“God,” I whispered, “will you help me?” I sat in a small bedroom hearing the spring breeze rustle the curtains and play in my hair. I wiped my sweaty palms and tried to take some deep breaths. It wasn’t the first time I had to face my nervousness and take on a public speaking opportunity in a foreign language. But so far it hadn’t gotten any easier. The first session was already finished and I had felt awkward and stiff, stumbling around to find words and explain things clearly. A wave of embarrassment crept over me at the thought. Who was I to be standing in front of these women?
About a month prior to this, I received a phone call inviting me to speak at a ladies’ seminar hosted by a local evangelical church. Many hours had been spent in preparation for this event, and my friend and ministry partner, Katelin Day, came along with me to offer ideas and moral support. Popping her head in the doorway to the room where I was catching a quick break, she cheerfully quipped, “You’re doing great, Kels!” I wished I had her confidence.
Two doors down the hallway, about 15 moms were reconvening for the next session, eager to hear ideas, tips—anything that could help them in the demanding, exhausting, yet all-important work of mothering their babies and toddlers.
“God, please help me.” I hoped, of course, for God to give me words to communicate well and make my presentation more polished.
“Kelsie, will you love me more than you love yourself?” This thought, as if in answer, came without my willing it to. I knew it was a reference to my treasured self-image, a challenge to humble myself and do the right thing regardless of how I appeared.
This wasn’t about me. It was about these women, the next generation, and about honoring Christ Himself.
Upon reengaging with the ladies, many questions and ideas were shared. “How do we handle screaming fits?” “What’s the balance between teaching a child to share and respecting their right to personal property?” “How do you deal with a violent child who damages property?” “How should I respond to my daughter who cries all the time?”
Though far from having all the answers, I saw God’s hand in preparing me over the past several months and years. The exhaustion of being needed by a large family on a 24-hour basis. The in-fighting between siblings. The work ethic I was seeking to instill in children with a slow, lazy bent. And lately, a spitfire handful of a two-year old with a distinct agenda, who is either a complete joy or a complete case!
In the months leading up to the seminar, I had worked day-in and day-out with that particular little one. As I quietly and calmly administered discipline and worked with her on trouble spots, I knew that I was experiencing the type of situations that needed to be shared with these ladies. And I was grateful for the constant reminder from my “go-to girl” of the tough issues facing moms. Toddlerhood is such an important time of laying the foundation in a child’s life. Little people are daily presented with opportunities to grow in such critical areas as obedience, self-control, and respect for others. When parents instill good training during this period, it can make all the difference as the child grows and his desires and impulses become stronger and potentially harmful.
Garnering help and ideas from Katelin, I had prepared two hour-long sessions which dealt with training in the early years. We especially wanted to expose the cultural norm of letting the child dictate the terms, and instead call on these moms to responsibly train each child in obedience. We hoped to empower them with the practical ideas and tools they would need. In a third session, we discussed time-management and maintaining order in the home. God blessed us with a wonderful group that day, and a beautiful spirit of learning in the moms present. It was a pleasure and a privilege to get to know them.
I can look back to my childhood and remember multiple times when I was the recipient of excellent teaching. Conferences, books, radio programs, and my own parents all spoke into my life, preparing me with the tools and encouragement I would need in raising my own family some day. Now, despite my sweaty palms and beating heart, it is a privilege to interact with other moms and be able to give back some of what I have been given.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
How You Can Pray
- Pray for the ladies who attended the seminar.
- Praise God for great progress with our Good and Evil translation! More details in a future update…
- Praise God for great progress with the various Bible First translations! Spanish is complete, and Russian is over 70% complete! getbiblefirst.com/translations
- Continue to pray for our Bible First Kids class at church. God is blessing!
- Pray for peace and liberty in Ukraine.