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 aisle? 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.

Related Resources:
Click here to find out what God did next to give Renee new direction and purpose to parent her children.

The Mom I Want to Be: Rising above your Past to give your Kids a Great Future by T.Suzanne Eller

Mining for Gold in the Heart of Your Child: Character Chart and Message on CD Positive and practical ways to connect spiritually with your kids. By Renee Swope

The D6 Conference – helping parents and churches raise spiritual champions!

Application Steps:
Write a letter, telling God how you feel. Be honest and open. Sharing your heart and thoughts with Him is the first step toward freedom and hope.

Ask Jesus for His perspective of you as a child of God, so that you can start becoming a Godly mom. We’ve got to receive His love before we can give it.

Visit Renee’s Blog to find out how she did these things, and for a list of practical ways to shape your children’s hearts, not just their habits.

Reflections:
As you read today’s devotion, what struggles can you relate to? Have you ever wanted to quit? Start over today by acknowledging that you can’t do it on your own but with God’s help, nothing is impossible.

Power Verses:
Luke 1:37, “For nothing is impossible with God." (NIV)

Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV)

Psalm 113:5-7, “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;” (NIV)

© 2009 Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Renee!! Your transparency is so encouraging!! I have been praying for God to show me how to nurture my children and connect with them recently. They are 4 and 2 and it is a transition time. I guess it is always a transition time, but I really need this today!! Thanks!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been there, and God just kept telling me "My grace is sufficient for you", and I didn't quite allow His grace to help me. Finally I quit and said "Lord this battle belongs to you..not me Lord. I surrender it over to you." I felt such a peace comming over me and like I didn't have to do anything. For sometime I did not do anything, then God showed me ways and means to deal with situations. First of all, do not get frustrated..kids tend to pick up on that and get more cranky. Stay calm, and just be firm when it comes to disciplining.

It was a process, but God got me through it. And as I'm always reminded that "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." When we go through difficult times in life, when we lean on God we are conquerors.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your honesty! I have been right where you were and wanted to quit. We are expecting another little boy in a month and your words of encouragement were much needed!

Blogger Frond said...

thank you... timely message. I was just saying I'd like to give away my kids yesterday. Its all just getting a little too overwhelming.

A passage that you've reminded me about is from Matt 5:3 (The Message bible)

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope.
With less of you there is more of God and his rule."

so many times as a mummy, the only thing that keeps me going is being able to run back into the arms of my heavenly Fatherfor a quick hug.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

THAT WAS SUCH A LOVELY PIECE OF DEVOTION AND INSPIRATION,CONTINUE TO GO WITH THE FLOW OF THE LORD'S MOVEMENT IN YOUR LIFE AND FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF OTHER'S IT REALLY STRUCK A CORD IN MY HEART ...

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