Today I’m sharing a little piece from my book—and a day in my life—with you . . .
One afternoon I was overwhelmed by my inadequacies, discouraged by my seeming failures as a mom, and exhausted physically and emotionally. I collapsed to the sofa crying and vented: God, I am so frustrated! Nothing seems to be working. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything right. I keep messing up as a mom, and I feel like a disappointment to you.
After I emptied my heart and had a good cry, I sat subdued in silence—and clarity came. It dawned on me how I contribute to my exhaustion and experience of discouragement: Most days I try to be and do what I think a mom should be and do—without asking God to teach me, much less help me. I try to mold my children according to my goals, employing every ounce of my mental, emotional, and physical energy.
Humbled, I saw my pride. God, I repent of my pride. I’m sorry for not inviting you to lead and help me. I need you. What a relief to unload these thoughts and emotions to him, to know he forgives me immediately, and to be able to start over—following God.
In those few minutes, my circumstance with the children did not change, but I felt like God was glad that I stopped and cried out to him. Focus on my failure shifted to hope in God. My perspective changed: I’m a mother for God. Therefore, I want to do this his way, with him. I recognized that I can’t do this on my own; I need him.
All of this took only a few minutes. God knows how little time a mom has to be still, much less alone! From time to time, I pray this prayer when I recognize that my attitude is out of whack and I need to recommit my heart’s path to God.
Practice: Prayer of Surrender and Dedication
1. Surrender each child by name to God: “God, I give you _______. She is your child whom you have given me for a season.”
2. Claim and dedicate your relationship with each child to the God: “God, I claim my relationship with _______ for you. I dedicate this relationship to you. I want our relationship and how I parent ______ to glorify you. Amen.”
Life circumstances will challenge our family. God hopes we will look to him for the way through. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12–13). You are God’s Beloved. Yield to his love and leadership.
In our culture, self-sufficiency is an ideal. If we make our own decisions, take care of our self, and don’t need anyone for anything, then we feel strong. God’s kingdom on earth has an opposite ideal: All our needs are met in God. He wants us to seek his guidance for all decisions, to depend on him to take care of us, and to know we need him. In order to live this way, we need to surrender or release to God what we want to do—and then trust and obey him.
Surrender is really hard. Like all hard things, the more we practice, the better we get at it. Opportunity to practice occurs all day long. We lay down our preferred way for his: God, I surrender ________ to you. Please help me discern and follow your way.
Once we recognize surrender as a strength, desire to practice relying on God increases. It’s humbling how quickly we can put our self in the driver’s seat with themes like training and correction methods, making plans, and relational issues. Sometimes our independent strategy works, but often we leave a trail of circumstances that needs to be rectified. Pray for grace and believe that God responds to your effort to yield. Gradually, our self-centered life is transformed to a Christ-centered life.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13–16).
When we rely on God throughout the day, we trust that he knows us best and holds the plan for our life—including how to parent our child. God desires to parent us as he shows us how to parent our child.
To surrender is to trust God.