Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

I felt the tantrum coming on the minute I told him he had to get off the slide to go home for lunch. We’d spent the morning playing with kids at church and it had turned into a beautiful day. But the squirming began as we headed across the parking lot. Kicking, screaming, dead weight…all as I struggled with the keys and began the daunting task of wrestling my son into a car seat he clearly did not want to go in. After prying his hands off the roof of the car, many attempts at distraction, bribing him with his snacks and his cup and his book, several uppercuts to MY face, and about 7 minutes, I finally managed to get him hooked in.

Relieved, I slammed his door and went to open mine. Locked. I felt the panic rising as I gazed into the backseat and saw my phone peeking out of a pocket in the diaper bag. The keys had fallen onto the floor during the episode and apparently we accidentally hit the lock button. I was stunned. How did the car lock? It isn’t supposed to lock when the keys are in the car! How am I going to call anyone for help?

Shaking, I looked across the parking lot. There were three cars still there. Someone had to be inside the church! I ran to the closest door. Locked. I banged on the doors. No one answered. I ran to another set of doors. Locked. No one answered.

At this point, fear was starting to take over logical thought. What if no one answers!

Frantic, I ran around to the back doors and banged on them some more. Finally, someone opened the doors. My friends quickly calmed me down as we ran back to the car and immediately called the police to get someone out to help as quickly as possible. All the while, my son sat calmly in his car seat apparently having made peace with being subjected to its straps.

Within minutes, a police car rolled into the parking lot. I was so relieved to see him. But, as soon as he got out of the vehicle, he asked, “How did this happen?” My heart sank and I shrank back. It is a standard question and was totally justified. He needed to know that information. But I felt like a child sitting in the principal’s office so afraid I was in trouble and trying to explain that it was all an accident. I didn’t know how it happened. He reassured me that he had a locksmith on the way and tried to make small talk while we waited.

Then, he got out his pencil and paper. Of course, he had to file a report. Just standard procedure whenever they answer a call. Still, I swallowed back tears as I gave him my information. The locksmith had my car unlocked within 10 minutes. My son was just fine. Everyone went on their way.

Shaken up, I tried to hold it together as I drove home. I tried to think about something else. Focus on the positive. But my mind was…locked. I couldn’t stop thinking about the incident.

How could you let this happen?

What if no one would have answered the doors?

What if it would have been freezing outside? Or worse, too hot?

He could have died in there while you waited for help.

How could you endanger your child like that?

Now, the police have a “report” about you. It’s embarrassing.

You are incompetent.

You are a bad mom.

Why do we think it’s ok to talk to ourselves like that? I’d never say any of that to a fellow mom. To another mom, I would have pointed out all the ways she did the best she could. I would have pointed out that God was right there with her and graciously provided for her every need. Her friends hadn’t left the church yet and were available to help. The weather was perfect, not too cold, not too hot so he wasn’t in imminent danger. The police officer responded quickly. The locksmith unlocked the doors for free because a child was in the car. I would have told another mom that a potentially dangerous situation turned out ok because of God’s grace.

But, I didn’t say any of that to myself. Because my mind wasn’t locked on God. It was locked on me.

I need to be a “good mom”. I can control everything. I should be able to do it all myself…and do it right.

But, I can’t control everything. And I hate to admit it but some days, I need help. Being a good mom is arbitrary. Everyone thinks they know what a good mom is but no one can achieve the level of perfection necessary to claim the title in their own minds. The truth is, I can’t be a good mom in my own strength. I am flesh. I make mistakes. I fail. I am weak.

“But he said to me,

‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Lately, I’ve been praying that God will help me lock my mind on this truth. No, I’m not super mom. I’m not perfect. Despite my best attempts, accidents happen. But if I seek Him, Christ’s power can rest on me as a mom. When I am weak, He can make me strong. It’s not about me, it’s about Him. Through my weaknesses, God can be glorified with my motherhood.

Fellow mamas, my prayer for you is that you won’t allow your mind to become locked on your faults and your failures. Instead, lock your mind of God’s truth. Let His power rest on you. Don’t believe the lies. When you think you are weak, He makes you strong.


So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Shannon Lenz

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to a sweet boy and baby girl, and a dog mom. My mission is to write words that encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord. When I'm not writing or chasing after my kids, I'm singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers. You can read more from me at http://shannonlenz.com/.

All I Could Do Was Make It to Church Today

In: Faith, Motherhood
Close up of man holding baby in his arms in church pew with kids in background

All I can do is make it to church today. It was the final thought that shut the door on all the other thoughts this morning. The thoughts that said I don’t look good enough. I should put on makeup. I should wear something nicer. I should find a way to paint my nails without them getting smudged up from holding a baby before they dry. The thoughts that said I am not doing good enough. I should have made supper last night. I shouldn’t have used that glass pan that shattered in the oven while trying to steam bake...

