Some time ago, a sweet mommy friend of mine with eight children ages 11 and under asked me to write on “How to live above your emotions as a mother.” Mindy, you waited a long time for this post!
This post is not a quick fix. The truths is this post are practical and tough. I hope these words will encourage you to keep loving those eight precious children and training them for the kingdom of God!
The Reality of Emotional Overwhelm
While we all must learn to live above our emotions in any season of life, doing so is most difficult for mommies with many littles. The daily messes, the sleep deprivation, the endless questions, the need for consistent training, the mounds of dirty clothes, the ever-hungry stomaches, the snotty noses that never seem to stay clean, and smelly diapers that will not go away do test the patience of the most emotionally stable mommy on the planet.
If you’re a mommy who read this and said, “YES, that describes me!” then this post is for you. I would like to offer you a few simple truths that can hopefully strengthen your hands and inspire you to continue on in this wonderfully exciting and difficult season of life. Believing truth can make all the difference in the world as to how you will respond to those daily challenges as a mommy.
Truth #1: Believe “The Joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10.
Know that your strength comes from your relationship with God—the time you spend at His feet. A fast-food approach to spiritual nourishment will not suffice. You need more than just a quick “help me, God” or a verse or two of Scripture squeezed in somewhere in the middle of the day, although these are very helpful, too.
You must fight to somehow, someway, spend time every single morning, asking God to “open mine eyes that I may see wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18) as you open your Bible.
Search the Bible for truth and to find a light for your path that day. Then fall on your knees and beg God for wisdom to know how to be a wife, a mother, the CEO of your home. Beg Him to pour out His divine influence on your heart and life. Cry out to God to increase your love for Him and His Word, to show you hidden sin in your life, and to give you the gift of repentance.
If you don’t have even 10 minutes in your morning to do this, then start by going to bed earlier, by spending less time on your phone and other media, by simplifying your life, and/or by training your children to wait quietly in their beds until a certain “wake up” time.
Personal Tip: I have found it most helpful to turn my phone on airplane mode at night and wait to turn it on until after my time with God. In addition, it might be beneficial to turn it (and your computer) OFF a few hours before bed.
You also need to teach your babies to sleep through the night. Unless they are infants who need physical nourishment or a child who is sick, children can be taught to sleep in their own beds for 9-12 hours a night. Your children will be happier and healthier if they learn to sleep on their own through the night. ** Whatever it takes, find a way to get alone with God before you start your day.
Truth #2 Believe “Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3
Believing this truth will make the difference between frustration and joy when you face the 100th opportunity in one day to patiently train your toddler to pick up the toys or to eat his vegetables or to kiss the newborn instead of yanking his hair-ouch!
If you had the privilege of babysitting Prince William’s daughter, Charlotte, for the day, how you would treat her? Would you yell at her when she spilt milk? Would you be upset if she colored on your kitchen wall?
In reality, mommies, we have a far greater privilege: that of loving sons and daughters of King Jesus—the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS, the CREATOR of the universe!
Oh, I do wish I would have remembered this truth more often when I was a mother of many young children.
Truly, our children are an heritage from the Lord. We must see them as princesses and princes. We must value them as little men and women who are made in the image of God. It is indeed a privilege to be a mother. Not even our President has as much influence as you, a mother of children, have as you spend minutes and hours and days and months and years and even decades, loving and training these gifts from the Lord.
Truth #3 Believe It Is Impossible to DO IT ALL.
That’s right, you cannot keep an immaculate house, cook gourmet meals, decorate like Martha Stewart, take all the children to multiple music lessons, practice hospitality on a regular basis, go on weekly field trips, make weekly trips to your local retirement community, teach 5 (did you want more?) subjects to all your children 5 days a week, AND faithfully disciple your children.
Prayerfully choose acitivities for each season of life. Make God your first priority in every minute of everyday. Put yourself under your husband’s leadership. (So many times my wise husband has spared me from a disastrous decision with his foresight and wise perspective.) Ask God for help in prioritizing your life.
Though you might be able to carefully balance one or more of the above at one time or another you simply cannot “do it all’. We need to daily make the choice to sacrifice the good things so we can do what is most important.
Truth #4 Believe “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13
Learn to laugh at the messes, the mistakes, and the daily mishaps of life. Don’t take life so seriously. Your children will reflect your attitude. I remember with regret how upset I got at a pizza that was accidentally dumped on the floor on its way to the oven or a candle in a glass jar sliding onto the floor in a zillion pieces. These are all temporal disasters with easy fixes. A broken spirit or rebellious attitude is much more difficult. Be pleasant, be cheerful, smile often!
Truth #5 If you have repented of your sins and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, (@link for salvation plan) you are a new woman and the old has passed away.
Galatians 2:20 proclaims, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Live as if you are dead and Christ is your life. When you wake up, remind yourself that you are a new creature.
When your toddler or maybe even your teenager, walks across the newly mopped kitchen floor, your “new man” response should be to do what Jesus wants you to do. Choose to live for God and His purposes rather than to live for the flesh. If you are struggling with anger, lust, or lack of self-control in any other area (food, media, shopping, etc. etc.), confess it as sin and ask God to help you. It is also helpful to find a friend who will pray with you, give you godly counsel, and hold your accountable.
Believe the truth that God can and will sanctify you as you ask for His help and surrender yourself to His will.
For all the mommies out there, don’t lose heart! These precious children are your most important life’s work. Before you know it, you’ll blink, and they’ll be all grown up.