What About ME?
About the Guest
The benefits of being a mom greatly outweigh the costs.
Brooke McGlothlin, author of “The Gospel Centered Mom,” dispels the myths of the “ME” gospel. She also identifies four main categories where she sees moms struggling most.
What About ME?
Bob: It’s an intimidating thought but it’s true—our children are getting their picture of who God is—by looking at us. Here’s Brooke McGlothlin.
Brooke: I want to model for my kids—not a harsh judgmental God—but a God that says, “Come to me. Come to me. You can trust Me.” I want them to feel safe enough in my love for them that they find it easy to obey. I think there’s got to be grace there. Yes, God does tell children to obey their parents, but not in a harsh judgmental, “You must do it the first time with a happy heart.”—because sometimes I obey God now as a 40-year-old-woman—and I’m not happy about it.
Bob: This is FamilyLifeToday for Friday, August 17th. Our host is Dennis Rainey, and I’m Bob Lepine. If your children’s picture of God is based on what they see in you—what kind of a picture of God do you think they have?
We’re going to explore that more today with Brooke McLaughlin. Stay with us.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us.
Back before Mother’s Day there was an article online that I read. In fact—I think that we can still link to this at FamilyLifeToday.com, if somebody wants to read this—but it was a mom talking about the common view of motherhood in our day—even among mothers. She said, “Here’s how people feel, ‘You’re a mom, and no one appreciates you. Am I right?
You have to do everything. Life is terrible. You haven’t slept in 84 hours. You have barf on your underutilized yoga pants. Your husband doesn’t understand why you’ve broken into wild, helpless sobs simply because he accidentally let the baby chew on a Sharpie cap instead of that weirdly omnipresent BPA-free $24 chewy giraffe.’” [Laughter]
“In case you haven’t heard,” she goes on, “motherhood is a terrible thankless nightmare or so we’re told. Turn on the TV, open a magazine, surf the web, browse through the bookstore and here’s the message. The wildly popular parenting is worse than a Stephen King story genre—ready to engulf you in its gaping claw.”
Dennis: No, no.
Bob: But that’s the narrative that’s in the culture.
Dennis: It is. It’s the way a lot of days feel for moms who are raising a pack of youngsters today—but we have a guest, Brooke McGlothlin—who is back with us again on FamilyLifeToday. Brooke, welcome back to the broadcast. You believe differently than that; don’t you?
Brooke: I do on some level, I mean—there is a lot of hard stuff in parenting—but I do believe it’s worth so much more than just that.
Dennis: Brooke has written a book called Gospel-Centered Mom. She is the founder—co-founder—of Raising Boys Ministry—because she has two. She and her husband, Cory, have been married since 2002.
Bob: And she heads up the MOB.
Dennis: She does head up the MOB.
Bob & Dennis: —Mothers of Boys.
Dennis: —and if you’re ever caught speeding in the state of Virginia—
Bob: —You just tell Officer McGlothlin, “I loved your wife’s book.” That should get you a war— [Laughter]
Dennis: Because he’s still going to be good for two or three years—
Dennis: —served the state well. Let’s talk about what’s at the heart of where moms get deceived. They start thinking, “It’s all about me;” don’t they?
Brooke: They do—and our culture makes it so easy to think that today. Yes, I talk a lot about what I like to call the “Me” gospel. It is an easy way to talk about man-centered theology, but to me it’s an easier way to understand it. The “Me” gospel—as I see it, at its best—is that it’s the good news—I say that—the listeners can’t see me but I’m quoting it—
Bob: —the air quotes.
Brooke: Yes, the air quotes—“good news”—that God is all about meeting my needs, my wants, and my deepest desires. But at its worst it’s really not good news at all—because it’s not the true gospel at all.
Bob: In fact you say that there are really four narratives that moms keep hearing with this “Me” gospel. The first of those is, “I need rest.”
Bob: Now every mom listening is raising her hand and saying, “What is wrong with that? That’s true. That’s a reality. I am more continually exhausted than I am energized, so that’s my reality. I do need rest.”
Brooke: Yes, they do. Everybody does. God made us to rest. He gave us the seventh day. He rested on the seventh day—He models that for us. He tells us, “Come to Me when you need rest and I’ll give it to you.” So—in and of itself there is nothing wrong with rest—or any of the four categories that I talk about—there’s really nothing wrong with those. The problem happens with those when we give them an improper position in our lives—we make them an idol or when we make them a god themselves. Any good thing that God gives us can be turned into something that rules us.
Brooke: We don’t want to let that happen.
Bob: You’re a mom with two very active boys.
There are days you need rest; right?
Brooke: Yes, absolutely. When they were little, I took advantage of what I could get. It was very important to me that they had a quiet time every day. When they were little that meant they napped—but it didn’t always mean that. They got to the age when they were beyond a nap—and we still had an hour of quiet time in their rooms. Now it wasn’t always quiet from their perspective, but it was a sanity break for me. I didn’t normally nap during that time, but it was a break from the chaos sometimes of being a mother.
Bob: Right. So when a mom is feeling that “I need rest,” what’s the wrong way to deal with that and what’s the right way to deal with that?
Brooke: That’s a good question. I think you take advantage of what you have. That will look different for different moms listening today. Not all of you will be stay-at-home moms—I was a stay at home mom for—I’m a work at home mom now, so I’m still at home, but it just looks different.
If you’re a working mom—outside of the home—rest for your soul means listening to worship music on the way to work,
or choosing to listen to your pastor’s sermon from the week before on your way home because you spent too much time wrangling your kids in the church service and you really would like to go back and listen to what he said. There are things you can do to put that into place. Those are some of the right ways to do it.
Maybe another right way is to put your kids to bed at a decent hour—is to not be so busy as a family that you can’t have natural rhythms. I say that as a mom whose husband works shift work so natural rhythms for us were difficult. We had to take advantage of it. We still—to this day—have to take advantage of what we can. But you can create—with some work and effort—some natural rhythms to your life that allow you a few minutes at a time to pause and just breathe.
Dennis: There’s another way moms struggle, not with just needing rest. But they also struggle with watching their children—constantly—press their limits and press obedience back against mom. You said in your book, “You must obey me—now.”
Bob: Well now, wait. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be? Kids should obey instantly—first time obedience. Isn’t that what you’re going for?
Dennis: [Laughter] Of course.
Brooke: You know, I think there are some great books out there on teaching your kids obedience. I definitely think that children—God tells children to be obedient to their parents—so I would in no shape or form say that that’s not true—that children don’t need to obey their parents.
But I know myself and I know my loving, forgiving God. I don’t always obey Him on the first time—I don’t. So I want to model for my kids, not a harsh judgmental God, but a God that says, “Come to me. Come to me. You can trust me.” I want them to feel safe enough in my love for them that they find it easy to obey. That’s not always something—you know—it doesn’t happen all the time.
I just look at my own relationship with God and what I see of Him in the Scriptures. I think there’s got to be grace there.
Yes, God does tell children to obey their parents, but not in a harsh, judgmental, “You must do it the first time with a happy heart.” Because sometimes I obey God—now as a 40-year-old woman—and I’m not happy about it. [Laughter] It’s the truth.
Bob: One of the key insights from The Art Of Parenting™ Video Series that we’ve done—something that struck me was when a couple of the contributors talked about the fact that we have to recognize there’s a difference between childish behavior and actual disobedience. Sometimes we are disciplining our kids for being children rather than for willful disobedience. You can tell when a child has been willfully disobedient, stubborn, resistant, and when a child is just being a kid and doing what kids do; right?
Brooke: Yes. But we—I think as adults—we are so demanding of them. I have a degree in psychology and a masters in counseling—I studied a lot of developmental psychology when I was in school. When you really think about what you’re asking of your child,
if you’ll think about what developmental stage they are in, you might find that you’re asking too much of them at any certain time—and that you just need to pump the brakes a little bit and give them some grace.
Dennis: There’s another area where moms struggle. That’s with the whole idea –“I need to take care of myself.”
Bob: The “Me” —I need some “Me” time.
Brooke: Yes. With this category—as with the rest—there’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of time alone—but it’s not your right! We have these expectations that again are not based on the truth of what the Word of God says.
If we’ll allow ourselves the opportunity to go and actually find out what it says, we may find that we’ve kind of created a god that doesn’t exist on the pages of Scripture. When we find that—when we realize that—the appropriate change in us is to change direction in accordance with what His word says.
