Making Room: A Study of Biblical Hospitality: Day 10

Making Room for Children

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Today's Text: Psalm 139:13-16, Proverbs 17:6, Matthew 18:1-6, Matthew 19:14, Matthew 21:14-16, Mark 10:13-16, Ephesians 6:1-4

Text: Psalm 139:13-16, Proverbs 17:6, Matthew 18:1-6, Matthew 19:14, Matthew 21:14-16, Mark 10:13-16, Ephesians 6:1-4

“Mama, I feel like I’m upside down in a cornfield!”

Maybe this is something commonly heard in motherhood, but since I’ve yet to become one, I wouldn’t know. Hopefully, you’re just as confused as I was when I woke up to this statement in the middle of the night.

I rubbed my eyes in confusion. It took a minute to regain my bearings and remember exactly where I was—at the beach, with one of my best friends and her three children.

It was their annual beach vacation, and I’d said yes last-minute to hopping in the minivan for a few days of saltwater and sunshine before the rest of the family arrived. I didn’t have to be a mother to know that a seven-hour trip with three kids and only one short episode of crying—and one, small snack-spilling incident—was some kind of miracle. Victorious, we’d tossed aside our sandals and rolled up our jeans at the first sight of ocean, splashing around in the dark until we could barely keep our eyes open.

Our cozy hotel room was filled with baby snuggles and loud giggles, worlds away from my quiet apartment at home, and I loved making room for every sweet moment. I was letting the little children come to me and received cuteness and cuddles—a serious benefit—in return. But upon waking up in the middle of the night, the scene was a little different.

A flipped lightswitch signaled that the “upside down in a cornfield” child was awake and not dreaming. Her tiny whimper and the worried look on her mama’s face confirmed the girl’s sudden sickness and strange hallucination. Their hurried footsteps headed for the bathroom, where baby brother’s travel crib was still blocking the toilet. That’s when I remembered that I’d been sharing a water bottle with the sweet, sickly child all day long, which meant I was probably halfway to a cornfield myself.

Small things sometimes turn out to be the most significant and, well, contagious—especially when they have hearts that beat like yours and mine. Making room for children is hard because we never stop being children ourselves. We never stop needing our Father. We struggle to make room even for ourselves, only to see that He already has, again and again.

This is why it’s important to make room for the children tugging on our shirts and hanging on our legs even—especially—if they aren’t living in our homes. The parent-child relationship is one of the most prevalent themes in Scripture. Shouldn’t it be one of the most prevalent themes in our lives? We should care for these little ones Jesus loves so dearly. Even when it means getting messy. Even when it means waking up in the middle of the night. Even when it means being upside down in a cornfield.

Isn’t that what He does for us? God knew us when we were formless (Psalm 139:16). He prepared praise from our mouths (Matthew 21:16). He asks us simply to come to Him (Matthew 19:14). May we do the same for others, especially when they are small, for they are not small to Him. Amen.

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  • It’s interesting that I just finished reading this devotion because it is 3:20 a.m. and I’ve been up with my little girl for almost two hours. She awoke restless and then an hour after she awoke (and I almost had her back to sleep), her 3 year old brother woke saying his “tummy hurt”. Thankfully, brother is back to sleep but Lil’ sis is still going. She’s very joyful and wide awake!! After being a mommy for almost 16 years, I have learned that these little “interruptions” are opportunities to love on my children. I can be annoyed at this moment or embrace it and show this child patience and understanding, just as God has lovingly done time and again for me. Thank you Jesus for always reminding me that motherhood is one of the many ways you are helping to mold me into your likeness and teach me to be filled with grace…even in the middle of the night.

  • In preparation to go back to work teaching little first graders, this devotion was a great reminder of the love Jesus has for His children. If I am to be like Christ, I need to grow in patience, gentleness, and kindness toward my little kiddos. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but being a teacher has taught me so much already about taking care of kids and their many needs. It has also reminded me of what child-like faith and joy looks like! This makes me feel blessed to be called to a position to work with children.

  • As an expectant mummy to baby #2 I love this reminder-I love reading that God knows this precious bump and is forming a beautiful baby inside…that he knows my wonderful toddler and I can trust Him with all his days for He knows them already! And that through sleepless nights (which I am quite anxious about) he will watch over us all!

  • I estimate that have worked with almost 25,000 elementary and middle school students during my 25 years in campus administration. I absolutely love working with these students and parents and pray for them and love them through the tough days. In addition to my school kiddos, I have 2 adult girls and 1 grandson. There is no greater joy than children and time and work with them is a blessing. Praying for the sweet, inquisitive, Jesus-like innocence children every day. Thanks for this devotional!

