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Liberating Yourself From the Common Myths of Motherhood (Part 2 of 2)

Air Date 05/12/2017

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Authors Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk shed light on false ideas women have been bombarded with about being perfect mothers, and offer moms encouragement in a discussion based on their book Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock it Off. (Part 2 of 2)

Episode Transcript



Mrs. Karen Ehman: And then we start to kinda have a little pity party for ourselves and we can develop either resentment toward our child or the mommy martyrdom syndrome that, "Oh, I'm giving up all of this for my child," rather than looking at that child and saying, "This didn't surprise God any (Laughter), you know. He allowed this in my life. What can I learn from being a mom that's gonna make me more like Him?" So often we think having kids is because we're gonna raise them, but really God's raising us.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That's Karen Ehman and she's joined by Ruth Schwenk and they're out guests today on "Focus on the Family," talking about motherhood myths. And I think you're gonna find great encouragement here. I'm John Fuller and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly

Jim Daly: John, Karen and Ruth's transparency last time was so refreshing and so helpful to moms of every stage. This is right before Mother's Day weekend and we wanted to lift you up, mom. We want to encourage you. That's what we're attempting to do here with our guests. And there's no such thing as a perfect mom. That's the message I got loud and clear last time, John. And that's a refreshing message. You're not failing when your kids are doing something or behaving in a way that is out of line. It doesn't have to reflect on you. That's what I walked away with yesterday.

You need to be a mom. You need to have the boundaries, all those good things, but as long as you're teaching them spiritually, emotionally the right direction to go, guess what? God looks down on us and I think He thinks we're a bunch of teenagers, 'cause we're not always making good choices as adults. And so, think of that today when you're putting that pressure upon yourself, mom, that not everything is going perfectly. Guess what? It won't and we want to equip you today with the tools to realize that, to take a deep breath and then keep on goin'.

John: Uh-hm and Karen is with Proverbs 31 Ministries and she and her husband, Todd have three adult children. Ruth and her husband, Patrick have four children between 8 and 15 and together, these ladies have written an excellent resource called Hoodwinked. The subtitle is Ten Myths Moms Believe and Why We All Need to Knock It Off. And you'll find that book at


Jim: Karen and Ruth, welcome back to Focus.

Karen andRuth: Thank you. Thanks.

Jim: Now you must be applying these principles, because you both look really calm and collected (Laughter) and you got kids of the whole spectrum, so you're tested at all points here.

Karen: We gained two hours flying here from Michigan. (Laughter) That's why we're well-rested.

Jim: That must be it. (Laughter)

Karen: Don't let it fool you.

Ruth: Yeah, we got good sleep last night.

Jim: Well, it's fantastic. I'd go with your content's so good. Every mom needs this. (Laughter) But Karen and Ruth, we touched on some of the 10 myths you have, but let me go ahead and quickly just get through what we said last time and we posted these on the website, which is great.

John: Uh-hm. yeah, you'll find them on the website.

Jim: Myth 1, mothering is natural, easy and instinctive. Now remember that's a myth. (Laughing) It doesn't come naturally. Neither does fatherhood, have you noticed, John. Myth No. 2, the way I mother is the right and only way. Ooh. And the lovely illustration last time, Ruth of you being at the bank and the bank teller saying, "You're just a mom."

Ruth: Right. (Laughter "Is that all you do? You're just a mom."

Jim: Talk about a knife through the heart.

Ruth: Right.

Jim: I mean that's terrible. Myth No. 4, motherhood is all-consuming and all fulfilling. Now why is that a myth again? That sounds reasonable. (Laughter)

Karen: Because then you get your whole identity and all your enjoyment and fulfillment from your children and they are not gonna give you that. They're not.

Jim: So, don't be kid-centric.

Karen: No, no. It's kind of the opposite of I am just a mom.

Jim: Okay, you kinda ripped the sore right off of a lot of mom's hearts, 'cause they're there. They're living that. How do you not be kid-centric in a world that is so hyperbolic about taking care of every little detail of your children?

