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“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all” Proverbs 31:28-29

We all aspire to be a proverbs 31 woman. For our husbands and children to adorn us. To know we are blessed and highly favored. We’ve all had those days when everything goes well and everyone in the family is loving, kind and enjoying one another. But we’ve also had those days when the tantrums ensue, the clothes and dishes are piled high and we just can’t seem to get it right. Earlier today I decided the girls car seats were long overdue for a good cleaning. Especially after so much time traveling. And boy was I right! Those things were a mess! Crumbs, gummies, chocolate and blow out diaper stains were hard to miss. Yes, I give my toddler snacks and drinks in the car and Monroe had a blowout on the long car ride. Y’all can judge me later okay? Anyways, motherhood is a lot like those car seats, MESSY! It’s not as glamorous as Pinterest makes it out to be. I mean come on y’all we wear spit up and messy buns like it’s going out of style. Am I right? I don’t know about y’all but I’ve definitely eaten a peanut butter sandwich (no jelly because I’m an adult) and some goldfish for lunch. I’m just saying I’ve had plenty of humbling days as a mama.

I can honestly say with Ella I had no clue what I was doing. I’m still figuring it out as we transition from toddlerhood to adolescents. I took other people’s advice and opinions with a grain of salt and ultimately made decisions that worked best for our family. I definitely made a lot of mistakes along the way but as God does he turns those mistakes into lessons learned. Now I’m more confident as a mother of two. Here’s what I know to be true, I’m not a perfect parent and my kiddos aren’t perfect either. We are all sinners desperately in need of our savior Jesus Christ. He will guide us to freedom and fullness as we navigate through messy motherhood. The kicker is my husbands and I are the only ones in our family of four that have figured that out. My prayer is that my girls will follow suit. Our oldest is 4 years old and Monroe is almost 6 months. I pray for their salvation as often as I can. I pray that God would reveal himself to them and they would acknowledge him as their creator and live their lives for his glory. I also pray for their future husbands (that is if Harry ever allows a boy near our house).

Something I’ve found works really well for our family is to take any opportunity to turn her heart towards God. It doesn’t have to be some perfectly planned structured memorization of bible verses. If that were the case I’d lose my mind just trying to get her to focus and sit still long enough to read the verse even once. Kudos to you if your kids like doing that. Keep on keeping on! Instead we talk about God in the car, on long walks, when we say our prayers at night and in the heated moments when temper tantrums commence and my patients is wearing thin. The wonderful thing about God is he isn’t confined by anything. He is glorified in all that we do and if you just take the time to look around and appreciate his creation and talk about it with your babies they will recognize him too! I love riding through my home town with Ella because she screams with excitement every time we pass a pasture “look mommy moo cows and horses” and I get to reply “I see them baby, who made the cows and horses?” And she says in her precious little voice “God and Jesus!”

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 “Love the Lord God with all of your heart with all of your soul and with all of your strength. These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

She’s especially had a difficult time since her daddy left with her emotions. I wasn’t sure at first what to do but thankfully there are some amazing Christian mom podcast out there that have really helped this mama out, I’ll be sure to share those at the end. I know it’s normal for children to act out when a parent leaves but knowing how to help her in a healthy way was important to me. I’ve learned that physical touch and words of affirmation are the best ways to sooth and comfort Ella. The harder she pushes away or test boundaries or says things out of anger the more she needs my grace and love. Let me tell you some days it’s easier said than done and I want to get on her level and show her who’s boss (sometimes that’s necessary) but I also want to model Christ like behavior for her.

