As we begin this journey together…

As we begin this journey together, I want you to know where I started as a mom. I didn’t start out as a can-do mom with can-do thoughts and can-do kids. No. Those whiny give-up attitudes my son displayed in yesterday’s devotion were inherited from me. I was quite familiar with the sidelines of mommy life, where I would often stand and declare “I CAN’T.”

I was discouraged.
Once my kids became toddlers who would not listen to me and obey me like robots, I panicked. I looked at other moms who seemed to know what they were doing. They enjoyed being a mom. Me? Not so much. I would often wonder, “What is wrong with me? Their children listen when they tell them no. Why will my child not 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 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 and get us out the door before lunch!

I wanted to quit.
One day I came home from running errands with two whiny 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 JJ 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 it was as though He bent down on His knees in front of me and spoke into my heart and said, “You are right, Renee. In your own strength and through your own perspective, you cannot do this. But I am here with you. And with my grace, my mercy, my promise, my presence, my power – with ME – all things are possible. You can do this through Christ – who will give you strength!

That day became a beautiful picture of Psalm 18:35 for me, “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.”

No matter where we are in our motherhood journey, this can be our new starting point. Let’s acknowledge together that on our own we’re a mess, but with His gentleness, grace, wisdom and guidance, we can become the mom He calls us to be; the mom we want to be; and the mom our kids need us to be.

Father, give us your shield of victory as moms, and protect us from discouragement. Extend Your right hand to sustain us; you grace to strengthen us; and your wisdom to lead us. Give us your thoughts and your ways that are not naturally our own. Thank you that through your Son, you not only stooped down to make us great, but you came down to make us great because of Your great love for us. We love you, and we begin this journey not looking back, but looking up and looking forward to where you will lead us one step at a time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Copyright 2009. Renee Swope – All rights reserved.

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More Mom Give-Aways

Today we’re giving a copy of Angela Thomas’ best-seller “My Single Mom Life”. It’s a great book whether you’re single or married, offering encouragement and wisdom all mom’s need. From mommy guilt, living with integrity, setting healthy boundaries, lonely mom syndrome, living the amazing life God has for you and your kids each day, Angela covers it all. I am reading it now and loving it! Winners will be drawn from today’s comments. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win the give-away.

All winners will be announced Saturday morning. And don’t forget, each Friday we’ll be giving away two tickets to the D6 Conference. So be sure to come back for more encouragement and resources from D6 and Proverbs 31 Ministries! If you’d like to get a reminder each time I post, be sure to click on bloglines in my sidebar.

To be part of the give-away, click on the word “comments” below, then type your comment, along with your name and email address (very important) in the white box. Choose anonymous if you want to be. The drawing for today’s give-away will be from comments left just below this post. To enter yesterday’s drawing, read the next post and comment there, too.REMEMBER: Be sure to include your email in your comment so we can get in touch if you win!

 

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Renee,
    I’m so glad your posting these blogs. They are such a blessing. I struggle so much in the motherhood department. Thanks for being an encouragment to me.
    Paula G.

  2. Renee, thanks for your honesty. I have been there as well and you’re so right alone we can’t do the job our kids need or God wants. Just wish I would constantly stay in that place where I give Him all control, would make things better. But it is a journey…blessings to you as it continues.
    Jill
    jillberan@yahoo.com

  3. I am so thrilled to have received your devotion about “Can-do” kids today. I have begun working with my and my husband’s daughter to prepare her for starting kindergarten in August. It can be frustrating since she went to K4 for a semester and I’m having to reteach her some things the correct way. She’s super smart and now I can encourage her (instead of getting frustrated) with the “can-do” philosophy. Encouraging and supporting her is a big thing for us so hearing a new way to do it is great. Thanks so much!

    Karen McKay
    themckays9804@yahoo.com

  4. so described where I am right now with my three kids. They go to school all day long and between the hours of 3 and 5 I just want to quit. I miss them so much during the day and 5 minutes after they’re home I begin wishing they were back at school. Clearly I don’t have a clue as to what a mom is supposed to be or do.

  5. Wrinkled Shirt Ministries says:

    Renee,
    I’m so glad your posting these blogs. They are such a blessing. I struggle so much in the motherhood department. Thanks for being an encouragment to me.
    Paula G.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am new to this website but am thinking it will be of great use to me as a Children and Family Director at my church. Thanks for the resources and the real sharing from the heart. I’m a mom of teenagers as well……
    ColleenG
    colleeng@eccfellowship.org

  7. These blogs are so helpful to me. It certainly provides reassurance that I’m not alone! Trying to be a good mother to 3 children (2 teenagers, 1 knocking on the door, an encouraging, devoted wife, all while working full time can become very overwhelming. Thanks for all the useful information and resources!