Karen: Because you tell yourself, if I'm kid-centric, I'm gonna raise a very selfish, narcissistic child. I need to let them know it's not all about them.

Jim: That's a good point right there. (Laughter)

John: How do you enforce that boundary though?

Karen: Enforce the boundary of [not being kid-centric]?

John: You're not it. You're not everything.

Karen: You teach them to wait. You let them see you doing ministry. You let them see putting them on hold for a minute because the neighbor just lost their husband and they're sad and you need to reach out to them and not meet their immediate need. You teach 'em to wait and put others first. They're not always first.

Jim: I'd say teach 'em to fail well, as well, don't you think?

Karen: Oh, yeah.

Ruth: Yeah.

Karen: Oh, we have a Masters in that at our house.

Jim: Yeah, you shared a couple stories (Laughter) last time that were really good and in fact, if you missed the program last time, get the CD, the download. You can get it on the Smartphone app. It was really good and I know you both helped many, many moms yesterday. So, get it and I know you'll be helped with both yesterday and today.

Jim: No. 5 is a good mother can do it all, all at once. And we'll talk about that one in a minute. No. 6, motherhood is a rat race. (Laughing ) We didn't touch on that. That one's just kinda funny. Why is it a rat face?

Ruth: Oh, because we think we can do everything all at the same time.

Jim: Fast, fast, fast.

Ruth: Yes and we can't stop going, going, going, going, going.

Jim: You are pretty good multitaskers though.

Ruth: Well, I am a really good multitasker.

Jim: See, that's a mom.

Ruth: But sometimes that's not the best thing. (Laughter)

Jim: Saying no can be a good thing.

Ruth: Yes.

Jim: Wow.

Ruth: Learning to say no.

Jim: That's a great point to kinda dig in a little bit, because I know, it is a full-time job. How do you learn to say no? Because in order to prove you're a good mom, you want to say yes.

Ruth: Exactly, well, I think it's recognizing that there [are] priorities as a family that you have first and foremost. And then when you have those priorities in place, you realize what maybe isn't the best to be a part of your life or can't 'be a part of your life in that stage. And so, it's not that you say no to everything. See, I think we go to one extreme or the other. We think we have to say yes to everything or then we just say no to everything.

Jim: What works for you though? An accountability person, someone you can trust other than your husband? 'Cause this doesn't always end well when (Laughter) husband and wife are talking about, you know, priorities.

John: Yeah, hey, hon, maybe you shouldn't do that.

Jim: (Laughing) Yeah, right. Well, yeah, later. (Laughing)

Karen: I think one thing that's really helped me, because I've been doin' this a few years now, is to tell myself that every need is not necessarily my call. Just because there's a need at church or a need at the school, it's not necessarily my call.

Jim: Okay, but practically how do you apply that when somebody's saying, "Can you? Can you? Please."

Karen: So, then you say, "I'll get back to you."

Jim: "We need you."

Karen: I can answer you right now. If the answer needs to be given right now, the answer is no. Otherwise, I'll get back to you tomorrow. I'm gonna think about it, pray about it, talk to my husband, look at my schedule. I'll get back to you.

Jim: So, that is the accountability.

Karen: That is the accountability.

Jim: How does your husband handle that so well that you include him in that accountability? (Laughing) Now you could teach us.

Karen: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's funny 'cause sometimes he says, "I can't keep up with her," 'cause I do tend to do a lot now that my kids are older, I can, you know, seasons. I can take on a little bit more 'cause my kids, you know, don't need their diapers changed and all that kind of stuff. They just need me to watch their new puppy that they got. That's a whole (Laughter) 'nother story.

But yeah, just taking it to my husband saying, "Does this fit in our schedule?" Getting back to that person, realizing every need isn't necessarily my call. And I've also learned to tell myself and if I say yes to that need and it's not my call, then I'm taking the blessing away from the person God meant to do that job in the first place. I've stepped in and said yes to their job. So, realize, saying no sometimes can make that person that's looking for that need to be filled, go to someone else that it'll be a perfect fit.

