My Personal Experience
“Where is your faith?”
His words were loud. In order to be heard over my fear they had to be. This man, a great father-figure, an amazing example of faith, was challenging me.
A stark figure standing before me, he was a solid force. Comfort was not being offered, a choice was. Had I been shaken by my shoulders, a stronger effect wouldn’t have been created.
Recently and unexpectedly homeless, my marriage unpredictably shattering, my two little daughters and I had been offered shelter by this wonderful Christian couple. But things had taken a new turn for the worse. Though it hadn’t seemed possible, the inherent need to protect and raise my children as I’d always expected was beyond my grasp, and it was crushing me.
A tug at my pant leg turned my attention from my host to the sweet eyes of my oldest child. My heart hurt unbearably. I was failing her.
A mess of fear and struggle was all spilling out through frustrated tears. The life I was tasked with was in a shambles, and I was at a loss. Or was I?
Faith vs. Frustration
Where is your faith?
It’s a strong question that needs to be asked often in life. This query, deep and searching, encourages us to turn our attention away from our situations and toward God.
In those days, this challenge pulled my focus up out of the darkness caused by overwhelming fear and set me back into God’s Kingdom. Here I found solace, sensed inexplicable peace, and felt a heavy weight lift.
In this place of freedom, I saw clearer that I was not the one in control. I never really was. The role I thought I was to play as wife and mother hadn’t been possible, because they’d come from my own intentions, not God’s.
It was a tough revelation, but it’s one that has led to greater faith. In Jeremiah 33:3 (HCSB), God encourages us to: “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.”
God is the One in control. He knows all. And the choice we mothers have is whether or not to trust Him and His will for us and the children He commends to us.
Lessons, Not Perfection, Are Important For Children
When the paths we’ve envisioned for our children fail to manifest, we struggle with feelings of loss and failure. But how we respond is important. There’s no peace for us or our children when all our attention is on the circumstances.
Easily angered, we project expectations onto them and strive harder for control. With such reactions, we become less effective as mothers and as children of God. The chaos we exhibit indicates we’re not resting in His Kingdom where we’re meant to be.
Rather than exerting all our efforts into making perfect lives for our children, we could instead stand on faith when things go awry, firm in the belief that God has a plan beyond our understanding. Though doing so may not appear to fix difficult circumstances, it’s far more valuable. Not only does it give the situation to God, such trust ushers in a sense of calm that ministers to our children.
You see, life is ever-changing. Our children’s lives will be no different. Good and bad each take their turns before stepping aside, prompting difficult adjustment.
Happy times might give way to disappointment. Hurtful people can hinder advances. And memorable milestones sometimes mix with inescapable loss. Change is relentless.
God, Steady and Constant
However, as noted in James 1:2-3 (HCSB), “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Lessons encouraging faith are important, for us as well as our children, and they abound amidst change.
We can experience a much needed constant during the uncontrollable transitions we face. At every turn, sink into the Lord. Sense His peace, even in the chaos, and emanate it.
We can and should let go of worry and embrace simply being in the presence of God. When Christ is at the center of who we are, we can be that constant, the calm that observes the whirlwind which encircles, rather than crumbling to its force.
Per John 7:38 (HCSB), “The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” By letting God’s presence fill us to overflowing, we become the conduit for His light to radiate outward.
That example of faith, perhaps even a confusing calm, is of greater impact on our children than all the good-intentioned grasps at control.
Transition Steps: From Chaos to Peace
When you find yourself struggling, try the following steps:
- Acknowledge Your Position
- Acknowledge original expectations: your child’s future, grades, friends, etc.
- Choose to let the picture in your mind go.
- Recognize and allow yourself to accept this loss.
- Pay Attention to Where Your Focus Is
- Note the circumstances, but don’t stay there.
- Acknowledge that you see from an earthly point of view.
- Recognize whose situation you’re facing so you know how to pray:
- Is this something you’re experiencing that’s impacting your child? or
- Is this something your child is facing, not related to you?
- Purposely Change Your Focus.
- Choose to stop examining the situation and look to God.
- Fill your mind with the Lord. This act gives Him your situation.
- Pray. Share your sense of loss or frustration with Him by talking with, crying to, or even yelling at Him.
- Allow God’s Peace In
- You stir the Holy Spirit when you’re focused on God.
- By way of the Holy Spirit, all of God’s qualities, including peace, fill you.
- Accept His peace, even when circumstances seem tough.
- It’s okay to be okay when times are not.
- Let the Peace of God Show
- Don’t worry
- Be free
- Let it flow, let it show!
Mothers: Examples to Children
When our children face the many difficulties that life introduces them to, it would be most important that they know Who to turn to and Who to lean on. God is the only One who can help them truly endure. It’s His power that’ll help them thrive, even in the midst of chaos.
A deep and intimate relationship with God strengthens faith. It’s through this connection that our children will learn from all that He allows and become who they’re meant to be… His children. It’s a trust in God that, when called upon, will draw them above any circumstances.
Mothers are in the perfect position to offer a great example. Step on that rock. Stand tall and look at God. Talk to Jesus. Feel the security and strength found there. Sense the force within.
Now, let me ask you, fellow mothers, where is your faith?
For further encouragement, read my blog, There’s A River. Feel free to reach out for more direct encouragement. Life is tough, but God is mighty. We all need a reminder, on occasion, to turn our eyes back toward Him.