of motherhood is wisdom taking flight in hindsight. Prayer was the cocooning to my firstborn’s arrival—praying to get it right, to raise our baby in all the ways God desires. I remember driving home alone one evening, anticipating the arrival of this sweet child. At a tender twenty-two, my spirit sought answers, assured success, wisdom, and grace for this little heartbeat within. The comforting protection of God’s Presence filled my prayers, but in a different way from which I yearned. “Father, please help us to guide and raise this little one’s heart,” I cried. With clarity, my mind’s ear heard, “Maria, you two are just the shepherds of this baby. I am this little one’s Father and always will be. This heartbeat belongs to Me.” It was 1988. We didn’t know who was growing within, a girl or a boy, dark-haired like Daddy, blue-eyed like Mommy? We were soon to tumble head over heels in love. Our precious firstborn, a little girl, was born to us on a blistering hot August day. In a dramatically miraculous entry, saved from the clutches of near tragedy, I met her after an emergency c-section. Her expressions so like her Daddy’s, her little eyes searching my face, her ears tuned to my voice, her coos the sweetest melody; oh, to cocoon her in protected peace! Growth in a Chrysalis However, life in Christ is not a cocoon but a chrysalis. No butterfly takes wing without a complex and even painful transformation. So, it is with parenting. God, as the infinite Father and Creator, designed delicate creatures to symbolize much what our own children experience while becoming the next generation—a becoming like Him that will not be finished this side of heaven. Next came our second child, a towheaded, blue-eyed boy, who was as inquisitive as he was quick on his feet. Two and a half years later came the youngest, another son, whom we call our man of mirth. All three different and yet inescapably a mixture of us and God’s masterful design. Born into a military family, these three each have their own birthplaces as unique as their personalities, a full country triangle represented: a Washingtonian, New Yorker, and North Carolinian.  The chrysalis of each involved years of development, regular challenges faced from babies to toddlers, preschool to elementary, hormonally charged middle school into high school interests, with faith more greatly formed and owned, college choices made, and life then continuing beyond.  Each place we moved posed challenges, our oldest experiencing thirteen schools in her twelve years prior to college. Different homes and military installations, friends who came and went, many whom they left with tears and promises to keep in touch. What shaped, molded, and made their wings stronger? Mostly the hard places, the walls which their wings pushed against to eventually fly...

Motherhood: A Chrysalis to Flight2023-04-18T14:15:18+00:00

The Half-full Cup of Coffee: A New Perspective on our Interruptions

CATHERINE LARSON|GUEST “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). The half-drunk cup of coffee is a running joke in our family. At the end of many a day, my husband will find my half-empty cup of coffee sitting cold on the counter. With six children underfoot, the morning ritual was of course interrupted by the baby’s cry, by the toddler needing help at the potty, by the fight which needed breaking up, and so on. There’s a glorious inefficiency to motherhood. It doesn’t seem to matter the task, there are always ample interruptions. There are points in my day where I do nothing but hold. The baby needs holding because he is fussing, the toddler wakes up from his nap grumpy, the seven-year-old skinned his knee. By the time the day is done, the tasks are still half-done, like my half-drunk cup of coffee. Maybe you are no longer in this stage of motherhood, but how often we all find this tantalizing satisfaction “of finishing” that eludes us. When it comes to motherhood, perhaps it is because the work of raising children is so abstract, that we long to complete anything. But in our lust for completion, the actual people in our lives—the relationships—can be seen as impediments to progress...

The Half-full Cup of Coffee: A New Perspective on our Interruptions2023-05-13T22:52:41+00:00

Walking With God in Motherhood

BETHANY BELUE|GUEST BETHANY BELUE|GUEST The moment I brought my little boy home from the hospital, so much in my life changed. Overnight, my whole world shifted, and I began to see life through the lens of another human being who was completely dependent upon me. My time went from things I needed to do to what the baby needed: when did he need to eat, when did he need to sleep, and why was he crying so hard? One morning, as I stood at my sink looking out at the fresh flowers in the flower box outside my kitchen window, while my baby slept in the room beside me, tears welled in my eyes. Motherhood overwhelmed me. The to-do list felt endless, the sleep felt too little, and the needs of this tiny little human felt exhausting. My need for the Lord felt great, yet my time with Him was almost nonexistent. In that moment, the voice of the Lord spoke to me, a voice of love and compassion: “My presence will be with you and I will give you rest” (Ex. 33:14). I’m not sure there could have been more needed words for a tired, anxious, first-time mother. I knew then that He was near and He saw me. He reminded me that in those days of early motherhood, He was with me, and although rest may not be found in sleep, it was found in Him...

Walking With God in Motherhood2023-03-24T17:21:47+00:00

Moms: Seize the Opportunities God Provides

HEATHER MILITO|GUEST As a homeschooling mother of three, it is hard for me to find much time for anything, including showers and moments of solitude. This season sometimes seems grueling and repetitive with the day-to-day tasks of child rearing, teaching, cleaning, and feeding. Where is there time in this madness to sit and reflect on the Lord’s goodness? An Unexpected Opportunity During the early stages of motherhood, I was overwhelmed by all my motherly duties. I did not know how to fit in my time with the Lord and find this so-called “peace” that He gives. As far as I could see, the peace that was given was tucked away at night when the kids were finally asleep and I, too, was drifting off with a closing-day prayer. I felt overwhelmed as I started the daily cycle again when my children woke up sometimes as early as 4:30!  The steady rhythm of my children waking up early for a feeding, or a snuggle, trained my biological clock so that this time in the morning could instead be time with the Lord. At first, I was frustrated that my body would wake up at 4:30 and stay awake, but now I see it as an opportunity to find the quiet time my soul yearned for early in my mothering years. The time that I have in the morning before starting the day is precious. I sit with a cup of coffee in my hand and my Bible in my lap and enjoy time with my Heavenly Father. It has become an essential part of my day. As I grow in my knowledge of Christ, it urges me to want to know him all the more. My mind often drifts to Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” “And to walk humbly with your God.” What a high calling God has for each of His adopted children. As His children, we are called to yearn and seek after Him.  I cannot know what goodness is, what justice is, what kindness is, and who God is unless I intentionally give my time, my activities, and my best to Him...

