Bidding moms of young children to rest in the power of Christ

My sons are now sixteen and eighteen, but the days of bending over to care for their needs seems like it was just yesterday.

The years I spent investing my life in theirs felt like a mix of chaos, cherished moments and sheer exhaustion at the time. My mothering isn’t over, it’s just entered another stage, but those early years I needed to hear the messages Liz tenderly delivers in her first book, The End of Me: Finding Resurrection Life in the Daily Sacrifices of Motherhood. 

When my oldest was a toddler and I was carrying around his newborn little brother a woman whose children were grown saw me looking tired one day at church. She pulled me aside and told me to go take a nap. I felt like a failure. I had plans for what I would do with my toddler. I’d teach him to identify colors, read him stories and sing Jesus Loves Me with him. But instead I was exhausted from the screams of my newborn and the tantrum throwing of my toddler. This woman I looked up to didn’t give me a do-better speech, she took my kids and told me to rest. 

Liz’s book calls moms who feel like they’re failing because they’re tired and don’t have the ideal circumstances they imagined, to let their pride, ideals and expectations die. And instead receive the rest and life that comes from trusting in the resurrected Christ to be enough for our mothering. 

Like the older woman who took me aside when my kids were little and bid me to die for an hour in a room with a pillow, Liz calls moms of young children to learn from Jesus and embrace the rest we find in him. 

Young moms need this message. We need each other in the church to help us raise our kids and to help us see our need for Jesus. Liz’s book serves young mothers of the Church well in giving a primer on what dependence upon the power of Christ, not ourselves, looks like in motherhood. 

Liz’s writing is clear and full of scripture. The End of Me is easy to read, and gives young moms who may have very little down time to read a book, a helpful and encouraging message in short chapters with room to reflect at the end of each chapter. 

As a leader in my church’s ministry to children and parents, I plan to give this book to new moms. If you are a mom to young children, or you know a mom of young children, get this book. The End of Me is a welcome word of truth and hope to weary young moms. 

Ashes, ashes

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

When my thoughts go to your younger years and I hear your deep voice cursing the time, my eyes fill with hot tears and I wonder if singing Jesus Loves Me with you as a toddler was enough.

I lit a fire this New Year and watched the hot embers fly high and burn out fast and fall cold and faltering to the ground and felt my mothering was the same.

A seed may die and defiantly sprout up to new life and grow a tree. But ashes, ashes, they just fall. Hot for a moment and that’s all.

I have no hope for these burned out years unless ashes can be traded. But who does that?

I don’t know how, but here I offer all my ashes. Will you take them Resurrected? Will you make them a crown?

A weight of glory

This morning before I headed out the door for work, when you were about to jump in your truck and drive to school, I looked up at your face anxious about what you don’t want to face, curious about what you won’t say until it’s too late and then you’ll want to find a way to make space for a debate-

and I grabbed your green eyes with my teary ones and laid a mantle on you like a weighted blanket. The kind they use for overstimulated senses. And I said,

“Son, you can run. You can deflect and avoid reflecting on the truth, but you were born to know the One who made you curious. You can’t get away. He’ll never stop pursuing you. He wants you.” And you rested.

Your shoulders settled. Your eyes relaxed. Your fingers stopped. And I stopped too. Stopped worrying about you for a minute standing under that weight of glory.

The Breakup Phase of Motherhood

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Connor’s baptism day

I’m entering a new phase of parenting. I don’t know what it’s called. But I recently saw a video on a Facebook group for women over 40 that I think may have named it for me. The subtitle of the video from a radio show called Jonsey & Amanda read, “Being the mother of a son is like someone breaking up with you really slowly.” That. That’s what this phase of parenting I’m in should be called: The Breakup Phase.

My sons are (almost) 17 and 15. The 17 year old has his own vehicle and license. The 15 year old is passionate about motor sports and can be found either working on his motocross bike or riding it somewhere in the nearby desert. Both of them have exceeded me in height. Both of them have made it clear they don’t want or need me to hold them, be their caregiver, or watch over them. The nurturer in me has been put on notice. And this is what I signed up for. Heck, this is what my tagline has been since they were two. For as far back as I can remember I’ve been reminding myself I’m raising men, not boys. I’m raising men, who will leave my house, and my side and take to the road with Jesus, I pray.

I was twenty-nine when Connor, my almost 17 year old, was born, and 31 when Ryland was born. I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids, said my doctor. I didn’t ovulate. And my husband didn’t want to have kids at all. So when Connor and Ryland were born, despite the prognosis of my doctor and the wishes of my husband, I felt much like Hannah and prayed:

I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord. – 1 Samuel 1:26-27

I was so thankful for the kids God gave me, and I committed to him that I would not neglect to dedicate them to him. I’d spend my life pointing them to Jesus and when the time came, like Hannah, I would leave them to him.

Leaving your kids to the Lord sounds right, but actually doing it is painful.

Dedicating your kids to the Lord happens in prayer and practical acts of selflessness from the sleepless nights of infancy, through the struggle with the terrible twos and threes, through the years of homework help and self-image confusion and puberty-controlled emotions. And through all those phases of parenting there are actions we take as parents to very intentionally dedicate our kids to Jesus. We, as Paul Tripp said, shepherd our kids’ hearts through discipline and hugs, and self-sacrificing of our sleep, time and resources so they can sense the love of Christ in us, and follow him for themselves.

But then comes a time when putting your kids’ hand into the hand of Jesus means, letting go of their physical hands, of their choices, of their consequences. And this means just as intentionally as you pulled out that children’s Bible when they were three and sang Jesus Loves Me with them, you now intentionally practice at the mind and heart level the prayer and faith that actually hands them over to Jesus.

The thoughts of feeling unwanted and un-needed and the strong urge to grasp for some kind of hold on your kids that might satisfy that need you felt fill with joy when they used to crawl in your lap and put their tender hands on your face and tell you, “I wuv you momma,” cannot win at this stage of parenting. Just like the urge to ignore their need to hear about Jesus when they were three so you could watch Netflix could not dictate your actions then. And when I say you I mean me.

The whole point of raising those men I’m raising (I’m not done yet), is to point them to Jesus. To place their hand in his. To launch them out into the world leaning on him, not me. And it feels like a breakup. But it’s not. It’s a critical stage of leadership, where the leader becomes a leader maker. And it’s that same stage lived out in motherhood when the mother becomes a woman in the life of a man she bore and raised, lifting him up, coming alongside him in the church, as he shepherds the heart of someone else to Jesus.

David and Jonathan shared a deep friendship. But when the time came where they had to part and they knew all kinds of scary things would separate their friendship, the Bible says Jonathan “strengthened” David’s hand in God (1 Samuel 23:15-17). The depth of their friendship wasn’t evidenced by their unrelenting grasp on each other. Their true friendship was evidenced by their desire to see the others’ hand placed in God’s hand, strongly!

It hurts. I’m crying a lot. And I’m sure I’m not doing it all right. But I am praying to the same God who heard Hannah and cared for Samuel, and heard me and has drawn my two teen sons to himself.

Please Lord, I am the woman who prayed and asked you for these children. And you gave them to me. From childhood I have dedicated them to you. They are dedicated to you still. Help me to strengthen their hand in yours. 

 

 

Get up! Lift them up! Take them by the hand!

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Connor’s baptism day

There’s a story in Genesis that grabs me.

Abraham and Sarah used their servant Hagar in their unbelief to get for themselves the child God promised. But when Sarah finally gave birth to the son God had promised, they sent Hagar and her son Ismael away into the desert.

In Genesis 21:8-21, the story goes that Hagar and her son are sent to wander in the desert with, “some food and a skin of water.” Basically they were sent away to die or become slaves to someone else. It’s horrible. But it gets worse.

Hagar and Ishmael run out of their meager provisions. Hagar knows her son can’t survive without food or water. So she puts him under a bush and walks away because she can’t bear watching her son die (verse 16). In the distance, her son out of sight, she slumps to the ground and sobs. And there God meets her.

The Bible says God heard the boy’s cries. And God tells Hagar to get up and hold her son. And he promises he will provide for her son.

I think as parents, and maybe more often as moms, we see our kids in impossible situations, maybe situations we fear will destroy them, and our slow-to-believe hearts can’t bear it.

