Generation Cedar

Confessions of a Struggling Christian Mom

I had a mom tell me recently that Christian women just aren’t transparent enough. That we are all looking in, from a distance, on other families, wishing we had it together like them, that our children behaved like those, that our life was going smoothly like hers.

Well I know it’s true of bloggers, sometimes, that people have an unrealistic view of them. So I’m writing to tell you something:

I am struggling SO MUCH as a mother this year. I won’t go into too many details, for the sake of protecting the dignity of my children, but I have a particularly difficult child (or two?) that has caused me to hurt like I’ve never hurt, to cry like I’ve never cried, and has even pushed me to moments I thought I might despair.

Rejoice, But Why?

But slooooooowly, I’m coming to the place where I can “rejoice” in the trials, only because He said to, and I have to trust that if they are working in my life for my good and His glory, then I should rejoice.

And this morning, I opened my own devotional, the one I wrote for when motherhood feels too hard, and read this:

“We strive–and there is a place for striving–but mostly we forget, ‘The Lord will go before you.’ We strive and fail, so we make more charts, try harder and finally give up…unless, at the end of our striving we realize, ‘His grace is sufficient for me; for when I am weak, then He is strong.’

Do I ever just leave the room, go to a quiet place, fall on my knees and strive there? What would life be like if I made a habit of this striving?

‘He is close to the broken and contrite.’

What is your wilderness? More importantly, what is it wringing out of your heart? A shaking fist, or the cry…’Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”? Look past your present suffering. Thank God for the crucible that will melt away the dross.”

He is For Me

And I chose, today, to remember that life is not so much about easing my own pain, but walking faithfully through what the Lord gives me, looking only to HIM for my joy, believing that He is for me.

Friend, He is for you too, whatever trial you are walking through. Trust Him. And rejoice.

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26 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for your honest transparency. I am in the same place and not handling it well. I respect you very much, so knowing you are in a similar state is encouraging enough, let alone the good advice about running to the Lord instead of striving elsewhere, and the reminder to get my eyes on the Lord and off my own pain. Thank you again. I will pray for you as well.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. As I read I thought “boy, I could have written this myself”. I’m in the same place with a two year old child that would cause me to pull out my hair if it wasn’t for the grace of God.
    This was a real encouragement. Let us be transparent and encouraging each other as we raise the children the Lord is giving us. Children ARE a blessing and a reward !!!!

  3. I have been in a hard place with 4 of my 9 children for 10 years now. It is hard to share because when you do, others avoid you like the plague.

  4. I so desperately needed this today. Driving in the pouring rain tonight, alone, bawling my eyes out, the tears coming from such a deep, deep place inside of me. And all because of one child. I am trying to find comfort in the fact that He goes before, but it is so, so very hard.

    1. Laura,

      Cry all you need to. It is so very cleansing and healing. Then wipe your eyes, look up, and know that it isn’t up to us, but He holds it all in His hands. So do your fighting there, at the throne, and let Him do His work, in His time.

  5. Thanks for writing this, Kelly! I, too, have a difficult child. The one who brings out the very worst in me. The one who makes it so difficult, sometimes impossible for me to parent. The one who causes me to feel defeated every night I go to bed. The one who I just don’t understand and cannot figure out. And I live my life with guilt and fear. It’s not a good place to be.

  6. Do you ever just feel like a total failure with those tough kids? They drive you to your knees time and time again and God holds you as you bear your heart to him. You see your own heart issues and you ask for him to help you. Then you turn right back around and work extra hard to not make the same mistakes again all the while forgetting what God told you the last time he was holding you? I forget sometimes (okay, a lot of the times) that what those more spirited kids need is just to be loved as they are, without us trying to change them. To set boundries and then to move over and let God do his work in them. To love them unconditionally just as God loves us.

    1. Jodi,

      Yes, I do. And you couldn’t have said it better–they just need us to love them and allow God to do the changing/chiseling. For a mom, that can be her biggest hurdle.

      1. A friend had such a difficult son…ADD, always getting into things, never sitting still. He did manage to become an adult and now works for Google X – the developmental experimental division of Google. I swear that company exists just so this whirling dervish can have a job. He is thriving and yours will too.

  7. Oh {{Kelly}} it’s so hard sometimes, isn’t it? Continued prayers for you, and for your child I mentioned recently that I’ve been praying for. Praying Galatians 6:9 for you, a verse I needed to focus on often when I was in a very turbulent season with one of my children.

    The Lord will bring you through, because, as you said, He is for you.

    Love and blessings~

  8. Had one of these moments late yesterday…just as the family was gathering to pray before dishing up our dinner. A dinner we’d prepared together after a day spent laughing and working together. Sigh. So thankful for your devotional, for your transparency, and most of all that HIS mercies are new every morning. Great is HIS faithfulness! Prayers for you and moms everywhere. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I think there’s something simply encouraging and wonderful about reading and knowing others have similar struggles that we do. And hopefully, as each of us learns whatever it is God is teaching us, we can pass that onto each other, all of us becoming more shaped into His likeness.

  9. I needed this so bad. I am having a challenging time with our oldest. I am also pregnant with our 4th blessing and sometimes I worry that I am huge failure.

    Great is His faithfulness! I know He will see us through this and it will be only because of his mercy and love!

    I pray that you will feel His peace and comfort.

    Thank you so much for this blog it truly gives me strength and hope.

  10. I’m moved by the accounts on this thread of crying over our difficult children. It brings to mind a scene from my childhood, which has had quite an impact on me now in adulthood.

    My grandparents lived next door, and I don’t remember which siblings of mine were involved, but I distinctly remember that I and some of them were causing some sort of trouble, being disobedient, mean, what have you. We were standing outside in our driveway, and my grandmother had walked up, and whatever was happening, we weren’t cooperating with Grandma’s trying to get us to obey.

    The thing I remember most vividly was that she began to cry, in front of us, over our disobedience. I don’t recall my reaction at the time, but that memory (her crying, and saying something about our behavior) has stuck with me all these years since. We had brought to tears the (now dear to me) grandmother who had always seemed so tough, her stoic German heritage plainly displayed. She’d weathered unbelievable storms in her life (having lost both her father and, years later, a son, my dad’s only sibling, under horrendous circumstances), but it was a bunch of naughty grandchildren who had reduced her to tears.

    I think back to that, and believe that God can use the tears of grand/parents to impress on children the hurt they are inflicting on their authority figures who love them deeply. It may not (likely will not) cause an immediate, permanent change in attitude, if the children know we are crying over them, but we can pray that, over time, our hurtful and wayward children will be moved to repentance.

    I’ll admit, however, that I’ve been one to want to hide my tears the times my children have hurt or troubled me (maybe stemming from the fact I was a school teacher before becoming a parent — you can’t show vulnerability with some students, or they’ll eat you alive). But thinking about the impact my grandmother’s tears had on me in the long run, I’d encourage moms who are shedding tears over their children’s behaviors (or feel like doing so, but are holding back) to do what I did not — don’t be afraid to let your children see your tears. If you feel like the tears are going to come in their presence, let them come, even as you may already do privately as you cry out to the Lord on their behalf.

    The Lord may keep that memory alive in your children’s hearts for a long time to come. Who knows the bountiful harvest God can bring about through such a memory?

    1. Love the picture you painted of your grandmother, 6 Arrows!! It made me think that certainly my Father in heaven has wept over me like that. And now I am praying that the Lord will bring THAT word picture to mind when I next feel frustrated or hurt by a challenging child. My tendency is to respond in anger. When I am vulnerable instead, and the tears come, the whole trial is diffused. God bless you for that story of your grandma!

      1. Thank you for your graciousness, Claudia. I’m glad you were encouraged by that story of my grandma! She was an inspiration to me in a lot of ways I didn’t realize for a long time.

  11. Thank you Kelly and to my other sisters for your vulnerability. I have been gone for awhile and have missed the fellowship here. I believe one of the enemy’s strategies is to make us feel as if we are the only one. The only one who can’t get it together, the only one who is such a mess. However, when we open our hearts with one another we see that this is a lie. I agree that we must be transparent because that is the only way we can encourage one another with the truth that his grace is sufficient. I eagerly look forward to the day that our troubles will be distant memories, and the only stories we will have to tell are those of our God’s wonderful faithfulness and grace in the midst of our weaknesses, failures, and pain. Love you sisters.

  12. I can’t thank you enough for sharing so that I know that even my heroes have challenges with kiddos. I will pray for you, and I won’t be shocked when similar moments of despair strike in my family. I know the honesty and transparency is hard, but your sharing teaches us, and your Godly teaching is such a value! Please continue to teach us what you can about how to navigate tricky issues with children. You are THAT Godly experienced woman in my life, and my best…and only Biblical parenting example. Thank you, Kelly!

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