Welcome to the first in a series of talks about "fearless motherhood"!
Let's start with some questions.
What about motherhood scares you the most?
What area of motherhood makes you feel most inadequate?
What is the one thing you would change about you as a mom?
Its amazing how much fear we embrace and deal with as moms. From the moment they place that little life on our chest we instantly feel inadequate, unprepared and overwhelmed.
Even if we watched every single episode of "A Baby Story"! We read all the blogs, the books and try to imitate every mom we meet that "has it all together". But do they really have it "all together"?
Have you ever thought that the "Armour of God" sort of applied more to men? That it was sort of a general principle suited more for the conquering gender?
Well, I did. I knew it had good principles and was sort of adapted to my life but not totally.
Well, I was wrong! God opened this whole new perspective on this fantastic truth, and just how it pertains exactly to a mom! It is so very helpful, every day we moms battle, for our souls and the souls of our kids. And if you are anything like me, you very often feel completely unprepared and exposed. At the end of the day you wonder if more ground was lost than gained. And you pour your heart out to God asking Him for help to make it another day.
Here is your help!
The Helmet of Salvation: Remembering who you are in Christ
When you gave God your heart and soul, two became one. Him! Everytime you feel you "can't", or your strength is gone, remember He is in you. His strength became your strength, His power became your power. You can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you! (Phil 4:13) If you have faith nothing is impossible for you! (Matt 17:20) It truly is a beautiful thing! Have you ever watched figure skating? A figure skater is beautiful, but watch a couple twirl and fly in perfect harmony and they seem as one, to me that is miraculous! She flies and leaps, perfectly trusting he will catch her and hold her. If she doubted for even one second, their timing would be off and disaster. Every one of their movements are as one, even the way they angle their bodies as they turn. That is how our relationship with God should be, a beautiful dance of faith and trust and perfect love. No doubt, no fear, just the freedom to accomplish impossible things, because He will always catch you and hold you tight.
The Shield Of Faith: Strengthening your trust in God for when the way seems dark.
Your shield is what protects you from all the doubts and lies the enemy throws at you. Every lie telling you, "You are never going to measure up", "You can't win", "You are going to mess up your kids", "You are going to let everyone down". Every flaming arrow causing you to doubt a promise of God, your shield is the weapon you have to defend yourself. Quote the promises of God, remember all the times He held you, He carried you. Use His word as a light when the way seems dark. Trust! Don't let the lies get past your shield.
The Belt of Truth: Knowing the truth, so you don't believe the lies.
This belt holds most of your armour in place. The tighter the belt the tighter in place the armour is kept. God's word is truth, His words are more powerful than a two edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12) Memorize His word, the more verses you have memorized the more Scripture will "pop" into your head in those moments when we don't know what to do. When we are struggling with descisions or having to correct a child, again! Knowing those truths will make it easier to know when something that NOT the truth tries to take root in your heart.
The Breastplate of Righteousness: Protecting your heart, what you feel, what you believe.
Moms live by their heart, at least I know I do! What I feel often plays a big part in my descisions, my actions and my attitude. This breastplate protects one of your most vitals parts. How you raise your kids, how you start and end each day, all based on your heart. This breastplate God has given us protects that. its putting your heart into His hands, every single day! Knowing that He will protect us, knowing and believing that everything is for our good. (Romans 8:28) Every morning you get up and put your heart in His hands, leaving all things to Him, trusting Him to work it all out and believing that your faith in Him will produce good things (even if the burnt food, sticky carpet stain and unique haircut of your toddler by her sister, tries to tell you otherwise!).
The Sword of The Spirit:
Ok, moms here's the deal. How many of you have felt judged by another mom at some point? How many of you have been the one judging?
How many times have you avoided an event or get together because of what you are afraid someone might think of you or your kids? How many of you wish you were more like "her"? Your kids like "her" kids?
I've been on both sides, I often avoid things, people or events because I am sure I will be judged. I mean my kids looked great for about 5 seconds! But by the time I arrive it looks like they haven't been bathed in a month and what on earth is that sticky stuff!
I see those moms whose kids are polished, refined, quiet, not mine! I've stared at those perfectly put together moms and many times thought, "Wow I would go everywhere if I looked that good all the time!".
Here's the thing though, whether we are judging or being judged, we are looking on the outside and determining whats on the inside. Only God knows what is going on in the heart. Maybe that woman is a mess on the inside, maybe she is pretending, maybe she looks good on the outside but is crying out for companionship and love on the inside. The point is, stop judging and start trying to see the heart like God does!
Just think if we all stopped judging one another and started loving, accepting and supporting, we would all be less stressed. If we banded together as moms and supported each other regardless of what things looked like on the outside.
Think about this, a movement of moms not trying to outdo each other or look better than the other. Not trying to be someone we are not and not stressing about how we or our kids would appear to others.
Let's humble ourselves, be vulnerable to each other, open up about our struggles and faults. Give and get prayer and encouragement, instead of judgement!
Think about the moms you know, think about how life would be if you wern't afraid to just be you! For your kids to show up being them and not be worried or stressed about whether or not they and you would be accepted and loved.
The next time you are with a mom, open up to her, be you! Share your struggles and listen to hers, help her, strengthen her, encourage her and watch her open up to you and find someone walking the same path as you!
We can make things better, we can stop comparing ourselves to "her" and be the women God created us to be. We can raise our kids without trying to make them like "her" kids! Let go of the fear and be "real"! Let's stop focusing on ourselves and be free to see the need in others.
How would things change if each of us moms, supported and encouraged the moms in our lives. Who in turn would help the moms in their lives, moms around the world would have an amazing support system, plus our kids would see us being "us", they wouldn't see us pretending, they wouldn't see the "fakeness" we portray. The wouldn't grow up trying to be someone they weren't created to be!
In a world of "photoshop" and posting everything on facebook and instagram, do you post the real you, your real life? Or do "photoshop" yourself and your life?
Let's be real and stop the comparison, the judging, the "photoshopping"! Who knows maybe the mom you are sitting next to needs to hear the very words God has given you to say. Be You! You, are the person God has placed in her life!
How He is transforming a girl chained with fear into a woman free to fly!
Unwanted, forgotten, afraid, worthless, not.....enough.
These are the chains of lies and doubt that hold me down, envelope me in my own prison and keep me from..... flying!
Fear.... doubting God. Every fear I can think of stems from some lie we believe, or something we doubt about God.
I have been both guard and prisoner in my own self made cell for some time. It started froma lie that crept into my heart, took root and grew doubt. I was always a happy, outgoing, fearless, conquerer sort of person. I through caution to the wind and shot for the stars! And then my world came crashing down and in one moment, one very clear defining moment, the enemy whispered a lie and I allowed it into my heart. "You are unwanted!" Which grew to "You will never be wanted, you are unworthy." Which became "You have been forgotten."
Lies, which started me doubting God's promises. Promises that will break all chains, a love that casts out fear! (1 John 4:8) When you start fearing then you doubt God and when you doubt God you doubt His love. His love, the love so perfect its casts out ALL fear!
I have lived this way for some time, not even knowing the chains that bound me. Afraid of so very much! Seeking to be invisible so to avoid more rejection and pain. Hiding the woman God created me to be from everyone. For years this was my life, but GOD IS GOOD!
An idol is anything that takes God's place in your heart.
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Little children have this need to look up to someone, be like someone, follow someone. Which is why they tend toward making a person their idol.
As moms we tend to make idols to fill a need that we have that we don't think God can or will take care of.
Whether its loneliness (finding our comfort in the arms of man instead of the hands of God.).
Discontentment (looking to people or things to make us happy instead of finding contentment in God alone.). Value (seeking the approval and praise of man instead of looking to God for purpose and seeking our value in him alone.).
Love ( God is love, seeking it anywhere else will inevitably lead to disappointment. He alone can give us perfect love and the "affection" we would receive from the world will only end up disappointing us and leaving us lacking.).
Any of these and many more become idols in our heart because we are trying to fill our needs instead of allowing God to.
God has promised that he will provide us with everything we need!
He has also promised to give us good things.
So we need to stop trying to take care of ourselves and rest in the everlasting arms of our almighty God.
That is a very hard thing to do especially if you are a single mom, don't have a very loving or supportive husband or your support system is lacking.
But I've learned that sometimes the very thing it seems your lacking, is the very thing God uses to draw you closer to him. And let me tell you, there is more joy, contentment, freedom and comfort in the arms of God, than you could ever find in even the most "perfect" man.
Timothy Keller once wrote "What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give you."
We as moms are surrounded by things vying to take God's place in our hearts. The very FIRST sin ever was when Eve thought there was something she needed that God didn't or wouldn't provide and she sought to take care of it herself.
That's hard! As moms we are used to picking up the slack, doing the things that need to be done that frankly no one else is going to step up and do. How many times have we waited for help or for someone to just do there job so we didn't have to. We just pull up our "mommy pants" and get it done!