  8. Renee, thanks for your honesty. I have been there as well and you’re so right alone we can’t do the job our kids need or God wants. Just wish I would constantly stay in that place where I give Him all control, would make things better. But it is a journey…blessings to you as it continues.
    Jill
    jillberan@yahoo.com

  9. As I read about encouraging a child to have an “I can” attitude, I thought about how I needed to apply this “can-do” attitude to my professional life. As a veteran teacher of 21 years and a mother of 3, I am often discouraged by every additional task educators are required to do with no additional time built into the workday to accomplish these tasks. I simply cannot take any more time away from my family to do even more work at home. Just this morning, I was wondering how I could continue to do this for job another nine years. My youngest will be 15 when I become eligible for 30 year retirement, so I will always have “Mama” obligations while I work. Now I know. I, too, will be a “can-do” kid and trust God to help me do all that is required of me and do a great job with my students. It is certain that I can do nothing without Him.
    Thanks for the gentle reminder.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well, that describes me exactly…frustrated, discouraged and not all together.

    Renee B.

    rrbray@mmm.com

  11. Reading these blogs seem to be right on time. I'm still trying to find a healthy balance between working Mom & at home Mom. It feels good to see that I'm not in this struggle alone.

  12. Mrs. Dunbar says:

    Just the post I needed for today. Thanks.

  13. I’m so glad I stopped by your blog today….and read all the comments too!! It’s nice to know that as a mom, I am not alone in my feelings of sometimes being an absolute failure in that role! I, too have wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits….thinking that I was hindering my children not helping them……we, as moms, are truly on this journey together, and God who has blessed us with our children(though at times they don’t seem much like blessings:)will help us to raise them, not only by His Word, but also by the transperency and wisdom from other moms who have been there, done that. Thank you, Renee for your honesty and wisdom!! I have missed reading your blogs….I am officially back!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Renee,
    I seemed to do great when my three were small. We had great schedules, they listened well(most of the time), and we had fun (they were all 2 yrs apart), BUT then they became 12 and had a mind to do things their way and THOUGHT they knew it all! Whew, the years from 12-16 have been the toughest for me. Now that they are 16-20 they appreciate the fact that they were disciplined and we didn’t go with the understanding that they were always right! Sometimes mom does know best (when she is seeking Gods will). There are still days when I feel overwhelmed with motherhood, but I long for those days when they were small, their needs were so much more simple.
    So, to those with younger children, keep on raising your children in a godly manor and yes one day they WILL say thanks!
    Love to you friend,
    Margaret

  15. Anonymous says:

    As I searched for guidance on raising my four children alone and this morning’s issue of just struggling to get my high school senior (and his shadow, 7 year old brother) out of bed to go to school , I’ve found hope with your words and I know that I, too, can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank you.
    Sherry
    momtomandazak@netscape.net

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing. I needed to read this today. I am a recently single mother of two teens. My daughter lives with me and is encountering issues and problems that I am trying desperately to help her with. My son still resides with his father in another state and being away from him is tearing me apart. Reading these makes me realize that I am certainly not alone and that even when I want to shout “I can’t do this anymore” I still manage to put one foot in front of the other knowing that God is with me.
    ColleenB

  17. Anonymous says:

    Forgot to leave my email address for ColleenB – single mom with 2 teens! colleenb342@yahoo.com

  18. Anonymous says:

    Great encouragement! I know I have been there too when I felt like I needed to quit this mother job. Thanks for reminding us to look up and not compare to others.
    Thanks,
    Shelley
    skransberger@yahoo.com

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m so glad that God is providing this right now. Thank you for your work at sharing this study with us.

    I’ve raised my girls up in a christian home and took them to church all their life. They both have done very well…however I’m at the stage where my oldest has graduated college in 4 yrs with honors and is living by herself 2 hours away from me and still is working at the partime jobs she had while attending college. I know she is struggling with her way in life and finding a full time job…even with a college education. I want to be supportive of her but I know I need to stop fininacially supporting her. This is such a hard call for me to know how to do it without causing problems in our relationship. If anyone has any experience of how I can do this please share. I’m going to follow this study and trust that God is guiding me along the way.

    Jill

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oops, I forgot to leave my email address

    blessedjill2002@yahoo.com

    Thanks

    Jill

  21. very encouraging; thank you for being real! nice to know there is hope for me and my 16 year old who knows everything, a strong willed, ADHD/OCD 4 year old, and an independant, non wanting to potty train 3 year old!! hallelujah!
    Stacey Paden
    thepadens@cox.net

  22. Renee,
    Thank you so much for the reminder that we don’t have to do this alone that our Father in heaven is walking with us everyday is this parenting journey. As a mom who likes to do it all and do it by myself, I get so frustrated when I fall short and don’t meet my own expectations. And instead of going to my knees first I go after things fall apart. Thankfully God already knew this would happen and sent his Son to save me and he does again and again!! blw104@hotmail.com

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your incouragement through your blog and the P31 ministry. I am a sometimes singe mom, who struggles with keeping my children feeling secure when their father is gone.

  24. Stephenie says:

    Renee,

    I remember all too well, being where you were. Up to my neck in money frustrations. Thank you for sharing. I would love to win today’s book for my sister.

    carlson2398@roadrunner.com

  25. Amy.Zimmerman says:

    Thank you for the devotion on Can Do Kids — I have a desire in 2009 to put the Word of God in my kids hearts so they will know when they are facing things where to go for answers and encouragement. Yes I have been there also wanting to quit as a Mom but then I remember the scripture when I am weak then He is strong.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Renee,

    Your comments have given me encouragement today! I have a “I can’t” eight year old. Sadly, I know Phil. 4:13 in my heart but I have not share it with my son. You have encouraged me to do that today! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    Lynn
    lgentry@carolina.rr.com

  27. Karen_Elaine says:

    I am so thrilled to have received your devotion about “Can-do” kids today. I have begun working with my and my husband’s daughter to prepare her for starting kindergarten in August. It can be frustrating since she went to K4 for a semester and I’m having to reteach her some things the correct way. She’s super smart and now I can encourage her (instead of getting frustrated) with the “can-do” philosophy. Encouraging and supporting her is a big thing for us so hearing a new way to do it is great. Thanks so much!

    Karen McKay
    themckays9804@yahoo.com

  28. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am a mom of six children. I have two biological sons who are 13 and 17. Two years ago, we adopted four girls who are now 9, 11, 15, and 16. My husband and I struggle with how to give each child what they need. I felt like I had it all down with my boys and now I am on a new journey that not many have traveled. My older two girls consistently contact their biological family against our wishes. The bio. parents were forbidden to be around our girls due to their drug issues. However our girls’ continue to contact them and lie to us about it. I realize that I can not do this on my own. I need the Lord’s help.

  29. I found this website by chance and “oh how I needed it.” I have felt like I was drowning, between my husband, raising 2 small children, dealing with the grief of losing our firstborn son, and working at an executive level job, I feel like giving up almost every second of the day. I want to be a “Can do mom” with “can do kids”. Reading this was a wake up call for me.

    awilmath@gmail.com

  30. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing your earlier struggles. I am in tears because I can relate to the frustration of (ME) trying to be the perfect mom and having it all together. I definitely need God in this journey of motherhood. Thanks again. JD at jdav7@aol.com

  31. Anonymous says:

    WOW! That hit home. I have a 6 year old and a 21 month old and I really feel the same way sometimes. I thought having them that far apart they wouldn’t fight or it wouldn’t be so hard. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling like this.

    franklininks@yahoo.com

  32. I was encouraged by your story! There are a lot of days that I would like to quit but I never do! I am the mother of 2 teenage boys and one 3yr. old. My 3yr. old has taught me to remember that each day is a gift so if I fail as the maid I can surly be the best mom. I try to encourage my boys to remember that not only can they do all things through Christ but that they were set apart from the begining to be more than this world can offer them. That they must keep their eyes on the only one that can help them through anything.

  33. Thank you for sharing Psalm 19:35! That verse spoke to my desire to be a great mom and reminded me that with God’s help I will be. I want to be the mom that He wants me to be.

    Cathy Dickey
    catharinedd@netscape.net

  34. I just want to say thank you for sharing. When I look at all of you wonderful speakers I don’t think of any of you actually going through the daily frustrations that someone like myself deals with. I know I shouldn’t do that and that you are all just like the rest of us but I forget. So when I read I say “oh yeah, they are like me.” I’m struggling with the “guilt” piece, more and more lately. I reconnected with Christ when my oldest son was in high school who is now almost 19 but I feel so guilty that he missed out on soooo much do to me. It’s been really difficult for me to move past that and ask for God’s help daily. I know I’ll get there but it’s hard right now. Thanks again for this blog.

