Helping women realize their God-given calling and purpose as moms

4 Ways to Overcome the Invisible Struggle that Every Mom Faces

by Sue Detweiler

The Invisible Struggle

Every day there is an invisible struggle which can be intensely raging in the mind, and it will be seen on the outside through our emotions and actions. Galatians 5 describes the fight:

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”Galatians 5:16-17 NLT

What do you crave?

When we choose to satisfy the cravings of the flesh, we will sin. Most of the time when we think about sin, we think about stealing, lying, cheating, quarreling or committing an act of sexual impurity.  However, sin begins as a seed in the mind that takes root and grows into an attitude of jealousy, impurity, idolatry, hostility, and envy, among others. Sinful actions follow these attitudes.  Often the cravings of our souls come from lusting after legitimate needs and trying to fulfill them in illegitimate ways. The Spirit gives us desires that are opposite to what the flesh craves.

The Fruit of Anger

The craving to satisfy one’s own happiness can lead to anger and frustration. An emotion in itself is not good or bad, but how we choose to act upon it can be.  Anger is a normal human emotion that can fuel positive things. Jesus fashioned a whip in the temple and drove out the money-changers who were stealing from people and dishonoring God’s house. Martin Luther King focused the anger of African Americans into non-violent protests that led to overturning racist laws. Candy Lightner took her own devastation of her thirteen-year-old daughter being killed by a hit-and-run driver to found M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). These examples show that the human emotion of anger can be a righteous indignation that leads to positive change.

Most of the time, however, we become angry or frustrated when we do not get what we want. We have a goal that has been blocked. Anger out of control can become destructive. It can make you feel like you are at the mercy of a powerful emotion that is unpredictable and at times irrational. Anger can vary in intensity from mild irritation to intense feelings of rage. Anger is accompanied by physiological changes: heart rate and blood pressure go up. You also get an adrenaline rush, which is like gasoline to fuel our “fight or flight” response.

Uncontrolled anger can be devastating to a child. Anger tears down protective boundaries of self. Anger itself can be a weapon of control and manipulation. When a parent uses anger as a weapon, the children will grow in a fear-based environment rather than cultivating a culture of love and respect.

See your Reflection in the Mirror of God’s Word

Have you ever seen your own angry red face in the reflection of a mirror? I never knew I had anger issues until I was faced with the daunting task of potty-training a toddler. By the fourth mishap of the day I was pulling off her jeans with such force that I am sure I scared her. Then I screamed and caught sight of my face reflecting back at me in the mirror: ugly and red, distorted by rage, this was the face my daughter was seeing.

Seeing your reflection in the mirror of God’s Word brings truth of your own need to change. It is easy to point your finger and look at other people who have out of control anger. It is another thing to honestly assess how you personally deal with anger. Whether you express, suppress, or calm your anger is your choice, but anger is not an emotion you can ignore. Unexpressed anger can come out in passive aggressive ways, such as cynical comments, cutting looks, critical judgments, which contribute to broken relationships.

Our children can receive the brunt of our unexpressed anger. We may be angry at a situation at work and seem perfectly calm there, but come home and make life miserable for everyone we encounter. Children pick up on our hostility and blame themselves for it. An angry mother is the source of much pain for her children.

Here are 4 ways to overcome this invisible struggle that every mom faces:

1. Reflect

Jesus gave His followers a pattern to overcome temptation in the prayer that we often call the Lord’s prayer. In this prayer that is prayed across the globe as a model for daily prayer we find what we need to overcome the enemy on a daily basis.

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)

Just by setting aside in your day to read the Bible and reflect on God’s ways will change everything. When you understand that your role as a mom is bringing God’s kingdom into your very home. His will is being done as you follow Him and teach your kids about His word. Whenever you reflect on what His word says and what His will is you will know how to follow Him. As you pause to ponder, listen and reflect, your questions will be answered and you will receive wisdom that comes from heaven above.

2 Trust

You can trust that God will give you your daily bread as you seek Him. Your daily bread is not just a crusty loaf, it is a metaphor for everything that you need. Anytime you feel overwhelmed in the moment, focus on the fact that God will give you everything you need in the moment.

Earlier I told the story of how I lost my temper while I was potty training my oldest daughter. She is now 23, engaged to be married, and a nanny to 2 twins. The other day she was telling me how she feeds two newborn babies at once and I sat there amazed. Wow – how does she have the patience for this?  The grace to care for newborn twins comes from God.

You can trust God. The things that seem so difficult in the moment are really simple to the God of the universe. You just get to put your tiny hand into His. Like a child look into His eyes and trust Him to show you how to parent even as He parents you.

3. Prepare

Jesus said, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One.” In this prayer, He was teaching us to prepare for battle. Do mom’s do warfare? YES! Every single day you battle against the forces of hell who understands better than you do how you are on the frontlines. You are teaching the next generation how to love God and how to live in the world.

So everyday prepare for the battle. Ask God to lead you in His ways and to reveal the hidden traps. Get dressed in His whole armor (Ephesians 6) and His apron of humility. Let your heart be filled with the fruit of His love which covers a multitude of sins.

Every mom faces this same battle… you can overcome in Him. 

4. Believe

Let your mind and heart hope and believe in Him. Greater things are yet to come and greater things are yet to be done in your home. As you triumph over dishes, laundry, and potty training you are being trained to change the world through the power of God’s love. “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World” is a poem by William Ross Wallace. He praises moms for being world-changers and national-influencers.

Believe that God is able to use you to change history as you fully embrace the task of pouring into the next generation. Let your mind think thoughts of peaceful confidence as you enjoy your daily life as a mom. Reflect, Trust, Prepare and Believe – 4 ways to overcome the invisible struggle that every mom faces.

 

8 comments

  1. Just found your blog today, Sue. I was intrigued by your title and see that you do podcasts. I’ve been praying about starting a podcast at some point. I love listening to them and happy I found a new one to listen to! I have four kids of my own- most of them out of the house (youngest is 17). Look forward to listening to your podcasts!

  2. Sue Detweiler /

    Barb,
    We have a lot in common. I have so enjoyed doing these weekly interviews with moms. We learn so much from hearing one another’s story. Thanks you for your encouragement. I hope you will pass it on to others.

  3. Katie /

    Thank you for sharing this. It really touched me. I realize now that I’ve been bearing the fruit of anger. My husband actually just told me an hour ago that he feels like I’m always mad at him. I am not ALWAYS mad at him, but I guess I just expect certain things and when they don’t happen I get mad and feed that anger. Then I am in a bad mood the whole day. It’s been really hard for me to adjust to being a new mom and working full time. I still don’t know how to balance work, dishes, baby, husband, cleaning and the whole list of other things (including ministry since we are also youth pastors).I feel like I can’t do things to the best of my ability since there are so many things to be done. I have to remember the Lord is in control and that He will help me. I just wanted you to know that this did help someone! Thanks again. 🙂

    • Sue Detweiler /

      Katie,
      Thanks for being so open and vulnerable. We are on a journey together, with the mirror of God’s word in our hands – to be more like HIM. Thanks for your encouragement. Let’s stay in touch.
      Sue

  4. Sue,

    These are great, simple truths. Such good reminders. I’m stopping by from the #LifeGivingLinkup. Thank you!

    Blessings,
    Stacey

    • Sue Detweiler /

      Thanks Stacey. You are a great community builder.

  5. I just found out about this blog today! wow, Love it! thank you for the encouragement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *