Desiring God Posts, Parenting, Suffering with hope

Weak Moms, Strong God


Mother’s Day can be painful. I often look at my children and feel crushed by the weight of responsibility to raise them with the obstacles we face. Living with Lyme Disease makes motherhood physically painful, and having passed Lyme on to my four children is emotionally painful. Our circumstances often feel overwhelming and impossible to overcome.

I have the desire to bring up godly, well-balanced children, yet I often feel as though I never get beyond simply keeping bellies full, preventing World War III from breaking out in our home, and getting through the day — all while carrying a thousand-pound backpack filled with fears, doubts, grief, and weariness. 

Oh, how different life is from the naive picture that I had formed in my head before the realities of motherhood began. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful to be a mother. It is a precious gift and privilege that I do not deserve. However, it is also a journey that has been far from what I imagined. 

Mom’s Internal Struggle

These last ten years of motherhood have been mixed with joy and pain, sweetness and sorrow, growth and loss. God has been faithful to carry us through many dark days, but the internal struggle often remains within me.

I’m failing to be the mom that my kids need.
Will they always carry the baggage of the pain they have faced?
The burdensome trials in front of me are too much to bear.
If only I had done more.

Each mother carries her own unique fears, anxieties, and struggles, but we all desire to be the mom that our children need, don’t we? These burdens and fears will either consume us and create perpetual anxiety within us or, by God’s grace, they will lead us to the one who is not only in control, but knows exactly what our children need — and loves them more than we ever could.   

What Children Need Most

If you are feeling overwhelmed, inadequate, afraid, or discouraged as a mom this Mother’s Day weekend, would you join me in laying our burdens down before Christ, reminding ourselves of the God we serve, and viewing our role as a mother through the lens of what he says?  

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147:3–5)

What do our children need in us as mothers? A mother with no baggage? A mother who guards them from harm and protects their path? A mother who does daily devotions as a family and faithfully brings them to church? A mother who provides opportunities for their growth and development?

Yes, these things are good, but they are not ultimately what our children need most from us. Before all else, our children need these three traits in their mom. 

1. A mom who loves Jesus more than a mom who “does everything right.”

We will fail our children. Whether we overreact, overprotect, waste our time, pass on a bad habit, discipline in anger, or neglect to discipline, we will make mistakes, and sin will be intermingled with even our best efforts. 

Trying to be the perfect mother for our children will always leave us discouraged, guilt-ridden, and weary. Our children need us to stop fixating on our successes and failures and start fixing our gaze on Christ. 

We do this by shaping our lives with his word and making focused time with him a priority. Though this will look different in different seasons, we want to make time to bring our weary and striving selves to the truth of his word and allow the Spirit to fill us with more of Jesus.

As we take our eyes off of ourselves and fix them on him, our kids will be exposed to something far greater and impactful than a mom striving for something unattainable. We will still fail, yes, but as we seek to know Christ in tangible rhythms of life, we will grow to love him more — and that love will naturally overflow into the lives of the precious children who are watching us ever so closely. 

2. A mom who humbles herself under God’s loving plan, even when it’s not her own. 

My experience as a mother has been nothing as I expected it would be. So much of what I envisioned has been shattered by special needs, a family with chronic illness, a life-altering neurological disorder, doctor appointments, physical limitations, and financial loss. 

Honestly, I have resisted humbling myself and accepting this as God’s plan for me on numerous occasions. During those times, I have found myself quicker to anger, irritation, self-pity, and loneliness, because I’m fixated on what I wish life would be, rather than humbling myself under God’s good plan for me and my children. 

However, as I have grown in his grace through these hard years, I have learned that humbling myself under God’s plan does not mean that I will always walk around with a smile on my face despite the heartache deep within me. It does mean, however, that by faith I choose to bring my heartache, disappointment, fear, sorrow, and weariness to Jesus, asking him to help me trust his goodness and purposes in my circumstances. 

3. A mom who trusts that God is bigger than our baggage, failures, and circumstances.  

It’s easy to look at the circumstances that you or your children are facing and feel defeated and overwhelmed. Whether it’s a devastating illness, an inherited sin or habit, a child’s insecurities, a traumatic event, or a rebellious child, we will all be faced with circumstances that are far beyond what we can handle in ourselves.

However, the blessing of facing these circumstances is that they provide an opportunity for us to let go of our need for control and desire to earn God’s acceptance, and instead trust that God is greater than the most hopeless circumstance and rebellious heart. Life’s trials can become turning points that take us from being moms who strive for control and perfection, to moms who confidently and freely trust in God’s control, promises, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, and redemption. 

What a powerful witness it is to our children when they see peace and joy flowing from their mom amidst challenging circumstances and their own rebellious hearts. And what greater gift can we give our children than to give them a glimpse of a trustworthy Savior who is greater than our sin and greater than our trials? 

In His Strength

Sister, if you find yourself facing circumstances that are more than you can handle, or you feel inadequate to be the mom you desire to be, remember that the Lord’s “delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 147:10–11). 

As we learn to trust Christ, rather than our own wisdom and strength, and as we learn to fear God, rather than our own failures or trials, he will guide, equip, and strengthen us to be the mother he desires us to be.

