I am not a crafty mom. Sometimes, I get inspired and try crafty things with my boys, but they never turn out well. A prime example happened just a few years ago when I decided to get out of my comfort zone, and attempted to create a Thanksgiving Tree.
I spent hours trying to make this tree just right, and each day during the month of November we lovingly, painstakingly, and cautiously cut out imprints of my boys’ hands, wrote praises for God’s gifts on each one, and pasted them to the tree.
It was a non-crafty mom victory, and by Thanksgiving Day—filled with orange, yellow, red, and brown handprints—my creation looked just like one of the autumn-colored trees outside our windows. My heart soared at the display of thankful living we’d worked hard to create.
It should’ve been the best Thanksgiving ever. Only it wasn’t.
Despite my best efforts, my boys decided to rebel that Thanksgiving Day. Nothing I tried to teach them stuck. They fought, disobeyed, yelled, and generally made me feel like all that hard work meant absolutely nothing. During the car ride home, I actually curled up in the fetal position and wept in the passenger seat of our SUV. I had expected changed hearts, but was met with a chaotic mess.
Maybe you can relate?
In 1 Samuel 30, we find a ragged David and his mighty men marching home in hopes of rest and reunion with their families. The troops looked forward to the familiar, loving faces that awaited them at home, but they found something entirely different.
Left unguarded and vulnerable to attack, their families had been raided and taken captive by the Amalekites...their city burned to the ground.
That Thanksgiving, I felt a lot like David returning home from war. I had given my all, and looked forward to the rewards of my labor, but instead found them stripped away altogether.
It wasn’t the first time my boys drove me to tears, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Feelings of defeat are a normal part of a mom’s life. Children will disobey. Siblings will fight. Holidays we meant to be so special will turn out more like nightmares.
But there is a way we can find hope in the messes of life.
“...David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 (ESV)
David could have turned his back on God. After all, He had failed to keep David’s family safe. Instead, he chose to strengthen himself in the Lord and pray for wisdom.
David chose not to be defeated. Despite how he felt that day, he decided to offer his heart to God, worship Him in faith, and ask for wisdom in the midst of a messy situation. It was the lift his heart needed to keep going, and it’s the lift our hearts need, too.
It’s easy to forget God’s promise to be with us no matter what. In the midst of painful situations, we wonder where He is, forgetting that we serve the God who hears us when we pray, not the God who looks the other way.
Next time life doesn’t turn out quite the way you planned, and you find yourself tempted to give up, remember this:
A humble heart, combined with prayer and worship always equals strength to keep going (<<---tweet that).
Will you invite Jesus into your mess right now? He’s already there, close by, waiting for you to call.
Jesus, I give this messy life to You. These messy kids, my messy attempts to be what they need, our messy sinful responses to life—I give it all to You. Meet me here in these moments, help me remember that I have access to You in prayer—both for myself and my kids—and give me the strength I need to keep going. Thank You for hearing when I pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The next time your plans go awry, and you’re left feeling defeated, pray—inviting God into your moments—and ask yourself:
- What do I know about God’s character that can help me find strength in this situation?
- What verse from God’s word can I pray for myself, my kids, or others affected by this situation?
Brooke McGlothlin is co-founder of the MOB Society, where mothers of boys find delight in the chaos of raising boys. Be sure to check out Brooke's new book, Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most.