Jim: But I can hear the transformation in your voice. I mean, this wasn't where you started when your kids were younger.

Karen: Oh, are you kidding me? No.

Jim: So, how do you get to that point where you're now at, at a much earlier time (Chuckling) in your childrearing?

Karen: Well, hopefully, they don't do it the way I did to get to where you're completely exhausted and you're in the doctor's office because of stress.

Jim: Right, yeah.

Karen: Your eye won't stop twitching. You can't sleep at night and my doctor said, "All your medical tests came back fine. Let's talk about your life. What are you doing?" And when I told him all of it, he said, "Okay, so is that what you're doing and two other women are doing? Or is that just what you're doing?" He said, "You're doing the work and the volunteer responsibilities of about three people. You need to knock it off or you are gonna have some severe medical stuff happening to you."

Jim: Wow, well, there's a good warning for all listening that are over committed.

Karen: Uh-hm, yeah.

Jim: That's one reason right there to do it. Okay, that's motherhood is a rat race. No. 7, motherhood is the luck of the draw. Now being Christians, come on; luck of the draw? (Laughter) What do we mean by that?

Ruth: Well, we mean that, "Oh well, they'll turn out okay. I'll just try the best I can." And I think that's something we hear. I've heard so many women say that. "Oh, they'll be fine." But actually, there is an intentional part of motherhood. And so, I know we keep going the other direction of saying, "Don't put too much pressure on yourself."

But really, we are called to be intentional with our children in raising them, teaching them, helping them to learn spiritually, where God wants them to be. So, it's not just luck of the draw, you know. They'll figure it out eventually. But we actually are actively involved in raising them.

Jim: So, don't be haphazard.

Ruth: Exactly.

Jim: That's what I hear you saying.

Ruth: Yes.

Jim: Okay and then, No. 8 I do want to spend a little time on and that's everything depends on me. That's a burden that many women carry, isn't it?

Karen: Well, when you think of a child that needs to learn how to chew solid food, tie their own shoes, drive a car, fill our college applica[tions], you know, they have all these things they need to learn to do in life and suddenly we panic and think, "And I have to be the one to teach them all of that." Then it's so overwhelming that you think, what in the world in me ever thought it was a good idea to have or adopt a baby in the first place, you know, (Laughing) because it's just so overwhelming.

But I've learned to tell myself that it doesn't all depend on me and what I do need to do and what is my job is to pray that God puts the people in my child's life that they need in order to grow them spiritually, to grow them academically, whatever that looks like. It's not all just me.

And I actually prayed that all of my children by the time they were 12, would have latched onto some mentor that's not mom or dad, but that thinks like mom or dad, that's biblically based and that, you know, will tell them things that we've been trying to, "Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah," tell them for years. But suddenly, when someone else says it, they listen. So, they need those other mentors in their life.

Jim: Who were those people for your kids? I'm thinking church people, friends, the coaches.

Karen: Yeah, coaches for my boys definitely, some coaches for my boys and for my daughter, too. She was in sports, as well. And then one of them was actually just one of my really good friends, Lisa. My daughter moved away to Charlotte, North Carolina when she was 18 to attend cosmetology school and you know, we'd done our best to instill in her what we felt like she needed biblically and emotionally and academically, all of that. And there were some things, lessons I just thought she'd just not getting it. She's not listening. How many times do I have to tell her X, Y, Z?

Well, after about a year she would come to me and say, "Mom, I was hanging out with Miss Lisa. We went to the movies the other day and you know what she said?" And she would say one of the X, Y, Z things (Laughter), like it was this new revelation. And she said, "You know what? That is to true. I really need to start doing that." And I had to bite down on my tongue to not say, "Are you kidding me right now? I told you that (Laughter) 25,000 times."

Jim: What did you say?

Karen: And it took Lisa taking her on.

Jim: I get that as a father. But how did you manage that so you didn't say the wrong thing, other than biting your tongue?

Karen: Yeah, yeah, my tongue was bleedin' a little (Laughter), you know.

Jim: I mean, what did you say?

Karen: But I said, "So what led to this conversation where she told you this?" And she said, "Well, I was, you know, kinda processing with her, going through this thing with this guy and this breakup and this whatever. And then I've come to realize," blah, blah, blah. And she would tell me the whole story. And I just let her tell the story from her perspective how an event in her life led her to get to a place of desperation where she needed a piece of advice and guess what? She got the advice from someone other than mom, even though it was something I told her over and over again. And she owned it. She latched onto it. She believed it. She owned it.

And then I remember I don't know, maybe two or three years later, we brought up that situation and she said, "You know what, mom? I was just thinkin' about that. Isn't that like, you tried telling me and Annie," her best friend, "you tried tellin' us that all through high school, didn't you?" And I said, "Yes, I did." And she said, "What is it with our parents? We heard them like the teacher in Charlie Brown, wah, wah, wah. We don't hear what they're saying."

Jim: Right.

Karen: We just don't. She has said, "I just always thought you were tryin' to fix me. You just were tryin' to fix me, so I shut out what you were saying, because I just felt like she doesn't accept me. She doesn't like me. She's trying to fix me. So, whatever you said, I was gonna go do the opposite."

Jim: Wow.

Karen: And so, I've had to learn, you know, as much as we want to talk to our kids about God, sometimes we need to shut our mouths and talk to God about our kids.

Jim: Well, let me highlight that, because that's an experience for me, you know, that I can overcorrect or you know, in my desire to help, even as a dad, you are trying to fix them. And they feel it and they back up, 'cause in reality, very few human beings want to be fixed, right? They have to be broken. That's what the Lord's workin' on all the time in our hearts.

Karen: Uh-hm.

Jim: So, that spoke to me, so thank you, Karen. You know, what you're saying in so many ways, at the root of it sounds like fear. So, how does a mom deal with those fear points, the fear of being a mother? A lot of young people, Ruth, I mean, you have younger kids, a lot of young moms today fear being a mom, don't they?

Ruth: Yeah, I actually not long ago had [a conversation]. My husband is a pastor and one of the young women in our church had just had a baby and she walked up to me and her baby was in the car seat and she kinda looked at me with big eyes and she's like, "I have no idea what I'm doing." And I think that that's a common sentiment amongst moms. And honestly I feel that way sometimes. I mean, to be frank.

Jim: Right.

Ruth: [In] every season you think, "Okay, I got this. I have this figured out. And then all of a sudden I find myself back in this, "Wait, they're different; you know, they're teenagers now. Wait a second. I have no idea what I'm doing." And it seems like it's just this revolving door. So, I agree. I think a lot of moms feel the fear.

Jim: Yeah, well, and Myth 8 again, everything depends on me, that lack of community that so many women suffer from today, which, you know, in my observations, it's what drives in part, the beauty of women, the way they connect, the way you can befriend each other. I mean, just look at it at a coffee shop. I mean, women instantly connect as they're standing in the line waiting for their coffee or tea or whatever they're waiting for.

Men, we're kinda quiet. We're just sizin' each other up. But women say, "Oh, you like that item? Oh, I had that last time. It's so good. You should try it." And they sound like friends and they just met. But that's in some ways what you're lacking today, is that community where in the old days, you know, the extended family would help raise the child. They all lived close together, farming together. Right?

Ruth: Uh-hm.

Jim: How do we reconnect in that way? How do we re-establish those kinds of deep relationships?

Ruth: Well, actually that was my desire when I even started five years ago my ministry online and that was for moms to come together that were in all different stages of life. Because I felt like I needed that. I needed to know where Karen had been, what she had experienced. We need to learn from each other to grow and learn. So, I think I definitely agree with what you're saying. I think it's a problem though that's wider than just moms.

Jim: Oh, absolutely.

Ruth: I mean, this is everywhere.

Jim: Yeah.