In Christ, 

Sarah Walton

hurts_medium.62ycfe4p32lgurjshoegogequhxiqninTo read more on the hope we have in suffering, check out “Hope When It Hurts – 30 Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering” authored by Sarah Walton and Kristen Wetherell here or here.

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13 thoughts on “Weak Moms, Strong God”

  1. Sarah, thank you for your honesty. I found your blog through Proverbs 31. I am so far from a perfect mom and I needed this reminder of the three things I CAN do to show my kids the love of God, salvation through Christ, and power through the Holy Spirit. As a pastor’s wife, I get anxious about what I should or shouldn’t do/what our kids do or don’t do…. And the list goes on and on. Thank you for encouraging me today and for the reminder that I am not alone either. God bless you and praying He will me all your needs according to His riches in glory, Victoria

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not alone in those struggles, Victoria! I’m so glad that you found encouragement through the article. From one anxious mom to another, may we find our identity in Christ and lead our kids by that example (as imperfectly as we will)!


  2. My son faces Lymes Disease and I pray every day for him to be healed from this terrible disease. Have you found anything that helps as far as treatment?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Julie. It is so hard to watch our children suffer like this. Ozone treatments has been the most helpful, but we can’t do it for our younger ones because it’s intravenous. We haven’t found anything else specific that has made a huge difference yet, but we are in the process of changing doctors, so we’re praying for some clarity. I will let you know if we find something! Praying for you, Julie.


  3. Oh, Sarah, how I love this and needed this reminder for this phase of life. Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging other women, while fighting your own battles. Know that you and yours are being covered and lifted up in prayers today. Thank you again. (Like the previous poster, I found you through Proverbs 31.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah, I was comforted to find this devotional today. My family has been on a similar journey with Lyme Disease. My husband contracted Lyme Disease 10 years ago and had to take early retirement and is on disability. About a year after my husband was diagnosed, my 24 year old son, Hunter, was diagnosed. He was sick for 2+ years and then worked for three years and was very successful. He took a flu shot 3 years ago which reactivated the infection. He is now 34 years old and taking IV therapy and will be on an 18-24 treatment plan. Sometimes, it is more than my husband and I can bear. We can’t “fix” it for Hunter and honestly don’t even know how to pray anymore. We have so many emotions…anger, frustration, bitterness, hopelessness, etc..I ordered your book and know it will bring comfort to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear the struggles your family is dealing with, Elaine. I resonate with so much of what you are wrestling with. And yet, God knows our hearts and he will meet us there. I pray that you will be encouraged, challenged, and comforted through the book. Praying for your family now.


  5. I too am overwhelmed sometimes. I too did not expect to walk the road I am walking. There is so much I could share but everyone has issues with something or other. Mine happens to be a grandchild with mental and emotional issues that have caused problems for his family since he was a small child, some (many I believe) that are not his fault and many caused by problems his father had with anger, etc. and this child has learned to solve his problems the same way he has seen for years but his father refuses to not pass blame on him and constantly belittles him which does not help. My heart has been broken many times and I know God can fix everything in His time and will but it has become an almost unbearable load for us to carry. Please pray for us that we can trust God to answer our prayers in His time.


  6. Sarah,
    I just could not believe I was reading this devotional today that is so much the life that we are living. The pain and hurt of watching our once happy children devasted by an illness that completely changed who they once were. We have twins with PANDAS/PANS and although we don’t have confirmed lyme (which we think this may be present), we have mycoplasma, strep, herpes 6, Epstein Barre virus, and candida. We also have (and did prior to getting sick) some processing and memory issues that has made learning and socializing very difficult for them. We were not able to complete much school and they are now in high school. The sense of hurt, loss, concern for their future is so overwhelming at times but our GOD is a GOD of hope that we cannot lose sight of. I thank you for the reminder to keep my focus on Jesus as our number 1 priority for I spend far too much time thinking about what I am doing wrong, how I can respond to my child so I won’t be a trigger for one of their outbursts etc. So often I need to picture myself laying my girls at the feet of Jesus for only he knows how to handle this. I do want to say that the LORD has recently brought us to homeopathy and we have seen some wonderful gains. There is HOPE. I will be buying your book and THANK YOU for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, our stories sound very similar! And yes, it has been so overwhelming at times (or most of the time). But I too have to frequently remind myself that God is bigger than this. The trickiest thing can be that what works for one person, may not for the next. Therefore, it becomes challenging to navigate which rabbit trails of healing to take. We just keep praying that the Lord will lead. Praying for you now and I hope you will find comfort in the book!


  7. Sarah,
    I came to your blog from the Proverbs 31 site today, as that post was tender. I have a friend here who is a photographer and has Lyme disease. I didn’t realize that what I found would be for me instead. Your Mother’s Day post moved me to tears. I constantly wrestle with perfectionism and guilt in failures as a mom. Thank you. You have such valuable truth here as to what is truly important!
    Thank you for the blessing of your writing.
    Tammy Belau


  8. Love your articles, I’m struggling with something with my son but i have to keep trusitng in God. I know we as parents we want to protect and want the best for our kids and don’t want them to suffer but God knows


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