“Slow down. Breathe deep. Say ‘yes.’ Trust and obey God.”
It’s a simple phrase, really. But those ten words are powerful.
Over the last few years since my first child was born (she’ll be four in a few months, and my son is rounding out his first year), I’ve been practicing at speaking truth to myself in the midst of my hardest parenting moments. And over time, that phrase has emerged as something of an unofficial “Motherhood Mantra.”
Mothering little ones is beautiful, profound, exhilarating, rewarding work. There is so much good, so much joy in the journey. You are chosen by God to shepherd His lambs through childhood, those little ones who are so precious Heavenly Father. The Bible is pretty clear on the status of children:
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3
Children are a REWARD!
But all people, even children, are sinners.
And there are a LOT of hours to log in that journey. So when you find yourself scraping dried oatmeal off the kitchen floor while one child is pulling every pot out of the cabinet and the other is pouring an entire bag of pinto beans onto the floor, it can be just a bit of a challenge to see those little sinners the way God sees them. The kind of look more like a curse than a blessing.
You have to live in the truth.
Those hard, raw moments when you look around and just see the chaos and the tedium, when you feel as if you just can’t catch your breathe, those are the moments speaking truth to yourself becomes vital. You need to be able to fall back on God’s promises, or you will become susceptible to the lies of the enemy that say you aren’t good enough or that you are a failure or that what you are doing is not important. Lies. All of it. Those lies, if allowed in, will only feed doubt, anxiety, discontentment, disillusionment, bitterness, resentment, envy, contempt – all the negativity that keeps you from doing the important kingdom work of discipling and loving your children.
For me, those moments are sink or swim.
I find that I either become crippled by weakness or strengthened through perseverance. But I always make a choice.
The way I’ve been able to choose perseverance and strength is by counseling my heart with truth. In the midst of any crisis of motherhood, I shift my heart’s eye back to God’s grace by clinging to those ten simple words: “Slow down. Breathe deep. Say ‘yes.’ Trust and obey God.”
What most often follows is a time of prayer, out loud or inwardly, depending on the circumstances, but always full of repentance and praise and supplication to the Father.
That phrase is my life preserver that floats me back to shore.
It’s my steady reminder to shift my perspective to the cross. No matter how hard these days get (and they can get MIGHTY hard, let me tell you) if I can get myself to calm down and meditate on the promises of God’s Word, then all will be well. My Motherhood Mantra puts me right where I need to be.