Stone Soup for Five: To moms of hard kids--some tools and advice

To moms of hard kids--some tools and advice

Recently I had a couple of friends who were dealing with really hard things with their children.  I was blessed to be able to pray with them and they were kind enough to listen to a little unsolicited advice from me--who stands as a great example of how not to do things.

I hear from so many of you who are walking down a similar road, so I'll share some unsolicited advice here for you too from Mrs. How not to do it.  You're welcome.

Do not see your child as their sin.

I made that mistake many, many times.  In one pivotal moment in the middle of another confrontation with my strong willed son, I looked into his angry eyes--eyes that I love so much--and could only see his sin.

I saw him completely as his sin.

In the heat of that moment, when tempers were flaring and I was SO DONE WITH THIS, AGAIN... God broke through my anger and fear with a thought that stopped me cold:

"I don't see you that way."


When we see our children as their sin, it puts us in a fight against them, instead of against Satan, who we should be fighting.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood (or our kids) but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this present darkness.  It's just like being on the battlefield, full on in the fight, but chopping away at our own fellow fighters, not the enemy.

Fight the right thing.


In my prayer binder, I have all sorts of notes and reminders to keep my mind straight on this issue.  And fellow moms of hard kids, you need to start storing up verses, notes, prayers, and quotes to keep you in the right fight too.  I thought I'd share a few things that help me reset my focus.

"In times of great difficulty and great expectation, it is our wisdom to keep our spirits calm, quiet, and sedate; for then we are in the best frame both to do our own work and to consider the work of God.  Your strength is to sit still."  -Matthew Henry

"Waiting is a permanent continuance in the performance of duties against all difficulties and discouragements."  -John Calvin

"Sovereign grace has power alone
to subdue a heart of stone;
and the moment grace is felt, 
then the hardest heart will melt."
-John Newton

"Take courage; I AM.  Do not be afraid." Mark 6:50

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts." Zech 4:6

"I do believe; help my unbelief!" Mark 9:24


Lord, strengthen the moms of prodigals and our children who seem to be going in that direction.  Help us stay in the battle and fight on our knees.  Pour out your Spirit on us who are weary.  Protect us from unbelief and from reacting out of fear.  May our thoughts and emotions be focused on You, not the problem.  May our fear be bound captive.  Give us peace in the midst of the storm and help us keep our eyes on You.  Pour out your grace on us and our children.  Help us have greater expectation of You than we do of sin.  You are always working, and You are faithful to complete it.  Grant us repentance.  Teach us wait well.

This is another great prayer written for the fathers of prodigals, but it is an amazing prayer for mothers of prodigals too.

Stay in the fight
When talking to other moms of hard kids, I've come to suspect that these struggles aren't just to teach our children, but also to help us develop patience, perseverance, and hope in God.  Each time I've been tempted to hope in something other than God's goodness, His grace, and His timeline, I've been let down.  I've placed hope in books, in sermons, in "if only they heard this!" things.  But time and again, the Lord has pried my fingers from those and helped me get back on my knees, waiting on Him.

Hope in Him.
Wait well.


  1. Thank you. I received this email right after an email from my son's teacher. God's timing.


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