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…mothering bravely…

February 10, 2008

“All parents want their children to obey, yet many fail to get obedience. Some threaten. Some bribe. Some use “time out”. Others simply ignore acts of disobedience. Could it be that parents avoid these issues because they are uncertain of how to handle them?”
– Ginger Plowman

“Lucy. Luuuuuuuuu-cy. Come here. Come here now. No. I mean, now. O-kay. What are you…? Lucy? Come back. Get. On. These. Pants. Lucy. I really mean it. Lucy? Where are you? Did you run to the stairs? JON-DAVID, HAVE YOU SEEN LUCY!?!?! Lucy? LUCY? LUCY!!!!!! THIS IS IT! GET ON THESE PANTS NOW!”
– Jess

And so it goes. I have known one perfect mom in my life. She is blond and beautiful, and when Hugh and I ate dinner at her house, one of her five perfectly-behaved children served us dinner wearing a white suit shirt.

As he refilled my water, I thanked him profusely.

“It’s all for the jewels up there!” He grinned, vaguely waving his hand towards heaven, where I am sure four thousand angels were busy applauding this woman’s family. Meanwhile, my three-year-old is running around half-naked.

Great. Just great.

At the root of my parenting, I find this achy fear. If I make Lucy come every time, am I being too harsh? What about spanking? With a spoon or my hand? Maybe not at all? What about the other fifty methods of discipline and training I’ve read about?

When I pray, the Holy Spirit whispers words to me about my children. The words come softly over my heart, like a little breeze.


Yet I still have fear. Even though I have been a mom for seven years, I have held something back from my children. I am afraid to surrender fully to what God is asking me to do as a mother.

I feel panic-stricken about the possibility that I would give them my full focus and discipline and attention – and it would not be enough. It seems easier to half-heartedly survive my children than to run to their hearts with abandon, throw myself into everything God is asking of me as their mother – and risk utter failure.

This morning I woke up extremely early, my heart heavy with thoughts of my children, their attitudes, their behavior. “Lord, I need to hear from you,” I breathed, sipping my coffee. “I don’t know how to parent right now.”

Opening my Bible, I read 1 John 4:17-18. “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.”

I don’t want to be afraid anymore. As I continue to live and grow in God, I want to trust in His love to expel ALL my fear.

Then, instead of being constantly afraid that I will fail my children, I can begin to “face Him with confidence”. Confident with the pantless preschooler! Confident with sibling conflict! Confident with discipline!

I no longer need to chronically worry that I will ultimately fail with these precious gifts God has given me. I will throw myself into the arms of the Lord’s perfect love and take a breath and whisper back:

Okay, Lord. Focus…Attention…Time…Consistency…Discipline… I’m ready. Show me how.”

Lord, I ask that you would fill me completely this day with your confidence with my children. Instead of fear, give me your wisdom. I ask that you would show me step by step how to parent my amazing children. Thank you for the privilege of being a mother. In the name of your Son, Amen.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. khubatka permalink
    February 10, 2008 10:30 pm

    Wow Jess. I really needed that today. I swear you have secret cameras in my house. Thank you for writing this. Did you go and already buy the book I forgot to give you? 🙂 Thanks for being a great friend, not sure what I’d do without you!

  2. February 10, 2008 11:04 pm

    again. again. again. all the things you said.

    beautiful, beautiful post.

    thank you.

  3. February 11, 2008 9:31 am

    I am so thankful that you are brave enough to be so vunerable in your posts. You’ll never know what a blessing it is to so many people out there. I just wanted to tell you today that this post blessed ME. I, too, am a mommy insecure in her abilities and seeking God’s help in raising her children. So, again,thank you!

  4. February 11, 2008 11:41 am

    Jess, I feel the same way VERY OFTEN!! Read my post on Faith Lifts today and you’ll understand!

  5. February 11, 2008 3:17 pm

    As my children grew up, I kept thinking someday I would reach a point of confidence with my parenting skills. I never did. But it made me keep reaching to our Father to teach me to be a better parent. I still do this and my kids are grown.
    Thanks for sharing this Jess.

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