Help Us Moms, Lord!
Lysa TerKeurst

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." James 1:5 (NIV)

I wanted to tap the two girls sitting on the front row at our church service. And fuss at them in a not so gentle way I tell you. But they were five rows ahead of me and my arm couldn't quite reach.

Since I couldn't physically get their attention, I prepared my "look." You know the one that says a thousand corrective statements with just a cross expression and a raised eyebrow? Yes, that one.

The minute one of them stole a glance in my direction, they were going to know exactly how I felt about their wiggling and obvious lack of attention during the service. Oh, and I should mention, these two girls belonged to me. Well, at least one of them did. The other was my daughter's friend who sometimes goes to church with us.

I don't think anyone else really noticed them. They weren't being disruptive to other people. But they weren't acting the way I wanted them to. I wanted them sitting up straight, drinking in the message, and taking notes.

Suddenly, an annoying little thought started to tug at the corners of my mind. "You want your children to act perfectly because it makes you look good. Let that go. They don't need to be sitting up straight furiously taking notes to hear God's message. This is a beautiful time for grace."


I don't much like the Holy Spirit speaking the kind of truth to me that hurts. I was in the mood to fuss at somebody. Two somebodies. Give grace? Now? It wasn't what I wanted but it's exactly what I needed to do in that moment. Soon my daughter's friend peered back to look at me. Despite my feelings, I made the choice to smile, wink, and give her a little wave.

Then this wiggly, usually not very affectionate, middle schooler got out of her seat. She walked down the aisle, five rows back, and made her way to me. She threw her arms around me and gave me a hug that preached a thousand sermons right then and there.

Indeed, grace was exactly what was needed in that moment. The rest of the service she sat attentive beside me and even asked a few questions on the way home.

And that's what makes this parenting thing so hard. There are really no textbook answers. It's such a moment by moment balancing act between loving, shepherding, disciplining, extending grace, molding, modeling, loving some more and fussing a little along the way too.

The only way I can navigate this balancing act is to stay close to God. Really close. Rather than seeing God as far off, I have to rely on him as a desperate daughter who needs her Daddy.

Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I like that verse but without quoting it in context, it's stripped of its power. The last 4 words of Philippians 4:5 are the power source that unlocks the peace of God that transcends all understanding.

Those four words are, "The Lord is near."

And because He's near, we don't have to be anxious- we can ask our Lord what to do, how to react, when to discipline and when to give grace. James 1:5 reminds me, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." Only God can prepare me with the wisdom and discernment necessary for each and every parenting moment. So I must stay close to Him- ask Him- rely on Him- cry out to Him- and make Him the basis for my parenting.

My goal should never be to raise kids that make me look good. (But, oh, how my flesh craves this!) My goal should be to ask God moment by moment for wisdom to know how to raise kids who proclaim God's goodness in their hearts.

Blessings to you as you ever so delicately search for that balance between discipline and grace as well.

Dear Lord, I am asking for wisdom today to know how to best raise my kids. Help me to know when to discipline and when to give grace. Help me sense Your nearness so I don't feel so alone and overwhelmed with this task of being a mom. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog for a chance to win a mom’s encouragement package for you and a friend!

This devotion was taken from Lysa’s new book: Am I Messing Up My Kids? If you’ve ever wanted to stop yelling and start loving being a mom, get this book here today!

Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Only God can prepare us with the wisdom and discernment necessary for each and every parenting moment. Pray for wisdom and revelation today as you lead your children. The more you ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, the more your actions will be redirected, moment by moment. The more your actions are redirected, the more you will become like Jesus. The more you become like Jesus, the more deeply you will come to understand His ways and know Him personally.

Read Psalm 103:8-13 and journal your thoughts.

Who am I most likely to ask when I need parenting help?

What might be the benefit of turning to God first?

How can I become a wiser mom according to James 1:5?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 19:11, "A man's wisdom gives him patience…" (NIV)

Proverbs 24:3, "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established." (NIV)

Ephesians 1:17, "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better." (NIV)

© 2010 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Sally Ann said...

I am thankful the Lord is there to help 'Moms'...but we (my husband and I) weren't blessed with children, and because of this fact, I sometimes feel 'left out', when reading 'womens' devotions
I wish the writer of this devotion would have offered it, in her written words to others as well.

...but I know full well..., the "intent" is offered, by the Holy me also.

I encourage all who read these words to remember; regardless of your position that God has graciously placed you in...

When a life lesson is offered, it can always be shared by all, and the blessing can be yours as well.

Truly, I thank you for the timely devotion on grace.

May I also offer this precious gift, with a warm smile, and a heart that is living to please Him...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This morning i awoke feeling very anxious about a choice that i needed to make.... so i opened my daily deviotion reading and and it spoke about fear... i had a light bulb moment. i knew then that i needed to choose the option that let me rely totally on God.

Thank you for your daily devotion.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


It was a wonderful reminder that I am not to be raising my boys to make myself look good......they are such wonderful, unique individuals who are such a blessing from God.

Blogger PattiS said...

