The day stands out clearly in my mind. I was deep in the waters of parenting, just trying to hang on and do it all right. No loud alarm sounded, but I suddenly realized that I could do everything right and still end up with a self-willed child. Devour parenting books hoping to master techniques? Check. Attend seminars with my husband? Check. Practice wise advice? Yes! Build family devotions into our daily schedule? Of course. But I had no guarantee that any of my dreams for a godly child would become reality.
Have you wondered why God gives parents an impossible assignment? The mom-role that begins with many dreams easily becomes an endurance test. Perhaps you always thought you’d be a stay-at-home mom, but then realized you had to go to work. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom who’s longing to go back to the office.
What do you do when you are weary from an exhausting day? Has your child’s rebelliousness discouraged you? Do you carry regrets for past mistakes? Has everything you hoped would help merely left you frustrated?
You realize your deepest love and greatest effort cannot transform your child’s heart.
Godly Desires Meet God’s Purposes
Maybe you’ve asked, “Do you really understand how much my dreams mean to me, God?” For those who love God as both sovereign and good, to ask the question is to answer it. God loves us. He made us for Himself. God created us to know Him, love Him, and glorify Him. So the real question is, how does the pursuit of our godly desires for our children intersect with God’s loving purpose for our life?
Here’s a reminder: Life with God is truly happy. We have a list of what we think we need, but what we really need is God—He is the starting point. He calls us to delight in Him because that is the way to know Him most fully. God gives us a desire for Himself so He can give us His dreams. He gives us desires so that He can fulfill them, and we can delight in Him more (Psalm 37:4).
God delights to give us the blessings He promises in His Word. We can trust Him to show us if our desire is not His. God builds a mother’s faith as He fulfills the dreams and desires that He gives her (Psalm 62:8; Heb. 11:6). Every mother can trust God to give her what she needs.
Say Goodbye to Self-Reliance
What if your circumstances make fulfilled dreams seem far away? Is money a problem? Is your husband an unbeliever? Are you single and trying to parent alone? Does your child have disabilities and no one at church realizes the struggles you face?
Motherhood dismantles self-reliance. It leads our needy souls to rest in God’s all-sufficient power. The time is now to become your child’s prayer champion! Go ahead. Ask God to show you your child’s specific needs. And whatever your level of parenting skill, remember to pray for yourself. Ask God to help you discipline your child, start family devotions, and reign in sibling rivalry. Then watch for God to answer!
Here are a few prayer requests to help you get started.
Pray for your children:
- To receive Jesus as Savior by God’s grace and the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8–9).
- To be convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit.
- To turn quickly to God for forgiveness (Psalm 130:3–4).
- To look forward to being with God’s people every week in church.
- To grow an appetite for God’s Word as they listen to you read it (John 1:1–3, 14).
- To grow spiritually as they mature physically.
- To make everyday choices that reflect God’s renewing of their thinking (Rom. 12:1–2).
- To discover that only God’s purpose for life holds true happiness and fulfillment (Psalm 16:11; 1 Pet. 4:11).
Pray for yourself:
- To learn to ask your Father for all you need: wisdom, energy, discipline, etc. (Psalm 127).
- To know, love, and glorify God as He answers your prayers.
- To rely more on God’s Word and His Spirit to make decisions, to resolve conflicts, and to use your time wisely (Matt. 6:33; James 1:5)
- To remember your Father is willing to pour out His limitless resources to supply His children’s needs (Psalm 23:3).
- To resist fear, self-reliance, and frustration and to wait for your Father’s leading (Prov. 3:5–6; Mark 9:24).
- To allow others to come alongside and help you, particularly if you’re a single mom.
- To honor and respect your husband and strengthen your marriage (Eph. 4:2–3; 1 Pet. 4:8).
- For strength, courage, and trust that God will give you Himself as He gives you everything you need (Psalm 68:5; 2 Pet. 1:3–4).
Get Back to the Basics
What if you feel too burdened to pray (Rom. 8:26–27)? You don’t even have to have all the right words. Sometimes all you will think to say is “Help.” Know that the Holy Spirit helps us and prays for us. And God is the supremely good Father—He pours out so much goodness without us even asking. But James 4:2–3 says, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” Our prayers are one means God uses to bring about His plans for our children’s lives (Isa. 37:21–22, 26; Neh. 2:4–8; Acts 4:23–31). Through prayer, God allows us to be involved in His work that will go on forever (Matt. 6:9–10). Answered prayer gives God glory and fills our hearts with satisfying joy.
In your busy home, as one storm follows another, the waters of parenting may feel like they’re over your head. Caring for young children demands energy, drains patience, and taxes emotions. Does parenting older kids require less? Hardly!
It’s time to go back to basics. Remember that parenting deconstructs self-reliance. God gives us big dreams and leads us to depend on His all-sufficient power. He promises to supply all our needs. Jesus meant what He said, “Ask and you will receive” (John 16:24). So pray and receive more abundantly than all you can imagine (Eph. 3:20).