Have you ever questioned your ability as a mother? Felt inadequate? Felt yourself sinking?
That was the situation I found myself in a few years back. I was writing in my prayer journal one morning when I was abruptly interrupted by some sibling squabbles, name calling, and one defiant three-year-old.
The exact words in my prayer journal prior to being interrupted were, “Prick my heart when I am headed down the wrong path, need direction, need to stop an action or word. As a Mom, keep my priorities right. My desire is to instill in them a heart for you, a love for their family, a kind heart, serving heart, and giving heart. Let the day’s routine flow around your will, your best…”
That was 7 a.m., right before I flew out of my room to deal with the yelling between siblings. Any semblance of calm home life seemed to fall apart from there. Each of my six children had found a sibling to battle. I began to question my effectiveness as a mother. I began to sink emotionally as I mentally compared my children with those of another mother whom I admire. “Surely, her kids don’t behave like this!”
I had to deal, as I call it, with my three-year-old who struggled with saying unkind words. It is exhausting, to deal with her. It took thirty minutes to break her stubbornness. But when we were finished, her shoulders were soft, her smile sweet and sincere, her hug genuine, and her actions kind. She was completely obedient…until the next episode. It took the same amount of energy to deal with her once again, but the outcome was the same. I again cama out the winner! I asked the Lord, “Why have every one of my children been this determined? What am I doing wrong?”
After the battle, the phone rang. My friend Peggy asked, “So how are you?” in that sweet concerned way that causes tears to fall. It was one of those long, silent pause-types of crying, when the person on the other end wonders if you’re still there. She listened, encouraged and suggested I have the older kids hold down the fort with the younger ones while I went right back to some time alone with God.
I gathered my four oldest kids (15, 12, 10, 8) together and through tears explained why I was brokenhearted, how sad it makes me when we are unkind to each other and how we are each other’s best friends. I said, “I’ve got to spend some time alone with the Lord. I’d like for you all to pray with me and for me.” We prayed together in the spot where I have my quiet time, each one’s hand touching me. With tears falling, they prayed for wisdom for me as their mother and that they would respond to Him as well. We prayed that our priorities would be in line with God’s. We embraced each other and said, “I love you.”
That was a precious time of prayer. What an opportunity! How many kids pray with their moms like that? God was in the midst of answering my prayers! He had provided that incredible time for my boys to learn how to be tenderhearted, to pray with and for others, to come before God with heartaches and requests, to be men of God. My daughters witnessed when a Mom is discouraged she goes to God and He directs her paths. God is working even when we are hurting. He has the big picture in mind.
After we prayed, I sent the kids over to the neighbor’s home to clean their yard. They had a death in their family and would be having a lot of company. I went back to my prayer journaling at 11 a.m., four hours after the first entry. I recorded, “My head hurts from crying. Thank You for bringing me to my knees, to break me, to get my mind focused on your priorities for the day and for the investments to be made in the children’s lives.”
Although we had a lot of homeschooling to do that day, God did exactly what I had prayed for, that He would give us the right priorities for the day. The Bible talks about how diligence makes our hearts glad. The kids came back with such sweet attitudes and were ready to do their school work.
I am thankful that the Lord is available 24/7 for me to cry out to! He gives comfort, wisdom, direction, and guidance. He wants us to be dependent on Him. What do you need from Him today?
My day went from disaster to God using it for His glory! God heard my prayer (as noted in my prayer journal) and answered it without me realizing that He was at work. He allowed me lovingly and firmly to deal with wrong actions between children, deal with a little one that says ugly words, pray with my children, have them pray for me and each other, switch our priorities from academics to serving a neighbor in need and have my boys and girls learn how to cry out to the Lord when heavy hearted to get His direction. God is good! Aren’t you glad we can come before Him and ask for His priorities for our day?