Putting Things in the Right Place
About the Guest
Moms, you cannot do everything, so prioritize the relationships or roles that are the most important, and let the rest slide. Brooke McGlothlin and Natalie Jones share their successes and failures in prioritizing time with God and their husbands over the demands of their kids.
Brooke McGlothlin and Natalie Jones share their successes and failures in prioritizing time with God and their husbands over the demands of their kids.
Michelle: Moms, I understand you have a tough job: it’s a hard one, and it’s a busy one. I’ve also heard some moms say that God gives them a pass for spending time with Him because they are so busy; but Brooke McGlothlin says, “You better be careful with that advice.”
Brooke: I say this with as much love and compassion as I can muster—because I have been that mom that has struggled to get up five minutes earlier; or to find a time in the middle of the day and think that I’m going to get some time when the kids nap, and then they wake up too early—I know those frustrations; I remember them very, very well—but the first step is to ask yourself: “Is this a priority for me?”
Michelle: We’re going to help young moms be the best parent they can be by putting their kids in third place behind their spouse and God on this edition of FamilyLife This Week.
Welcome to FamilyLife This Week. I'm Michelle Hill. It is the first weekend of August; it’s truly the dog days of summer. In a few weeks, moms, you’re going to have your routine back; so today, we’re going to look at how to survive and thrive the rest of the summer. We’ll also talk about a few tips to have some fun and make some memories as you finish out this summer well; a tip like this one:
Let the kids stay up late one night this week. Catch some fireflies; put them in a mason jar; and then roast marshmallows by a fire in the backyard. If you don’t have a backyard, maybe a microwave will work?—I don’t know; maybe not—but you can try!
The point is making memories with your kids does not have to cost that much; it can be free. But you’re still making memories and you’re still having conversations with your kids.
Let’s get back to the surviving and thriving, not just in the summertime, but all the time. I’m going to talk today with Brooke McGlothlin. She has survived and thrived with raising boys. She is a wife; she is a mom of boys. She is an author and also founder of the online MOB Society, which stands for Mothers of Boys. She also is helping us understand what our kids really need from you. It might not be what you think.
Brooke, welcome to the broadcast today.
Brooke: Thank you so much. I’m glad to be here.
Michelle: What is it like to be a mom of boys?
Brooke: It is wild, and wooly, and crazy. [Laughter] But I love it; I love it. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I actually prayed and asked the Lord to give me boys. He was gracious enough to do that and then laughed at me heartily after He answered that prayer. [Laughter] They keep me on my toes. We love every second of it.
Michelle: How many boys do you have?
Brooke: We have two; we have an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old.
Michelle: Okay, so you prayed for boys.
Brooke: I did.
Michelle: Why did you pray for boys?
Brooke: I wanted the opportunity to raise men, who really loved the Lord, and who were different than some of the men that I had seen around me. I had seen just enough true, loving, biblical God-loving men to know that that’s what I wanted and that the world needed more of those.
I was clueless; I was clueless. I thought I could do it by myself, and I wanted the opportunity to try. I was a very goal-driven person; and by the time my husband and I had our first son, I had checked off pretty much every major life goal that I ever had for myself. It made sense to me that, if I just worked hard enough, I could produce the kind of godly men that I wanted to produce.
Let’s just say that God had a different plan for what that would look like for me. [Laughter]
Michelle: You had mentioned, “It’s kind of funny…”
Brooke: It is funny; it’s hilarious when you think about it. How many times have you listened to someone, who is not a mom, talking about being a mom, and how easy it’s going to be, and complaining about what’s wrong with children today? Then she has children; and two years later, she’s like, “I am so sorry. I take it all back, every bit of it. [Laughter] This is so much harder than I thought it was going to be.”
God used having these boys to literally kick my feet right out from under me. They were born 23 months apart, and they are what I like to call those boys. They are 250 percent boy: they are aggressive; they are full of energy; they are mouthy; they act before they think in most occasions. They still do on some level, but they ran me ragged. They really did. [Laughter] I went to bed so many nights when they were little, knowing that I had not been the kind of mom I wanted to be that day. They brought out the worst in me.
Because no matter what I did, as someone who had always just been able to work hard to accomplish the things she had wanted to accomplish—all it had ever required for me before my children to accomplish a goal/to put a check mark beside whatever I wanted to do—was to just work hard enough. I realized that I couldn’t work hard enough to produce the kind of men that I wanted to produce, because it wasn’t just a matter of behavior; it’s a matter of the heart. God showed me that in Ezekiel 36:26, early on in my parenting, where He says, “I’m the One that turns the heart of stone to a heart of flesh [paraphrased].”
I remember being annoyed by that on some level. [Laughter] Like, on the one hand, it was great; because I was able to recognize and be relieved of the pressure to have to be the one to change their hearts. But on the other side of the spectrum, I really wanted to just be able to do it.
Brooke: I couldn’t do that, and the realization of my powerlessness in that was very hard for me to take.
Michelle: That would be hard. I mean, because we think we can be in control. You have these little—these little boys that you’re bigger than them; you’re stronger than them; you’re still smarter than them—and all of a sudden, you were like, “I can’t do it.”
Brooke: That’s exactly what it was. It was me saying, “God, I can’t do this.” As it turns out, saying that to God was one of the best things I ever did.
We have this check list in our minds, as moms, of what our kids really need. But I think, in our society today, we have forgotten that what our children actually need are moms, who are broken before the Lord—who know that they are sinners in need of Jesus—and who are pursuing Him with everything they have. If we are living that life, that is the freeing truth about what our kids really need.
Michelle: Help the mom out, who’s listening, going, “Where should I even start if I am not cracking my Bible open every day? I believe in God, but I just don’t have the time; there’s just too many other things pulling at me/too many other distractions.” Where should she start? What was the best place? What did you do?
Brooke: I got creative. I think, as with all things, it starts in our hearts. Everything comes out of our heart. The first step maybe is to just ask yourself—I say this with as much love and compassion as I can muster—because I have been that mom that has struggled to get up five minutes earlier; or to find a time in the middle of the day and think that I’m going to get some time when the kids nap, and then they wake up too early—I know those frustrations; I remember them very, very well—but the first step is to ask yourself: “Is this a priority for me?” Because you will live your priorities.
Brooke: You will. Sometimes I think people think that sounds a little bit harsh, but you will live what’s important to you. The first question that you should ask yourself is: “Is being in the Word of God important to me? Is it the most important thing to me?” “Do I know that, if I’m not spending time with the Lord, then as a mom, I’m pouring out, and pouring out, and pouring out, and nothing is being pumped back in?”
It’s no wonder that we find ourselves exhausted and with no resources/nothing left to give. That’s because we have pumped ourselves dry; and we are not filling the well back up with the Word of God, which is what our heart so desperately needs. Ask yourself those hard questions first, and then get creative in trying to find a way to live out that priority.
Michelle: Brooke, that is great advice. We need to take a break; but Brooke, I want you to stick around. After the break I have another question or two that I need to ask you.
Also, a quick tip for moms out there: “How about before school starts up, maybe take an evening in the next month and eat ice cream sundaes for dinner?” I can guarantee you will be the best mom ever. My mom’s the best mom ever, but I really wish that she would have fed me ice cream sundaes for dinner.
Stick around; Brooke McGlothlin’s going to join me after the break. You don’t want to miss this. Stay tuned.
[Radio Station Spot Break]
Michelle: Welcome back to FamilyLife This Week. I’m Michelle Hill. Again, it’s August. Moms, we are helping you to survive and thrive that last little bit. It’s like you’re in this race to get to the end of summer, when the kids head back to school, and you can have your routine back; right?!
A mom, who is helping us survive and thrive, is Brooke McGlothlin. Brooke, before the break, you had mentioned that you had aspirations in your 20s of having a PhD by the time you were 30—
Brooke: Yes. [Laughter]
Michelle: —and having really these amazing mile markers or timeline in accomplishing a lot. Did you see yourself as a stay-at-home mom?
Brooke: Never; not once. In fact—
Michelle: I’m not saying that as a “less than”; I mean, because the stay-at-home moms work hard—
Michelle: —I totally get that. But did you see yourself that way?
Brooke: I did not. In fact, there was a time, when I was in my early college years, that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a mom at all. God totally changed my heart in that area. I really was very interested in being a professional when I was in college and then in graduate school; that’s how I wanted to use my talents.
God has been gracious to me and still allowed me to do some of that as I have been a stay-at-home mom; but it took a significant heart change in me, and even more so in my husband. He wanted our children to have the very best, but we just don’t live in an area where a lot of the moms stay at home. It wasn’t the norm; it wasn’t what we saw every day. It was a huge sacrifice for us financially. But God put it on our hearts to do.
I do want to be careful and say here that I don’t think that God necessarily has that same call for every woman. You may be at a completely different life circumstance than I was at that time. You may be a single mom, who is supporting her kids by herself; you have to work in some way. I’m not in any way, when I say this, that God called us to be/for me to be at home—I’m not trying to extend that to every mom—I’m simply saying, “This is what God called us to do for this season.” For us, it was a matter of obedience. For me, it was a matter of laying down the dreams that I had for myself in order to pick up the dreams that God had for me instead.
Michelle: That’s so neat. It’s so neat to see how God goes before us, and He has the path for our lives. We just need to walk it. Sometimes, that’s so hard for us to do; but we just need to walk it. He has it all planned out.
Brooke: His plan is so much better than ours ever could be. I would say to someone listening right now, who maybe finds herself in a season or a place that she never thought she would be, “Hang on; just hang on a little bit longer. Keep your head in the game; keep your heart in the game. Choose to trust the plan that God has for you, because it’s better than your plan.”
Michelle: What do you think you would have done if God had given you girls? [Laughter]
Brooke: I have people ask me all the time: “Don’t you want to try again for a girl?” [Laughter] Actually, no; I don’t. I really like having boys. My father was one of three boys; my husband is one of three boys. I have an older brother. I feel like God has uniquely gifted me to be able to understand and deal with boys in some ways. I’m so grateful for that.
I would have loved her. It wouldn’t have been what I wanted; but then, nothing has been exactly what I wanted. Isn’t that just what it is to be a Christian?—is to let go of what we wanted and to let God do what He wants to do through us instead.
If He had given me a girl, we would have loved her. We would have been probably just as challenged. Boy, I know; I talk about having those boys, and I am immediately corrected almost every day by girl moms that say, “Oh, no, no, I have one of those girls. [Laughter] I know whatever God would have chosen to give me, He would have had me on the same path; because God wanted me to know how much I needed Him; I didn’t know.
I mean, I knew that I needed Him to forgive my sins; I knew I needed Him for salvation. I had made that decision long ago before I had come to the point where I had my first child; it wasn’t a matter of salvation. It was a matter of every day dependence upon God. If God had not given me the children that He gave me, then I hate to think where I would still be. I’m so grateful, looking back now, that God did what He did in my life and completely rearranged me from top to bottom.
Michelle: “Every good and perfect gift,…”—and sometimes, those gifts are not what we ever expected; sometimes, those gifts hurt; sometimes, those gifts are exactly what we expected—yet, those good and perfect gifts are the ones that drive us into His arms.
Michelle: Brooke, thank you so much for joining me today and talking about boys. [Laughter]
Brooke: It is one of my favorite things to talk about, so thank you for having me. It’s been a treat.
Michelle: Brooke has such a great perspective. She was heading one way and figured she could have it all: kids, career—everything. But she really traded her professional career for a career as a mom. In some ways, it’s normal; in some ways, it’s not so normal.
There are a lot of moms, who are working outside the home. A tip for a mom, who is working outside the home—a little summertime fun idea:
You know that personal day you get from work?—I mean, most people get a personal day—well, take that personal day and surprise your kid. Either spend the afternoon at the pool or maybe a fun movie matinee. Splurge on some popcorn and some soda pop, and watch your kids run all over and get hyper. Fun, fun, fun!
In my discussion with Brooke, we talked about her quest for a PhD. It reminded me of an interview that I had with Natalie Jones. Natalie Jones is a working mom outside the home. She’s a mom of five; and she is also the founder and president of Parent Compass,which is a TV show that offers hope to moms and dads, who desperately need it.
I asked Natalie, “What were some of the challenges that are facing parents today?”
Natalie: I think there’s two that parents feel: one is overwhelmed and then the other is isolated. You feel like—and it’s a lie—we feel like: “We’re the only one that has this problem,”—like—“It’s our fault”; or we don’t feel good about who we are.
There’s a verse that says, “Take all my thoughts and make them obedient to Christ,”—
[2 Corinthians 10:5 paraphrased]—say, “Lord, I’m going to submit all my thoughts to You. I’m going to resist this thought; I refuse it”; right?
Natalie: We don’t spend our time—because lots of times, if we get those negative thoughts about: “Oh my gosh, I’m not parenting right,” or “I’m…—whatever—it’s like we get in that hole. God’s got a rope to us or a way out of that hole; but we can’t see it, because we’re so busy worrying—which we do—I’m certainly not saying I don’t do these things. [Laughter]
But it does say—that’s another thing that the Lord says, “No need to worry,”—right?—“Do not be anxious for anything; but in everything, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God,” [Philippians 4:6]—what I love about that is the second part to that. He doesn’t promise that the problem is going to go perfect, but He promises “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding…” [Philippians 4:7].
Michelle: On your TV show, have you talked about isolation and being overwhelmed?
Natalie: What we do is we show it. We have 12 different families, and they have allowed and opened the door to their lives. We go in their homes, and it’s filmed in their home. They tell us the problems that they’ve gone through. The message may be, for a lot of people, that: “No matter what’s gone before—no matter what your past is or your family’s past—focus on the Lord. He can bring you that comfort, and that love, and peace, and joy into your home, going forward.
Michelle: What was the most difficult thing that you had to face as a parent?
Natalie: Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t know if this was the most difficult, but it’s what comes to mind; I know it was really difficult. We had one child—for years/in the teenage years—was really, really, really tough. It sort of brings tears to my eyes when I think about it; it was so tough. You almost want them to move out; that’s how bad it gets. He’s disobeying; he’s back-talking; he even threw things and broke them—they were minor things—but still—
Natalie: —it just shows the intensity.
That person has grown up now, and he’s becoming stronger in the Lord. My husband and I are still somewhat in shock; and we go, “Oh my gosh, he’s okay! He’s great!” We’re just thrilled. [Laughter]
Hang in there, guys. Hang in there. There may be very tough years and difficulties in the teenage years. Just hang onto God; hang onto His Word, and walk through it with Him.
Michelle: What did you learn about yourself, walking through that time?
Natalie: How much we need to depend on the Lord and how great His Word is in helping. I felt like the Lord gave me specific Scriptures to pray. I had another friend that I joined with—and I would recommend this—I had another friend that we joined. She had a number of Scriptures, and we prayed those. Maybe that’s what—I mean, the Lord made the difference in this young man’s life now, who’s older—we prayed the Scriptures and put our children’s name in those Scriptures.
Michelle: How great practical help.
Natalie: Yes, one of the Scriptures that the Lord gave me for him was the one on “Flee youthful lusts [2 Timothy 2: 22].”
Another one was: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But Simon, I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers [Luke 22:31-32].” Satan wants to stop everybody from their purpose. Your child has purpose: he’s been given gifts from the Lord; he’s been created in God’s image. Give your life, as a living sacrifice, and He’ll guide you to those good works. You don’t have to worry about what they are or what [you’re] doing. The Lord says, “No need to worry,”—right?—but “pray.”
Michelle: Now, I want to turn just a little bit. I’m wondering how did you balance the demands of being a TV producer with the demands of being a mom?
Natalie: I’m a stay-at-home mom. Most of the time, when I had five children—well, that’s true; I did ministry the whole time—you’re right. It was all done by prayer and the Lord’s guidance. There were times when I was overwhelmed; and the Lord taught me—not with this show, but with other ministries that I did—I was the one that was overwhelming it. I was adding more to what He was giving me so that I was spinning plates.
Many times I would—or one specific time, I was living in London—and the Lord asked to do a commemoration of September 11. I overworked that by adding: “Okay, we’re going to have book sales,” and “We’re going to have a list of everyone who passed away,” “We’re going to do these additional things…”—
Natalie: —beyond what was necessary. That took more time and more stress that was unnecessary.
Michelle: Did you see your family suffer as a result of this?
Natalie: I didn’t have enough time for them. It was a two-month time period that it ended up being.
Michelle: That’s a long time of stress, and it’s a long time without mom. You were still there, but your brain was probably other places.
Natalie: Right; right. What my husband and I decided is: I put the ministry into certain hours of the day, where it wouldn’t affect the family; so that’s what we did. I only did it within those times so then I could only do so much.
Michelle: How hard was that to cancel out some of those spinning plates?
Natalie: They were in school every day, so there’s your time. It’s very clear: “If it doesn’t fit in the school time, then you can’t do it.”
There’s so many women out there working, and know that the Lord knows that. The Proverbs 31 talks about working women and how, if the Lord’s led you to it, that’s a good thing in the eyes of the Lord. He gave work before the fall.
Natalie: But know that He will give you that time with your children if you pray and ask for it, and keep it special and reserved.
Michelle: That’s Natalie Jones reminding us that we need to be keeping our priorities straight: dealing with the reality that many women/we’re called to work outside the home and just: “How do we balance everything?” That is a very hard thing to do. I think we also need to remember that our most important relationship—is not with our kids; it’s not with our husband—it’s with God. We need to keep that first.
I was recently in Charlotte, North Carolina. I watched a film on the life of Dr. Billy Graham. In an interview, someone was asking Billy Graham: “What was his biggest regret in life?” His answer surprised me; it might you too. Dr. Graham missed out on many precious memories with his wife and kids; because he was traveling all over the world, preaching to people about God.
But his greatest regret—the regret that he shared—was that he didn’t spend enough time in God’s Word. What struck me about what Billy Graham shared was that, when we get the vertical relationship right, that’s the relationship that is most important—our relationship with God—then, the horizontal ones/they will follow.
If you’re listening right now, and you want to be that super woman or that super mom, guess what? You can’t, and don’t give into that lie. Just be mom; because moms, you have an important job; and it’s a big job. The fact is, you can’t do it alone; you need God.
One last tip for you, moms, as summertime is for you too. Here’s what I want you to do:
Next time you’re at the pool, set your book down and do a cannonball dive off the board and embarrass your teenager. [Splashing sound] Or why don’t you go halfsies in with your best friend?—find a babysitter, and you both go to the water park without your kids.
Coming up next week, it’s another show for moms; well, and for dads. We’re going to hear from Barbara Rainey and also Karen Loritts on next week’s FamilyLife This Week.
Hey, thanks for joining me today. I want to thank the cofounder of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey; the president of FamilyLife, David Robbins, along with our station partners around the country. A big “Thank you!” to our engineer today, Keith Lynch. Thanks to our producers, Phil Krause and Marques Holt. Justin Adams is our mastering engineer, and Megan Martin is our production coordinator.
Our program is a production of FamilyLife Today®, and our mission is to effectively develop godly families who change the world one home at a time.
I'm Michelle Hill, inviting you to join us again next time for another edition of FamilyLife This Week.
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