  35. I got side tracked and forgot to leave my email.

    cswartz12@msn.com

  36. As a single mom of two teenaged boys (18 & 16) who are determined to push all the boundaries and buttons, I soooooooo understand wanting to quit. Thanks so much for the reminder that we can start anew every day and that God and God alone sustains and hold us.

    rgoynes@aol.com

  37. This was beautiful – I’ve been here myself! But God has taken my plea for help and turned it into a shout of thanks!!! As a single mom I’ve tried to do it all myself, who else will? But God has given me the opportunity to stop, breath and just enjoy my son (who, unfortunately, missed out on alot of his Momma for the first 5 yrs)! Thank you for your blog – its such a blessing!

  38. gunningfam05 says:

    Wow.. reading your blog was like reading about myself. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    How I have felt at certain times as a mom of 3..2 are preschoolers and 1 toddler.
    The never ending battles with a strong willed child. Or the difficult day with a developmentally/speech challenged child.. or a rambunctious 2 yr old.
    Trying to figuire out what is working and what isnt….
    Questioning if I am doing things right..
    Am I the kind of mother they need???
    And realizing that I can’t do it on my own.. I need His help to get through these things.
    Somedays there is still stress/fustration as I find my way through motherhood.
    Though the days can be tough.. the rewards are endless with I love you moms/thankyous..or a hug.
    I wouldnt trade being a mom for anything.

    Chrissy Gunning
    cgunning94504@adelphia.net

  39. Anonymous says:

    Renee,
    Wow, you have just described “exactly” how I feel in this story that you shared. I must admit that being a single mom and raising three kids is a challenge in itself. However, if it were not for God being so ever present, I do not know where I would be or what I would do.
    Your story absolutely touched exactly where I am at and that is “God” at work. Nothing happens by accident! Yesterday one of my 13-year-olds, my daughter, absolutely had me in another one of your mentioned “pink slip” moments. I am at wits end. This child is wonderful, has been wonderful, until the last 6-8 months. I know God will get us through it; however I am just about to pull my hair out at times.
    It is good to know that I am not the only one dealing with this.
    Thanks again for following God’s lead, because THIS is EXACTLY what I needed TODAY!! God is SO GOOD, HE ALWAYS GIVES US EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED WHEN WE NEED IT!!

    Blessings,
    Rhonda
    rhondaturley@aol.com

  40. I know that feeling! When you stop to think about how much our reactions now will play into the way they react later, it just gets worse! Thanks for all of your encouragement.

    lehrerin@charter.net

  41. Thanks Renee for reminding me that if I call on Christ, He will answer and come to my help. So often I get caught up in all I have to do – take the children to and from school, housework, yard work, planning and shopping for meals – that I forget to ask God for patience, compassion and wisdom. I forget to have fun and enjoy my children and become focused on all that I can’t get done in a day. Thanks for reminding me Christ will help me and that I can do all He has asked.

    avjuarez@yahoo.com

  42. Thank you so much for saying in today’s post that you don’t always like being a mom. Mine son is 3, and there are days I think I can’t spend enough time with him, then in less than an hour, I think when will daddy be home and I can get away. Your posts help me to see there’s no reason to feel guilty.

  43. Amanda Kiehl says:

    Thank you for your encouragement. I am a seperated mother of two daughters and my heart is to truly show them that being a woman is a gift from God and that They can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. I have recently returned to finish my education and tonight I dropped my daughter off at the sitters home not even two hours after being in daycare all day. My eyes filled with tears as my five year old cried and just wanted her mommy, but God reminded me that I can do this and she will admire and appreciate it so much once she is older and that “this too shall pass”. It is only for a season. Being a mom is a god given gift but it can take a lot out on a woman. I am so thankful to know that other women feel the same way and that we aren’t bad moms when we feel as though we are failing.

    Thank you again.
    God Bless.
    Amanda K.
    amandakiehl@yahoo.com

  44. Anonymous says:

    I am also new to this website. I just received the D6 Conference flyer in the mail today and it was the first I had heard of it. It caught my attention because I am a homeschool mom of 2 and my husband and I have recently taken over a kids program in our church. As I read the flyer and looked at the website, I kept thinking of what awesome timing this is for us…to receive such good teaching and encouragement as we grow with the kids in this ministry. I already love this verse and have been familiar with it for years, especially since homeschooling. Neither my husband or I are from Christian upbringings…we became saved after we were married. And after nearly falling into the paths of our parents and “quitting” the whole thing ourselves, God got our attention. We began to change as we focused on Him and He is the only reason we are alive and together today. His grace is indescribable and having the opportunity to teach not only my children but the kids at our church is a humbling and exciting time. We so want to pass this hunger for His truth to kids! And to be able to encourage and reach parents is the main goal…the home is so important!! Anyway, I receive the Proverbs 31 daily devos and have been for about two years or so. They are such a blessing to me and I thank you and the other writers for sharing your time and experiences with me. I noticed your link to this site from the flyer and decided to check it out. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement! I hope to see you in September at the conference.

  45. Anonymous says:

    Forgot to leave my email…jandkmaynard@earthlink.net

    Thanks so much! Kelsi M.

  46. Thanks for sharing your heart on this. I am a mom of an 8 year old, a 1 year old, and I am pregnant with my third. I know God gracefully gives me strength, but can’t help but let the worries of how I am going to do it creep in from time to time. This was very encouraging. Thnaks!

  47. I have a friend who years ago would have shared this exact same testimony. The Lord spoke to her one day through Psalm 113:9 that says the Lord settles a woman in her home and makes her a joyful mother of children. She said she wasn’t “settled” and she definitely wasn’t “joyful”. The Lord took this scripture and began to do a work in her heart.

    The same was true in her story as yours. It’s the Lord who does the work. It’s the Lord who ‘settled’ her heart and made her joyful. It’s the Lord’s hand in all our stories, developing us and changing us into the mom’s, wife’s, friends, women He wants us to be.

    His,
    Joy

  48. Anonymous says:

    Renee,
    I’m a mother of 3 and have been struggling for 21 years. The challenges have been very over whelming. My boys are 13,17. My daughter is 21. Frustrated and alone.
    SAMccallum1@comcast.net

  49. I am a mom of three great boys. Each one is different in their own way. But, lately I just don’t seem to find the joy in them that I once had. My oldest is almost 16, then 11, and finally my 9 year old. I have homeschooled them for almost 10 years. I really feel like I want to quit, when the times get tough. I know God wants me to homeschool them, it has been shown that this works best for them. I really do want to find joy in being their mother and learn how to be more patient with them. Please help me.
    Blessings,
    Sasha

  50. I am about to have our first baby and it is on my heart often about raising a godly son who loves the Lord. And I know how I can get discouraged with life’s trials sometimes. Thanks for sharing your struggles; it will be a reminder to always return to the Source and the Rock for my strength. God Bless!
    vwilson7@gmail.com

  51. Renee,

    When I read your devotional, You-can kid, I sat in tears because this is exactly what I have been going through with my 5 yr. old son. He is growing in this area, but it is still quite a challenge when I am trying to teach him new things and to watch him give up in frusteration. I felt so encouraged after reading your devotional b/c it gave me a new hope and desire to not give up on him so easily. Thank you!!!

  52. Stephanie says:

    Renee,

    When I read your devotional, You-can kid, I sat in tears because this is exactly what I have been going through with my 5 yr. old son. He is growing in this area, but it is still quite a challenge when I am trying to teach him new things and to watch him give up in frusteration. I felt so encouraged after reading your devotional b/c it gave me a new hope and desire to not give up on him so easily. Thank you!!!

  53. Anonymous says:

    Hi Renee and everyone

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and frustrations it is nice to know I am not alone and not the only one who has felt and still does some days feel like ‘quitting’. I have even told my kids…my name is not Mom. They will ask what it is and I say I can’t tell you as I am not being Mom today!

    Kim
    chinarnrmom@comcast.net

  54. Anonymous says:

    I’m a 51 year old mother of six, grandmother of 7 and greatgrandmother of 1. I’m recovering from colon cancer. I’ve never been a great mom. I have always struggled with discipline in every area of my life. I have 14 year old twin girls at home and I sometimes wish they were grown and gone. Unhappy with the way my older kids have turned out; I want to give up on the twins. Am I too old to deal with difficult teenagers in this yucky world? My email address is nommmie76@yahoo.com. Thank you.

  55. LadyAdele says:

    You were saying exactly what I needed to hear, that MY journey must come first before I can begin to focus on changes in my children. I especially struggle with my 14 year old daughter, she is such a wonderful child! Yet, because we are so similiar, we also end up fighting more than I do with my other two children (especially on school mornings). So, I changed my attitude and she is slowly coming around. Thank you for all you do, I will check in more often to hear what you are going through and how I can relate the “can-do” attitude with all three of my children (ages 16, 14, and 11). AMEN!
    My e-mail address is:LadyAdele63@yahoo.com

  56. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your stories. They have been encouraging especially on those days when I try to be super mom.
    fran

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