Moms, Don’t Trust Your Fickle Feelings

Up the stairs she stomped, quickly followed by a slamming door. Once again, I had let my least favorite characteristics bubble to the surface and rain down over my tween. Placing trust in the fickle fade of aggravated feelings hurts our kids and our confidence. Paul assures us that our sinful desires wage war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11). Moms like me who have taken the bait and engaged in an argument with their child know exactly what Paul speaks of in Romans 7:15. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” 

Fickleness, defined by dictionary.com as “likely to change,” is not a reliable source by which to gauge our decisions to parent. God, on the other hand, is reliable, constant, omnipotent, sovereign, and patient. In my life, I’ve found it impossible to maintain any of the parental behaviors I aim for without a solid foundation of God’s truth to instruct and encourage my heart. 

Below are a handful of verses that have helped me prevent, stop, and recover from the moments that I have been tempted to, or have let my fickle feelings rule my parenting. Our children are God’s first. The goal of parenting isn’t to mimic God’s authority, but rather to submit to it in obedience as we lead our children to His feet.

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A Prayer for Suicidal Women

Human suffering is a part of life. It’s crucial to remember what we know about God in the moments when we teeter on the edge of leaving it behind. Our hardship is never in vain, though we feel deserted and desperate. God loves us (John 3:16). He promises never to leave us (Hebrews 13:5). He hears us (1 John 5:14) and answers us (1John 5:15). God alone is fit to judge us (James 4:12). We are not fit to sentence ourselves to death. God’s timing is perfect (Ecclesiastes 8:6). He cares for us (Matthew 10:30) and has a purpose in place for each and every life (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Repeated together in prayer, God’s Word has the power to lift us out of the deepest pit, the darkest despair, and soul swallowing sadness. Look to Him in confidence, knowing that He is especially close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). 

Father, proof abounds of the work of Your hands… but we can’t see it. We are too engulfed in depression and angst, tragedy and pain, to look up. Help us hold onto the truth proclaimed in Proverbs 3:5-6. To trust You with our whole hearts and lean not on our own understanding. 

Thank you for Jesus. Because of His death on the cross, we know that He understands our pain and suffering. Though we do not possess the ability to process our pain with His clarity, we can take solace in knowing that even Your Son struggled on this earth. You promise us that Your grace is sufficient for us, Your power made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Father, forgive us for considering any other plan but Your own for our lives. In the middle of the pain, it’s hard to remember what we know about how good You are. That our humanity is subject to sinful nature, and all of the struggle and consequence that comes along with it. But you never leave us, never abandon us. Jesus died so that we could cry out to You. Sometimes, we can only cry, yell, or throw our fists in the air. Thank You for the comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit translates our hearts to You. 

Psalm 27:14 tells us to wait for you… to be strong and take heart and wait for you. For “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God’” (Luke 18:27). In these desperate moments and trying hours, we need to remember that our thoughts are not your thoughts. There is no possible way that we can understand You, or Your ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). We just have to trust that You are good… You are love defined, and You will defend us. Micah 7:7 says, “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” 

Father, bless and heal our hearts and our ailments. Restore our hope in the One who has the power to do something about our circumstances. In a world that is throwing us around, help us to see Your hand reaching down to pluck us out before we are trampled. Help us to believe that our lives have a meaning and a purpose greater than what we can tangibly understand on this side of heaven. Instill godly confidence in us to live by Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

Psalm 86:7 says, “When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” It doesn’t say, “because You might answer me…” 

Answer us, Father. Help us. Heal us. Restore our life and fill our hearts with the hope that only You can provide. For Your glory, we want Your will for our lives above our plans and escape routes. You place people purposefully in our lives, Father. People who need us… who need to witness Your miracle in our comeback. People who need our love, which we are free to give because of the way you extravagantly love us. At our best and at our worst, Your love is unchanging. 

Restore our lives, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, amen. 

This article was originally posted on crosswalk.com. Click here for the original post.

Perfect Peace for Imperfect Parents

Climbing ‘Parent Mountain’ takes faith. Soon after our newborn babies gaze back at us with the fresh hope of new life, the inventible responsibility crashes into our reality. God knows we feel insufficiently equipped. He created us to rely on Him. The falling feeling of not being able to sink our foot securely into the next step signals us to reach for His hand. 

The overwhelming juggle of our own personal growth alongside that of our kin lends our advice to be as imperfect as we are! Where is the peace in that? In Him. To maintain a perfect peace through imperfect lives and rapidly crumbling world, we must place our trust in God’s wisdom. Peace is found in submission to His unchanging authority over our lives. He has gone before us and remains with us. 

1. A Clean Slate 

The first pathway to peace in parenting is prayer. There’s no way to shortcut around prayer if peace is what we seek. Jesus set the tone in Mark 1:35 by praying first thing in the morning. Getting up early and portioning off that time is a challenge and a sacrifice, but God honors every bit of time we set aside for Him. 

Why not pray while we’re brushing our teeth, or making our coffee? Can we roll over after we hit the snooze button and pray God’s blessing over the day? It’s not as hard as we make it out to be. How many of us awake to our smartphones, and find ourselves scrolling mindlessly after we snooze our alarms? When we redirect our roaming thoughts to Him, Peace ushers in. 

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The Learning Curve

May Parenting: The Learning Curve 

“For the LORD is a great god, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed dry land.” Psalm 95:3-5 ESV

There is no one like our God. We are created in His image, but we are not Him. The things we create get messed up. The people we raise, rebel. We come unglued. Mistakes are the learning curve of life, yet many kids are ashamed of them. Perfectionism is creeping into the cracks of our society, where kids are known for their test scores and grade cards rather than their unique talents and abilities. Afraid to disappoint anyone with their failures, they keep them hidden and covered up. They are on social media younger and younger, where the highlight reel reigns. It’s a difficult reality for them to navigate, and a crucial environment for parents to be aware of.

We all struggle with the fear of disappointing other people, ourselves, or God. Mistakes are a part of being human, and God is not surprised. Regardless of our imperfections, He chooses to love us right where are. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” ESV

I often scramble to fix the way my daughters feel instead of trusting God for who He says He is. The Father draws them, not me. Psalm 98:2 says, “The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.” (NIV) As parents, we are called to lead our children to His feet, but I often need to be reminded my daughters were His before they were mine. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” ESV

Christ went to the cross to reach a bar we never could. We often learn the most from our mistakes, and have the opportunity to help others who are struggling with what we have gone through.  It comforts children to learn parents make mistakes, too. Christ meets us in our mess everyday. He wipes the slate clean, but the memories of our past mistakes are to serve the people He places in our lives purposefully. Including our children. Hebrews 3:13 says,“encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today.’” NIV

When no band-aid seems to fit our children’s wounds and calm their fears, Jesus heals. There is power in His name. Pray to Him, together. He is always with us, and God promises to be close to broken hearted. God freely gives His love, but it’s up to us to receive it, and teach our children to as well. When our kids are hysterical and hormonal all at once, let’s come alongside them and love them empathetically, as if we’ve been there. Perfection has no place in anyone’s expectations this side of heaven. 

God rested. When we throw our faith in Him, we are able to rest. He reigns. He’s in control. Hebrews 4:10-11a  says,“for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest…” ESV.

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Let’s Take Care of This New Online Danger

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

The responsible way in which we choose to handle modern media will set the tone for our children’s online behavior. Young children mimic what they see, and habits are hard to break as they grow older. By holding ourselves to the standards that we expect of our children, especially within earshot, we are already removing some of the dangers they are exposed to daily.

In searching for the statistics in this parental area of concern, this glimmer of hope popped up. The Statistics Portal released a study on the “Percentage of Parents Placing Limits on Children’s Media Consumption in the United States in 2017, by Medium:”

  • 94% of parents pay attention to the content of the games their children play.
  • 75% place limits on video game playing
  • 71% place time limits on internet usage
  • 68% place limits on television viewing
  • 61% place time limits on movie watching

The Pew Research Center studies agreed, giving parents credit for checking the websites their teens visited 61% of the time, and checking social media profiles 60% of the time (Time reported some great screen-time tools and guidelines here). 

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