At some point last summer, after a day of answering every “why” question that my then 4-year-old could come up with and changing my toddler out of yet another soaked outfit (Is there a sippy cup that doesn’t leak? We have not found one), I began looking for a Bible verse or quote that would encourage me as a wife, mom, and person in those moments when I felt overwhelmed, ill-equipped, or just plain exhausted.
I had the perfect spot for this inspiration: a cute little chalkboard in my kitchen.
Any mom who has ever had to prepare a meal with one child crying and hanging on her leg while the other complains of being hungry (Can you not see what I’m doing? Do you not smell the chicken roasting in the oven?) knows that the kitchen can be a battle zone of frustration and patience worn thin at the end of the day.
Searching for an uplifting “something” to help me refocus in those crazy moments, I flipped through my Bible and searched online for a verse that was encouraging, simple…and short enough to fit on the chalkboard.
I looked for the word “joy” or “joyful” because in my heart, that’s the kind of mom and wife and person that I want to be. If I’m not diligent in guarding it, my joy can be the first victim of a rough day.
When I came across Romans 12:12, it was as though all the things I needed to be reminded of in my calling as “Mommy” and “Mrs.” were efficiently, concisely summed up for me in 10 little words. (God’s cool like that.)
It says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Joyful. Patient. Faithful. It’s become my “mommy motto.”
Joyful in Hope
Being joyful seems as though it should be easy. I’m doing what I love – making a home for my family. I have funny, silly kids, who are smart, healthy, and imaginative. I have a hubby who loves us all and works hard to provide for us. All together we have a happy, loving home.
But as I said before, there are times when I can allow my joy to be stolen away – whiny children, disagreements with my husband, faulty expectations of perfection for myself. Parenting and marriage aren’t easy. If I don’t keep myself grounded in God’s Word and His presence, it can be even harder. After all, He is my hope. Trusting in His plans for me and His strength daily, I am reminded that my children (and husband) are truly gifts from God, given to me because He knew that with Him, I could be the mom (and wife) that they need.
Patient in Affliction
Okay, I’m not saying my family is an “affliction.” Far from it – they are a blessing. However, conflict, struggle, and potty training can test a mommy’s patience…especially potty training. Many of my days would have better outcomes if I allowed a little more understanding and patience to direct my words and actions. We all make mistakes, we are all flawed human beings, and we are all in the process of learning and growing, especially our children. Remembering how much patience God has with me, I know that I can strive to be a more patient girl, no matter how difficult or trying the circumstance.
Faithful in Prayer
I think that maybe this phrase should have been first on the list – as in, “Faithful in prayer, patient in affliction, and joyful in hope” – because our relationship with God is the foundation to everything in our life, and there is no relationship if you aren’t talking to and listening to Him daily, faithfully. My joy comes from time in His presence and resting in Him. My patience is strengthened when I have a real understanding of God’s grace and mercy toward me. If I’m not spiritually ready to face a day, I’m shooting myself in the foot.
Furthermore, I need to be faithful to cover my husband and children in prayer for God’s guidance and protection. That is one of my greatest responsibilities and privileges as a wife and mother. There is an enemy out there who wants “to steal, kill, and destroy,” and I am not going to take it lightly. I can take authority over strife or confusion or fear in our family rather than let the enemy’s plans succeed in our home.
So that’s the verse I doodled out on my cute little chalkboard in the kitchen after a particularly trying day, and it’s been there, exactly as I wrote it out, for close to a year now.
Has this past year been smooth sailing, all rainbows and sunshine? Are my children perfectly behaved angels and my hubby never irritating and always chick-flick-hero perfect? Um, no.
But I know there are days that could have been horrible, disastrous even, had I not taken a second to remind myself of that verse and correct MY behavior, change MY perspective, or seek God for wisdom or intervention in MY situation.
Because God’s Word is never meant to change “them.” It’s always meant to change “me.”
What is your go-to verse for encouragement on tough days?