Moms: Seize the Opportunities God Provides2023-03-24T17:44:38+00:00

The Mist of Motherhood

RACHEL CRADDOCK|CONTRIBUTOR If I am being completely honest, laundry is my least favorite household chore. Like Mary Poppins, I can find an element of fun in most jobs that must be done around the house. But when it comes to laundry, I long for a fairy godmother’s power to simply swoosh away the piles of dirty clothes. Being a mom to four means my laundry basket is always full and sock-matching seems never-ending. We have forty-two pairs of socks in a week’s worth of laundry; the odds of finding all eighty-four socks in the same week are slim. In the new heavens and the new earth, when Christ returns to redeem and restore all things, I have a holy anticipation that socks will no longer go missing. I am convinced sock causalities must have something to do with the Fall. In my flesh, laundry is a begrudging chore. In my flesh, I can’t see laundry rightly as important kingdom work. When I focus my eyes on the earthly things I can see—the piles, the baskets, and oh-so-many socks—I easily become overwhelmed.

The Mist of Motherhood2023-03-24T17:57:01+00:00

A Mother’s Persistent Prayer

CHRISTINA FOX|EDITOR Like many moms, I started praying for my children before they were ever born. I’ve since prayed for all aspects of their life: physical health and development, emotional growth and maturity, behavioral challenges and struggles, and most importantly, their spiritual life. I’ve prayed they would never know a day in their life that they did not know who God is and what he has done for them in Christ. I’ve prayed the Lord would ratify the covenant and bring them to saving faith. I’ve prayed they would grow to love God’s word more and more and desire to grow in their faith. I’ve prayed God would protect their minds and hearts from evil. I’ve also prayed that the Lord would prepare and equip them for how he will use them throughout their lives for his Kingdom purposes. These are prayers I’ve prayed over and over. Perhaps you also have specific prayers you repeatedly pray for your children. Ones that bring you to your knees day in and day out. Ones where you quietly weep as you beseech the Lord on your child's behalf. Ones where you continue to wait on the Lord's response. We are not alone in such persistent prayers. There is another mother, one who lived long ago, who also prayed the same prayers over and over for her child. She also longed for her beloved child to come to saving faith. She persisted in this prayer, and in time, she witnessed the Lord answer it. A Mother’s Unceasing Prayer for Her Son The early church father, St. Augustine, is known for his influence on the early church. One of his most famous writings, Confessions, is an autobiography where he looks back on his life before coming to faith. It reveals how the Lord worked in his life to bring him to himself. Confessions is a conversation, a prayer from Augustine to God, confessing his sinful and wayward heart. In this work, we get an inside look at how God worked in Augustine’s life, bringing him on a winding journey through false religion, idolatry, loss, and hardship to see his great need for the grace of Christ. We see him wrestle with the doctrines of the faith. We see him try to find life and hope outside of God. We see him brought to his knees and receive the gift of grace. It’s an amazing story, one which in many ways mirrors our own journey to faith. One of the most influential people in Augustine’s life was his mother, Monica...

A Mother’s Persistent Prayer2023-03-24T18:20:39+00:00

Thankful for Godly Mothers

SHARON ROCKWELL|GUEST The prophet Jeremiah included words of encouragement for Jerusalem and especially for those who trusted in the Lord. When I think about Mother’s Day approaching, I think about all the amazing mothers who trust in the Lord while raising their families. The words in Jeremiah 17:7-8, apply to all the godly mothers I know, including my own. “Blessed is the man (or mother) who trusts in the Lord,    whose trust is the Lord. He (She) is like a tree planted by water,    that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes,    for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought,    for it does not cease to bear fruit” (words in parenthesis, mine). I am thankful for a mother who took me to church. And though she could not carry a tune, she also taught me her favorite hymns, so that sitting in church I could make a joyful noise unto the Lord and join in with corporate worship. I am thankful for a mother who taught me to say “Yes, I did it,” “I am sorry,” and “Please forgive me.” I learned the appropriate response for my sins, and how to ask forgiveness, first from others and later from God. I am thankful for a mother who taught me from a young age to say the “God is good” prayer at meals, then encouraged me to pray “thank you” prayers before I went to bed until prayer became a habit. As I grew, my mother would pray with me for all of my personal problems, big or small, and was quick to remind me when she saw God’s answers to our prayers, until I began to seek them out for myself. I am thankful for a mother who helped me memorize scripture. Our Sunday School class regularly rewarded us with bookmarks or pens when we learned the Ten Commandments, or other portions of scripture that were part of our lessons. My mother celebrated those rewards as if I had graduated with an advanced degree. To this day, those verses remain in my heart...

Thankful for Godly Mothers2023-03-24T18:20:43+00:00
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