Friday Introduction: Gracefull Mama


There are days when I don’t feel like being a mom. Days when I’d give anything just to go to the bathroom without someone following me. Days when I want to hand in my mommy resignation and give the keys to the zoo to someone else.

We all have those moments. Moments when we think “What was I thinking when I said I wanted to have children?” Moments when we feel ill-equipped. Moments when we’re just downright angry at the situation.

And in those days and moments when we want to give up, we need help. Sometimes we just need a break. But other times, we need a heart change. We need God to come in and change the way we view our own situation. We need a perspective that reminds us that what we’re doing is important.

Sometimes that heart change takes effort on our part. Sometimes it takes letting go of our frustration. Sometimes it takes God teaching us patience.

There’s a great series going on over at Gracefull Mama this month called Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood. Each week, she’s looking at how we can let God work in our hearts to create a heart that loves being a mother. So far, she’s tackled the significance of motherhood, the obstacles we face in cultivating a heart for motherhood and the topic of anger and patience. If you’re struggling with having a heart for mothering, be sure to check out her words of wisdom. I know you’ll be blessed.

If you’re in one of those seasons where you want to hang up your mommy hat, remember that God knows. He knows how you feel. He understands your frustration. Jesus came to earth so He could empathize with your situation. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”  God gets it. He understands what you’re going through. And He is waiting for you to hand Him the reins so He can fill you up with His love and grace. He knows you can’t do it alone, and He’s ready to help. All you have to do is ask.

Jesus Gets It

“Square up your body. Pull the puck back. Shift your weight to your back leg. Push the puck forward as you shift your weight from one leg to the other. Point your stick in the direction you want the puck to go.”

I don’t know how many times I repeated those words to my youngest as we spent an hour practicing her hockey shooting on the driveway last night. It sure sounds like I know what I’m talking about, right?

But there’s something you should know. I have never shot a hockey puck in a game in my life. I have absolutely no idea what that feels like. I had to have her coach demonstrate the mechanics of shooting to me at her last practice so I could help her improve.

Unlike many of the kids on her hockey team, my daughter has two parents who know very little about the mechanics of the game. I’ve been watching hockey my whole life. My brother played youth hockey. I’ve watched enough to understand the strategy and know where she should be on the ice at certain times. But I have no idea how to tell her to perform a hockey stop, how to shoot the puck, how to stickhandle or how to skate backwards. She’s at a distinct disadvantage in that respect.

But, unlike my youngest, we are not at a disadvantage when it comes to Jesus knowing what we are going through. Because Jesus became a man, walked on the earth and died for us, He knows everything that we experience as humans. He understands the emotions, the frustrations and the joys of living in this world because He did it.  Hebrews 4:15 tells us “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Jesus gets it. He understands what it’s like to be tempted to sin. He understands what it’s like to have a rotten week. He understands what it’s like to have others talk behind your back. Because He lived it. He can understand and empathize with our situation.

Just like us, our kids need to know that Jesus understands their situation. They need to be reminded that Jesus was once a kid, too. We don’t have a lot of information about Jesus as a child, but we do know that He had a mom and dad and brothers and sisters. He got left at the temple. He probably didn’t always agree with His siblings. The difference between Jesus and a regular kid is that even as a child He never sinned. But He can understand everything that your kids are going through because He was once a child, too.

Help your kids understand the importance of Jesus being in human in how He can relate to us:

  • Ask your kids to explain to you how to do something that they have never done before. Choose something outrageous like flying an airplane or cooking a turkey. See what they have to say. Then, talk about what that task really looks like. Talk about how difficult it is to tell someone how to do things we have never done ourselves. Remind them that Jesus lived on earth as a man, so He understands all the things that your kids do. He knew what it was like to obey your parents and get along with your siblings.
  • Learn something new with your child. Make a new recipe or build a new Lego creation. Do something that requires following directions. Talk about how the person who wrote the directions had to have done the task before. Otherwise, that person would be giving directions about something they knew nothing about. The directions are much easier to follow because that person had done them before. Tell your child that Jesus is like the person who wrote the directions. He came to earth and lived as a man. That means He understands everything that we go through. He understands our emotions and our temptations. He knows what it’s like to have your friends turn against you and what it’s like to have others disapprove of your actions. He understands because He was here.

It’s so important for our kids to realize the Jesus became a man. Yes, He was a perfect man, but He experienced all the trials and joys of being human. When we bring our troubles and tough situations to Him, He can relate because He has been there.

Jesus’s death and resurrection offers us salvation and power, but His life as a man allows Him to offer us understanding and empathy.

Remember, there’s no situation in your life or your kids’ lives that Jesus can’t understand. He’s not stuck relying on someone else’s knowledge to help us. He’s been there and done that. And that’s to our advantage.

Knowing Jesus

I was driving my 9-year-old to soccer practice the other day, when out of the blue she asks “Do you think it hurt when they beat up Jesus?” (My 9-year-old is my deep thinker. My other daughter’s out-of-the-blue comments tend to be more along the lines of “You know, I think every movie would be better with a bazooka.”) After explaining to her that it did hurt when the soldiers beat up Jesus because Jesus was 100 percent human and 100 percent God, I realized that we probably haven’t drawn a very accurate picture of Jesus for her if she needed to ask that question.

The temptation is to tell our kids that Jesus loves them and paint a picture of Him as this gentle, loving person. When your child is a preschooler, that’s a fine picture for them to have. It’s one they can understand and one that presents Jesus in a manner they can accept. But, as our kids get older we need to do a better job of fleshing out a truer picture of who Jesus is. One of the goals of a Christ-follower is to become more like Jesus. We can’t do that unless we really know who Jesus is.

Jesus was not a meek and mild man. He was clearly a strong leader as He had crowds following Him. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for the truth even when it meant He would die. He got angry (remember Him cleaning the money-changers out of the temple?). He fought injustice (just by speaking to the woman at the well, He threw out society’s rules). He confronted hypocrisy. Yet, He was clearly joyful and gentle as children loved Him and couldn’t wait to be near Him.

Our kids need to know that Jesus was 100 percent God and 100 percent man. He understands what it’s like to face the same obstacles that we face today. Hebrews 4:15 tells us “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Children need to know that while Jesus was sinless, because He was human, He was tempted to sin just like we are. Jesus understands our trials and sufferings.

Use some of these examples to paint a more accurate picture of Jesus for your children:

  • Let your kids know that Jesus understands what it’s like to have your friends turn on you. Share with them the story of Judas who turned Jesus over to the Romans for 30 pieces of silver. Just knowing that Jesus confronted a problem similar to what your kids encounter with their own friends can help your children understand that Jesus was real and faced trials.
  • When your children are justifiably angry about something, talk with them about how Jesus was angry with the money lenders in the temple. Talk about how He sometimes got angry with His disciples (He once called Peter “Satan.”) Let them know that sometimes anger is OK, but we need to not let our anger take over and push us to sin.
  • Ask your kids to describe Jesus. Ask them if they think He ever was sad, tired, angry or upset. Point out that Jesus felt all of these emotions. He cried when His friend Lazarus died, He often went to be by Himself to recharge and He was often irritated and upset with the Pharisees and their refusal to see the Truth. Try to paint a broader picture of who Jesus was for your kids.

It’s important for us to create a picture of Jesus for our children that goes beyond the fact that Jesus loves them. If we want to raise true Christ-followers — ones who will change the world around them for Jesus, then they must know and understand exactly who Jesus is and why He is worthy of being followed.