The Secret to Mothering With More Patience

My biggest discouragement as a mother is my own lack of self-control and the constant reminder of my own sinfulness.

What do I desire?

To parent with all gentleness and grace, facing each challenge with a gospel-lesson.

Reality?

Not always that.

But if we ask, then listen, the Lord speaks. And He says to me, as He says to you, “Feed my sheep.” I know He really said it to Peter, but the application is there. And it is rich and deep and wide.

Purpose of Parenting

Really, it’s all in understanding the purpose of parenting as a Christian. Too often I think, even in Christian circles, parenting has been treated as a peripheral job. Herein lies a huge problem. Why have we been given children? What we believe about the answer to that question will determine how we parent.

Of all the things that our children are–cute and cuddly, fun to watch, mess-makers and time-takers, they are our disciples. They were given to us to shepherd. And listen to this–before Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep”, He questioned him: “Do you love Me”? In other words, “if you love Me, prove it by tending my lambs.”

Just stop there and chew on that for a minute.


The reason we are so often prone to frustration is that first of all, lambs are foolish. That’s why they need tending. They do dumb things and they have no idea about the ravenous wolves. That’s why they need a shepherd.

But if we don’t understand this role that God Himself has given us, then their foolishness becomes a source of irritation (“Why can’t they just do what they’re supposed to do!”) instead of a precious opportunity to lead, guide and protect them. Remember, “tending” takes time.

If my life becomes about living for my desires and aims, and I forget that Christian motherhood requires me to die to my flesh, then these foolish little lambs are simply in the way.

We parent in frustration mostly because we forget that we are shepherds.

The Secret:

Here’s the “secret” I promised:

As earthly shepherds of these lambs, our method MUST be about taking them to the Great Shepherd. And I mean every day, every offense. Because if I am not always showing them why we must do or not do certain things, in light of God’s Word, I’m not showing them the gospel. I’m just trying to make “good children.” And if I’m not showing them the gospel, I’m not tending the sheep.

Ah…when the light breaks through, again, and the Lord breathes new life into my work, it is a glorious thing.

May we be renewed.

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23 Responses to “The Secret to Mothering With More Patience”

  1. Very timely! This is something I struggle to remember. I have three little ones and I often forget why these precious ones were given to me.

    Thanks for the sweet reminder!

    Crystal <

  2. Love this, Kelly. Thank you.

  3. Marcie says:

    “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15a What a mission statement we have been given.

  4. LuAnne says:

    Yes, yes, and yes! We absolutely ARE to disciple our children, no question. And yet, we all know that we fall far short of living up to this on a daily basis. Not, necessarily, because we forget our “motive” – but because we are human.

    Those times – those specific times of ‘I’ve failed and I’ve said/done the wrong thing’ – can also disciple! Teaching our children not only to DO GOOD, but to BE HUMBLE – to own up to their own mistakes by owning up to our own – is part and parcel of discipleship.

    Lovely post – so thought provoking! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Kathy says:

    Just what I needed this evening-thank you!

  6. Lady Violet says:

    And also…if WE are not being fed from The Shepherd, it will make it very hard for us to guide those little lambs unto Him.

    This is a great post, thank you. Now if only we can remember and not forget!

  7. Heather says:

    This is great! I’m sharing it on facebook! Thanks AGAIN for the encouragement!!!

  8. Melissa says:

    Your best work yet friend. I loved it and you!

  9. Natalie says:

    This was beautiful Kelly. Yesterday was another hard day with one of mine (you know…), and while I pointed her to the Shepherd, I did it with an ugly spirit. Augh. So many tears over this. How can our children recognize the beauty of the Shepherd when THIS shepherd gets so frustrated? Waking up today, committing it…again…to Him. And praying for baby steps in a good direction. Pressing on with you!

  10. Caryl says:

    This was so inspiring – thank you! Interestingly, I do counseling and have applied this to those I counsel, but this has just shown me that more importantly it must be applied to my children. So very exciting when the penny drops and a whole new light is shed on raising our children for the Lord. I so appreciate your blog, Kelly. Thank you for your constant encouragement and enlightenment. I am a relatively new reader and this is the first time I’ve commented.

  11. Virginia says:

    Excellent! I love it. That’s exactly what James Dobson says. You need to bring them back to Christ each time rather than just trying to make good little kids. I love that movie Timechangers.

    http://amazingsix.blogspot.com

  12. MelissaJoy says:

    Thank you for another good post. Mainly, thank you for writing God’s prompting on your heart. What you said about the church behaving as if this is a peripheral job really resonated with me. I feel let down by the believers around me in the area of shepherding me to be the shepherd I am supposed to be. I struggle daily; and though I realize parenting and godly living are daily struggles on their own, I am more alone than I believe a Christian should be. In my prayers I share my desire for other godly women to walk alongside me as a mother should. I need help! Thank you for being an element of that fellowship by continuing this blog, I know it requires much of you.

  13. Keri says:

    Keep bringing them back to Christ!! Yes…and when they are older they will follow him!!

  14. Mrs. B says:

    Hi Kelly! I’ve been out of commission for awhile (going through my own storm, still in the middle, waiting and praying for it to pass over soon.)
    One light at the end of the tunnel is to see that you haven’t given up blogging. Don’t get me wrong-when I read that you needed a rest I understood completely!
    It’s kind of funny, we probably don’t live that far away from each other (you sent a wonderful thank-you note last year, thank you!) But like I said, just trying to muddle through, this is how we become more aware of God’s grace, yes?

    • Word Warrior says:

      Mrs. B.,

      Oh, yes, His grace. You will see it and know and feel it, I promise! On the other side, it will all be worthwhile. Praying that you are through this storm soon!!!

  15. […] The secret to mothering with more patience […]

  16. […] whispers…“it’s not about what you want”. Ouch. I wrote about this more in “The Secret to Mothering With More Patience”, but it boils down to MY heart’s intentions. Do I want them to make my life easier by acting […]

  17. […] my thoughts captive. Most of our behavior begins in the mind. I must keep my thoughts focused on my purpose as a mother–to nurture my children in the Lord. After my husband’s needs, they are my top […]

  18. […] this first: our children are like lambs, given to us to shepherd. They are not complete, they are not yet wise, or mature. They aren’t trying to aggravate us. […]

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