I was sitting across the table from a mom I barely knew.
We did the small talk at first, from how she liked living in this city to what she liked to do for fun on the weekends. It was the most interaction that we had had with one another, other than friendly hello’s and smiles as we passed each other on the way to the nursery at church.
Knowing she had a newborn and a toddler at home, I asked her how the adjustment was coming along. She danced around the question and gave the typical, polite answers that most moms with two young children share, “Oh you know; it’s tiring but good.”
But her tone and facial expressions seemed to say more.
The conversation continued to flow and she started to share more of her real struggles, more of her real hurts and difficulties in this season of mothering two young children while her husband is deployed.
Having three small children of my own some of them sounded familiar. Some I had recently dealt with in my own children. And some struggles I haven’t experienced. I suggested a few things for her to try but everything fell short. The look on her face seemed to express her defeat and heartache for this season that she is in. I had nothing else to share with her.
No more ideas, suggestions, tips, books to read, nothing.
We live in an age of information. Constant information that sits at our fingertips. Parenting information is everywhere, from our neighbors to our Facebook feeds to thousands of blogs streamed through our Pinterest boards.
Moms currently raising children are not lacking in the latest trends on what to feed our children, learning styles and curriculums, and how to discipline our two-year-old. If anything, the information overload is overwhelming – which method should you try, to how many self-help books you have sitting in your Amazon cart, can leave you feeling less sure of your choices.
The problem isn’t the lack of resources, it’s in how we use all of this information.
The Real Problem
But what happens when our efforts fail? When that parenting book we read didn’t work on our strong-willed child? Or when we become enslaved to our parenting techniques versus finding freedom from our struggles?
I love to read, I love tips, and mommy-hacks but most of the time what I’m really lacking is Jesus. Most of my mothering efforts do not rest in my hope of Jesus – rather He’s my last resort.
What I wanted to tell that mom sitting across from me was to hope in Jesus, to trust in Jesus. I had no more suggestions for the struggles she was going through but I know the One who does.
We are so quick to recommend another solution all with good intention but what happens for the moms who still feel helpless? There are seasons of life that our good intentions and helpful tips, or latest trends won’t be able to fix our current problems because we live in a fallen, broken world.
Jesus should be our first and last answer for this hurting world’s problems.
Moms Need Jesus First
Moms need Jesus, and we need Jesus first. As believers, we need to give Jesus as our first answer, to the last answer, to the middle of the resources around us. For the mom who is tired and worn out, who has tried solution after solution to no avail, can we remind her of her ultimate hope in Jesus as the “author and perfector of our faith”.
It’s not a hopeless answer to tell another struggling mom to fix her eyes on Jesus for this season or for her child. It’s a real, tangible, lasting solution that will renew her soul for the caretaking role that she has been called to. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Ultimately our greatest need rests in knowing who Jesus is and living lives transformed by His power. Our kids and neighbors need to see us reaching towards him for life’s most difficult moments. When we rest our hope and our future in His hands we know this is not in vain for our Heavenly Father cares for us, “cast all of our cares on Him because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7).
In 2 Corinthians, we are reminded by Paul that:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
This is such great hope for the tired, weary mom. Something to be shouted and exclaimed with such passion. My weaknesses as a mom, my failures and shortcomings in my parenting point to something far greater than myself. Not only is it a testimony for me, but also for my children – the next generation – of a lasting, real hope not in ourselves but in the One who made us.
Our favorite parenting authors or practices shouldn’t hold more value than the one who gave us our children. I’m reminded that after all of my failed attempts and plans that didn’t work out in my latest attempt, that my trust needs to be in Jesus, not in a style or technique.
What I failed to remind my friend was to put her trust in Jesus. What I should have shouted loudest and first was that Jesus will be with her during this trying season, with her as she trains this difficult child, even unto the ends of the earth, Jesus himself is with us in our mothering. (Matthew 28:20) This is what I hope to proclaim as a Christ follower.