  • Susan Sowards

    Thank you this lesson was beautiful. Thank you for sharing

  • I could read this every day. I have four children, I have taken in a nephew in past as well. I am so blessed (and stressed). I am exhausted and run down. I listen to worship when I feel low and lonely. I pray to my Father throughout every day. I lean on Him to guide me to raise my children to be on fire for Him and seek His will in their lives. I also want to help other children, foster care? Adoption? Mentoring? Bring them to me! I am not perfect, I don’t have it all together, but children are the most challenging and rewarding blessings in life. They make me want to scream and cry and kiss and cuddle.
    People always ask how I do it, and I don’t take the opportunity often enough to tell them my “secret” is a God full of grace and love. God has used my children to shape my life, to bring me nearer to Him. I only wish I’d begun truly loving and following Him sooner.

  • As someone who struggled to conceive for a very long time, I appreciated that this piece was written by someone who doesn’t have children of their own. It’s a wonderful perspective and reminder to embrace the children that are in your life, even if you didn’t give birth to them. I know firsthand that it can be so bittersweet and difficult to do if you are dealing with prolonged singleness or infertility, but it is something we must continually ask the Holy Spirit to help us do. Thanks for this lovely article. If anyone is struggling with infertility and would like some encouragement, I have an infertility encouragement blog at amateurnester.com

  • Kensley Goodman

    I love kids, I have always loved kids. In my early teens I was already teaching a kindergarten class at vacation bible school. My friends would call me a “baby hog” whenever someone at church would have a new baby, because rest assure I was going to have them in my lap first thing Sunday morning and not let anyone else as long as I could help it get to hold and cuddle the sweet little thing. Now that I have gotten married my heart has become blind a little bit. My husband and I are having trouble conceiving and that is about all that has consumed me lately. I have ignored the children he has placed in my life already because I am so focused on having my own. We have beautiful nieces and nephews that deserve my attention. This devotion changed my heart and opened my eyes of what was happening. I feel like every passage I read opens my eyes to something that is happening around me or within me and I am thankful for that.

  • It’s easy to get caught up in the crazy of motherhood when they’re little, when the days stretch long but the years zoom past…then they reach a self sufficient age, an inquisitive stage — and that’s where I am. My 9 year old requires more grace from me daily than a cute little crying baby ever could. Her endless questions about life and people and God leave me frazzled. But here is where I am. And I lead a group of third grade girls at church, so sometimes I feel like I am playing a constant game of 20 questions! This reading is a perfect reminder that Jesus didn’t put an age-cap on what “children” came to Him, He didn’t say “okay you’re on your own” when the little children stayed a little too long on his lap or asked just one too many questions at bedtime. Let Them Come, He said. Lord be my example. Give us as mothers GRACE to cover where we fall short, and give us all words to pray over every child in our lives, whether we are their mother or not.

  • As a children’s sabbath school teacher and being no where close to having a family of my own… I see how crucial their upbringing is! As others have said, it’s important for parents to teach their children to be people of God but lately I’ve been seeing the opposite. As parents, guardians, teachers and family members God has entrusted us with the task of helping them find Him rather than just going to church because mum and dad do! I know I’m in this position for a reason and I pray God uses me to be an effective and loving witness to all of my sabbath school children. I pray that we all will be like Jesus and bring the little children to Him.

  • It saddens me to see so many many ladies in the United States struggling to be mothers. I’m afraid that in you country you have lost your teachers. God planned it so that mothers would teach their daughters to become mothers. But I see that the daughters of the United States do not know how to be mothers when they get married. That doesn’t mean that you learn everything, but you should be fairly well equipped by the time marriage comes along. But in the U.S. it seems that mothers quit teaching their daughters some generations ago how to be wives and mothers, the biggest and most important job God gave us, and they traded it in to be successful in the workforce. I heat people say there is no handbook for raising children. My mother used the Word of God and taught us to seek Him, cook, clean, manage the finances of the home, love a husband, learn to change diapers, tell if a baby has fever, train children to be obedient (even the strong willed ones, and I had two very strong willed, which sent me to prayer and the Word daily), and a thousand and one other details pertaining to raising children, etc., etc., ect. Ladies teach your young girls how to be a wife and a mother, so that they don’t have the struggles that your average young lady is having in your country now days. Then it I’ll be so much easier to love all those children, as God planned for us, especially as women, to love them.

    • SB

      But with that it’s just as important to teach your boys to be husbands and men of God! All the focus can’t be focused on the daughters or it’s going to continue to be one sided all their lives! I feel like we forget that often. I want to raise a son like Boaz that they are loving and kind and look out for Ruth’s best interest and what other people think of her.

      • Kylee

        YES YES YES — it’s not just the mothers who need to step up.

  • I grew up in a huge family. Only daughter with ten brothers. I’m number 8 in the lineup and have three younger brothers. There’s a 4 year gap between my next older brother and myself so I was like my younger brothers second mom after my mother went back to work after the youngest was born. Young children have always been a major part of my life and my heart swells with joy whenever I get to spend time with children. My older brothers started having babies when I was 8 so I quickly became an aunt and have loved every minute of time spent with all 24 of my nieces and nephews. And my heart aches to have children of my own, especially as my younger brothers have started new families and my closest younger brother just had his first child in December. How much though this devotional today resonated with me. I work for a juvenile court and often engage with teenagers who are about to become adults. Sometimes I find myself so frustrated with them and wonder why they can’t just grow up and start acting like they’re almost a grown up. And then I have conversations with these kids and realize that for so many, their childhood was torn away from them. They have had to grow up in other ways far too soon and are really just big little kids still, just as much in need of a caring adult to invest in them as my little nieces and nephews. It is so beautiful how God is using this job experience to remind me of how much I need him and how childish I can be in my day-to-day routine. How gracious he is to me and how wonderful it is that he doesn’t give up or get frustrated with me when I keep making the same silly mistakes. God, give us grace for all the children in our lives, both big and small who so desperately need us to show them your love, grace, and compassion.

  • Gema, you should find a mops (Mother Of PreSchoolers) group in your area! they were life changing for me as I stepped into the challenge of being a mom. mops.org and look, they have international groups too. it’s like a support group. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

  • Grace every morning

    This was a wonderful reminder- as a step parent some days are very hard, especially when the little one you’ve cared for, prayed for and given your time to calls you “mean” or says they don’t like you. It gets exhausting ! I need to keep my eye on the big picture and love as Jesus does.

  • I am a middle school teacher and love my job – most days ;) That said, this can sometimes be a tough age to love.
    The verses that really struck me today were from Matthew 18:6-7 (Message version) “But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse — and it’s doomsday to you if you do.”
    It just made me think about how I speak to them and is it in kindness and love? Lord, please help me to show your love to the students I have, and help me see these children through your eyes.

  • Danielle Frakes

    Hi

  • Caroline Kolts

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing about children from your perspective. Thank you for taking that trip – for being near little children and loving them in the “takes a village” way. I loved being single for the availability it gave to do just what you did. I love having a child because I am on the receiving end of that generosity. Both are hard because both ask more than I want/ed to give, but God is so generous to tend to us like children our whole lives.

  • My prayers today is that God will bless me with children, That my heart so desire.

  • I love children. I love my nieces & nephews. I love my job as a neonatologist. And yet my heart aches & longs for children of my own to welcome.
    Praying for families today, dealing with challenges, and for the single ladies and barren women desiring children–may we see more of Jesus’ faithfulness each day. And for the orphans of the world longing for parents–that they will know the Father’s deep love, using His children as He leads.

  • Diane Huntsman

    I used to hear it, like I’m sure you hear it, “enjoy your kids they grow so fast” that meant little to me in the midst of raising 4 kids 1 to 10 years old homeschooling and soccer ruled my life… but I cannot emphasize enough the truth and the weight of that sentence..”enjoy them they grow up so fast” as I sit in a empty house all kids grown and gone all I have are the memories now of the best days of my life.. moms embrace sibling brawls, chaos from morning til night, soak it all in and do you very best to train them up in the ways of the Lord because those years pass swiftly and you want them leaving your home thoroughly equipped, filled with the word of God.. the psalm we first read today was one that my kids and I memorized while they were little.. you’ll never regret the times you invested in putting Gods Word in their hearts.. His truths are the best treasures you can give them.. way better than violin lessons or the latest and greatest trendiest tennis shoes and jeans.. put down your iPhone and invest in those littles that will be bigs way sooner than you ever thought possible. It’s our calling if you bear the name Mom.

    • Sarah_Joy

      Thank you for the reminder. The days in the midst of my littles sometimes seems to be too many tears, too many demands and too many toys. Then I see my oldest growing taller and I realize the days are passing more swiftly than I wish. It’s hard to fully capture these days. Thanks for reminding me to try.

    • Cherylin Birkholz

      Thank you for this reminder! I have to littles of my own & sometimes the day to day (with all the things you mentioned) can just be overwhelming..but i so want to enjoy these years I have with them & raise them up to know Jesus-That is my biggest hearts desire & i pray my life can be a reflection of His love & mercy to them!

  • I hope I can always have a child-like faith. To innocently and unashamedly come to Jesus. Without anxiety or worry or fear of the future. If you could all please pray for me, I’ve been feeling nervous around people for awhile…it’s annoying because it’s usually Christians that I’m around…like when I go to life group or when I go to practice for the worship band….I get nervous. I’ve been trying to give it over to God but it keeps coming back…I just need to give all my weights of fear and doubt and uncertainty, that I try to carry, I need to give them all to Jesus.

    • Candy

      Hi Sarah – I prayed for you. Please also consider telling your Doctor this as sometimes we need help with this. God bless you!

    • Elle

      There are times when I tend to get nervous around other people(Christians included) as well, Sarah, and one of the things that helps me is to have a focal point like trying to be super focused on what the pastor or group leader is saying so that everyone else is not my main focus. When that doesn’t work prayer is truly your best weapon as well as God Word. Using God’s Word to remind you of His nearness and promises is great to have at the ready. Sometimes God gives us just what we need for that particular time until we need more for each time of need going forward. Praying God gives you the grace you need as you seek His peace. God bless and keep you. Elle

  • Oh lord, how I would LOVE the opportunity to pursue this relationship with my own kids! Let the little children come to me <3

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • I am so encouraged by today’s devotion. I am not a schoolteacher but I do work at a school with children. The kindergartners are my main job. And I love it! A lot of these little ones have a hard time leaving their mommies and I’m able to come alongside them and love on them. On Monday I took the day off. Yesterday many of these little kindergartners came up to me and asked where was I. It felt great to be missed by these little ones whom I’ve grown to love very much.

  • This is such a encouragement…I have two boys 8 and 10…I also have a step daughter that is 9.When me and my husband first got married, we strayed away from the church and unfortunately he was unfaithful. Because of this my stepdaughter was born, but I refuse to let by a reason for her father not to be in her life.. we have grown as a family throughout the years and I consider her a daughter of my own. I love her so much and this is an amazing reminder that children are pure until the world tries to get to them. We all need to be more child like in our hearts

    • brandy

      You are amazing. I am very touched by this. What an example you are to your children. Thanks for sharing!

    • cindyjof8

      Brandy is right. God has given you an incredible gift. Be blessed as He has blessed you.

  • I’m deep in the “kid” season of my life- I have kids, I volunteer with kids, I’m touching kids at most times. This was honestly not a challenging lesson for me.

    That said, I am touched to my absolute core to read all of your comments about not having children but reaching into kids’ lives. My boys have been so deeply blessed to have adults around them that have no children of their own but who love my boys in a way that people with their own kids can’t. We have friends who are not having children but just absolutely dote over mine. We have older aunts and uncles who take no greater delight than sitting and talking to my sweet boys. I’ve thought often about what a gift that is to them- to have adults who aren’t their parents who think that they hung the moon. Thank you ladies for who you are in the lives of kids. It means a lot and does not go unnoticed.

    • Teri Lynne Underwood

      Yes!! My daughter has been profoundly shaped by our best friends who are unable to have children and have chosen to pour into our girl for the past almost 17 years. Rather than pulling away in their sorrow and grief about their infertility, the have drawn close and let us love them through the hard days. And because of that, when our girl graduates from high school in May 2018 and for every big and small moment and event in her life, the fingerprints of our friends love and devotion will be clearly seen!

  • Just this past week one of our sons called to tell us his girlfriend is expecting. I hate to admit it, but, rather than feel any joy I felt tears and rage at this. My son has made huge steps forward to a good life and a successful future after a severe state of depression. Although I cannot ever wish any harm to any child all I can feel is such a disappointment in this huge life changing event. Only 2 weeks ago my son confided in his brother that he wanted out of this relationship, he felt no love only resentment and that he had realized that they had both been in a very needy time and their decision to “play house was a bad one.” I know he feels trapped and he believes she did this to keep him in her life. Todays TRUTH really hit home. Despite the fact that he will have to ask for a paternity test I know in my heart that I must see this child as OUR FATHER’S GREAT JOY and try in my own heart to find love.
    It still hurts and the entire family is upset and trying to understand and find the right words and support during this time. Thank you for the right scripture for me at this time.

    • Geri

      This has to be so difficult for you as a mother. My boys are four and one, so I can only begin to understand. If it’s any consolation, I had a good friend go through a similar situation in college, although the mother was not his girlfriend at the time. I had just returned home from college for the summer when I received his panicked call, and I turned my car back around and drove back to stay up all night chatting with him. He realized that he had two choices, to be an involved dad or not. He chose the former. He now has two beautiful children with the same woman and an incredibly successful career as an architect. (He recently designed the building where my son will attend elementary school!) Our conversations now are so much different, with so much appreciation for what turned out to be such a beautiful mistake. I know that every situation is different, but I can only hope that your son will find happiness and fulfillment in this surprise. And I have no doubt that the child will light up your life.

    • Lindsey

      Hello, I can’ t imagine what you are feeling. I am a young mom, my little boy is only 13 months old. The only thing I can say that will hopefully bring comfort for you is that every child is a precious gift. God’s timing is everything and this is a precious gift from God, and God has a great plan for this child in this specific timing. God’s perfect timing allows a woman to become pregnant so I truly believe this child has a greater purpose than what we can imagine. Again, I can’t imagine what you’re going through. I will be praying for you and your family for comfort, a lot of strength, compassion, and a lot of love.

  • Tochi Heredia

    How timely is this!
    I have to babysit two of my friend’s toddlers this weekend so they can move homes. I was already dreading the mess and noise they’re gonna make.
    Kaitlin, I’m so thankful for your words and experience. Now I’m looking forward to playing and loving these kids just like God does :)

  • My husband and I are in our 40’s and we’ve been married for almost 20 years. We never had children. And I can say that I can’t imagine a life fuller than the one the Lord has blessed me with. I have many nieces and nephews and now 4 greats. And they are lovely. We get to be the “cool” Aunt and Uncle who do fun things with them and we are blessed by our relationship with them. We have worked hard to make them a priority in our lives. And although it’s not the same as being a mom I feel like I have been blessed to be a part of their lives. Sometimes the life we imagine doesn’t happen because God has other plans. But His plans are the best and His timing is perfect. We have a different marriage today and God has blessed us with passions later in life, not being parents gave us time for that. My husband went to seminary and I got my Holy Yoga instructors license. Such blessings! The Lord knows our desires and needs better than we do. Trust in Him. There are many children that we can make room for even when they aren’t ours.

  • This is a hard one for those of us that are Mothers without Children. Just the title of this study is enough to make us clam up and toss it aside. I must share a bit of what my 30 years of childlessness has taught me. Life goes on. God is faithful, and we are not being punished. Please sisters, don’t allow bitterness to creep into your heart as you try to protect yourself from the pain! I did, and it was wasted years of suffering. Instead, reach out to the children around you! Nieces & nephews, neighbors, coworkers kids, church kids, friends kids. They are everywhere! I now have toys stashed in my house, and a special church purse containing toys & gum & special snacks, the children remember this, and want to come to me! My arms are so happy when holding these precious little ones, their mamas get a break. Life is better seeing things through the eyes of a child. My broken heart was healed when I purposely reached out, became the ‘aunt grandma’. Starting is hard. Find a Mom that will share, and the other Moms will realize you won’t break their babies, and you will have your arms full! Then you can sleep all night, lol!

    • valerie

      love this…you are awesome!

    • Hilary

      This is precious. Thank you for sharing yourself with them and us.

    • Candy

      Yes exactly!! Both my boys are grown and in their 30’s but not in relationships so no grandkids for me yet. I used to get really down when my friends would become Grandmas but I love on them and have found younger friends with kids and neighbors with kids and I love on them. Now I also work with the kids at church. God has truly filled me up and blessed me with “my kids”!!

    • Lexi

      Oh, you made my cry. How special you are! Praying for you, sweet sister! ❤

  • I appreciate so much that this piece was not written by a mother, but rather by a 20 something like me. I love children and I love spending time with families of children. I happen to be a kind of live in nanny, and for the past 3 years have had the title “momma#2″. One of my favorite things is when the youngest now 6 runs and leaps into my arms or dances with me. What delight it must bring The Father when we run into his arms!!

  • Today’s reading is hard. Let the children come to me…I’m trying! Yet 14 months later, my husband and I are no closer to being parents. It feels like when family asks us when we are having kids and I smile nonchalantly saying, “oh, eventually” when inside I’m screaming, “we’re trying, ok!” I know God’s timing is perfect, but the monthly disappointment is killing me.

    • Sarah

      Im sorry Ciara, I know that must be hard, my sister is the same boat. May the lord bring you peace and joy in the waiting. Samuel and Asher are coming one way or another. The Lord hears your prayer and laughter is coming!

    • Lynne

      Clara, I am praying that God will give you His strength and His peace as you wait for His perfect timing in starting your family. I am also praying that God will help you to continue to be gracious with those well-meaning (but rude) people who keep asking those hurtful questions about when you are going to have a baby.

    • Nads

      I’m praying for you Ciara and all those who ache for a big belly as a new life grows inside them. I honestly believe it is built into us as women — I’ve had times when I thought I might be pregnant and was not welcoming it at that time but, then STILL, there is an innate sinking feeling when you find out you’re not pregnant at all.

      I pray for each person’s journey and for God to REALLY clarify if and HOW we are meant to live out “Let the little children come to me” in EACH particular season of our lives.

      Lord, where are You leading today?! Next step of fertility treatment? Taking a break from it to nurture marriage? Pursuing adoption of broken and/or international kids? Babysitting for a friend so she can get her bearings? Fostering? Serving in a shelter? Volunteering with kids?

      And/or is it simply being surrounded by little kids to remember what that pure, often uncomplicated view of Your love can look like…to see what it means to accept the kingdom as one of these?

    • Renee

      Praying for you!

  • What stood out in particular for me was the verse about not provoking your children to anger. I have 4 littles ages 4 yrs – 6 weeks. They are sweet and loving kids, generally pretty well behaved, but most of the time it seems as there is not much ‘room’ left to make. So when something does go wrong or start to get too whiny, too tires, too worked up, my default seems to be exactly that – provoking anger. If someone bumps their head because they are wildly protesting sharing a toy, it goes to ‘you see?’ ‘i told you so’ ‘that’s what you get..’ instead of gentleness and caring. It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment with my own feelings instead of bringing it down to instruction and discipline (training), especially around one’s own children. I have lately been convicted of not practicing the fruit of the Spirit with my kids. The obvious ones like love and patience and faithfulness sure, but things like kindness, gentleness, joy, peace, tend to be pushed aside for the sake of order. Much prayer would be appreciated as we navigate this season.

    • Allison Antoine

      I totally agree with you (and you are my hero for having 4 kids 4 and under!). I felt the same way with my children- and still do many times- but God has done a great work in me. It hasn’t been without a little burning the chaff in my own heart, but I am eager for my children to see God’s work in me, too. It is hardest when we are tired and this season is so physically tiring! I am praying for you, fellow mother! :)

    • Whitney

      I am praying for you right now, as I can identify with your anger well with my three kids and have spent lots of time struggling against my tendencies toward it.
      If you are open to advice, I would try seeking more time with the Lord to fill you up and speak identity over you—daughter, beloved, brave, strong, kind, earnest—and really ask Him to let you feel His love. You are assaulted all day (and night!) with others’ needs, and you cannot serve well from an empty vessel! Is there anything at all that you can cut from your agenda to steal a few minutes with Him in your day? Hide in the bathroom and take deep breaths and meditate on a Scripture that is encouraging? Wake up 5 minutes early and ask Him to fill your day with His mercy? I’ve been taking my kids to the gym so they can play in childcare and I can listen to a podcast and work out when I can. Also setting a daily rhythm with some “independent time” for the kids has been helpful. I realized I don’t have to be available to them every minute to play and create and manifest entertainment; I do much better when I have time throughout the day to be fed and get things done around the house, and then I can use certain times to really pour into them and make it quality time. Pray for your kids’ hearts to be soft too. You are in a hard season and the Lord will sustain you, sister! Make room for Him.

      • Amy

        Whitney – great suggestions! Definitely going to try those out!

      • Leslie

        Thank you Whitney, I used to have loong times with God, pre-college, pre-marriage, pre-babies… but it had been a while since I had specifically tried to make time for my own filling up. On God and in me-time. Exactly for the reasons you expressed is why I have been trying to find a method to meditate that works for me (i.e. I actually could manage to stick with). I was so excited to try this study, I just discovered SRT on day 2, so far haven’t missed! Nursing ths baby and reading the Word in wee hours of the morning! thank you for the encouragement and prayers!

  • Churchmouse

    Being a mom requires a large dose of bravery. We agree to a lifetime of uncertainty and unpredictability. And a love that is so fierce that we would take on an army single handedly if you threaten our little ones. We don’t really know in advance what kind of gift we’re receiving – an “easy” one or a hanging from the chandelier one. And yet we’re willing to give it a go. Yes. Bravery. Thank God we have a strong and wise Father to lean on! Thank God there are bands of moms who share their stories and encourage us and cry with us and pray hard with us. Oh but brave one, you must be willing to reach out and let those other moms know you are in need. The bravery required is not to be a solitary one. The journey of motherhood is hard and long and filed with more unexpected joys than you can imagine. But do not try to travel that road alone. The enemy watches for the lone mama – she is most vulnerable when she is away from the pack. Link arms with other mamas and you will be formidable! Link hardest to your Father who entrusted these little ones to you because He knows you are the best to raise them. Above all others, He chose you for them. And those He calls, He equips. You are the brave one. Do not lose heart. Do not grow weary. Cry out to your Father and to your fellow brave ones. You can do this. You are His one for them. They are your noble and worthy cause. I’m praying for you and with you.

    • Lauren

      Thank you so much for this encouragement!

    • Anavi

      Thank you so much for this encouragement. I have two little ones 4 yrs old and 2 years old. My hubby is in the military and we are often on the move or i have to act as both mom and dad for my kids when hubby is away. It’s hard to find a community of moms I can be part of when we are always moving. Often times I feel like that lone mother.

    • valerie

      you are so right! i have had an “easy” one, one “hanging from the chandelier” and two in between. my youngest two are teenagers and my older two are married with their own children. i hate to admit it but parenting teenagers has been more difficult than had i ever imagined. i am clinging to your words of encouragement and would be ever so grateful for your prayers.

  • I am a fourth grade teacher. So of course I love reading scripture like the ones in our study today. I love my “babies” so much and pray every day to have the opportunity to teach them something new about Jesus. My struggle is at church. I’ve been the children’s director at my church for years now. Until I met the man who is now my new husband I never thought twice about this job. I felt so sure that this is where God intended for me to serve. After all, I’m trained to teach these children, shouldn’t I be doing it for God too. Now, however, I find myself just longing to be able to be in church with my husband. I feel like I need spend more time with him. I find myself being frustrated and constantly saying that I’m with kids all day every day and I just want a break on the weekend. I so want to quit my job at church but I feel so guilty not using my skills to serve God. I feel like I’m closing out and making less room for his precious children. Please pray for me, that God will show me where I need to be in this stage of my life. I love children and I want to be used by God to lead them, but I feel so overwhelmed by it right now.

    • Kristine L

      I’m also a teacher and so also, naturally, am asked to volunteer for our children’s ministry at church. It reached a point where I was too burned out to continue, my heart wasn’t in the right place to do it. But after a break, God once again filled my heart with the ability to serve (willingly and cheerfully!) Perhaps consider this just a sabbatical. God can always lead you back. Don’t feel like taking some time to renew is in any way turning your back on God’s children.

    • Brandi

      There are so many ways you can serve and support the children in your church – it doesn’t mean all or nothing to want to worship with your husband. =) And, you may be surprised to see who God has called to fill that gap and who has had it on their heart to lead or become more involved with the children’s group, but has maybe felt that you had it covered. It’s a tough decision for sure, but choosing to be by your husband’s side while still continuing to serve in other ways doesn’t seem like one that would disappoint God. Praying for you!

      • Cindy

        Linsey,
        3 things:
        A marriage needs to be nurtured by simply spending time together.

        English Standard Version
        “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.( Deut 24:5).
        As long as you fill the hole of children’s church leader no one will see or know there is a need. No one else is given the opportunity to move on THEIR gifting for leadership of children. No one will ask God if it is them who should step up and take the reins.
        I’m married almost 30 years and have led or been part of our church worship team almost all those years. Until there is no bass player standing there covering that part, none of us realize that there is a need for one and God has always supplied within a few weeks multiple people who step up who none of us previously knew could or would play bass. God has always supplied. It is His church – even our small rural one.

    • Allison

      Totally agree with Kristen. Taking a little sabbatical could be good for you. And, honestly, if your heart is not in it, you can’t truly be a blessing by being there anyway. Pray for the right person to step in in your stead, and take a step back to worship and recharge yourself. If you aren’t careful bitterness and resentment will creep in, and kids can sense that. It could really be a blessing of refreshment for all for you to take a break.

    • Alexis

      Hi Linsey,
      In my full time job I work with kids too and was asked to serve in the children’s ministry. I tried it, had no peace about being there. I felt guiltly feeling this way and should want to serve in my church in this manner because I work with kids. I realized that it was not where I was meant to be and that I serve God best with my kids through work. God opened up another opportunity for me to serve at my church, and that is holding a bible study in my home. At first I was hesitant…but now I LOVE it! It is the perfect fit for me and I have been holding them at my house for about a year. With all that being said, maybe the feelings you are having now are God’s way of telling you to close the door on the children’s ministry so he can provide you with a new chance to serve him. Or maybe as some of the other ladies have suggested, he is coaxing you to take a break so you may be renewed. Praying that you have peace with whatever decision you make. <3

    • Savannah Brooke

      There is a season for everything. Maybe it’s time to move into a new season of life and you need to create space for your husband. Perhaps there is another way you can serve others that will challenge you and cause you to grow more than this current position–perhaps God is leading you there. No guilt, no shame–if it is God leading you, you will be in the right place!

    • Melinda

      When I retired from my job and found a new church family, whom I LOVE, I was immediately bombarded with requests to volunteer for positions that pertained to my job. The last thing I wanted to do was keep “working” so, after much prayer, I declined and I’ve never been so glad. Because, I joined groups and did things out of my comfort zone which stretched me and my faith in a way the Lord had for me. Take the break! Praying for you:)

  • Gema, what you are going through is actually totally normal as you transition from one phase of your life to your new phase. I struggled with the same things and I have found comfort in God and daily time spent with the Bible. You should go to mops.org to see if you have a mops (mothers of preschoolers) group in your area – it has been such a blessing in my life. Praying for you!

  • I teach high school, so I am with children all day. They’re big children, but they’re still children, which I sometimes forget. I guess because most of them are as big as I am I expect them to act like adults. However, many times they act more immature than kindergartners. Someone told me one time that life is chaotic and being with teenagers is like chaos on crack. All of that to say, these words this morning reminded me that while I may have already raised my children I have a responsibility to be a part of raising these kiddos. Many of them have parents who have decided that now that their kids are in high school their job is done. But, it’s not. More and more I have seen my role as a teacher change into being a parent – loving them, listening to their problems, checking on them when they’re not at school, helping them apply to college. The list goes on.
    My prayer is that the Lord will help me to remember that they are still children and that they are precious to Him. I want to see my students as my children with a responsibility to not only teach them art but to teach them about Him. What an awesome privilege He has given me!

