Q: My friends and I were wondering if you’ve ever done a series on how we as Christian mums can be helping our children, girls particularly, in dealing with their emotions. It can be such a roller coaster ride and our girls are only 5! I’d love to help them grow in godliness in this area (even as little ones) and how my friends and I can help (ourselves &) our daughters understand their emotions. ~Jodie
A. Great question, Jodie! As a mom of three daughters, I’m a repeat rider on that roller coaster that is a girl’s emotions. Not to mention my daughters have six girls between them now so this is an issue we talk about a lot.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones once observed that “one the greatest problems in our life is the right handling of our feelings and emotions.” I would add that this can be one of the greatest problems in our mothering, too!
Moms are professional problem solvers, but sometimes a young girl’s emotions can be overwhelming: Our teenage daughter’s mood swings come and go like dark clouds over our home or our preschooler dissolves into tears over a hang nail and gets scared by reading Winnie-the-Pooh.
That’s why it can help—in those moments when little girl’s tears or teenage girl’s mood swings put a damper on the entire household—to first remember that emotions are a gift from God.
God made us emotional beings. He created that one-minute-squealing-with-delight-next-minute-inconsolably-crying-five-year-old and that hormone-riding-girl-come-woman to feel and express emotion.
He did this on purpose, and not as a cruel joke to exasperate mothers. God made us emotional beings so that we might enjoy and glorify him.
Emotions are from God and emotions are for God. Emotions have a purpose. They are to assist and aid us in directing our whole being and our whole lives to the worship of our glorious Savior!
But like everything else about us, our feelings have been corrupted by the fall, and if not “rightly handled” they cause all kinds of problems. If we are inclined to coddle our child’s emotions (giving them too much attention or credibility) or if we try to ignore our child’s emotions, either way they (and we!) will experience the consequences.
As Martyn Lloyd-Jones laments: “Oh the havoc that is wrought, and the tragedy, the misery and the wretchedness that are to be found in the world simply because people do not know how to handle their own feelings!”
Havoc. Misery. Wretchedness. Yep, to any mother with a teenage girl, this sounds about right. Which is why we must teach our children how to rightly handle their emotions. We must help our kids, at every stage of their development, to understand that their emotions are a gift from God to be rightly directed for his glory.
But God doesn’t simply say to us as moms: “Sorry, I know it’s tricky, but just do your best, OK?!” He gives us biblical strategies for teaching our children how to handle their emotions. So we’re going to take a couple of short posts to consider how God’s Word helps us to help our children rightly handle their emotions.
2014 at 8:28 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.” ~C.H. Spurgeon
Do you feel as if you’ve lost the “happy” in “Happy Mother’s Day”?
Maybe you find Mother’s Day disappointing. It seems like all your mom friends on Facebook get showered with more surprises, gifts, and love than you. Your husband and kids don’t seem to make much effort.
Maybe Mother’s Day brings to the surface feelings of guilt and failure. You see so many ways you need to grow, so many ways you fall short. You never seem to do it right. You would feel happier if we could just skip this holiday.
Maybe you feel grumpy about Mother’s Day. Instead of being pampered and waited on, you have to work harder than usual preparing a special meal for your mother-in-law.
Maybe Mother’s Day makes you feel more unhappy than happy.
But think again, because a “Happy Mother’s Day” is so much more than how you feel on the day in question.
That’s because “happiness” is so much more than a feeling. Happiness in Scripture means “blessedness.” The mom who is saved by grace can feel happy this Mother’s Day because she is happy. She is blessed. Consider:
By grace, your present Mother’s Day troubles—whether they be the stress of preparing Mother’s Day dinner or the despair over a wayward child, or the weariness of caring for small children—are all working for your good and the glory of Christ (Rom 8:28).
By grace, your past mothering failures—your impatience and your anger, your selfishness and grumbling—are all covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. He is at work redeeming our failures, working through our weakness and inadequacy for the good of our children (2 Cor. 12:10).
By grace, your future mothering hopes are not ultimately dependent upon your performance. It is the work of God from start to finish. And his work is gives us strength for our work. We can throw off the sin and the regret that so easily entangle and run our mothering race with perseverance knowing that he is the one who sustains us and makes us “fruitful in every good work” (Col 1:10).
Our happiness this Mother’s Day is not ultimately found in the appreciation we receive from our family or in our mothering performance, but in God—who he is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what he plans to do through our mothering. This is what it means to be blessed. To be truly happy.
And this is why, even though I do not know you—your present circumstances or feelings—I can confidently wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!
“Her children rise up and call her ‘happy’; her husband also, and he praises her.” Prov. 31:28
Thanks to so many of you who sent in entries for our True Beauty Mother’s Day Giveaway. We wish we could give a book to everyone who entered, but we are so blessed by the love each one of you expressed for a special mom, sister, or friend. The winners are…Cara, who entered on behalf of her daughter-in-law (who was born on Mother’s Day!) and Dan, who entered on behalf of his wife and his mom—both of whom have birthdays in May! We pray these special women are blessed by this Mother’s Day gift.
And there’s still time to order your copy of True Beauty in time for Mother’s Day. We hope every mother knows her true beauty and worth on this special day.
For a bunch of college girls, it was a shocking sight. Our friend, and the mother of twins, showed us her stretch marks and we, rather impolitely, stared back in dismay. Did pregnancy really carve such strange designs into a woman’s body?
“You will all look like this some day,” she warned, laughing at our expressions. “Of course, mine are worse, because I had twins, but if you get pregnant, you will get stretch marks.”
I’m glad I didn’t know then that in addition to stretch marks I would also have a c-section scar, plus two more long scars from emergency surgery following the delivery of my first child. My stomach now looks like a crudely drawn road map.
Pregnancy wreaks havoc on a woman’s body. Stretch marks and fat deposits, c-section scars and varicose veins…the list goes on. Then there is motherhood. Sleep deprivation digs dark pits underneath our eyes, bottle washing dries out our hands, our clothes don’t fit anymore and are dotted with spit-up. Our joints are stiff from hours of carpool and our muscles sore from carrying children and baby bags and pack and plays (and don’t forget the stroller!).
Whatever beauty we thought we had before we had children feels like a thing of the past. We worry about whether our husband will still find us attractive. We feel self-conscious and insecure about how we look to others.
But motherhood is not the end of beauty, it is an opportunity to become more beautiful. Moms may not get much time at the spa, but we have the chance to apply the godly woman’s beauty regimen every day, all day long.
What is this beauty regimen? Scripture says that the woman who applies trust in God (“a gentle and quiet spirit” 1 Pet. 3:3-5) with good works (1 Tim. 2:9-10) will not fail to become genuinely beautiful. And who, I ask you, has more opportunities to apply this beauty treatment, than a mother with young children?
Every day she must trust God with the physical safety, the emotional wellbeing, and the state of her children’s souls. Every day she must do endless, repetitive acts of service on behalf of her husband and for the sake of children. And every day, as moms, we have countless opportunities to take our eyes off of ourselves, to serve others, and to look to God for strength and help. This makes us truly beautiful.
So think of it this way: you can make yourself beautiful all day long! Not only when you shower and style your hair, but also when you clean up vomit and wipe dirty bottoms, when you encourage your husband and serve your family with gladness. You are trusting God and doing good works. This will make you beautiful in the eyes of your husband and your children, and precious in the sight of God.
Motherhood is not the end of beauty; instead it can be the beginning of a deeper, more profound beauty, that transforms us from the inside out. So instead of mourning the loss of a smooth, flat, stomach this Mother’s Day, let’s give thanks for the opportunity to pursue a beauty that will never fade (1 Pet. 3:3-5).
“There are thoughts here of comfort for all true believers. Wherever they may be, or whatsoever their circumstances, the Lord Jesus sees them…the same eye which saw the disciples tossed on the lake is ever looking at us. We are never beyond the reach of his care. Our way is never hid from him. He may not come to our aid at the time we like best, but he will never allow us to utterly fail. He that walked upon the water never changes. He will always come at the right time to uphold his people. Though he tarry, let us wait patiently. Jesus sees us, and will not forsake us.” ~J. C. Ryle
This Mother’s Day, tell your mom that she is beautiful. True Beauty is an ideal gift for Mom for Mother’s Day and we’re giving away two copies for moms who also have birthdays in the month of May. If that describes your mom or sister or friend, contact us and we’ll randomly pick two winners and send you the book in time for Mother’s Day. Deadline is midnight (EST) on Monday, May 5.
”[Motherhood] is difficult, obscure, and messy….You may not feel very beautiful as you change dirty diapers, wipe noses, and wash smelly laundry on three hours of sleep. But who is more beautiful to a child than the woman who cares for him or her? And bringing up children to serve the Lord is precious to our Savior, who said “Let the little children come to me.” ~True Beauty, p. 99
P.S. Congratulations to Emily from South Carolina who was the randomly picked winner of our 52home contest! Check your email to collect your prize.