Keep Reading

It’s Time to Talk about the Crushing Weight of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and three children, color photo

As millennial women and mothers, we have been making waves in the sea of mental health. We have unashamedly and unapologetically shared our postpartum depression and anxiety stories so that future generations won’t feel as though they’re drowning in the weight of it all.  I remember sitting in my living room, staring at my newborn, crying in frustration and fear that I was already failing him.  I remember the pain of trying to use the bathroom for the first time after labor, to have family suddenly stop by, and feeling so embarrassed I screamed and they left, ultimately leaving me...

Keep Reading

Kids Need Grace and So Do Their Moms

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman touching child's forehead

We were having a hard morning. Our house was overrun with toys, I hadn’t had a chance to get dressed, and my stress level was increasing by the minute. To top it all off, my 3-year-old was having a meltdown anytime I spoke to her. Even looking in her general direction was a grave mistake. It was one of those days that as a parent, you know you’re really in for it. I was quickly losing my patience. My frustration began to ooze out of me. I snapped orders, stomped around, and my attitude quite clearly was not pleasant to...

Keep Reading

A Love That Will Never Leave You

In: Faith, Living
Cover art of book Pilgrim by Ruth Chou Simons

My firstborn spent a semester abroad in his junior year of college. Like any mom who’s separated from her child, I knew the exact distance between him and me those months he was away. It felt like a million miles, but it was actually only 4,533, including one very large body of water. While he was away, we weren’t even on the same continent, and truthfully, I hadn’t expected the ache to be so overwhelming. Thankfully, our weekly chats on video eased the sadness and served to remind me that, in spite of miles and time zones, there was no...

Keep Reading

A Mother Doesn’t Have to Be Prepared to Be Sustained

In: Baby, Faith, Motherhood
Mother cuddling baby on a bed

I feel the warmth radiating from my weeks-old baby girl’s body onto my lap. She sleeps soundly. But I can’t. My jaw is clenched, my forehead is wrinkled, my body is tense. I’ve been in complete survival mode. Our baby girl unexpectedly made her appearance one month early due to some placental deficiencies and was born at three and a half pounds. I wasn’t prepared.  When I saw my sweet girl, my heart was instantly taken over by immense love and immense fear. Fear grabbing me with every thought, every breath. I wasn’t prepared.  She spent some time in the NICU but not...

Keep Reading

Thank You God for Everyday Heroes

In: Faith, Living
Firefighter in gear walking, black-and-white photo

Tonight, our family watched a movie together. It was an action-adventure movie where, against unbelievable odds, the good guy saves the day. At some point during the movie, I turned to my husband, and said, “You’re that guy—the guy that is good in a crisis, who saves the day.” Once, when my husband and I were out for dinner, a woman seated near us fainted and was lying on the floor. The waiters and waitresses ran to her aid but didn’t know what to do. My husband is a firefighter/EMT. He had gone outside to grab a sweater, and when...

Keep Reading

I’ll Always Be the One Who Loved Them First

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Family with three small boys standing in kitchen, color photo

I’m no longer the last person he says goodnight to. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Here we are, just raising these boys, hoping and praying things over their futures, watching them grow, teaching them independence and other life skills, hoping they have heard the things we have said, and praying they make our faith their faith and choose to follow Jesus. And then, just like that, without any warning, without asking my permission, there is someone special in his life. Someone he spends hours on the phone with. Someone he wants to spend his time with. Someone who isn’t...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, about That Other 4-Letter Word

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Portrait of a beautiful little girl in blue shirt

As my kindergartner came bounding through the door back from the park, she seemed ecstatic to tell me all about her adventure, but what came from her sweet mouth was not the usual tale of making friends or playing make-believe. Instead, she stared up at me and said, “A little boy called me ugly.”  As I tried to assess her thoughts on the matter, her big brother was quickly confirming the story and acknowledging to me that it was not a very nice thing to say. As I looked at my husband coming in the door behind them, I could...

Keep Reading

Let Them Have a Bad Day, and Other Wisdom on Raising Teens

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom comforting teen girl with head in hands

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I have nearly four teens now, and I’ve learned a lot the hard way. I see other parents around me who are just getting to that stage make the same mistakes I did, so I want to share what I’ve learned:   If you want to teach your kids to walk in the way of God, you better not leave out teaching them about forgiveness. That’s a big deal to God. It’s pretty central. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and the heaviness that comes when you have teenagers, and they...

Keep Reading

My Baby is Going to Kindergarten and God Will Go With Him

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Little boy with green backpack walking to school

My baby is going to kindergarten, and I am not going to cry. Yep, you read that right.  My blessing baby (aka surprise addition) is going to kindergarten in seven days, and I am not a weepy crying mess. My kind quiet 10-year-old is starting his last year of elementary school, and I am not going to cry about that either.  And my firstborn—the tiny, five-pound baby girl who made me a momma—will be in eighth grade. Her last year of middle school before high school. It all seems like big changes and big moments. But I am not going...

Keep Reading