Dennis: When Barbara and I were in the thick of raising our six—I’ll never forget reading a statement by C.S. Lewis—he said, “There are no such things as interruptions. Interruptions are the real life God brings to you day by day.”
Dennis: I think if we can begin to realize that sometimes—the very things we view as interrupting our real life—are really where God wants us to pause and stop and connect with the child or take some additional time with the child—and allow him to get our attention in the midst of a flurry of activity.
But back to taking care of yourself—you don’t do your children—or your spouse—a favor if you don’t at some point find your pace—find what you can handle. There’s a side of being a parent that—if you’re so conscientious you can’t take any time off from it—you’ve got to be there all the time.
Brooke: You do. You know it is a 24-7 job. It’s not even really something that ends at 18—but…my husband has tried to be very, very good to me in that way—in allowing me—when he comes home and he sees that I am stressed out, he will give me a break.
He will say, “Go to the coffee shop for a couple of hours.” He will say,” Absolutely—Yes—go on that women’s retreat.”
I know that there are moms listening that may not have those options—especially if you are a single mom—that might not be a great option for you. There might not be some—there literally may not be someone that you trust to leave your kids with—I get that—but there are still ways that you can rest and find ways to take care of yourself without going overboard.
Bob: Yes. Again the issue here is when you make, “I can take care of myself” bigger than what God has planned for your life. That’s where moms look at the assignment God has given them and they say, “I don’t like it. I resent it. I want a different assignment.” Have you felt that as you raised your boys?
Brooke: Yes, absolutely. There have been so many times—I talk about this in the book—there was a point when I had to accept the children that God had given me instead of wishing they were something else.
Now, I want to be clear—I didn’t wish for different children—I love my children with everything I have. I would not trade them for the world. But there were lots of times when I found myself praying and wishing that God had made them just a little bit easier to handle—just a little less aggressive—just a little bit—lower on “those boys” scale. I had to come to a point where I accepted who God gave me and that I was okay with that and recognized that it was all a part of His story in our lives.
Dennis: There’s another big idea in your book that I want you to comment on and you talk about. That’s the idea of living out your story, making your journey a part of the message for your children and your generation that you influence.
Brooke: Yes, it’s so important. I remember when God first opened my eyes to this. I was doing a Bible study on the Old Testament prophets. We were studying Hosea.
We were looking at the book of Hosea some—as a part of the bigger picture of that.
I had heard the story of Hosea before. I knew—I grew up in Sunday school—I knew what it was—but for the first time I looked at that and I thought, “Wow! God asked him to marry a prostitute!”
Brooke: Good grief! If God asked me to do something like that, would I have said, “Yes?” My word! I don’t know. That’s a difficult thing. But as you look at Hosea’s story, we know now being on the other side of it, that it is a picture of God’s heart toward us. It was toward the Israelites—and now toward us as believers. It is a picture of how God comes after us over and over and over again.
Brooke: That there’s nothing that we can do—as Gomer left Hosea and you know the Scriptures—we’re not even 100% sure that the children they had together were his. There was ample reason for him to leave her and go on his own way.
But he stayed—because he recognized that he needed to do what God asked him to do. Now we know that his life was an “in real life” picture to us that helps us understand who God is.
I look around and—sometimes moms say well, “I really don’t know why it is important for me to follow God or to live my life the way God wants me to.” My answer to that is—You always have influence over somebody. You may not have influence over millions of people. You may have influence in your home. You may have influence over the women in your Bible study group. Your life touches someone else.
There’s always someone watching you—especially the non-believers—especially the people who have not made that commitment to Christ yet. They are watching you as someone who says that they are a believer in Christ—especially in the hard stories. They are watching to see if the God you say that you serve is really worth serving.
Bob: So Brooke—the young wife who is thinking, “I am not sure I’m ready to start a family—I’m not sure I’m ready to strap on what you’ve been talking about.” “I kind of like the rhythm of life today. I’m afraid I would not be a very good mom.” “If I’m sleepless for a couple of nights, it will not go well for me or for my household.” She’s thinking, “Maybe I’ll grow into this and maybe when I’m 35—that’s the best.” What do you say to a young mom who is wrestling with this dilemma about, “Am I ready for motherhood?”