While that's not always a bad thing, sometimes I know I get impatient, I decide when I need something and if its not provided right when I need it I assume its up to me to do it!
The problem starts with our impatience and then we usually grumble in our heart "God isn't taking care of this, so I have to." Your means of fulfilling your needs is to look to the world. The world can NEVER filll a hole God has made. Yep, I said A HOLE GOD HAS MADE! If we didn't have those holes we wouldn't need him, so he creates our hearts like a colander! Full of holes only he can fill, thereby causing us to turn to and rely on him and him alone! Turning to the world might temporarily feel fulfilling, like plugging the hole with tissues, you might even feel proud of yourself that "you did it!". But eventually that "tissue" is going to dissolve and you will be left feeling even more empty.
Sometimes we wonder why God won't just give us the "good" things we ask for. Well, I have learned that sometimes the "good" things are not the "best" things. And sometimes He cannot give us a "good" thing because we have shoved him out of the way to make room for the very thing we are asking for, therefore making it an idol and God will not give us anything that will take his place in our heart.
God recently showed me this very truth! I had been asking, praying and hoping for a husband for many years, and it seemed like I never received an answer. Everyone I knew was married, all my friends had been married for years and still I waited. Of course every well meaning and (some not so well meaning) person asked the same question "Why aren't you married yet?" I mean there are lots of verses in the bible about husbands being "good" things! So what was wrong with me?
Finally I received his answer. I was at the park with my kids and a male friend and I was trying to help my boys navigate the monkey bars. My friend came over and decided to show my boys the "manly" way of doing the monkey bars. Apparently its easier and shows off your muscles more! Anyway, in a moment it was like God gave me a glimpse of what it would be like to have a husband and for my kiddos to have a dad. It was amazing, it took my breath away, it was like a feeling of contentment, joy, security, comfort and happiness rushed over me and it was in that moment that I knew his answer to my longtime prayer.
I am not married, because I would find contentment, completeness and fulfillment in the arms of a man and I would no longer turn to God for those things.
I would have what I always wanted, longed for, dreamt of, but at the cost of losing my dependence on God and him alone. My husband would be my "tissue" and until God is enough, He can give me nothing else.
Like Timothy Keller wrote "An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, "If I have that, than I'll feel my life has meaning, then I'll know I have value, then I'll feel significant and secure."
That is what I wanted in a husband, I wanted him to make me feel valued (he picked me over anyone else) to make me feel significant (I wasn't forgotten, see someone wanted me) to make me feel secure (I have three boys and I am terrified I'm going to mess them all up! And I'm scared the day will come when me parents are gone and I have no one, its just me and the kiddos, and I don't think I can do it!) and to make my life complete.
Thank you God for not giving me a "good" thing, but loving me so much to withhold the very thing I thought would make me happy and show me that He alone can fill the holes in my "colander" of a heart!
There is my quest! To be complete in him, find security in him and look to him for significance and value! And until I do, I my "good" thing is not the "best" thing for me!
As a mom with three boys and one girl, alot of my focus is on raising those boys to be men.
In this world of "gamers", I want my boys to use their hands and minds to bring glory to God. I have seen too many men waste their time and God given gifts "shooting and destroying imaginary men". To that end I feel like its my "mission impossible" (only with God my "mission is possible") to blaze a new path.
I have laid down counterfire in this "war of their souls" no internet........NONE!
With all the ad's, pop ups and various other "man traps" I made the decision that there was no way to be on the internet and flee temptation.
No video games! Nothing is gained for God by shooting the enemy, enhialating zombies or "capturing the ring of zonder". It is simply another trap from the enemy to get the focus of our boys and men off their true mission and on a distracted course.
Moms this is serious! How many men do you know that are gentle, kind, compassionate, considerate, strong in the Lord, selfless, leaders? They have stepped away from their purpose and are selfish, proud, rough, inconsiderate, followers, and unconcerned with knowing God.
We can change this, with God working through us! We as moms are the first line of defense. Let's change the world, one little boy at a time.
Think about the common temptations for men and let's start teaching them to flee them now, while they are young. Let's come up with a game plan to protect their eyes, hearts and minds, to train them to seek God's strength now, and to teach them to be hardworkers, self-less, kind and compassionate.
Here is my "war" strategy. Every mother's strategy will be different, you need to know your boys and adapt a strategy that works for them. The goal is the same for every mom, equip, train, instruct, protect and guide.