Ruth: We lack community in churches and everywhere. So, I think definitely moms can be encouraged to reach out. It's okay to reach out to another mom and say, "You know, I'm struggling in this area." And I think sometimes we feel like we have to appear to have it all together. At least I felt that way, that I needed to have it all together and I didn't want anybody to know I was struggling. So, I think knowing that you can reach out and say, "You know, I don't have it all together."

Jim: Right.

John: Our guests today on "Focus on the Family are Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk and we're so glad to have them here sharing so candidly about some of the struggles that moms have. And they've written about this in their book, Hoodwinked. We've got that book and a CD or a download of our conversation. We'll include both days of the discussion at give us a call, 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: You used Hagar as a biblical example. What can moms learn from her?

Karen: I love the story of Hagar.

Jim: First why?

Karen: Because, well, I was raised by a single mom and I kinda look at her as a single mom when she kinda got voted off the family island (Chuckling), you know, [for] those that don't know the story, she was the maidservant of Sarah and Sarah was the wife of Abraham.

And Abraham was going to be the father of many nations. He tried to make it happen on his own by sleeping with his wife's servant. Doesn't this sound like an Old Testament reality show? (Laughter) It kinda does. And they had a son, Ishmael and then Sarah had a son, Isaac. And the two boys didn't get along so great and Hagar and Ishmael were kinda voted off the family island. There's the little reality show part of it.

And so, she flees and she is all alone, thinking she is gonna die and her son's gonna die out in the desert. And God meets her in a very powerful way and it's there that God is referred to as "the God who sees me." He sees us in our despair when we're feeling all alone and have children to raise and we don't know what to do. We just don't know where to turn and He sees our situation.

And I feel it's such an applicable story to us. Sometimes even though we might be married and we're not a maidservant, you know, raising someone else's child, but we feel alone in our parenting. We feel in a desert stage. We feel like we don't know where to turn. But God sees us. He sees our needy situation and if we can just go to Him in prayer, go to the Bible for answers, ask Him to lead us to someone that is gonna be a good, godly influence in our life and that can help us through this season, we can be like Hagar, have the God who sees help us to go forward.

John: Hm.

Ruth: And that reminds me of a story. Several years ago when my son, Noah was little, he had a box of gumballs, hard-shell gum balls. And at that time, our living room floor was hardwood floors. And he had 'em kinda teetering on the edge of this coffee table and they fell and spilled all over. And you can only imagine the sound that was making on hardwood floors. And we were like, "Reach." I'm like, "Noah, hurry, grab that one." They're going under the couch. They're going everywhere. (Laughter) We're scrambling to get them all.

And later that night after I had put the kids in bed, I was kinda thinking about that silly event and thinking about us reaching everywhere to grab this here and there and everywhere. And I couldn't help by relate it to how I was feeling as a mom, that I was reaching here, there, everywhere. I could hardly keep it all together.

And I had the thought and I said this to God, "God, does this even matter? All these things that I'm doing, does it really even matter?" And I really feel like God spoke to me in that moment and said, "I see you." You know, "Nobody else might see what you're doing, but I see you." And so, I think that that's why Hagar is so powerful for moms, is because we realize that God does see us. Even when nobody else sees what we're doing, He sees us.

Jim: And I think what is difficult, Ruth, again, clarify this for me, but for moms particularly, when you're working at home, maybe you have an in-home business you're doing, as well, like you do—journaling and writing and other things—but you've kids and you're talking care of them. Where do you make time to pray and connect with God so you can hear His heart for you in that way? 'Cause it's all chaos.

Ruth: That's a great question, because and I, again, this looks different I think depending on what season you're in. And so, when my kids were really little, I felt like I was just catching those moments a few minutes here or there or when they took a nap. I mean, now my kids don't take a nap. I don't know. Do I tell 'em to just all go outside? (Laughter)

Jim: Ruth, you're a terrible mom. (Laughter) They're not taking naps? No, I'm kidding. Don't write (Laughter); don't write. You're a wonderful mother.

Ruth: Right, no, and now for me, it's that I can, before they get up in the morning, 'cause they want to sleep in a little bit longer, you know, so I can get up in the morning. And so, I have that time. So, I think again, it looks different depending on what season you're in.