Many times over the past 16 years of parenting I have succumbed to the belief that my circumstances would surely take my boys down. And in my fear and dread, I backed away from them and even wished I could just disappear so I didn’t have to watch them be destroyed. And every single time, the Holy Spirit did a, “Pull yourself together girl!” with me.

When God met Hagar, he told her to get up and lift up her son and take him by the hand. And that’s what God has told me many times. Even this week.

Moms, dads, when the circumstances in our lives seem certain spiritual or physical death for our kids, don’t turn your head and cave into depression’s lies. Get up! Lift them up! Lift them up in prayer. Lift their literal chin if you can. Take them by the hand and lead them to Jesus.

My boys are the children statistically most unlikely to be believers in Christ. Their dad is not yet a believer in Christ. They have been drug through three separations that almost led to divorce every time. They go to a public school system where they don’t learn Christ. They’ve been hurt by their friends, tempted to drink alcohol, do drugs and live for their own pleasure. And I’m sure they will go through more trials and testings, failures and successes. But just when I feel like I can’t handle watching the pain or confusion or bad choices they are enduring, God is there saying, “Get up Sheila! Lift them up! Take their hand and walk with them through this.”

Don’t give up on God with your kids. Don’t withdraw. Press in. Cry out to God, take your kids by the hand and follow Jesus.

 

A Man You Shall Be

5C1E92D5-8DE8-4762-99F8-0B51186CE842

Son tomorrow you turn thirteen

Lemuel’s mother’s words sting

I know ways that destroy kings

And the man that I’m raising

 

Hot tears in my eyes

Lump in my throat

I plead with the Lord

Another story be wrote

 

I know there’s no keeping you from sin

While still in my womb sin was within

 

But I am your mother

God gave you to me

To raise not a boy

But a man you shall be

 

I am His daughter

Saved by his grace

Granted faith in our Savior

Charged to show you His way

 

So when you’re tempted

And enticed by these three

Flesh’s cravings, Eye’s lusts, Pride’s possessions

I pray you’ll remember your mother’s decree

 

“You are a sinner, you need a Savior, and Jesus is he!”

 

Remember Whose you are!

You’re not your mother’s

Nor your father’s

And you’re not your own

 

You bear the Imago Dei

You were created for him

Not for yourself, your dad or me

 

It is God’s plan

That I raise you to be a man

Fully aware of the dangers ahead

I look to the God of Abraham

 

Though his body was good as dead

He believed God

Who always does what He says

He who was able to produce life out of old Sarah

Is able to produce fruit out of his daughter’s labor

 

He is faithful to generations of those who love Him

He who made you my son

Is able to keep

You, who He has entrusted to me

 

Seek him while you are young son

And don’t waste your life

Remember your mom’s faith

And put your hope in Christ!

Rally cry for parents on the day before school starts and the day after 2 mass shootings

DSF-ColoradoSchoolShootingHonestly, I don’t want to send them. I want to hide them in a bubble of safety and happiness. But I have no such magic powers.

I do have the King of heaven’s attention though. He hears me. I know he does. And he promises to not abandon me or my kids. So, in this violent culture, on the day before I’ll send my two sons to high school, I have a burden for the King of heaven’s armies to hear my cries for my kids and my friends’ kids.

Yesterday a group of youth were in my backyard making the most fun they could out of the heat with sprinklers, a tarp, dish soap and a nine-square frame. As they were leaving I said, “I’ll be thinking of you all this week,” and I meant it. I remember being 14, 15, 16 and 17. Those years were the curb in the road that changed the direction of the rest of my life. Those were the years I was most confused. Those were the years I lost a friend to suicide and took a bunch of pills to try and sleep away the pain. Those were the years I tried to fit in by being different. Those were the years Jesus found me and named me and made me brave. The boys and girls who walked out my door yesterday will face all kinds of hard things in the years ahead. A mass shooting could be one of them. Lord, please keep them!

Moms and dads, you and I don’t have any magic powers to keep our kids from walking into a place where a mass shooter or any other evil might show up. We don’t even have the power to keep the evil of a demeaning lash at our kids from creeping out of our own hearts onto our tongues. We desperately need a hope bigger than the control we think we have or want to have in our kids’ lives. Join me today in committing to doing these three things. Not because they are part of the formula that’s sure to produce a safe, happy and godly child. But because the God who gave his son over to death to save us, calls us to take up our cross and follow him. Death will not win when we take the road that follows Jesus through death to resurrection.

Don’t hide the Jesus that died for your sin and the sin of your children from your kids!  

I don’t know the circumstances around the writing of Psalm 78, but the writer calls the reader to remember all God has done for them despite their faithlessness. He reminds the reader that God has commanded his people not to hide the hope we have in God from the next generation.

Moms and dads, our kids are not going to hear the hope their souls long for in the world. They need us to tell them!

I think so many times we as parents fail to have frank conversations with our kids about Jesus because we are trying to create some ideal family devotion time. And for many of us, that ideal situation is never going to happen. I know in my home we don’t do family devotions. And sometimes I realize I haven’t mentioned Jesus or what he’s doing in my life, or a truth I’ve read in my Bible, to them for days! There’s something very spiritual-battle-ish about calling your kids to put down their screens, or stop for just a few minutes from whatever habits have taken over our lives, to look them in the eyes and say, “I want to talk to you about Jesus.”  I know the first time I did this I got some mocking and eye-rolling and deep sighs. Push through it. Don’t let their faces keep you from telling them the truth. Don’t hide the gospel from your kids just because they make funny faces.  They need to hear about their only hope- Jesus.

Listen to Them Tell You About Things That Seem Silly

I wonder if when Jesus picked up those kids the disciples were trying to keep away from him, they shoved some handmade toy they were playing with in Jesus’ face. I wonder if they wanted to play with his beard. I bet they did and I bet he listened and let them. I’m sure he didn’t say, “Go away kids! I’ve got important things to do.”

My sons talk about their quads and the fishing lures they’re using and the kind of reeds they need for band and the kind of stretches they’re doing for baseball and the cool car they’re driving in a video game. None of those things grab my attention. I’m thinking about bills and plans for work and school and church and groceries and relationships and concerns for friends and family. But as I read somewhere once, if I want my kids to want to listen to me, I must be willing to listen to them. They need to know I care about them where they are. That doesn’t mean I have to throw responsibility to the wind and play video games with them all day long, but it does mean listening to what has them so enthused, they’re willing to tell you about it.

Listen to learn what motivates them. Listen to learn what they’re afraid of. Listen to learn how to pray for them.

Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

If you want to draw the purposes God has for your child out, listen to them. Listen for what God is doing in them. Listen for evil thoughts they may be listening to. Thoughts like, “Nothing matters.” “No one cares.” “Nothing I do makes any difference.” The only way you’ll hear those things and sense those deep waters churning in their hearts is if you take the time to listen to the surface things that seem like no big deal.

Talk About the Hard Things

It drives my kids nuts, but when the thought crosses my mind I’ll randomly ask them, “How are things going with your friends? Are any of them doing drugs? Are you using drugs? What sins are you struggling with? How’s your relationship with God? Do any of your friends worry you? How are you feeling? What are you hoping for? What’s your goal?” I don’t pester them with one question after another. Actually I have. That doesn’t work. Don’t do that. But I don’t refrain from bringing these questions up just because my kids respond with disdain. Pray for wisdom, and ask questions.

You know what can’t grow in the light? Evil. My kids might hate it that I talk with them about sexuality, drugs, alcohol, parties, shootings, violence, sexual abuse, pride, sin and suicide, but I refuse to let the evil of those things do to them what they have done to so many in seclusion. If they face confusion about sexuality, drug use, violence and suicide in their life, I want them to face it armed with some wisdom and truth and the knowledge that none of that will scare me or Jesus away. I want them to know there is hope in Jesus, even when sin has caused so much damage. I want them to know when things seem hopeless, there is hope and if they can’t see it at the time, I’ll see it for them and stand guard until they pass through their shadows.

Parents we can’t control the circumstances our kids are going to face. But we can refuse to be passive in the face of evil. We can stand at the gates of hell with our kids and fight for them on our knees in prayer, and with the truth to their faces, and with open ears and fearless presence. Jesus can redeem anything. We must show our kids Jesus.

 

Mothers: Tell your kids to trust the God of their mother.

boy child childhood happiness
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Yesterday at church my pastor taught through the story in Genesis where Jacob wrestles with “a man.”  Toward the end of the sermon he referred to the passage in Genesis 32: 9-12 where Jacob prays.

And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children. But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude. – Genesis 32:9-12

I’m raising two men. My sons are now sixteen and fourteen and everyday I wake with a burden to see them bend their knee to Jesus. I’ve approached my desire for them to know Jesus from different strategies as a parent, hoping to plant the seeds that only God can make grow. I’ve sung to them, as infants and toddlers, songs and hymns dripping with the doctrine of salvation by faith through grace. I’ve taught them Bible verses and told them Bible stories. I’ve prayed and pleaded with God, pouring out my concerns and intercessions for them. I’ve taken them to church with me and have tried to use every daily life opportunity as a teachable moment or a chance to hear their heart and learn how to pray better for them. I’ve sought God’s wisdom and have asked other parents for their help in knowing what to do in various situations. I’ve read books and blogs and articles. And as the long days and short years have flown by I continue to do the above on repeat.

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but I remember a time when I was praying and struggling to say what was on my heart and I remembered Jochebed, Moses’ mom, who placed him in a water-proof basket and put in him in the river like Pharoah decreed, hoping he would live, and I cried, “God of Jochebed, please save my sons!” It was a powerful moment. I wasn’t conjuring up some proper Christian prayer, I was drawing on the accounts of those who trusted God and acknowledging that I was calling for the help of the same God they trusted in.  It was a turnaround in my prayer life. Since then, I often call on the God of people in the Bibles who trusted God through various circumstances, as well as people in my life I’ve watched trust God when their faith was tested.

This has led to me teaching my sons to do the same. They both have expressed their doubts and questions when we’ve talked about Jesus or the Bible and their need for a savior. And in recent years I’ve found myself saying, “If you can’t believe because of what the Bible says, or what you hear at church, believe because you’ve seen me. Trust in the God of your mother. Look at my life. Look at my faith. And put your hope in the God who continually hears me and gives me hope and wisdom and a faithfulness to love others and turn from sin.”

It isn’t a strange practice, to call new or unsure believers to believe because of the witness of another person. In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he said:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 (emphasis mine).

When Paul was trying to stir up Timothy to courageous faith it’s not only Jesus he draws him to look to, but the faith of his mother and grandmother.  Hebrews 12:1 points back to chapter 11, calling the reader to look at the long history of people before them whose faith helped them endure through suffering an trials.

I am raising my sons in a post-modern, post-Christian culture with an unbelieving husband, who I love. I want to point them to Jesus, but in recent years I realize God would have them look to me to help them trust the Jesus they cannot see.  I’m calling them to follow me as I follow Christ. I’m calling them to look to a cloud of witnesses, including me, and to call on the God of their mother just like Jacob called on the God of his fathers.

It puts a holy fear in me to do this. Not a fear of not being good enough. But a fear of loosing sight of grace and ceasing to point them to Jesus. Asking my kids to trust the God of their mother means I am asking them to trust the God who called a coward like me to repentance and faith in Jesus and has provided for me, rescued me time and time again and is able to help me stand.

My faith has to be real to do this. As Moses wrote, I must love the Lord my God with all my heart, and all that Jesus has commanded must be written on my heart before I can tell my kids to follow the God of their mother (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).

Mothers, we can’t save our sons and daughters. But we can call our kids trust the God who saved us!

Tired mom, don’t give up

group of people reading book sitting on chair
Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

Tonight after a day of high school classes for my sons, and a day of work as a nurse in acute rehab I wanted to veg out, and so did they.  I had homework (only one calss left for my BSN!), they had finished theirs.  By the time I finished my required essay, I was ready to enjoy my glass of wine and do nothing but relax.  My boys wanted to watch the rest of Black Panther and I was tempted to let them.

But in the shower these words came to mind:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, 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 ESV

In a brief exchange of prayer, I argued with the Holy Spirit, Psalm 127 coming to mind, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord , the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalms 127:1,3).  But even as the passage went through my head, I hear the words of Paul, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

“I know you’re tired Sheila. But it’s the very fact that all your labor is in vain unless I build, unless I grant life (even your children’s), that you should labor.  I am building the house.  Your labor is not in vain.”