One of the best things I’ve done as a parent was to teach her the fruit of the spirit and to remind her in those tough moments that we need to pray for self control or patience or kindness. It’s a good reminder for myself too! I think one reason it’s so easy to allow ‘perfect parenting’ to become an idol in our lives is because we see ourselves (and our sinful nature) in our children. Sometimes they are a reminder or a reflection of the sins we struggle with ourselves and that can make us feel like failures as parents. But the truth is we pass down the good and the bad to our children. It’s better to see it, acknowledge it and teach them how to cling to Jesus. Instead of hiding from it because of shame and running from the amazing responsibility of discipling our children.
Because guess what? You don’t have to be the perfect parent and you don’t have to raise perfect children. God grace is sufficient for you. He is enough. He loves our children more than we possibly ever could. We have to let go of the need to control our child’s behavior all the time because all that does is allow them to control us. I’m learning to gently guide them to his truth in love. To redirect their hearts with compassion and understanding. Some examples of things I try with Ella when she’s acting out are “Hey baby I know this is tough, it’s okay to be angry but it’s not okay to scream” or mommy struggles with this too it helps when I ______ or I’m sorry I lost my temper with you will you forgive me?” Those are opportunities to disciple your family.

Ladies we have to let go of the crippling fear that our babies can’t live without us or the world is a scary place that we need to shelter them from forever. That’s good and all until they become old enough to learn to spread their wings and fly. God created them to go OUT into the world and make disciples of their own. We shouldn’t hold them back because we’ve been holding on too tight. Also, serving our children is a beautiful thing but it’s okay to let them learn the hard way every once in a while. It’s okay to let them dress themselves in the tackiest get up you’ve ever seen, fall and scrape their knee, workout an argument with a friend, fail and learn to do it differently the next time. That’s life. We only get one life to pour into them and show and share the gospel. And can we all agree it is such a waste of time to compare our parenting skills against others? What works best for you and yours may not be what works for someone else. It’s totally okay! Jesus doesn’t care how you feed your baby, sleep train your baby, or dress your baby. He cares about your babies heart and that our relationship with our kids reflects his love and gives him glory.

It’s never too late to teach your children about Jesus and how much he loves them. Even if their grown now and seem set in their ways. God is in relentless pursuit of their hearts and we should be too. Let your life be a testimony to them. Kids are smart and we should treat them that way. They see our sin and they will be affected by it. The best thing we can do for our children is to admit to them we are broken, we don’t know it all and we aren’t meant to do life alone. Be honest with your babies about your struggles and how God turned your mess into his masterpiece. Share the hope and the joy that he’s given to you. And most importantly share his love. There are plenty of over achievers, perfect attendees, terrific kids, star athletes but are their enough children who know Jesus? Are we as parents modeling his love for us in our relationships with our kids? It isn’t about our babies accomplishments or failures it’s about helping them understand that God is using it all for their good and his glory.
My encouragement to you today is to trust God with your children. They are a blessing from him and he has plans for them. There is no safer place to be than in his hands. Also, don’t do motherhood alone. It’s easy to isolate ourselves because we’re afraid we’ll be judged or it’s overwhelming to go out with little ones. But it’s good to surround yourselves with the support of other mamas who are most likely going through similar hardships. God placed me in an incredible small group. All of the women in our group are going through some very difficult challenges. Each of our circumstances are different but the beauty of it is we have each other. We help each other, pray for each other and we are for each other. If we will put our pride and judgement aside it’s amazing what God can do.

One of my favorite things about going home is getting to spend time with some of my oldest friends. We are all moms of babes or toddlers and some of both. We all enjoy each other’s company and good food. We talk and laugh about all of the crazy, embarrassing, beautifully sweet things that only motherhood will allow you to experience. It’s funny to think that we all know each other’s mamas and we all grew up together and now we’re mamas. Time really does fly. Hold your babies extra close tonight, read them a story & tuck them in with a kiss and a prayer. Thank God for sending you that little bundle of joy.
In closing I also ask that you will consider and pray for those women who long to be mothers and are waiting on an answered prayer or a miracle.I know how tough motherhood can be but it never outweighs the joy. When we talk about our children to others let it be uplifting and encouraging. I hope you ladies have a wonderful week. If you are interested in a few helpful podcast they’ll be listed with a link below. As always I am super passionate about helping other women reach their health and fitness goals. If you are ready to make a lifestyle change in the areas of health and fitness I would love help you get started. You can message me on social media or email me at mbryant1511@gmail.com
A few great resources/podcast you can check out include:
“Don’t Mom Alone” with Heather MacFayden
“Risen Motherhood” with Emily Jensen & Laura Wifler
“Lies Young Women Believe & The Truth That Sets Them Free” Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth