We have a sick little one. Hand-foot-mouth disease. I’ve decided this virus is a form of torture Satan uses in Hell… not just for Griffin, but for this Mama’s heart as well. Little tiny blisters on the soles of the feet, mouth, hands, and diaper area. It makes me cringe every time I rub his feet or wipe his sweet face. As a parent, I don’t think there is anything worse than seeing your child suffer.
I never knew emotional pain like this until becoming a parent. I am a nurse who deals with cancer in children. So, yes, I am unfortunately accustomed to seeing little ones suffer. I’ve witnessed children in their sickest moments. But it never came full circle until I became a parent: this little person who is apart of me is tired, hurting, and does not understand why.
I always aimed for compassion for our patients and families. But having Griffin put a new spin on what parents feel when their child is ill. We are not battling cancer, but watching my sweet nugget feel restless, frustrated, and hurting makes me feel completely helpless. Aren’t we supposed to be able to protect our children? Heal them? Kiss their boo-boos away?? The sad truth every parent faces at some point is we cannot and will not always keep them from harm. The realization itself is enough to break your heart.
I prayed over Griffin as I rocked him to sleep today: God, helplessness is not something I should feel. I want to do something to at least make him feel better or take the pain away all together. Please show me what to do.
No, He didn’t give me a cure all for Hand-foot-mouth disease… or for future broken hearts, disappointments, or lessons learned. But what He did give me was peace. Peace in knowing I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to do as a parent. I’m praying for God’s intervention in my child’s life. I’m praying for strength to get us all through this time of suffering. I’m asking for His direction in how to comfort, love, and act on behalf of my child.
Will I be able to prevent my son from ever facing hurt again? No. But, Jesus can wrap His arms around Griffin and comfort him with the truth that He will never leave nor forsake him. He will never shield Griffin from His love and affection. God is our Father, after all. He loves Griffin even more than I do. He would never purposely cause him pain. But, He’s there to get Griffin—all of us—through hardships.
I was lost in thought today about God’s comfort in times of distress for parents. Mary came to mind. Oh, sweet Mary. I don’t know how she did it. If I feel this bad over hand-foot-mouth disease, how did she combat her sense of helplessness and grief as she watched her only son die on the cross? How her heart must have broken knowing there was NOTHING she could do to stop the torture, the hurt, the humiliation, and the greatest loss she and the world has ever known. Jesus reassured her the cross was His calling, but it could never change the pain she felt.
We have to know, as I’m sure Mary knew deep down, that God longs to fill our hearts with hope when we feel worthless and unable to help others, especially our children. He wants to consume our deepest spaces with joy. So, when the time comes to battle those feelings of helplessness, we can look to Him for comfort, tranquility, and fortitude.
He wants to replace our feelings of helplessness with hope in Him, in His love, and in HIS ability to heal and restore.
As much as I wish I could take away every hurt, frustration, or disappointment my children will face, I have to acknowledge its not my job—it’s God’s. He longs to be the source of redemption and compassion for our children just as much as we do, if not more. Griffin is on loan to me from the Lord. And with that comes the responsibility to offer what healing and comfort I can, but to point him to Jesus for the rest. If we can do that as parents, we will bless our children far more than we could on our own.
Word of the Day:
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we might receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
Thank you for giving us the privilege of raising our children through joy, but also hardship. Please encase our hearts and teach us how to comfort, love, and guide them through any storm or circumstance. Give us peace knowing we are designed only to give so much before pointing our children to You as their main resource for hope and grace. Jesus, where we feel insufficient, please restore our confidence in Your healing and love for our precious babies. Remind us that Your presence in our children’s lives is the greatest blessing they can receive, no matter what they face. In Your unfailing love, Amen
Author: Candace Koon
Have you ever met big stumbling blocks while trying your best to get one step ahead?
We try to get caught up on housework, decorate for a new season, prepare weekly meals ahead of time, or work to exhaustion with consideration for what lies ahead for our children.
We continually attempt to mentally and physically prepare and serve, only to have the baby get sick, to have a water pipe burst, or to realize we're actually two loads of laundry behind because said sick child just created a whole new load.
We are a society of moms who feel we are back peddling most days. We try to be all and do all to glorify God in our homes, community, marriages, and parenting. We want the adorably decorated homes, Pinterest-worthy dinners, God-glorifying marriages, and well-versed, well-mannered, God-serving children. And then the unexpected happens. What if those blocks we encounter on the journey to organization and perfection are not meant to be mishaps, hindrances, or torture?
What if Jesus is simply trying to stop us in our tracks so we will sit in His presence and in His love?
This is why I love the story of Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha. Martha invites Jesus into her home. Like most women, she is so focused (distracted, even) on preparing, serving, and cleaning she misses precious, necessary time sitting in God’s grace as He intimately loves and teaches.
However, Mary, Martha’s sister, is not focused on the responsibilities. She simply wants to savor every drop of the Lord’s presence. She wants to sit at His feet and listen to His wisdom and guidance with intention, love, and adoration. She wants to be consumed with Jesus in the short time she has by simply being physically and emotionally present.
Martha realizes she is slaving away on all that “needs” to be done to fulfill her daily duties and entertain their distinguished guest. She’s frustrated and angry with her sister’s “lack” of help and enthusiasm towards showering God with their service. She demands that Jesus ask for Mary’s assistance. His response will soften every mother’s overwhelmed and underprepared heart:
“Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. Only one thing is necessary and Mary has chosen what's best. It will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)
What?! You mean Jesus would rather us lay our burdens and duties down just to sit at His feet? The thought of this is foreign to most of us. Our hearts are heavy with juggling work, to-do lists, extracurriculars, responsibilities, and feelings of inadequacy. It’s easy to assume God decides our worth by how much we do well and achieve. But His love and mercy is not dependent on what we do or don’t do.
He just wants us. Maybe those blocks in our finely tuned schedules force us to drop our guard and reprioritize our focus — to just to sit on our knees and look up to bask in His glory.
Oh, what freedom! He favors us so much, He prefers we put down our distractions to simply be with Him… all so He can love us more.
It’s my experience that the more I give of myself (not necessarily my actions) to Christ, the more He provides the means to get me back on track.
So, when we’re overwhelmed and frustrated with setbacks, remember, it may be God’s way of planting us at His feet. Afterall, it’s from our knees where we really see and experience His goodness and wisdom.
Word of the Day:
In all your ways, submit to Him and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6, NIV)
Thank you for loving us so much. You know when we need to slow down and steep in Your glory. When our schedules are blocked, help us to be grateful for the opportunity to slow down and gaze at you. God, thank You for caring about our hearts and our relationship with You MORE than all the things we can accomplish. Thank You for helping us reprioritize our lives to live in freedom and to root ourselves in the promise of Your love. I pray all moms find comfort and peace when You place us at Your feet instead of lost in frustration and inadequacy of the daily hustle and bustle. May we remember to glorify You in our responsibilities, but also with intimacy and stillness. In your loving name, Amen.
Author: Candace Koon
I hugged my little boy for the umpteenth time as I replayed what happened at the park hours earlier. I, a true “helicopter mom,” watched my kid fall off the playground equipment.
I’d been walking up to the slide with him for weeks. My toddler finally declared “I do it, Mama.” Against better judgment, I stood waiting a few steps down. Three feet up (I measured after the fact), he turned over his shoulder with a grin, saying “Look Mama… all by myself!”
With a misstep, he swung under the rail and landed on his back. I leaped to catch him, but he found the ground beneath him. I was horrified, scared, and ashamed.
Following the fall and calming the tears, I searched for signs of a concussion or broken bone. I prayed for God’s mercy for being a “terrible parent.” I frantically called the pediatrician (who was unimpressed with the dramatization of the event) and also called my husband, who assured me our little boy was fine. He was now chasing ducks on the grass.
In desperation, I scoured the internet, only piling on regret. Each blog, article, and discussion board oozed negativity and condescending thoughts on “neglecting” safety. One discussion response even stated: “Who lets their kid fall off the playground equipment?!”
It was an accident causing many sleepless nights and waves of emotion: inadequacy, irresponsibility, self-doubt. My mind flooded with the negative opinions of others instead of embracing the two sources that should hold significance: God and my tribe.
In a conversation with my mother, she said something I needed to hear: “These days the world leaves no room for confidence and even less room for God. As a new mother I made many mistakes, but prayed over everything and consulted a group of women who I trusted and knew would never judge me.”
I’d only rehashed the story to my mom, mother-in-law, and husband because I couldn't bear the same response I received in all my google searching. Plus, I assumed God agreed with my self-proclaimed title of “Worst Mother Ever.”
So, I prayed for forgiveness for making a mistake, questioning my aptitude as a mother, and searching for peace in all the wrong places. I prayed for courage to open up to the girlfriends He intentionally placed in my path. I needed to let go of my struggle and have my support system dust me off and help me move on.
I broke down in tears to a trusted group of friends as I recanted the day I watched my son fall, the encompassing shame, and my battle for peace. Was I hit with judgment, harsh words, and demeaning tones? Nope. We laughed as we shared stories of playground troubles. A dear friend explained her guilt from watching her son eat mulch after flying off the swing. Another mom reenacted a scene of her child see-sawing into the air.
Were we proud of our mistakes? Heavens no! But God brought healing to my soul that night. This tribe of women picked me up, wiped my tears, and offered hope. They gave me comfort, laughter, redemption, and a reminder we are never alone.
Accidents happen, but they never define our capabilities. They don't replace our kisses on skinned knees or late night snuggles with sick babies. Mistakes can't take away our love for our children, our prayers for their future, or their relationship with Christ.
Motherhood is not perfect and the perfect mother does not exist. We learn boundaries, build on areas of weakness, and constantly battle guilt. But there’s One who can give ultimate forgiveness and a tribe who can hug you tight, offer a dose of laughter, and love you anyway.
A friend loves at all times. (Proverbs 17:17)
God, thank You for giving me a tribe of women who offer encouragement and prayer for my well-being. I ask for Your help with revealing a tribe to anyone who feels alone. Thank You for forgiving our mistakes and for Your unfailing work of redemption in our journeys as mothers as well as in every other area of our lives. May we heed your love and support from those true friendships. In Your name, Amen
Author: Candace Koon
Some weeks are worthy of praise. We stay on top of our schedules, feed our babies almost enough vegetables, and have every load of laundry put away. We feel like fist pumping and patting ourselves on the back.
Then, comes the week after...pure chaos: Sinks filled with dishes, beds unmade, schedules unmet, toys scattered, sticky counters, fighting, whining, melt downs, and pity parties (and I’m not just talking about the kids). It feels like multiple blows in the mom department.
Life as a parent can feel like a giant roller coaster we never want to get off. We love our little ones with intensity and overwhelming pride. So, when weeks of "failure" follow weeks of success, it can cause major damage to our ego. But we press on; we know God ultimately called us to this no matter how inadequate we feel. Those babies are depending on us!
Still, my pride hurts when I feel like I'm struggling and can't make the cut. I question if those weeks of achievement are only a mirage...if I'm not as good at being a mom as I thought.
During a recent tough week, I ran across the passage describing God's call to Moses to lead His people to the Promised Land.
The Bible tells us Moses seemed and felt a bit unqualified. He had little experience in leadership, never been a public speaker (even "slow to speak"), and was just as guilty of sin as those God called him to shepherd.
Moses argued with God over His request. He told God, with frustration and angst, he was not worthy of the job at hand. He emphasized his shortcomings and recounted his failures. He declared all the reasons he felt unfit to guide God's people with such a big responsibility.
After reading the passage, it hit me: Mothers are our own version of Moses. We spend time arguing with God over our worth, feelings of desperation, and inadequacy. Somehow those arguments are worse when our circumstances of defeat come after a week of glory.
Why is that? Because we think we've fooled ourselves? Because we don't have it all together all the time? Sometimes the success causes the sting of defeat to hurt just a little more.
In truth, God calls us as He called Moses. Our history of failures do not matter. The mistakes and sum of poor circumstances don't define our ability to perform the job He's given us. Similar to God's call for Moses, He hand selected us to yield the responsibility of raising our children.
God didn't want someone perfect to guide His people. The same goes for us moms! He wants to use our every blunder, blemish, and bad week to not only grow us as parents and people, but also to be an example of God's grace and mercy to our children.
You see, it isn't about what Moses could do or be; it was about his faith in what God provided. The Lord gave Moses all the necessary tools to lead the people well. He used this "unqualified," ordinary man to carry out one of the biggest feats in Christian history.
Likewise, it's not about our presumed motherly inadequacies, but our faith in God's calling, and His ability to provide. God supplies all we need if we just focus on our purpose and His divine power to guide us.
Word of the Day: "The Lord said, 'Who gives people their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight? Is it not I? Go and I will help you speak and teach what to say.'" (Exodus 4:11-12)
God, I pray we spend less time pining over our mistakes and insufficiencies and more time praising You for selecting us to mother our children. I pray we don’t allow the week’s circumstances to define our motherly capabilities, but to proclaim joy when we do succeed. God, I ask for Your assistance with recognizing the tools You've provided and the hope you offer when we feel less than worthy to fulfill our calling. Remind us of your grace and desire to use us as examples of mercy and compassion to our children. Thank you for all blessings, big and small. Amen
Author: Candace Koon
What does your “Mama Time” look like? Do you scroll Facebook looking at others' recent vacation photos or admire celebrity lives through Instagram? What about sifting through Pinterest for your next home project or for meal ideas for a picky toddler? I'm guilty of all three.
It’s mindless entertainment when I want to shut down. However, it isn’t mindless; it actually makes my wheels turn more.
In the midst of scrolling for "How to” pallet projects and checking out the pictures from a friend's latest adventure with her kids, I feel my confidence whither.
I’ve come across parenting tips for discipline and posts making me question my parenting methods. My most recent attempts to Facebook scroll and Pinterest surf made me put my phone down and resign myself to feeling completely inadequate.
While I appreciate keeping up with friends and the resources Pinterest offers, I agonize with feeling less creative, less organized, and less worthy than those moms who SEEM to have it all together.
In those moments, I bow my head and pray for God to heal my heart for every time I've felt like one big “Pinterest Fail” or the least "liked" person on Instagram or Facebook.
He comforts me; He knows the difficulty of living up to the worldly standards set by social media. Here is the truth: credentials of perfect baker, parent, wife, and Christian are completely unattainable. Why? Because it's not reality.
We so easily judge a person’s life by squares on a phone or computer screen. Today, I posted a picture from a lunch date with my son. My hair was clean and down instead of sporting its usual messy bun. I was not wearing sweat pants. We looked happy, relaxed, and were wearing little food (big feat for lunch with a toddler).
A friend messaged me saying, "How did you have time to curl your hair? I've barely had time to shower. How do you have it all together?”
What she didn't see was more accurate. I ran to get ready like a crazy person while my son watched Mickey Mouse. She also didn't see us ten minutes later in the shoe store, as I picked up an entire row of shoes my little boy slung off with the clothes hanger maneuver!
I often think of the prodigal son when considering comparison. The faithful brother is angered by watching his brother walk up to feast and fortune and love years after squandering his inheritance in disreputable ways and turning his back on their family. The brother angrily confronts his father asking why the prodigal son is favored despite his behavior. Just like the complaining brother, we don't know what God’s doing in the hearts and homes of others who seem to have it all.
As for the pins, photos, and posts of friends who seem to keep everything together (who always look like a million bucks, never sport the messy bun, never look exhausted, and whose snacks never look like random balls of goo)...
There's more going on in their homes than a Facebook post, pin on Pinterest, or Instagram photo will reveal. They need God's compassion and reminders of His love, too.
We all do.
God’s view of our worth far outweighs any pin or photo we could find elsewhere.
Word of the Day:
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” (Galatians 6:4)
God, when we feel the need to compare ourselves based on what we see on social media, help us remember it's not the whole picture. When we question our worth as a person, parent, or spouse, help us open our hearts and ask YOU to show us the truth. Father, guard our hearts from comparison and love on us when we feel less than what You created us to be. Amen
Author: Candace Koon