Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Knowing Where to Start" mothering devotional

I came across this little devotional today, and it felt really appropriate for where I'm at right now. Just yesterday I was thinking that it's taken me 4 years of motherhood to feel like I have any semblance of competence at it. I was feeling kind of down about it until I realized that in the long-term, 4 years of my mothering career is miniscule. It really has taken my life being turned upside down to jump-start my intentional mothering. B starting his new job after six months at home was the perfect opportunity for me to "restart" my daily routines. I'm still struggling through it, but finally feel like I have some sort of routine instead of just surviving through each day.

Knowing Where to Start
Renee Swope

“You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great." Psalm 18:35 (NIV)

I was talking with friends who recently read my devotion about helping my son become a can-do-kid. One said she wanted to raise can-do-kids, but she didn’t know where to start. Another shared how she wished she enjoyed being a mom as much as I do.

The truth is, I haven’t always enjoyed being a mom. I didn’t start out as a can-do mom with can-do thoughts and can-do kids. In fact, my son’s “I-give-up attitude” that inspired my devotion earlier this month was probably inherited from me. I had stood on the sidelines of motherhood and declared, “I CAN’T” many times.

I would get so discouraged.Once my kids became toddlers who would not listen to me and obey like little robots, I panicked. I looked at other moms who seemed to know what they were doing and wondered, “What is wrong with me?” Their children listened when they told them no. Why wouldn’t my child keep his hands to himself in the grocery store or the toy isle? Why didn’t someone tell me this would be so hard?I often felt like a failure.I compared how I felt on the inside to how other moms looked like they had it all together on the outside. My feelings of inadequacy and thoughts of insecurity were held up in comparison to moms who dressed their children in matching outfits and adorned themselves with attitudes of grace and wisdom. I wondered how in the world they pulled it off with a smile? I could barely get a shower, get my kids dressed, or get us out the door before lunch!I wanted to quit.

One day I came home from running errands with two tired, fussy toddlers. I put them down for a nap and searched for pink construction paper so I could write “I QUIT” on it. I was going to hand my “pink slip” to my husband when he came home from work that day. It was just too hard, and I was tired of feeling like I would never measure up as a mom.

And that's where I started. I didn’t really start being a mom until the day I almost quit. Because that was the day I fell on my knees before God and choked out the words, “I can’t do this.” And in that place of surrender, it felt like God bent down on His knees before me and spoke to my heart: “You are right, Renee. In your own strength and through your own perspective, you cannot do this. But I am here with you. With my grace, my promises, my mercy, my presence, and my power – all things are possible. I will help you become a great mom.”That day reminded me of Psalm 19:35, “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great."It was a new starting place for me. When I acknowledged that on my own I was a mess, God came to my rescue. He showed me that with His gentleness, grace, wisdom and guidance, I could become the mom He was calling me to be, the mom my kids needed me to be, and the mom I wanted to be!

Dear Lord, I need Your shield of victory to protect me from discouragement. I pray that You would extend Your right hand to sustain me; Your grace to strengthen me; and Your wisdom to lead me. Thank You for Jesus, who stooped down to make me great because of Your great love for me. Today, I find a new starting place with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


  1. I couldn't have read this at a more wonderful time! I had a similar day Wednesday. Thank you SO much for posting this...and for the prayer... could I possibly post this prayer on my blog with a link to you? Let me know!

  2. Sure, the prayer is part of the devotional, as long as you keep the devotional link I'm sure that would be fine.