My oldest son is very visual oriented. He is motivated by what he sees, so I have to guard his eyes. He closes his eyes if we walk past a lingerie poster or sign. I don't take him near the bra and panty sections in stores. I make sure any magazines or catalogs that have women inappropriately dressed are thrown out immediately. I want him to learn to respect a woman's body, even if she doesn't. My oldest is also very attracted to entertainment. He is always asking to watch a movie. I limit when he can watch and also what he can watch, after reading time, outdoor time, chores, school, and lego time. I want him learning to be constructive with his time and he is a romantic at heart so I have to make sure he doesn't watch anything showing an ungodly relationship.Anything showing an ungodly relationship will teach him that that is what a relationship is suppose to be.
While there is alot that I protect "from", I try to encourage the "gifts" God has given him. He loves to work with his hands, I give him crafts and projects! He wants to be a hero, so I teach him about "everyday" heros and I help him learn to be a hero in the little things. Like mowing the lawn for his grandpa, making and taking a note to an elderly neighbor to show respect and love. To treat his sister with respect and help her be a lady.
My middle son loves affection, he is going to have temptation with regards to his self- control. He needs to control his emotions and not just react to everything he feels. I teah him to keep his hands busy with building things, taking care of his younger brother and working alongside his grandpa. He sets no limitations for himself, so I have to give him consistant and strong boundaries, so he learns to order himself and be content within those boundaries before they can grow.
He is also very prone to laziness, he always says he can't! I have to make sure he never gives up, and that he starts with little things to build his confidence, never giving him "idle" time.
My youngest is a "spit fire". He knows his mind and no one is going to change it! He has to be corrected immediately and consistantly so he doesn't develop a selfish attitude and a proud character. He also wants everything for himself, he doesn't care about his siblings. I have to teach him compassion and how to have a servant's heart. By constantly helping others, giving of his time and things, he learns that "stuff" is simply stuff and the importance of
I am a mom, I am single, I have four beautiful miracles and I am afraid of alot.
This is me, this is the beginning of my story, this is my path.
I grew up imagining what my future would be, planning it all out, preparing for my path. Imagine my surprise when what I had planned, was not at all what God's future for me entailed. Here I was in my twenties and unsure of what to do, who to become. I prayed and prayed, asking God to show me what He wanted me to do and asking Him to help me "let go" of my plans. And He did.
I was searching for opportunities to serve, or a direction to head in, when I came across a ministry connecting unwanted and soon to be discarded embryos with women who would accept them, give birth to them and be their momma!
What?!!! That's crazy, those were my thoughts. I had never even heard of anything like that, and I am pretty sure there was no elective in High School on accepting donated embryos and becoming a single mom!
So I continued to pray, and the more I prayed the more God seemed to be directing me to this path. So after seeking the wisdom of my parents, I finally said "Ok God, show me the way."
In 2009, I accepted 13 tiny, microscopic embryos, so beautiful, so delicate. If you ever want to see a miracle, watch a tiny embryo blossom into a beautiful breathing baby! I call them "Sparkles " for as they were transplanted into my waiting womb you could see a sparkle of light as they settled in. In 2010, 2012 and 2015, I gave birth to my four miracles. I was only able to hold four of those 'sparkles' in my arms, but I know God is holding the others for me in heaven.
Every procedure when I was alone, He stood by my side, through all the pain, He held my hand, everytime I felt alone because I had no "someone" to share the journey with, He held me close. If I had never had the pain or felt the loss, I would have never known the strength of His hands, the depth of His love.
Never would I have imagined anything like what I experienced, the path I took.
If I had known what my journey would entail, I am fairly sure I would have been scared witless! Praise God, He didnt reveal it all to me and instead walked me step by step.
Many friends and even some family left me and others denied God's hand in it all, but through it all I drew closer and closer to Him! Every single moment God was with me, every tear I cried held in His hand. My path has drawn me closer to My God in ways I never knew possible. When you have all you want, you forget about God, but when you feel the struggles, know the pain and experience the need, then you realize He is ALL you ever needed.
God has used my babies to draw me closer to Him and to show me over and over again HE IS ENOUGH! I still struggle with letting go of what I think I need, but He is always there. When I cried out in the pain of a hard labor, He whispered words of comfort and strength, when I said "I can't do this." He reminded me He can. When I felt alone and afraid, He wrapped His arms around me and held me close. I wish I could say I am now some sort of "Super Mom", I've figured it all out and God is my all, but I still struggle with simply being a mom, most of the time I get it all wrong and I still fear so many things.
I am a mom, I am still single, I have four growing "sparkles" and God is helping me conquer my fears one by one.
My path is probably not going to be the same as your path and you may not experience all that I have. But I pray that when God asks you to take your path you can say "Ok God, show me the way."