Jim: That's good and how did you connect? How did you feel like Hagar, that the Lord was saying to you, Karen, "I see your travail?"

Karen: Well, had to learn a real big lesson about doing things to be seen, because I'm such a "get-involved" person. And I like an "Atta girl," you know. My love language is words of affirmation. I want, you know, when my husband came home at the end of the day, I wanted him to know. I would take him around the house and show him all I had done that day. (Laughter)

John: Did he ask the dreaded question, "What'd you do today?" (Laughter)

Karen: Oh, no, no. He learned that. You only ask that once. (Laughter)

Jim: Yes, smart people. (Laughter)

Karen: He only asked that once, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I wanted to be seen and noticed and appreciated and verbally praised and I've had to realize and we write about this in the book, that I needed to come to the place where the divine nod of God was enough for me, that I was doing it as unto the Lord. I was doing it, as it says in Colossians, I think it's 3:23, that we're working heartily as unto the Lord, not doing it for other people, but doing it as unto Him and realized He sees. He knows. I don't need to tell everybody in my social media circle all I got done together. I don't need my husband to know every single little thing I did with the kids and give me an "Atta girl." I just need to keep going and do it because it's what I'm called to do and to just know that the divine nod of God was enough for me.

John: Karen, by way of encouragement to the moms who are identifying with what you're talking about, it seems to me and I might be wrong, but it seems to me that this idea of not trying to get everything done, not trying to sign up for all the things you could do, letting other people do things, that you didn't just learn that lesson and got over it. In fact, in the book you wrote about making cookies and my perception was that, that wasn't so long ago. (Laughter) What was that story about?

Jim: This is good confession.

John: I mean, because I think it's important for moms to know, oh, I don't attain, you know, I don't get over that myth. I'm gonna have to maybe struggle through some of these things for years.

Karen: Uh-hm, yeah, it can be a reoccurring thing, because I know for me, about every three years I get to that breaking point where my plate's so full I think it's gonna break.

John: Okay.

Karen: And you know, because moms, we don't actually take something off our plate before we put something new on. We think we're so creative and clever, that if we just rearrange it, we can make it all fit somehow.

But the cookie thing was, oh, my goodness, I just got a simple phone call from a campaign I was associated with. They needed cookies for Election Night.

Jim: How many, like 400 dozen?

Karen: No, two dozen, 24 cookies.

Jim: (Laughing) Two dozen.

Karen: And I took the phone call. My family was finishing up eating dinner and taking the plates up to the dishwasher. And I took the phone call and my family just heard me go, "Uh-huh, yeah, uh-huh, sure. Oh, okay. Thank you." And I hung up the phone.

And I burst in tears. I ran and threw myself on the bed and my husband thought someone died! And he came in and he said, "What's wrong?" And I said, "(Crying) Senator Garcia's office called and they want me to make cookies for Election Night." (Laughing) I said yes!" And he's like (Laughter), "Why did you say that if you're too [busy]? And it was honest, like that day I had so much goin' on, doctors' appointments and all that. I didn't know how I was gonna get these cookies. You know, 'cause of course, I had to make them from scratch, you know, and impress everybody.

Jim: Right, these aren't just, you know, [store bought].

John: I'm thinkin' the big box store down the road. (Laughter)

Karen: Yes, well. (Laughter)

Jim: I'm with you. They're much better.

Karen: Yes and I just, you know, it's this whole cookie competition. It's, you know, the other moms in my circle of friends. I'm just teasing, but I did want to like make something nice. And I should've just said, "Oh, my heart." This is what I've learned to say now. [I] didn't always say it then. A mentor of mine taught me this. "My heart would love to say yes, but the reality is, my schedule means I just have to say no. That's comin' on a really busy day and I can't do it."

But no, people-pleasing me just said yes, hung up the phone and then started wailing like a banshee, because (Laughing) I was so upset, because I didn't have time in my schedule. So, I stayed up super late to make these cookies and lost sleep and it was just a train wreck.

