The One Thing That Changed My Parenting

This is the second step in the series How To Beat Motherhood Overwhelm in 7 Easy Steps.

I so wanted this post to be a book or an idea that could just perfect you as a mother, as a parent, as a person. I want a quick fix, for me, and for you. I want mothers everywhere to just wake up one day, completely fixed and able to be the Moms they always wanted to be. Cool under pressure. Loving and kind under the worst circumstances. Fun, happy, inviting. Lifting their kids up on wings to soar into adulthood with not one ounce of turbulence. I haven’t found that thing, but I have found perhaps the next best thing.

Prayer.

That, my friends, is my big secret weapon. All the big, life changing, heart healing moments and life giving habits have come directly from seasons of intense prayer.

The steps following this step in this series will talk about the most important tools God has guided me toward adding to my arsenal. But they are mine, they were what I needed for my very specific life and story. Yours may be different. Your motherhood journey may require other tools. Only a living God who loves you immeasurably can guide you to those tools that will help you out of this place of overwhelm. And the best way to seek out His guidance, is through prayer.

Four ways to pray

Praise and Worship

I’m starting with Praise and Worship, because when you are completely overwhelmed and wrung out, you don’t have your own words, but you can start with singing. The well known children’s nursery song, Jesus Loves Me, This I Know is one of the biggest and best prayers you will ever pray, when you mean it. Proclaiming into your darkest place that you are loved and you know who you belong to is one of the most powerful things we can ever do.

Maybe you aren’t quite in that gut wrenching place. Then you move to praise and worship songs, whatever stripe you like. I love Rita Springer and Bethel Music, myself. Local Christian radio is a great place to start, if you are in need of a place to begin. It doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to know everything there is about God, or even very much at all, to just praise Him and see Him begin to change your life and heal your overwhelm.

There are studies mentioning how music engages more of the brain than any other activity. People have a greater memory for song lyrics than they do anything else. The power of song is greatly documented, use it to your advantage!

Praying The Names of God

There’s a saying, don’t tell your God about your mountain, tell your mountain about your God.

I had spent years telling God about all the things going wrong in my life before He showed me that who He is is sometimes all I need to know!

When I began praying that He is El Shaddai, God Almighty, over my problems, I began to see that maybe what is happening, is just what He wants to happen. That maybe the events of my life are in His will.

When I began praying that He is Jehovah Shalom, The Lord is Peace, I began looking to Him for peace instead of looking to my circumstances for that peace.

When we look at our life through the lens of who God is, we see that, although life is crazy hard, it’s all in His hands. Here’s a great little list of the Names of God to start praying.

Praying Through Our Emotions

Have you ever had someone ask, “How are you?” Or “How can I help you?” and honestly had no idea what the answer was?  If so, let me introduce you to your best tool: the Psalms. The longest book in the bible represents every emotion known to man. Joy, adoration, betrayal, depression, wonder, anger – you name, it’s there.

One of my favorite prayer exercises is to pray through the Psalms. Find one you like, start there. Or, google “psalms for anger” or “psalms for anxiety” and pray through what you find. They are usually grouped by similarity, so read the Psalms around some of your favorites and see how they fit.

Try singing the Psalms, they were written as songs, although the rhythm is lost in our translations, they are varied, emotional and prolific because of the power of song.

Practical Prayer

Lastly, after your heart is thoroughly drenched in truth, let’s unpack those problems.

Journaling

One of my favorite ways to process is to write it down. Something happens in communicating our problems through the slow and methodical method of writing. Things become clearer and mountains seem smaller. This one is deliciously uncomplicated. Just pick up a pen and paper, and write. You don’t need anything fancy, but if you’re like me, you may need a lot of paper!

Praying Strategically

One of my favorite resources is a journal that breaks things into sections. I love knowing I am bathing the people and areas in my life in prayer – without forgetting anyone! Here is my favorite reasource for strategic prayer.

If you’re anything like me, the discipline of praying over your people is hard won – but oh so worth it! There’s a confidence that comes with knowing that you’ve been praying for specific needs, daily.

Which leads me to my next point:

Pray And Then Watch!

When I first became a Christian I would pray and forget. Like, completely forget. And it wouldn’t be until long after that I would remember, oh yeah! I prayed for that! Or, even worse, I’d forget to the point where I couldn’t remember if I had prayed for that or not.

There is so. much. JOY. we are missing when we do not watch for answered prayer! We want to be like small children, quivering with expectation on their birthday – because we know our parents are going to march out the presents and light up a cake for us! We serve a lavish God that wants to give us above and beyond what we can even imagine. We don’t want to exchange that opportunity to be so satisfied with joy by forgetting what we prayed for.

Praying Strategically, like I mentioned above, is a great way to be actively watching for God and His answer to our prayers.

So, overwhelmed mama, pray over yourself, your overwhelm, your circumstances, and your people. Pray specifically for guidance. And then watch – He will show up!

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