• Ashley Bowman

To the Mom Struggling to Live Out Her Ideals

Updated: Aug 29

I sat down to do a family devotional. One toddler kept interrupting me to request milk and the the other toddler whined about not being able to see the pictures. My oldest two kept making irrelevant comments or interrupting to add commentary.

Why do I even try to do family devotionals? There’s so much chaos. Should I just give up? I thought to myself.

I sat down to help my oldest son with his essay. As we began, my oldest daughter said she was stuck and needed help. One toddler was tired of the activity I had set him up with and started pulling on me, saying "hold me, mama!" and the other toddler was frustrated by her blocks and was letting the world know.

Why am I even homeschooling? There is so much disorder. Should I just quit?

A laughing toddler flung the dinner I had made clear across the table. My other toddler had a meltdown because the food did not meet her expectations. My older two kids bickered and my husband was still working.

Why do I even try to have family dinners? It's just madness. What's the point?

While we do have good days where everything goes well, we have a lot of days like this. And on these type of days, I get really discouraged.

I have a mission statement for my parenthood. I want my kids to love Jesus, share His love with others, and live excellently for His glory. I know that family devotionals and family dinners can help me share the love of God with them, so these are practical actions I want to take. I want to homeschool because it gives me a great opportunity to teach them about the love of God and train them to love others and to be excellent in all that they do.

I have solid ideals.

But in the day-to-day, it’s just so hard to live them out.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

Do you ever feel like you have the best intentions, plans, and goals for your family, but you struggle to maintain them when life is constantly challenging and chaotic?

So how do we keep going strong, when we encounter these daily difficulties of motherhood?

The Bible gives us several ideas:

1. We endure by keeping our eyes on Jesus.

Scripture encourages us to

"run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so you won’t grow weary and give up" (Hebrews 12:1-3).

The Bible instructs us to endure, but also tells us how we can. By keeping our eyes on Jesus. When we look to Jesus, and what He suffered, nothing can compare. He endured the cross for our benefit, so surely we can endure through our small struggles. Jesus endured brutal hostility and even death, so surely, we can persevere through all the mild opposition we face. By considering Jesus, and all that He has done, we will be encouraged to keep going.

2. We endure by spending time with Jesus.

When we draw close to Jesus, we will receive the help we need! Scripture says,

"May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word" (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).

Jesus Himself will encourage our hearts! He will strengthen us for every good work! When we look to Him and seek Him and lean on Him, we will be strengthened and encouraged to do the good work He has called us to do!

When we find ourselves discouraged and struggling to live out our good intentions, let us lean on the One who endured the cross for our benefit, and now sits on the throne.

The Bible tells us it is

"God who gives endurance and encouragement" (Romans 15:5).

and that

"the Lord direct[s] your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

He will encourage our hearts and help us to endure as we spend time praising Him and praying to Him and lingering in His presence. He will come to our aid even if all we do is just send up a quick “help me, Jesus!”

3. We endure by spending time in Scripture.

He will encourage us and help us endure as we spend time in His Word, because the Bible is full of encouragement. Scripture says,

"For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through encouragement from the Scriptures" (Romans 15:4).

For example, the Bible encourages us that we can

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2).

We can be encouraged that even though it's hard to keep going and keep fighting, we are growing stronger in endurance and we are becoming more mature and complete in the process. We can be encouraged that through all this hardship, we are growing!

Clearly, Jesus is ready to encourage us and help us. Let us go to Him. He will help us to be able to say, as Paul did,

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Let's choose to keep fighting the good fight, even when it's hard. Let's choose to keep working, even when it's tough. Let's choose to do our best, even when it feels pointless.

Even better, let’s choose to look to Jesus when it’s hard. Let’s choose to go to God in prayer when it’s tough. Let’s choose to spend time in the Word, so we will be reminded none of this is pointless.

Don‘t give up. Persevere. Endure. Keep going.

Ask Jesus to help you.

God, thank you we can look to you for the example, encouragement, strength, and help that we need to continue fighting the good fight each and every day. Help us not to give up on our ideals and goals but help us to endure and persevere. Help us look to you for the help we need. Strengthen and encourage us every day. In Jesus Name. Amen.

"Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12).

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