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More Letters to a Young Mother

Updated on February 25, 2016
Jesus Loves you, Mom!
Jesus Loves you, Mom! | Source

Almost 30 years ago there was a young mother who kept journals of her days as she struggled to care for a family and grow in her walk with Christ. Every page is filled with the trials that mom faced, financially, spiritually, emotionally and more. And the aged ink reveals a young woman striving to become more like Jesus every day.

Those are my journals, and the story they till is my own. Sometimes as I read those words, I am surprised, and many times I have wished I could tell my former self the things that I know now. These are the thoughts you will find on this page.

This is the second set of entries inspired by those old books. I pray that each word will inspire some young mother to keep going and to trust in Jesus even more.

Devotions You'll Find Below:

  • New Year's Resolutions
  • God is at Work

Who Has Time to Pray?

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 (HCSB)

Pray without ceasing.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)

I was looking through my old journals again today. I came across an entry that said, “I feel kind of bummed all the time. I don’t know why, unless it’s because my prayer life is really lacking right now.” I smiled and told myself, “You were right!”

As a young mom in the early stages of my Christianity, my prayer life was sketchy at best. I prayed every day, but I was still in more the “wish list” phase of my Christian growth. I spent most of my prayer time telling God what I hoped He would do and asking Him to “show me the way.” My prayer time was just that, a time I had set aside for prayer. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with any of that, except that was the full extent of my prayer life.

Thirty years later, I still have days when I’m tired and even a bit “bummed.” However, thanks to my better developed communication system with God, I am able to avoid the long periods that seem void in my life. The truth of the matter is I still don’t feel like a “prayer warrior.” There are a lot of places I know my prayer life could still be better, but here are some things that have changed in the last thirty years that I believe have helped my mental state.

  • My prayer begins the moment I wake up. I start praising Jesus right in my bed.
  • I find myself talking to God all day long about the simplest things. When I see a woodpecker in my yard, I praise Him, and if I pass an accident on the road I pray for those involved.
  • Much more of my prayers are words of praise for my creator than 30 years ago.
  • I am in scripture every single day, sometimes for an hour or more (the luxury of being a grandmother). And as I read, I pray. I personalize the scripture and use it to guide my prayers. I use scripture and a prayer journal during my dedicated prayer time to help me stay focused because I’ve discovered my mind wanders a lot when I pray. It helps me “stay alert” in my prayer.
  • I fall asleep giving God praise. It makes it easier to fall asleep, and it releases all of the stress of the day so I can start fresh the next morning.

Paul knew what he was talking about when he gave that prayer advice to the people of Colosse and Thessalonica. He told them to never quit praying, devote themselves to prayer and make sure it includes thanksgiving. In truth, those are the simple steps that have contributed to my mental health through the years.

I don’t want to leave you today without saying if you are more than just “bummed,” God has gifted some of His people with the talent of counseling. It’s good to reach out for help. So many people, especially women, try to handle mental fatigue and illness alone. You don’t have to! It is not a sign of weakness to find someone who can help, it’s a sign of wisdom. But even while you are seeking the help from the body of Christ, building and developing your own prayer life will help you along the way. Don’t sweat it if tomorrow your prayer life doesn’t look like mine overnight! I’m still working on mine. Just wake up praising tomorrow, and take it one step at a time. Remember that your Father just wants to hear from you.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year

New Year's Resolutions

But grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

Happy New Year! As I look back over my journals from the past thirty-five years, I see a consistent theme over the first twenty-five. Every year on January 1st or 2nd, I would begin writing in my journal more faithfully. By February 1st, the entries would again begin to wane as my busy life took priority over my journal. Plus, the first entry of each year would include the same goals as the previous year, something related to weight loss or health, another related to finances and a third that related to my Christian life. And much like my faithfulness to writing in my journal, it didn’t take long for me to begin to give up on my aspirations.

As a young mother, I wanted to become better every year, but every year I’d end up feeling badly about myself because I had failed again. There was one resolution I’d managed to keep when I was still very young. In 1984 I decided that even if I didn’t deserve to be in church, my young daughter did. So I resolved to be in church at least two out of every four Sundays. Even though I’d probably been known as a “goody-two-shoes” most of my high school life, I’d done some things that I thought were unforgiveable, so I thought I didn’t deserve to be in church. Fortunately, keeping that resolution was the beginning of my new life in Christ. It was just a short time after that I discovered how much Jesus really did love me, and my life changed forever. My ½ time attendance resolution very quickly eased into being there every Sunday. Unfortunately, even though I’d only found one New Year’s resolution I could keep, I continued to write those same pathetic goals in my journal year after year.

It was about 15 years ago that I completely abandoned those tedious New Year’s resolutions and began setting just one goal for myself. The beautiful thing about it is that as I began to actually keep that one goal, I found many other of my life ambitions fell into place. That one resolution was this: That every day I might do something that would help me know Christ more and grow in His grace. And every year I make the same resolution.

The Bible is clear that “with humans it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) So it’s really ridiculous that we keep setting human-like targets for ourselves. It’s as if we want to set ourselves up to fail! So, I encourage you to give up all of the human attempts to make yourself a better person and mother. Spend every day of this year growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Give yourself permission to be in the Word more or start attending a mid-week study group. Get up early and go to a Sunday morning study with your family. Ask your heavenly Father for help. It’s a prayer He would love to honor. Because once our relationship with Christ is on the right track every other aspect of our life will fall into place. Even when it doesn’t go the way we think it should, we’ll have the peace of His Spirit with us because we are resting in His grace.

Nature is a beautiful example of God at Work.
Nature is a beautiful example of God at Work. | Source

God is at Work

For all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.
Romans 8:28

If I was writing a letter to my younger self, I would reassure her that Romans 8:28 is absolutely true. There was so much drama in my twenty-something life. In addition to the regular struggles that married couples deal with, as well as the schedule that accompanies three children, my journal is full of prayers for my brothers and sisters as well as my mom and dad as we went through some extremely troubled times.

Over and over again, as I lamented the problems to those fancy pages, I ended my entry with Romans 8:28. I was never sure how it could work out, but I was ever confident that God would use even those trying times for good. I’ll admit, while reading the dates on those yellowing pages, the “good” didn’t always come quickly, but every single prayer and problem has been solved, forgotten or made better than we could have possibly imagined.

Looking back on those times, I remember wondering how God could make something good out of so many mistakes and hurts. It appeared impossible, but I am encouraged as I read my own words to realize that even when everything seemed dark, when I felt the most hopeless, I always trusted God to be there and see it through. I often wrote that my prayer life wasn’t where I wanted it to be, and my parenting skills always seemed lacking. However, my mustard seed of faith (and that’s about all it was then) stayed firmly planted.

My prayer for you as a young mother is that even when everything seems impossible, when your days are dark, and every circumstance appears to be going the wrong way, you’ll never forget that you are loved by God. May you always hold firm to the fact that the Creator is bigger than all the problems and time is not a factor in the Kingdom of God. I also hope you have a little notebook where you are recording all of your thoughts, hopes, cries and more. Even if you only write three or four times a year (often that’s all I managed to find time for). When you look back and see how far you’ve grown and the faith you had even when you thought all hope was gone, it will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to see how as you loved Him through the most difficult of times, God worked everything for good.

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