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I’ll admit it. I’ve said the words aloud or thought them many times.

And I’m guessing you have, too.

They’re two of the most debilitating words a woman can say, especially when it comes to her children. These two words fill our minds with doubt and our hearts with fear.

They are the words: “What if…?”

What if my children get hurt?

What if they don’t make friends?

What if they follow the wrong crowd?

What if they’re lying to me?

What if they never get married?

And even: What if I’m not a good enough mom?

I realized one day, after spending time in God’s Word, that at the root of all my “What if” questions and worry is what I really believe about God’s character. When my mind plays through the various what ifs, the question I’m really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

There’s a reason God’s Word tells me “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).

As I give God all of my what ifs, worries, and anxieties, He can calm my heart and remind me that He is in absolute control.

That was the lesson I had to learn myself before I wrote my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. Based on my own experience mothering – as well as wisdom and advice from many other moms – I found that there are treasures (secrets, if you will) to discover as we surrender to God what is closest to our hearts – our children.

One of those treasures is the incredible peace He offers as the Perfect Parent who allows us to partner with Him in raising, loving, and caring (not worrying) for our kids.

When I give God what is closest to my heart I am saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

What are you saying – to God and to others – when you worry? And what would you like to start saying with your life and your actions from this point on?

I’m giving away three free copies of my brand new book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom For a chance to win, let me know in the comment section below why you would benefit from reading this book. Winners will be announced on next week’s blog. (U.S. residents or American Post Office boxes only please.)

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men-updatedDo you ever feel like you’re losing your son?

Here is a question I received recently in my ongoing blog series on “Questions Women Ask”:

“My only child got married a year ago and I never see him anymore. I know they’re busy with their new life but they do get together with his wife’s parents. My son and I were extremely close and I knew it would change and thought I was prepared for it. I thought once he married he and his wife would still come every couple of weeks for a meal like they used to or that he’d call, but he never does. I wonder if his wife has influenced him because they talk often with her parents. My heart is breaking.”

I asked my friend, Rhonda Stoppe, author of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men, to offer some advice for this hurting mom and others who may be going through something similar. Rhonda has raised two sons into manhood and understands the heart of the mom of a son.

Rhonda says:

A daughter’s a daughter for the rest of her life, a son is a son til he takes a wife.” We’ve all heard this familiar poem, and yet when mothers of sons are faced with the reality that they are no longer the apple of their son’s eye the experience can be bitter sweet.”

Rhonda encourages moms who feel neglected by their sons to “keep a pure heart before the Lord as you work through your disappointment — so your prayers for your son and daughter-in-law can be effective (James 5:16).

“I would also remind you that it is God who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Pray for God to work in your son and daughter-in-law to love you and be sensitive to your need to have a closer relationship with them…and then WAIT upon the Lord to do the work in their hearts as they adjust to being newlyweds and the excitement of their new lives together.

“Finally, I would caution you to not be jealous, envious, or bitter against your son’s wife or her parents because the root of bitterness can cause exactly the opposite result in your relationship with your son. If we, as moms, try to manipulate or guilt our sons into spending more time with us and they feel they are being forced to “choose” between their mother and their wife they will choose their wives.”

Rhonda says when her sons got married she encouraged them not to call her on the phone after they got home from work after being away from their wives all day, but asked them to once in a while call her on their way home from work so they could visit a bit.”

Finally, Rhonda says, “Remember, men use half the amount of words in a day than women do so often our sons just don’t have enough words left in them after a day of working and then visiting with their wives. (My sons are much better at texting than talking with me and I am HAPPY to have that form of communication and know they still have enough words left to have meaningful conversations with their wives…)”

For more encouragement and practical advice, see Rhonda’s book, Moms Raising Sons to Be Men.

How have you dealt with your son “leaving and cleaving to his wife”? My readers and I would love to hear your experience or advice in the comment section below.

My daughter, Dana, turned 22 recently. DanaDisneyCollegeShe’s at the beginning of a life journey that I am more than half-way through. She has so much of life ahead of her. So many great adventures to still experience.

I started thinking today about what I wish I knew when I was a  young 22-year-old.  And I realized it isn’t too late for you and me to apply Moses’ instruction in Psalm 90:12 to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

These are the 10 things I wish I knew at age 22 (and the 10 things I want my daughter to know now so she can live wisely and well):

1. People will come and go in our lives, but the One who loves us most will never leave. Therefore, His opinion matters more than anyone else’s.

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I remember the days when I felt completely worthless as a mom.Momfacebookad

It was during my daughter’s teenage years when I was still trying to figure out how to instill healthy values in her, how to not escalate an argument with her by how I responded, and how to not be a legalist when it came to her preferences that were different than mine.

So many times I found myself apologizing to her with the words “I’m still trying to figure this out. I’ve never been a mom to a teenager before.”

I’m such a loser, I would tell myself. Oh, how I wish I knew back then what I know now:

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Last week we looked at the first two (of five)  things a mom never needs to worry about:  her child’s friendships, and her child’s future spouse.

worry1Today, I want to look at the other three things a mom never needs to worry about:

3. Your Child’s Choices – God was the perfect parent, but Adam and Eve still sinned. So even when you are doing all you can to guide your children spiritually, they will still make choices of their own. At times those choices won’t be the best ones. But that’s how they learn and grow through their mistakes. And that’s when we trust that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

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It happened. My daughter, a recent college graduate,  moved in to her apartment an hour away from home and started her first career job.

DanaDisneyCollegeMy, how time flies. My, how God provided. And, oh my, how many of my worries throughout her life were unnecessary — and still are.

Dana, now 21, hates when I worry. Not only because she’s now an adult and has to keep reminding me that she’s perfectly capable of doing things on her own. But also because she doesn’t want to have to worry about me worrying.

And I’m pretty sure God hates my worrying, too.

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