In a rare exchange of intimate prayer (most of my prayers are more like drowning Peter’s, “Help Lord!”)  I responded, the words of the Psalmist bubbling up in my heart:

Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalms 90:16-17

“Establish the work of my hands Lord!  Establish the work of my hands to impress the gospel upon my children’s hearts!  Establish the work of my hands to be a witness of the good news of Christ to my husband!  Establish the work of my hands!”

I got out of the shower and pulled the Tim Keller book I was planning to return to the library without ever reading out of my bag, “Making Sense of God- An Invitation to the Skeptical.”

“Hey guys,” I called to the two young men of my womb laying on the couch watching Black Panther, “I want to read to you for awhile.”

“Oh mom, come on, really?!  Read what?  I want to watch this…”  they challenged.

My tired body didn’t want to resist. I wanted to give up and go to bed. But the promises of God assured me, any effort I put into impressing the hope of Christ on my kids would not be in vain.

So tonight, we read the intro of Making Sense of God, and had a short discussion.

Tired mom, don’t give up on pressing into raising your children in the nurture and teaching of the gospel of Christ. Work! Your labor is not in vain. God is buildng his house.  May he establish the work of our hands.

 

The Mother of Moses: Preaching my essay to myself this morning

bruno-nascimento-255699-unsplash.jpgThis is the second week of high school for my two fast-becoming-men sons. I dropped them off feeling that familiar threat, “They’re never going to believe you Sheila. They’re never going to love Jesus.”  That voice of accusation, lies and hopelessness that likes to try and tempt me to give up.  Whatever that means.

But today, I remembered Jochebed.  I wrote about her in an essay Morning by Morning published yesterday.  Reading my own words I thought about my voice as a writer.  I sound like a preacher sometimes I think.  It’s mostly cause I’m preaching to myself.  It’s hard for me to step away from the pulpit and let you see my bleeding wounds.  But I’m learning to find the assurance of the body of Christ there. In the vulnerable gatherings of people, online, but even more, in person.

I struggle to not feel hopeless for my kids.  For my husband.  For myself.  Jochebed must have struggled to not give in to hopelessness.  Surely the threat of Egypt on her beautiful newborn son made her wonder if her God really was the living God.  Surely she was tempted to wonder if the stories she heard about Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and the God they put their faith in were true.  But ultimatley she didn’t give in to unbelief.  She didn’t give up Moses to the river or to Pharoah’s daughter’s arms out of hopelessness.  She gave him up in faith.

I gave my boys up in faith.  Again. May the God who preserved Moses in the river and in Pharoah’s house preserve the two beautiful sons he entrusted to me!

You should head over to Morning by Morning and read the touching essays and stories there.  You’ll find encouragement!

Here’s an excerpt of my piece on Jochebed:

Being a Christian mom in the current American culture is daunting. Like Mike Cosper describes in his book, Faith Among the Faithless: Learning From Esther How to Live in a World Gone Made, we find ourselves in an “in-between space” where as Christians, we like Esther have to choose between power and weakness, safety and vulnerability. There is much to be learned from Esther. But as a Christian mom, married to an unbeliever, I find a lesser known character in the Bible inspiring me to walk by faith at such a time as this.

My husband of almost twenty-five years and I do not share a worshipful response to Christ. The strain on our relationship as we pull our yoke two different directions has impacted every person in our family, especially our kids. Raising my sons with a desire for them to know Christ feels threatened daily in our home. And in our politically-correct, pluralistic, secular culture where you can believe whatever you want as long as you don’t believe the exclusive teaching that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, pointing my kids to Jesus is mocked.

And it’s not just the threat on my sons’ minds and hearts that concerns me. Their lives are literally at stake. The suicide rate in the U.S. for teen boys is astounding. The message they’re taught says they’re nothing but randomly formed animals, the result of a hapless passing of millennia. Yet they’re taught they should be moral (whatever that means to them) with no grounds for that morality. In a milieu of endless entertainment, they’re bored and hopeless. The edict of death seems to have been declared on our sons by unseen rulers in our present age.

Read the rest here at Morning by Morning.