Jim: Yeah.

Karen: Train wreck.

Jim: And that is so helpful, you know, just those kind of ideas, how to respond when you're already overwhelmed. One is recognizing you're overwhelmed and I think a lot of moms and a lot of women do. So, man, this has been a great two days.

John: We're already at the end.

Jim: We are.

John: I hadn't even noticed.

Jim: Yeah and I'm tellin' ya, if you didn't hear last time, get the download. Get the CD. Get the Smartphone app, whatever you need to do and also, it would be wise of you to get Hoodwinked, the book by Karen and Ruth with the 10 myths and tools that they will give you to combat these myths and be healthier in your motherhood, which I love. I love when people can use a resource and walk away better. And that's what Scripture does to us and there are other resources that will help you in very specific ways. This is one of 'em. So, get the book.

And if you can make a donation of any amount, we'll send you the book to say thank you for that. If you can't afford it, call us; write us. We'll get it into your hands somehow. Donors make that possible and if you can support us in that way to help those that can't meet that need, that would be very much appreciated.

John: You can donate and get a copy of the book, Hoodwinked and a CD or download of our program at when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

And Jim, we mentioned yesterday and earlier today, we're gonna post that full list of Ten Myths That Moms Tend to Believe online so you can see that, as well.

Jim: And it's a great list. I know it'll touch you, almost every one. You might not have one or two of 'em, but you certainly are gonna have about seven or eight of 'em. (Chuckling) Karen and Ruth, I know moms are going, "This is me. I'm struggling. I'm burdened. I can't do it all perfectly. My kids are struggling in this area. Let's pray for 'em. Karen, let me throw it to you.

Karen: I'd be happy to.

Jim: Let's pray for them.

Karen: Father, You know the woman out there who's listening to this, feeling like she's holding onto her very last thread. Maybe she feels like she can't do it all. Maybe she's just so upset about a choice that one of her children has made and she thinks it's just ruined things forever. Lord, I just ask that You will be the God who sees, that You will meet all of us moms who feel like we just don't know what to do. We don't know where to do, that You will meet us at the moment of our need, Lord. That You will help us to realize this is far less about our children and more about our relationship with You, of learning to walk in faith and to combat the fear, to do our absolute best at raising our children, but to leave the results to You and to know that You love our kids way more than we do and You've got this.

None of this surprises You. None of this concerns You. You're not up in heaven wringing Your hands thinking, "Ooh, how is this family gonna turn out?" You've got it covered. We just need to know where to go and that's to You through prayer and through Your Word, Lord. Grow us up as we're raising our children and help us to give all the glory for anything good in them to You where it belongs. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Jim: Amen.

Ruth: Amen.

Jim: Thank, Ruth and thank you, Karen.

Ruth: Thank you.


John: And we hope you have a great Mother's Day weekend. Be with us on Monday as we talk with Deborah Pegues about forgiving the past and embracing the future.


Mrs. Deborah Pegues: I told my husband when we married, I said, "Now listen; try not to do anything during this marriage that I have to forgive you for (Laughter), because in my family we do absolutely no forgiving.

End of Excerpt

John: I'm John Fuller and on behalf of Focus president, Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. Join us again next time, won't you, as we once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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Karen Ehman

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Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Keep It Shut, Let. It. Go. and Listen, Love, Repeat. She has been a guest on national TV and radio programs, and she writes for Encouragement for Today online devotions. Karen and her husband, Todd, reside in Michigan and have three children. Learn more about Karen by visiting her website,


Ruth Schwenk

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Ruth Schwenk and her husband, Patrick, are the co-founders of The Better Mom (TBM), a contributor website where a community of over 500,000 moms gather every month for learning and sharing life together. Ruth and Patrick are also the co-creators of For the Family, another community-driven website that encourages and equips couples and parents. Ruth is the co-author (with Karen Ehman) of Hoodwinked and Pressing Pause, and Ruth and Patrick are the co-authors of For Better or For Kids. The couple resides in Michigan with their four children.