The Struggles Moms Face

Before I dive into this part of the study, I just want to make this very clear: we are not facing trials anywhere near as harsh as our Christian brothers and sisters are in Iraq. I do not mean to downplay the trials we may be facing personally, but I also want to make sure we keep a fair perspective and remember to  pray for our friends in the Middle East.

They are in some serious persecution -- some of the most horrific seen in years. So, as we go through this study and learn how to cling to God during crisis, please also pray for the people in Iraq, suffering from executions, hangings, and beheadings because of their faith in Christ. They need our prayers now more than ever.

As moms, we face day-to-day struggles and sometimes year-to-year struggles through trials, tests, and temptations. How can we overcome?

James opens up chapter 1 by encouraging Israel (the 12 tribes) to stand strong during trials, recognizing that it is a testing of faith and produces patience.

Trials

Let's think about that for a moment. Trials test our faith. We will always face trials of various kinds and degree. How are we handling them? Are they strengthening or weakening our faith?

It can be very difficult to trust God through hard circumstances we don't understand. I think we truly have a knack for blaming God for everything bad that happens, when really, it's part of a fallen world; it's part of people's free will gone bad. God gives us choices and we get to choose how we live. Each choice comes with its own consequences, though.

Trials can range from small, daily trials, to larger scale, tragic trials. I think a lot of it truly depends on our perspective as well as our own personality, experiences, and faith walk.

What may be a trial to one person, may not be to another. For some people, every day is a trial. For others, specific circumstances may test them.

I went through trials in our adoption process, mostly just a heart game of faith. I had to remember what God told me and believe that He told it to me, even while our circumstances looked bleak.

Sometimes as moms, we face different fears about our children. We worry they will not follow Jesus or will not be successful. Maybe you have a teenager or grown child who has made poor choices or who's rejected God and you wonder what happened.

We struggle in the day to day, whether it's keeping up or keeping inspired. Sometimes, every day is a battle for joy. Not because we aren't happy with our lives, but because we struggle to see beyond the mundane or believe lies that tell us it should look differently or we simply don't know how to do this mothering thing. 

{I don't know about you, but sometimes, I'm at a loss when it comes to sibling squabbles. Can both parties be right? If so, how in the world do I handle that?!} 

Sometimes, it's our own anger and frustrations that become our trial and if we don't address it, it can be a trial that lasts for years.

In James 1:5 we are invited to ask God for wisdom. What a relief! God is willing to give us wisdom, if we would only ask.  Furthermore, we are required to believe that we will receive that which God has promised -- wisdom.

Those who doubt are tossed like waves on the sea and such a person is double-minded and unstable. (James 1:6-7)

Those are some pretty strong words. No wisdom of man can surpass the wisdom of God. Which leads us full circle to making certain we are spending time with Him daily, reading His word and praying for understanding from the Holy Spirit.

Temptations

Temptations are another thing all together. We may not be in control of what we are tempted by, but we can control, to some degree, how we respond. Sometimes the temptations are overwhelming and absolutely need God's intervention to help us overcome them.

I can tell you, as a mom, I have many, many temptations every single day.

One of the biggest temptations I face is believing the lie that my children will grow up loving Jesus without much direction from me -- they can just watch me and learn by example. But that's not always true.  Not to mention that's rather egotistical.

They only see half the story. They cannot see what's in my heart; what I believe about God; what God is teaching me. No, those things need to be brought up in conversations and teaching and training.

Another temptation I struggle with is anger and frustration. I didn't realize the depths of the struggles in my heart until I had children! Sure, I'm a patient person -- when everything is going my way and I can control all outcomes.

What a wake up call!!

Temptations will face us at every turn; some are easy to resist while others are more difficult.

Moms often have the temptation to compare themselves, their children, and their families with others. This brings about envy and discontent.

Did you know our temptations are based on our own desires? So those things that we desire will entice us, and we can choose to reject them and receive the crown of life, or fall to their lure and give birth to sin, which brings death.

Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

This week, focus on asking God for wisdom in those situations you need help, whether trials or temptations. There is no limit and you can ask as often as you need help.

When our own anger and frustrations go unaddressed, we can struggle for years. God invites us to ask for wisdom. -Christin Slade

Bible Study for Moms - The Bible Verses Devotionals

The Bible Versus Devotionals

Devotionals should never be a replacement for God's word, but instead be read alongside, or not at all.

It is important to understand there is a difference between Bible reading and reading a devotional. They are definitely not the same thing and often we use those terms interchangeably as if they were.

This is not meant to convince you that devotionals are bad (although some are pretty bad) or don't have their place. They do. But they should never trump the Bible in terms of authority.

There is nothing a devotional can do that the Bible can't; but there are plenty of things the Bible can do that a devotional cannot.

You see, devotionals are only a guide. They are not the guide. The bottom line is, the author had a personal connection with God on their own personal matters. What God conveyed to them, personally, was then laid out for other people to read. While some may certainly benefit from some of the information and even be guided in some aspects, it can never give us a full taste of what God has for us,personally. 

Authors who write devotionals are not the final authority on what God's word conveys. Only the Bible has that authority.

Having said all that, however, devotionals certainly have a place. I have a few of my own favorites and have also written one. They are meant, really, for encouragement and to point us to the authoritative word--the Bible. Because, there is power when we read His word with our own background, with our own struggles, with our own insecurities and needs.

We read more then a verse or two, more then a mere devotion can offer, and we find ourselves saturated in a healing balm of His truth. Rather then someone else speaking to us about how God used a verse to work in their life, God speaks to us directly with His truth, knowing us personally and knowing what we need.

Can God use devotionals? Absolutely. But. But, but but...they can also be a hindrance to His voice if we only rely on devotionals and neglect reading His word; the final authority on Truth.

Devotionals should never be a replacement for God's word, but instead be read alongside, or not at all.

I admit, I am very, very picky about which devotionals I read. I don't like a lot of fluff and honestly, when it comes to a devotion, I don't want it to be all about the author. There is a place for that (testimonies). Devotionals should shift our thinking to God's thinking and encourage devotion to God.

We can very often take the author's words as if they are always meant for us, and they aren't always meant for us. But the Bible, the words of Truth, no matter what our circumstances or what our personality, are always meant for us.

I encourage you, if you read a devotional, that's fine! But don't allow it to stand alone. Have a Bible reading plan of some sort as well. Read the scriptures for yourself and see what the Holy Spirit would speak to you, personally. This will also protect you against false teachings because not every devotional is lead of God and Truth.

The devotional I am enjoying currently is (aff link) Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts devotional. The one thing I really love about her devotional is that she does not claim to know all the answers, but often asks many questions throughout. It encourages the reader to seek out answers from the Word for themselves. She uses illustrations from her life, but does not suggest that there is a one-size-fits-all for every person. Instead, she invites you in to her quest, full of her own questions.

What is your favorite devotional and why?

Read the rest of the series:

Bible Study for Moms - Part 1
Bible Study for Moms - Part 2
Bible Study for Moms - Part 3