I’m tired but I’m not giving up


If you drove through the Panera parking lot at around noon today in Surprise you may have seen a puffy-eyed, blonde woman in a silver Edge, teetering on the edge of a full-fledged meltdown. I don’t mean like violent crazy meltdown.  I mean sobbing and bawling like a two year old who just got placed in a stranger’s arms for daycare meltdown.

That woman’s tears were streaming down her face because she heard that familiar voice of discouragement saying, “What’s the point of even trying.  They aren’t listening.”  And she felt the pressure of the burning desire for her sons to not fight against her on everything. Especially not when she’s trying to teach them God’s ways.  But the mileau of tension that is the our house seems to foster the growth of constant resistance and questioning.  Not really even questioning. If what I got back from the boys when we read the Bible was a discussion that involved doubts, question, confessions of unbelief, etc. I could handle that.  I have all those things.  But when I get mocking, and eye-rolling, and mumbling, and then a barking response of, “This only applies if you actually believe there is a God anyway!!!” it’s enough to make a mom trying to do her best to point her kids the right way break down.  Days like today feel like I’m trying to plant a garden in hardened, cracked soil.  I need God’s rain on hard hearts.

It’s late now. And I’ve recovered.  I’m in a hotel room with my boys tonight because the power is out at our house.  My husband has had the power shut off since this morning to do something with the electrical box outside.  We decided to get a room for the night for hot showers and light. Both my sons are too big to fit on one queen-sized bed.  Since before they were born I’ve been praying for them.  When each of them were growing in my womb I wrote scripture that Spirit impressed on my heart was sort of a theme for their life.  From the time they were born I sang hymns and read aloud to them from the Bible. When they were learning about their A,B,C’s and colors and shapes I was teaching them about the love of God and telling them stories about Jesus.  And they soaked it up.  But in the span of the past 10 years they’ve been twice through the stress of their parents being separated and nearly divorcing.  And they’ve seen and heard the pop cultures theme for them: do whatever makes you feel good.  And have compared it with their mom’s theme for them: follow Jesus.  You need him.  And now they don’t just soak it in.  They doubt.  And question.  And mock.  And I’m tired.

But by the daily grace of God, new mercies every morning.  I won’t quit.

And I’ll trust that whatever pushback I get now is not the end of the matter for my sons.  It’s no mistake that God gave them a mom who loves Jesus.  And it’s not in vain that I speak into their lives the truth and give up my life to love them.

‘Therefore, my beloved {moms}, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. ‘ 1 Corinthians 15:58


  1. Pearl says:

    By the grace of God, your prayers and efforts will not be in vain. Hang in there and keep doing the right thing.

  2. Anne T. says:

    You are not alone, Mama. I found your blog via the Desiring God FB page. They posted your article today about an unbelieving husband. I am 12 years into my walk with the Lord, and my husband is still an unbeliever. I also have 3 teenage daughters at home, and struggle with them like you struggle with your sons. Right now is an especially hard time as my oldest at home (17yo), who made a public profession of faith at 13, is now denying it and giving in to SSA. I’ve been shedding a lot of tears these last couple of months, and am so very weary. But, you’re right. We must keep on keeping on, and rest in Him alone. My pastor is preaching through Romans right now, and it has been so very helpful to me to hear the assurances from Scripture that I am not alone and that I am not responsible for my husband’s or daughters’ hearts. No matter how much I fail, the problem lies in their hearts, not my failures. May God continue to strengthen you as you seek to follow Him and teach your sons truth.

  3. simpsonmm says:

    This made me think of my pregnancy which was just up until two months ago! It’s sobering to hear that the ways of the world are so influential but that’s why it is ever so important to press in to the faith and press on in life!!!!!

  4. Ibukun says:

    Amen, sis! Forward march!

  5. Carrie Cheecham says:

    Beautiful sister I love what you’re writing about because God puts wise women in our paths that tell us our own story’s ! But with encouragement and prayer! I love it. I’m glad I found you today on desiring God 🙂

  6. Kari says:

    I can say to give hope in your efforts that I was raised in a Christian home with grandparents so Godly I’ve yet to know anyone more Godly….And yet I’ve lost my faith and went on my own. Seeking answers from everything but the Bible and God. But it’s been as of late that all I’d seen and learned from my mother and grandparents that I’ve remembered where the help and answers are. My grandparents have been gone for over 20 years yet their unwavering faith and Godly ways is what sticks with me…when I’ve needed it most. My mother’s unwavering faith that I have mocked is now the one I come to in request for prayer for me, my on the fence husband and grown children that have been swayed by the current ways of the world. Just keep doing wma your doing….It’s working I promise whether you can see it or not. It is setting an example in their minds that cannot be forgotten.

  7. Ike says:

    Father….take Sheila’s family and give them to your Son. You and only you can raise a dead sinner to life…..you love them more than any one…..it is not your will that any one should perish. Father….we throw rocks at your door for out loved ones…..we trust them in your sovereign care and ask these thing in the name of your precious Son the Lord Jesus Christ…amen.

  8. Beverly says:

    Thank you thank you. You story was such a comfort to me today.

  9. Jessie Latimer says:

    Thank you Sheila. You have helped me to ask my husband for forgiveness after a flare-up over Christianity last evening. He is an unbeliever and is highly influenced by the Liberal agenda that teaches that the Bible is not true, Jesus was just a good person and whatever is right in your own mind is what is right and good. Sadly, he goes to a “church” that supports the above. It was such a relief to me to know I am not alone in my struggles.

  10. Sue says:

    Praise God for you, Sheila, your faithfulness, your testimony, your blog of encouragement!

  11. Sheila Dougal says:

    I’m glad you are encouraged Sue! Life is very hard. But God is very very good!

  12. Sheila Dougal says:

    Oh Jessie! I feel your pain. It’s a very hard place to be. One thing that always gets me is remembering that the way Christ leads me in this marriage is also the way he would lead me in any ministry to a person or people group who don’t believe the gospel. The only difference being that my ministry to my husband is not characterized by words or arguing, but by doing the good Christ leads me to do, unashamedly following him and standing for what’s right even when my husband is opposed to me. Praying for you and your husband! You are most definitely not alone. Keep your eyes on Jesus!

  13. Sheila Dougal says:

    Amen! Thank you Ike!

  14. Sheila Dougal says:

    Wow Kari! Thank you! Thank you so much for sharing some of your story with me! It’s so easy to get discouraged. We need to hear each others stories and be reminded that God is faithful! Thank you!

  15. Sheila Dougal says:

    Thank you Carrie! So true! Over the years God has put many women in my path over the years who’ve encouraged me. So thankful!

  16. Sheila Dougal says:

    Yes! I do grow weary in doing good, but when I find myself weary. But when I take my weary self to God in prayer I’m always reminded of verses like the one in 1 Corinthians that encourage me to keep pressing on in faith, doing what God calls me to do.

  17. Sheila Dougal says:

    Wow Anne! Thank you for sharing some of your story with me. I think what’s so heartbreaking and hard for me is the immense desire to see my kids (and husband) in relationship with Jesus combined with the feeling of total helplessness to make that happen. This causes me to fall in dependence on the sovereign goodness of our God. And that is a very good place to be. I will not stop praying and speaking the truth in love into the lives of my sons. And by God’s grace I’ll press on!

  18. Sheila Dougal says:

    Thank you Pearl!

  19. Marissa says:

    Sheila, wow. I can feel your pain through your words. I can’t say I know what you’re going through, but I know what it’s like to struggle and suffer in this life just like we all do. I want you to know I am thinking of you and praying for you. I whole-heartedly believe God will use this for good. I found you on Desiring God and I’m so happy I did. God bless you and keep staying strong in Jesus.

  20. tonyroberts says:

    Sheila, I pray that God will soon answer your poignant, persistent pleas and show you and your family the Way through these dark days.

  21. JSB says:

    I found you for the first time on Desiring God just last week. It came on a day I wanted to throw in the towel. I read the article to my mom who said, “It sounds like your life. Like you wrote it.” I’ve been married for 28 years but the last 13 have been the worse part of the marriage vows. Adultery, abandonment, financial chaos, 7 years of separation, etc. All along God has called me to show unconditional love, forgiveness, and kindness. He moved back 5 years ago. He is an angry, bitter, insecure unbeliever and it’s exhausting (as you well know) to continue to walk this path. The ONLY way I have survived is by God’s grace, mercy and empowerment. I have a small flicker of hope that God has a plan and that He will restore the years the locust have decimated our family. I also have two sons and totally understand your fears and concerns. All that I know is that God brought this article into my life when I most needed it. Thank you for your transparency. God bless.

  22. Sheila Dougal says:

    JSB, I’ve certainly felt the “throw in the tool” feeling many times. I’m praying for you and your husband. I’m trusting that as we follow Jesus ourselves, whether we get to keep our marriages or not, God will finish the work he started in us. He will purify our faith and intensify our love of Jesus and He will produce fruit out of our lives. It’s not in vain! Praying for you!

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