    • mfancher

      I teach middle school and have struggled to love one particular student this year and thus reminded me he is just another child who probably needs love more than ever… I’m glad I’m not the only teacher who needed this reminder

  • This has been really hard for me lately. Almost all my friends have children or are pregnant right now, and my husband and I don’t. It hasn’t been the right time for us yet, but I struggle so much with being excited for my friends. I love their kids too, but this waiting time seems to only increase.

    I really need God’s grace to make room for these children, and perhaps their mothers even more!

    • Lauren

      April, you should know that your friends with kids envy you just as much sometimes – as a mom of 2 little ones and most of my friends have little ones right now too – we often talk about even how the most mundane things are easier to do without kids (I’m talking errands to the post office!). My point is relish your freedom while you have it (take long baths, get pedicures, get coffee by yourself, go on vacation with your husband and not pack the entire house with you) And then when your time comes, relish those sweet little faces that grow so quickly. Praying for you.

      • Claire

        Lauren — as kind and heartfelt as your response is, I want to push back against this kind of thing because it can be so hurtful to people who are experiencing infertility. To people who are in the midst of such great longing… these “freedoms” feel like really sad consolation prizes after a while. All that to say, there’s no shame in what you shared. I just know that people have said things like this to me in the past — and it feels less like comfort and more like barbed wire. No matter if we have children or not, today’s post calls us to cherish them. If they’re our own. If they’re someone else’s. No matter where we are in the journey. Let the little children come.

      • Megan

        Thank you for that insight, Claire. I risky get where Lauren was coming from, and was bidding my head in agreement add I read it. I also do think it’s wise to look for the “hidden blessings,” however small, in the great sadnesses of our lives. That said, my heart breaks for victims of infertility! I think I feel “survivor’s guilt” or something, in addition to normal compassion. I do try to be considerate when speaking publicly about motherhood, so this is valuable insight.

      • Megan

        *really, not risky

    • Allie Smith

      April, I have a friend who is going through the same thing, and knowing her story so closely, my heart goes out to you. That is such a hard season and hard to trust the Lord. Hard when friends ask you to babysit because you don’t have kids, yet you want a family so badly. I will be praying for you and your husband as I pray for my friend now.

  • Gema Muniz

    Making room for children… this resonates so much with me right now. Im the mother of a soon to be two year old and it seems like no matter how much you try to prepare for children is never easy. Having my son has had an impact in my finances, my career, and even my marriage. For some reason I have found myself struggling with all the changes that come with motherhood, so I find myself constantly coming to the father seeking guidance and strength. I still havent seemed to figure out this whole motherhood thing, but I place my faith in God that he can take my imperfections and use it for his glory. I pray for God to allow me to show my son how to be a God fearing young man even when I feel incapable. For him to place everything in my house in order and to always poor his grace over us. Please pray for me and my family sisters. Im just going through a rough time right now with a lot of uncertainty and is really affecting my marriage. God bless you all.

    • Dana

      Praying for you. For His wisdom, patience and perseverance. I also pray you have, or can find, a community of other moms/parents to be around so that you know you are not alone. Peace be with you!

    • Tina

      Praying for you Gema….God is with you… remember, there is no handbook to parenting, the greatest requirement is love, wisdom, grace….all other requirements will follow by Gods grace.
      Praying for all the other stuff that is uncertain right now, and asking God to walk with you in a tangible way si you know He is with you through it….
      Sending you love across the pond dear sister…x

    • Victoria

      Gema, I’m literally going through the same thing, so know that you are not alone. I pray peace, wisdom, love, and guidance over you and your family.

    • Debi Hassler

      Gema, I echo what Lauren above said, please find a MOPS group (mother of preschoolers) in your area to join. I am a mentor mom for our church’s MOPs group (which actually meets this morning) and you’ll find a group of women who will come around you, support you, and love you as you experience this beautifully hard gift that is motherhood. Go to http://www.mops.org and click on the “find a group” box. Let me know if you need any help. I’m praying for you!

      • Gema Muniz

        Thank you so much for this resource, I have been looking for a christian moms group for a while. I feel so blessed today, thank you again.

    • Laramie

      I’m praying, Gema! You are not alone! As a mom of three precious boys, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done! I know I fail daily and am continuously asking the Lord for His grace and forgiveness! It’s okay to be inadequate, when we are weak, He is strong. 2Cor 4:7-18 & 12:8-10 are specific verses God has given me to help me through. I am lifting you and your sweet family up in prayer and I’m praying the lord surrounds you with supportive and encouraging women so you know you’re not alone!

    • Mari

      I will Pray for you Gema. I know first hand about hand about uncer

    • Mari

      Oops, sorry about that Gema. I was interrupted briefly as my son is heading out the door for school. Yep very early this morning. Just know that I am praying for you and I know firsthand about uncertainties. I’m thankful for this group of ladies that I know are praying. You are in my prayers.

    • Gema Muniz

      Thank you ladies for all your prayers, and for taking the time to write back you have no idea how much of a blessing you are to me.

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