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The Confident Mom
Guiding Your Family with God's Strength and Wisdom
By Joyce Meyer
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In The Confident Mom you will be encouraged that you are not alone — God is with you and He wants to help you with the challenges you face each day. Through inspiring stories, Biblical principles and Joyce’s own valuable life lessons, there is no doubt you will discover the path to a new confidence and joy in motherhood. No matter your age, the size of your family, or the circumstances you find yourself in, The Confident Mom will help you become the joyful, confident mother God created you to be!
Table of Contents
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Several years ago, my friend, John Maxwell, was speaking at one of our annual women's conferences, and he opened with a remark that drew a huge response. He said, "Confidence is the uplifting feeling you have before you truly understand the situation."
John was joking, of course, but even so, I think every mother in the crowd could identify with his statement. As moms, we've lived it. Most of us can recall all too well the naïve sense of certainty we first felt at the prospect of motherhood. We can easily remember the idyllic dreams we once had about our soon-to-be-born little bundles of joy.
We also remember when the reality of the situation set in.
Little bundles of joy grew into teething toddlers who cried and threw up on us every time we got dressed up to go out. They threw temper tantrums and tried to drink out of the dog bowl. Soon, instead of feeling sure of ourselves, we started wondering if we really have what it takes to do this right. We started seeing our shortcomings, focusing on our failures, and feeling inadequate.
I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Every mom (no matter how awesomely competent she may appear to be) has lost her confidence at one time or another. But, thank God, there is a way to get your confidence back. It's actually possible for us as mothers, at any stage in our lives, to regain, not the false and fleeting kind of confidence my friend John was talking about, but the real thing: the kind that keeps us looking forward with assurance even when things are going wrong—the kind that keeps us looking up instead of down, in spite of our mistakes. The kind that enables us to laugh at our imperfections and be positive about ourselves and what we can do instead of worrying about what we can't do.
I'm convinced that right now Christian mothers everywhere are crying out for such confidence. God didn't create us to raise our children under a cloud of insecurity. Insecurity saps our faith. It robs us of our joy. It cheats us out of the boldness we need to really excel at what God has called us to do.
Even professional athletes know this is true. Recently a former basketball great was explaining why some competitors remain average while others excel. He said, "The difference between a good player and a great player is supreme confidence. You cannot lose your confidence!" Although he was talking sports at the time, the same could be said about being a mother—with one important adjustment: The difference between a good mom and a great mom is her supreme confidence in her supreme God.
The apostle Paul put it this way: For we… who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh… (Philippians 3:3 NKJV).
I love that verse, don't you? I like the idea of getting my attention off my own natural flaws and inabilities and putting all my confidence in Jesus! I enjoy my life a lot more when I live that way. I also get greater things accomplished. I've found it's amazing what we can do when we stop struggling to meet life's seemingly impossible demands in our own strength and just lean back on the power and promises of God—because with God, nothing is impossible.
That's why ministry isn't hard for me. It used to be, because I made it hard. I complicated it by pushing myself to be perfect and condemning myself over every mistake. I worried about pleasing other people and wore myself out trying to impress them. But I've come a long way toward giving all that up. These days, I just depend on God and get up every day determined to have a good time in Jesus. As a result, ministering has become easy for me. It's just what I do, and I do it with Jesus helping me all the way.
Though ministry and motherhood are different, they have this in common: They are both divine callings. And when God calls you to do something, He gives you the grace, faith, and anointing (power of the Holy Spirit) to do it. What's more, He sticks with you every step of the way. And helping you get a greater revelation of that reality is what this book is all about.
On the following pages, you won't find a bunch of instructions about how to do everything just right. That's not what I'm here to give you. I'm here to encourage and inspire you with truths from God's Word that will help you be the confident mom you were created to be. By the grace of God, I want to help you shake off the guilt, condemnation, and fear that's holding you back so that you can fully enjoy the unique joys of your calling.
I will warn you in advance, though, the devil will fight you over this revelation. He hates the idea of a confident mom. He's hated it ever since God informed him in the Garden that a woman's seed was going to bruise his head (see Genesis 3:15). That's why he's worked for thousands of years to keep women oppressed. He not only resents what we represent, he understands the powerful influence we mothers have on future generations. He knows there's truth in the old saying, "The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." So he's determined to do everything he can to keep our hands at least a little bit shaky.
But we don't have to let him get away with it. The Word of God proves that—from beginning to end. It gives us one example after another of mothers who trusted God, lived boldly, and overcame the devil's strategies. (We'll talk about some of those moms in this book.) Best of all, God's Word tells the story of the young woman named Mary who gave birth to the Savior. By simple faith in God's promise, she brought forth the Son who dethroned the devil once and for all and provided salvation for all mankind. Christian mothers have been defeating the devil ever since. They've been finding out who they are in Christ, standing in faith on the Word of God, and teaching their children to do the same.
In different aspects of life, mothers are as different as can be. Some are multi-talented homemakers who love to cook, bake, and sew to create beautiful home decor. Others are on-the-go businesswomen who can close a financial deal and help with a science project at the same time. Some have supportive, helpful husbands; others are doing it alone. Some have lots of money to spend on their children; others are barely scraping by.
Today, just as during biblical times, there's no such thing as a stereotypical Christian mom. Victorious, confident mothers come in all varieties and personalities. All it takes is one look at how people who've achieved notable success describe their mothers, and we see how strikingly diverse moms can be:
• Abraham Lincoln said his was as an "angel."
• Andrew Jackson described his as "brave as a lioness."
• Poet Maya Angelou compared hers to "a hurricane in its perfect power."
• Stevie Wonder called his a "sweet flower of love."
Those statements make it clear: You don't have to have a certain kind of personality to be a great mom. You don't have to fit any particular mold to raise kids that wind up literally changing the world. That's good news for all of us because we're each unique. But here's some news that's even better: You don't have to be perfect either. All you have to do is keep growing in your relationship with God and developing supreme confidence in Him.
By His grace, that's something every one of us can do!
Are We Having Fun Yet?
The very idea that the words Confident Mom and Joyce Meyer could appear together in print anywhere at any time proves two things about God. First: He is, without question, an absolute miracle worker. Second: He has a great sense of humor.
When I first started this journey called motherhood, I didn't have a single shred of confidence. Actually, I was petrified. I felt unprepared, insecure, and inadequate—and I felt that way for good reason!
When I gave birth to my first child, I didn't even know enough to realize what was happening when I went into labor. My husband had left me for another woman early in my pregnancy and, without the money to pay a private physician, I'd been going to a hospital clinic for maternity care. I'd never seen the same doctor twice (actually they were interns) so I'd somehow missed out on the basic information new mothers need.
As a result, for about the first six months after David was born, I was literally afraid of hurting him. It took all the nerve I had just to bathe him. I had no idea how hot his bath water should be, or how hard I could scrub him without hurting him.
If you've heard my story, you already know I had a host of other problems back then too. I was still suffering from the effects of the years of sexual abuse I'd experienced growing up. I was unhappy and totally lacking peace. I felt discouraged and hopeless. Unable to sleep, I'd been taking over-the-counter sleeping pills. Unable to eat, I'd gained only about a half pound the entire time I was pregnant. The strain on my body (coupled with the emotional pressure I was under) left me very sick.
On top of it all, I was broke. I'd held down a job through much of my pregnancy, but when I finally had to quit, I had no way to pay the rent on my small, third-story, garage apartment, which with no air conditioning and no fan was like an oven in the 100-plus degree summer heat. I didn't want to move back in with my parents because of the abusive behavior of my father. So when my hairdresser had compassion on me and offered to let me live with her, I accepted.
Worse yet, when my unfaithful husband showed up at the hospital after the delivery to claim the baby and ask me to take him back, I said yes to that too. Never mind that he was in trouble with the law. Never mind that he had no place to live himself. I agreed anyway to move with him into his sister's house until I could go back to work.
At times it felt like I had nothing going for me, but that wasn't true. I had this one very important thing going for me: At nine years old I had asked Jesus to be my Savior. He came into my heart and—even though I went through times when I felt rejected and abandoned by people—He never left me.
What He's done in my life and in the lives of my children in the many years that have passed since my first terrifying days of motherhood is nothing short of miraculous. Of course, those familiar with my story know that the Lord brought Dave into my life, and he has been a wonderful and loving husband. And today, all four of our children are grown and helping in our ministry in one way or another. They're all talented and amazing. They love the Lord. They're a blessing not only to me but to many others as well. Every one of them is far wiser than I was at their ages. All of them have children of their own now, and they're proving to be great parents.
These days I can truly say I'm thrilled with how my children (and grandchildren!) are turning out. So, by God's grace, I do have a testimony to tell. But even so, it makes me chuckle to think the Lord would lead me to share this book with you. After all, the road to confident motherhood has been a long one for me. I've been anything but a "traditional" mom and I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. So I can tell you with confidence that if God can help me be a good parent, He can do the same for you. I am convinced that He can transform this puzzling, intimidating journey of motherhood into your greatest victory. Better yet, He can teach you to rejoice every step of the way.
Instructions Not Included
Personally, I put a lot of emphasis on rejoicing. I spent so many years being miserable that these days I am determined to enjoy my life. I make no apologies for it either, because I believe it's as important to God as it is to me.
Why else would God include so many verses like these in the Bible?
… I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).
The kingdom of God is… righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:17 NKJV
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:4 NKJV
Clearly, God wants us as believers to enjoy the life Jesus died to give us. And I believe that He wants every Christian mom to fit the description in Psalm 113:9 of… a joyful mother of children (NKJV).
If we're completely honest about it, however, we must admit that many times we don't experience that joy. Although we love our kids and agree in theory that being a mother is one of life's greatest pleasures, the joy of motherhood gets buried under a heavy load of work, worry, and frustration. If someone asks, "Are we having fun yet?" all too often the answer is no.
It's not just the day-to-day demands of motherhood that steal our joy (although they can sometimes seem endless and exhausting), but the sense of responsibility we feel for our families. We're aware of how much our children depend on us, and we're often afraid that we're somehow going to fail them—that we don't really know what we're doing. That we don't have what it takes to be everything they need us to be.
As moms, we may not talk about it much but the concerns are there nonetheless. According to one poll taken a few years ago, most parents are their own worst critics.1 Frequently plagued by feelings of failure:
• They worry that they make too many mistakes.
• They're afraid they won't know how to cope with the problems their kids face.
• They feel like they're not the examples for their children they should be.
• They regret some of the choices they've made as parents and think it's too late to go back and make things right.
• They doubt their ability to relate to their kids and the issues they confront in the world today.
I can sympathize. I've worried about such things myself over the years. Every one of my children is so different from the others and every stage of their development brought such unexpected challenges, I often felt like I'd never figure them out. Oh, how I wished each one had arrived (like household appliances do) with a complete set of operating instructions! God could make things so much easier for all of us moms if He'd just attach to each baby's big toe a booklet that reads: For optimum results in infancy, do this… at two years old, do this… during teenage years, do this…
But obviously, He chose not to do it that way—for me, for you, or for anyone else.
I believe it's because God has a better plan. He wants us to navigate the deep, mysterious, and sometimes stormy waters of motherhood the same way the disciples navigated the tempestuous waters of the Sea of Galilee. (See Mark 4:35-41.) He wants us to stop being afraid and put our faith in Him and His Word, to believe that because we have the God of the universe in our boat, no matter how hard the wind blows or how high the waves rise, we can make it in victory to the other side!
You might say, "But, Joyce, right now I don't feel like I have what it takes to make it through in victory! My toddlers are throwing fits, my older kids are having trouble in school, and my teenagers are rebelling in ways I never expected. By the looks of things, my parenting ship is taking on water and sinking fast."
I understand. I've been there; and I found out there's only one way to stay afloat in those kinds of storms: Take your eyes off your feelings and look to Jesus. Dare to believe that because you're in Him, what Romans 8:37 says is true for you:
Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? I believe it means you know in advance you've been divinely equipped to overcome any kind of trouble. It means you can face life with boldness and say, "Nothing in life can defeat me because the Greater One lives in me. He's provided me with everything I need to handle what He has called me to do. I can win every battle because everything I need to overcome them is mine in Christ Jesus. Because I'm in Him, I have what it takes!"
You Have What It Takes
It's impossible to enjoy anything when you're afraid of failing at it.
It's impossible to enjoy anything when you're afraid of failing at it. But once you know with all your heart that you really do have what it takes, being a mom can be a lot more fun. You can do it with joyful confidence and with your own unique style. You can also experience the freedom and joy of helping each of your children be their own unique person.
Picture it for a moment. Think about how fun it would be to approach every day—not with head drooping and shoulders slumped, focusing on the ways you've fallen short—but letting God be the glory and the lifter of your head (see Psalm 3:3). Imagine having so much confidence in what He's put on the inside of you that when it comes to being a mom, you embrace your role with overwhelming joy and excitement. Well, it all begins when you believe that God has already equipped you with everything you need to be a confident, successful mom.
"I know you're right, Joyce," you might say, "but I don't feel very talented or gifted in my role as a mother. In fact, sometimes I feel like I don't have much to offer at all." If that's you, I want to share some inspiration with you about a mom in the Old Testament who felt a lot like you do—just before she experienced one of the greatest miracles of all time.
The Bible first mentions her in 1 Kings 17:9. There God names her as the person He had chosen to supply food to the prophet Elijah during a drought-induced famine. Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, God told Elijah. I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.
From a human perspective, God's plan seemed pretty unreasonable. This widow couldn't even afford to feed her own son—how was she going to feed the prophet? When Elijah shows up at her door, she has nothing and is deeply depressed. So you can imagine how she responded when Elijah asked for some bread.
And she said, As the Lord your God lives, I have not a loaf baked but only a handful of meal in the jar and a little oil in the bottle. See, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it—and die (v. 12).
Talk about a mom who felt like she had nothing to offer! This woman tops us all! Yet God saw something in her that she couldn't see in herself. He saw her as a fountain of blessing that, in His hands, would never run dry. Which is why He instructed Elijah to say this to her:
Fear not; go and do as you have said. But make me a little cake of [it] first and bring it to me, and afterward prepare some for yourself and your son.
For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: The jar of meal shall not waste away or the bottle of oil fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.
She did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days.
The jar of meal was not spent nor did the bottle of oil fail, according to the Word which the Lord spoke through Elijah (vv. 13-16).
Not only is that a wonderful Bible story, it's the story of every Christian mother. All of us realize at one point or another that we don't have enough on our own to meet all our children's needs. In a world filled with danger, we can't guarantee their protection. In a world filled with spiritual darkness, we can't always keep them surrounded with light. In a world filled with questions, we don't have all the answers.
In our own strength, all of us are like the widow in 1 Kings 17—our pantry is pitifully bare.
- On Sale
- Jan 21, 2014
- Page Count
- 224 pages