Strength for Moms
by Victoria Riollano
I am sad to say that motherhood doesn’t come with a manual.
After sixteen years of being a mom, I still find myself realizing I am in completely over my head. Circumstances like unexpected illnesses, tough decisions about schooling, financial woes, an unexpected military move and my own times of depression left me wondering how I could ever find strength to parent. The truth is, there have been many times in my motherhood journey that I wondered how God could trust someone as unqualified as me to raise children that He loves so much.
Yet, years ago, the Lord showed me clearly that He is the source of my strength and that He is heavily invested in my children’s lives.
In 2019, Americans learned that the government would shut down for an undecided amount of time. Sadly, every branch of the military would be paid except one, the U.S. Coast Guard. At the time, we happened to be a Coast Guard family of eight. Sadly, there were no provisions made to ensure we were covered. As I watched the news of military members in line waiting for food and crying on broadcasts, I couldn't help but think, “What are we going to do?” As a one-income home, at the time, it was evident we were in a crisis. The uncertainty of how food would be purchased, lights would be kept on and cars would be fueled became a reality. Even with the money saved, there wouldn’t be enough to cover the “months to years” that the politicians said this could take. As a mother, I felt helpless and cried out to God, “Please help us.”
Admittedly, I didn’t respond with strength but with fear, worry and doubt. Yet, the more I got overwhelmed, the more I prayed and asked God to intervene so we could feed our family.
And He did…
“In my distress I called upon the LORD; I cried out to my God. And from His temple He heard my voice, and my cry for help reached His ears.” 2 Samuel 22:7
Within 72 hours of learning of the lack of pay for our home, we received deposits of over $1,000 from people all over the country (without us even asking). Even more so, we received numerous knocks on the door for the next few weeks with diapers, wipes, snacks, meat and so much more. Our family never wanted for anything. God showing up for us proved that He would take care of His children. So much so, that after the shutdown ended, we didn’t have to buy diapers, wipes or snacks for our family for over four months!!
So, what does it take to be a mother of strength?
First, we must recognize that God loves our children more than we ever could. Psalm 139 makes it clear He knew them, formed them and has more thoughts about them than we could ever imagine. How can a God so intimate not care about His creation? Thus, nothing catches Him off guard, as it pertains to our children. In fact, they are His children more than they will ever be ours. We can find strength in knowing that He knows every detail about who they are, what they are struggling with and even the solution to every problem that may occur along the way. What amazing love is this!
Secondly, we must never forget to pray! Although it may feel like an obvious thing to pray, so often we neglect to. Frustration with God allowing the circumstance to happen or feeling like He doesn’t hear us or care leaves us prayerless. Yet, prayer should be the heartbeat of every Christian.
In prayer, we learn God’s voice.
In prayer, we receive strategies from heaven.
In prayer, we find peace.
In prayer, we learn what we need to change about ourselves to see the atmospheres of our home shift.
In prayer, we build courage to face another day.
I have seen over and over again in my parenting journey that prayer is a difference maker. I have seen the Lord move radically in my child’s health, in my own faith and even in my finances from the act of prayer. And even when I didn’t get the response I had prayed for, I have found peace by choosing to seek God at all times. I am convinced that prayer is the greatest weapon for a mother to arm herself with!
Lastly, a mom can find strength by finding a God-filled community. The truth is, God used people in my story to bring the victory that was needed. Money, food baskets and diapers did not magically appear. Instead, the Lord used those in my community (even those I had not met) to show His great love. In the same way, we must seek to have at least one person we can call on in time of need. This is not just for what we can get from them physically, but for the building of one another’s faith.
We see from the Garden of Eden that finding someone to live our lives with is vital. From Adam and Eve, to Moses and Joshua, to Mary and Elizabeth, to Jesus and Peter, we see friendship throughout the Word. Godly friends who can hold you accountable, are available and show up in prayer can bring the strength needed when motherhood feels like a battle.
Although motherhood can be difficult, it is not impossible. We have a God who loves us and wants to see our children grow and excel in every area of their lives. May we never fall into the trap that we are alone in parenting.
He is with us.
He is our courage.
He is our strength.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Victoria Riollano is a military mom of seven who holds an MA in child and adolescent psychology. She is professor of psychology at three universities, as well as co-pastor and church planter. Her writing has been featured on Crosswalk, iBelieve, the YouVersion Bible app, and Christianity Today. Learn more about Victoria at victoryspeaks.org.