Last weekend the temperatures in Southwestern Virginia soared to the high 60s and low 70s, and from the gleam in their eyes, and the wind in my hair as my boys flew by me to get outside, bats in hand and balls already flying, I knew . . . Spring is coming. And with it comes baseball season at the McGlothlin Home for Boys.
My husband is already drooling over the Yankee's spring training, wondering whether or not Jeter will be as fantastic as he always has been, or if last season's broken ankle will put him on the road to retirement. I caught the three of them today, my husband and two little boys, snuggling on the couch chanting, "Jeter! Jeter!" as their long time hero came up to bat.
This kind of behavior normally doesn't phase me, since the beginning of baseball season is something akin to Christmas day in our house, but they had been instructed to head to their rooms for quiet time. Instead, I found them pumping fists in the air and clapping hands with their daddy as Jeter stepped toward the plate.
I gave my husband the infamous, "what in the world are you doing" look that all wives have, hoping to indicate that screaming, "Jeter!" cannot be equated with the words, "quiet time." His reply?
"It's baseball. I'm getting them ready for the game."
Honestly, I've been thinking a lot about my own game lately—my motherhood game that is— and looking for ways to get in it with my whole heart. More specifically, I want to be able to stay in the game when it's neck-n-neck, or even when it seems that despite my best efforts, mom's getting ready for a big loss.
Never Giving Up
There's a tiny little paragraph in Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess that says this:
"I believe God's plans for me are good. Therefore, I commit today that I will never give up on my family, and I will never give up on God's ability to move in their hearts. With His help, I will take the next step of faith even when I feel I can't, because He is the God of miracles."
We call it the Weary Mom Manifesto, and this simple proclamation has made a deep impact on the hearts of moms. Why? Because deep in our hearts, we all want to stay in the game and finish well. We want to stay the course, and be the mom our kids need.
It's the very nature of God Himself to stay. In the Jesus Storybook Bible, God's love for us is described as a "Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love." Jesus modeled that kind of love for us when He came to earth as a man, and when He gave His life for ours. And His never giving up love encourages us to offer it to the people we love most.
But sometimes the game is hard—sweaty, dirty, physically and emotionally taxing—and we want to give up and walk away. I've found the following six tips help me take a step back toward my family when my instincts tell me to count my losses and get out.
Six Tips for Getting (& Staying) in the Motherhood Game
Keep the lines of communication open with the One Who has the power to change things. (Pssssst...if you're a boy mom, download this free Prayer printable I created just for you).
2. Keep your heart connected to the hope giver
Don't walk too far away, or go too many days without getting in God's Word and letting it be your guide. Take the Psalmist's advice and hide God's Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11), allowing it to transform you, and give you peace. As my co-author Stacey Thacker says, hope is a person—Jesus—and He speaks to us through His Word.
3. Tell the truth about what's happening in your home
I labored long under the delusion that I needed everyone's perception of me to be perfect. The truth is, when I moved the curtain aside and let the sun shine on the truth of our home, I found out I wasn't alone. A secret only has power over you when it's a secret.
4. Ask for help
When your days are long filled with strife and you don't know how to take a step out, ask for help. Go to a trusted friend and tell the truth. Ask for help until you get it.
5. Train your heart to run to God in the hard times
Right in the middle of your hard time, in that very moment, stop and ask God to prove Himself to you and give you peace that goes beyond your ability to understand. I make it a habit to bow my head and close my eyes right in the middle of my kids fussing and ask God to come right away to help me rise above. My boys know now that I'm praying, and it not only helps connect me with my Source, it paints a picture for them that mama needs Jesus just as much as they do.
5. Remember that life is about more than this moment
I'm a big fan of Paul David Tripp and pretty much everything written by the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. One my favorite quotes from Tripp is this:
"Will you live today like grace has connected your life to something vastly bigger than the hopes and dreams of this little moment?"
This too shall pass, mama. Your hard day isn't the end of the world. Your big loss doesn't mean victory isn't coming. And with God's help you can overcome. Hold your head up, dig in your heels, and go get in the game. I'm cheering you on!
What tips would you add to help us all get and stay in the motherhood game?
Download a FREE printable of Tips for Staying in the Motherhood Game! (Seriously, it's so beautiful!)
Brooke McGlothlin is co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, and helps boy moms feel normal at The MOB Society (FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys).