I sat listening to the service, tears just streaming down my face. What they were saying, I don’t even remember. But in that moment, life was hitting us hard and I was scared. Scared I was failing at being a mom. Scared that I would never have a close relationship with my teen daughters. Scared we were losing them to the world, which was evident in the choices they were making.
Sitting behind me in that service was a mom who I knew had raised three daughters, and I know the daughters are all thriving in life, now married and raising their own kids. But what had me pondering was how this mom still has such a close relationship with each one of them. It’s evident to all who know them that they love and respect their mom. I wanted that.
As the service was over, with tears running down my face, my heart on my sleeve, I turned and said to her, “How do you do it? How do you have such a close relationship with all your adult daughters? I’m so scared I’ll never have that.”
She looked me in the eye with such a firm belief and said, “You will have that because you want that.”
Her words touched my soul, but it was that firmness in her voice that made me stop in my tracks. To this day, I’m convinced that God was speaking through her directly to me.
I’ve learned in life that if you want something bad enough, you will work hard to have it. But I just didn’t know how to bridge that divide that stood between my daughter and I in that moment. I knew I had hard work to do; I just didn’t know where to start.
This wise mom felt my pain and knew my angst as she rounded me up for coffee that next week. The words she spoke over my family that morning have completely changed our trajectory. Those words of life have impacted generations.
She reminded me of the authority we have in prayer. The power of Jesus could be felt in that room as she instructed me to lay hands on my daughters as I prayed over them, declaring that Satan had no hold on them.
She reminded me that I am the mother of these beautiful girls and to battle for them in prayer. My perspective of motherhood changed at that moment. I was no longer just a mom doing my best to get my girls to make good choices and to understand the love of Jesus. I was now a warrior, suited up with the power of Jesus, fighting in prayer for these girls.
Don’t mess with a mama who knows her power in prayer.
So there I was, stuck in a season of disconnect with my daughters, and I had to decide, how badly did I want that close relationship with them? More importantly, how badly did I want to point them to Jesus? Was I willing to do the work?
I began to lay hands on my girls as they slept, pleading with Jesus that they would feel His presence more than anything of this world. I declared, and continue to declare, that Satan has NO place in our home and in our hearts.
I invested in a life coach, who specialized in parenting. The skills I possessed as a mother had gotten me this far, but I realized I needed to learn some different skills if I wanted things to be different in my home. I’ve come to wonder why we as a society are so willing to invest and learn new skills so we can advance in areas like athletics, our careers and businesses, but we don’t give it a thought that maybe we should invest and learn new skills when it comes to our marriages and our parenting.
During the life coaching sessions, I was taught the skill of edification.
ed·i·fy | \ ˈe-də-ˌfī \
Definition of edify: to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge: UPLIFT
also : ENLIGHTEN, INFORM, BUILD, ESTABLISH
Sticky notes with words of affirmation, love, and adoration started popping up all around our home. Every morning I would write a note for each person in our home, with words of something that I appreciated about them, something I was proud of them for, or something I saw in them that others may not see.
As moms, we can get so focused on what our kids should or shouldn’t be doing, but we lose sight of seeing the good in our kids. Our brains are trained to pick out the negative and focus on that. This was like learning a new language for me. So instead of focusing on what they didn’t accomplish the day before, I was intentionally pointing out all that they did accomplish. Or I intentionally looked for how they helped someone or did something hard, and focused on that.
To get what I wanted, to be close to my daughters, close enough to have them hear my heart as I point them to Jesus, I was willing to do the hard work. But the hard work had to start with me making changes, not them. Recognizing what I was contributing to the disconnect. Owning that, to them and to God. Surrounding myself with people who speak life and who have what I was seeking. Investing in myself.
If you’re finding yourself in a stuck situation, and you want to see change so badly, but you just don’t know where to start, hold fast to these truths:
1 – Changing our mindset will allow God’s glory to shine through.
While we’re going through trials and hardships, we tend to cry out asking God to get us out of the mess. But what if we shift that mindset? What if, instead, we ask Him: What is He wanting us to learn through that hardship, who does He want us to be in the midst of that hardship, and who does He want us to be after He sees us through that hardship?
Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.
By God’s grace and love, our minds can be renewed and our thought patterns can be changed.
2 – Our stuck situation does not define us.
The disconnect with my daughters, in my mind, was defining me as an epic failure of a mother. What God showed me through the life-giving words of my wise friend, is that our situation was simply a part of the process in becoming who God designed us to be. It’s the same in all situations. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that He makes all things beautiful in His time. If we allow Him to, He will use us and what we perceive as our “stuck situations” to grow us and stretch us.
3 – We have the authority to change our situation.
Jesus told the disciples in John 14:12-14 this, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in My name, and I will do it.”
As I began to lay hands on and pray over my daughters, using my God-given authority as their mom, I watched God completely transform our family. I saw a shift happen in their lives that could only be God’s handiwork. Prayer is a powerful gift the Father has blessed us with.
Some situations leave us feeling like there is no way out. And in that moment, maybe there really isn’t a way out. Take comfort in this:
How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
He hears your cries.
4 – Our words matter in all situations.
Proverbs 14:1 tells us that “the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” I’ve learned from experience that I can quickly tear down my home with my words.
Also in Proverbs 16:24 we’re told that “pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
The new language of love being spoken through sticky notes in our home was bringing healing. I stood back and watched hearts soften and become more open. God is SO good. I even received notes back!
In your stuck situation, how can you change your words? Can you learn a new language?
You can build or tear down with your words. The choice is yours.
Our mindset, how we define ourselves, our God-given authority, our words – no matter where you find yourself in these areas, rest in this truth from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”