This message is not for mothers alone. So many times in our lives and in our days we need to extend grace and mercy to others. I feel this message is about praying for wisdom to know how to discern. How do I respond to any given situation? That's the question for me. The answer here is to pray for the wisdom that's promised.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so true and the truth is so wonderful. He is near. But it really does apply to all of us who know Him personally because we are to be showing Christ's love to all in everyday life through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit's direction especially since none of us know what is going to happen or who we may need to comfort, encourage, befriend with the message of God's love to us. Jesus says in the Gospel of John that without Him we can do nothing.

Anonymous Lorraine Furtner said...

I really really needed this. Thank you.

Blogger Cheryl said...

Wow, what a timely message! I have two daughters and I thank you for this wonderful insight. I had the same sort of situation in church on Sunday. And just when I thought my oldest daughter did not receive anything, I heard her singing a praise song in the bathtub that night! Lord, help me find that balance as a parent. :)

Blogger tsbrooks5 said...

This was the morning that my son came in and said "I hope we can all be adult with my decision to quit my job and move away." Thank you, thank you Lysa for the reminder that instead of saying "ARE YOU CRAZY??" I took a breath and meditated on "be anxious for nothing". I know that God is in control - and He will give me the wisdom in what to say - after some more meditation and prayer. Letting children make big decisions is so difficult when the road ahead is just so scary. May we be filled with grace and wisdom to love our children and let God be in control.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have any children but it's amazing how the Lord worked to speak to me through this post. This morning, I read Proverbs 4 and prayed that the Lord would give me wisdom. Less than half an hour later, my husband and I were faced with a difficult financial decision. Coming here to read James 1:5 (and Phil 4:6, which I could use all the time) reminded me not to stress and to trust in the Lord. I asked Him for wisdom and He is a faithful God who always keeps His promises. We can rest in the decisions we make when we've prayed for wisdom and we know that "The Lord is near!"

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Lysa, how does God always know just what I need to hear through you?

It's so easy to compare today's kids to previous generations and find fault with them in terms of politeness, respect, motivation, etc., when in reality, we shouldn't compare anyone to anyone - the Bible says that directly.

And we shouldn't compare one child to another either - when I do that, my step-son loses his unique gifts and talents and becomes a kid with ADD/ADHD who has trouble paying attention and sitting still compared to many of his classmates. And that isn't an accurate, fair or right assessment.

Thank you for this reminder to show grace and mercy while withholding judgement just as God does for us.


Blogger Theresa said...

I have to share that I just met with our youth minister regarding my middle school daughter's faith. He reminded me that it is not possible for her to have the same depth in her faith it took me years to aquire! I also read something that I can't can't quote - because I couldn't remember where it was posted. But the bottom line was that God does a part, the Holy Spirit does and part and our part is just to LOVE! Wow, what a great reminder!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's devotion was posted with my name on it. Thank you, many times over.

Anonymous Kelli said...

Dear Lord, I am asking for wisdom today to know how to best raise my kids. Help me to know when to discipline and when to give grace. Help me sense Your nearness so I don't feel so alone and overwhelmed with this task of being a mom. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This spoke so dear to my heart!! It is true that we need to rely on God for every moment! My kids are fourteen & eighteen....and trusting God ,releasing control and,letting go are all a huge part of my life now! I do need God's grace as we face together more life changing decisions! Not an easy task!
We do tend to wear our children like they're our badge of honor.We relish in their successes but feel ashamed if they make a mistake.Please God help all moms to have wisdom and grace for each day.Thanks so much for your devotion!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank You for this today. A pertinent reminder of God's promise of peace when we seek Him in prayer.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I awoke this morning feeling like such a failure. I raised my 3 in church but 2 have turned away. The youngest at 20 doesn't seem to want to work. The 21yr old is so deeply in debt and made chaos out of her finances. She is having a hard time finding funds for this year of college but told me she's going to the beach for spring break. Now she owes the IRS as well. The 25yr old rarely touches base with us and is not living up to his God-given abilities. I have prayed for them all their lives and done everything I could to get it right. I was so desperate that I fell to my face before God and cried aloud for HIS wisdom and guidance. I felt HIS peace afterward even though none of the above situations has really changed. I do know that HE is in control and will continue to pray, that is all I can do now. (Although I did get the 20yr. old out of bed and off to submit job apps)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was written for me. A year of struggles with my oldest son has left me so empty. Thanks for this message of hope and shift in thinking and praying. So many times i open up these devotionals and they are ME! Thanks to God and to this ministry for offering a message of hope and help.

Blogger Unknown said...

Lysa, I can so relate. In a book I read by Jennifer Dean on prayer, she said we even pray prayers for our children with the motive of having them reflect well on us. Ouch. I must admit I have been guilty of that. That little statement and the subsequent conviction have really changed the way I pray for my children.

Thanks for the encouragement in parenting!


Blogger T-Reese said...

Your blogs are always right on time. I was feeling like I was gonna lose my mind when I happen to read my email and there it was...your blog. I was having a really frustrating night with all 3of my angels. All of them were fussing for one reason or another. I wanted to scream. I wanted to run away. But I love them too much and I want God to use me as their mother to show them how to get through life when things get tough. Thank you so much (tears in my eyes, lol) for ministering to me in more ways than one.

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