Brooke: A part of the Christian journey is being willing to suffer—I don’t really know why. I wish I could look at the Scripture and tell you this is exactly why God does it this way—but what we know from Scripture is that He does. There is fruit that comes from suffering. There is fruit that comes from walking through hard things.
The Bible tells us that all of these things—that taking joy in our suffering—which is really hard to do and seems very different from what we want to do when we’re in pain.
Being willing to lay down your life for the sake of someone else is so wrapped up in the gospel message. It is the gospel message.
Brooke: So as we look at—I can say with 100% surety that I have felt that way too. I have felt like,” Can I really do this? Do I really want to give away my freedom for the sake of someone else?” But then I remind myself that that is exactly what Jesus did for me—exactly what Jesus did for me!
Brooke: So, as someone who says, “I will follow Him,” then I have to be willing to do just that—even if it’s hard.
Dennis: Back to the illustration that you used—somebody is watching.
Dennis: It’s easy to succeed—it’s easy to handle success in terms of going with the flow—but when things go south—for instance, you had a miscarriage.
Brooke: We did.
Dennis: There are people who are watching, people who are wondering, “How will Brooke and Cory handle that— as individuals—but also as a couple?”
How did you handle it?
Brooke: I think at first—I mean, it was hard. Anytime you have a significant—I would love to be able to tell you guys that I was super, super spiritual about it in that I never struggled in my faith and that I never wavered in my belief in God’s goodness to me—but that would not be the truth.
The truth is that I did struggle through that—that it was a painful loss and that while I had lost that baby, a lot of my friends around me were carrying babies, and that I struggled to watch their bellies swell, and I struggled to watch their children come into the world. For a season I struggled to feel related to their children because I knew that I would have had one the same age.
I saw that God was being good to everyone around me and wondered if maybe He had stopped being good to me because it wasn’t just the miscarriage for us. That miscarriage came on the tail end of a season of loss for us.
We had been kind of sucker punched by life for about six years, over and over and over again. That miscarriage was what really put the nail in the coffin for us.
Bob: So how did you come to resolution with those challenges to your faith?
Brooke: Well, I think it’s important to say that I was honest about it—I struggled. I was honest. I didn’t try to hide it from God. I didn’t try to run away from God. There were times when I yelled at Him. There were times when I questioned Him.
I tried to pick a few people that I felt like I could be honest with—my husband was one of them. I don’t know if there’s any woman listening now who have had a miscarriage—they will understand that that is sacred space for a woman. I did not just talk about it to any ol’ person. It had to be someone that I highly trusted and I knew would take care of my emotions and my feelings.
I had a couple of trusted people outside of my marriage that I felt like I could talk to about it. I just was honest and open about it and told them where I was struggling.
They came around me in a season where I really didn’t have the strength to speak the truth to myself—they spoke the truth over me instead. Boy, we all need to pray for friends like that.
Dennis: How you handle suffering like that does make you a stronger person. As you were talking I was just thinking about the last chapter of Job, Chapter 42, where Job talks about all of what he had been through. He summarizes it by saying, “You know, I had heard of you God, but after all I have been through”—now I am paraphrasing by the way—“but after everything I have been through, I not only hear of You—I now see You.” He’s saying I understand You and because of that, I yield to You.
Dennis: He says, “I repent.” I think there’s—in our journeys and our story—there’s always an underlying theme of what God is up to in our lives—maybe not giving us what we want, but perhaps giving us something that we need.
That really is what’s at the core of what you’ve written about in your book. I really appreciate all your work on this. Great job on it.
Brooke. Thank you.
Bob: I just want to wrap up with the last paragraph of the article I started today reading, because it was talking about the horrors of motherhood and how challenging it is and why would anybody want this. The writer says, “Take heed terrified would-be parents of America. Parenthood is a gift. Parenthood is a joy. The marvelous far outweighs the so-called horrifying and at least 90% of the horrifying becomes funny over time.”
Bob: Good reminder that our parenting journeys—we need a reorientation that our children are a blessing, that parenting is a privilege and that with God’s help and by his grace, we can raise the next generation to be strong—
—in their relationship with Him and to be contributors to our world. Brooke, I think that’s at the heart of the book you’ve written—Gospel Centered Mom. It’s a book we’ve got in our FamilyLife® Resource Center. You can order a copy of the book from us online at FamilyLife Today—at FamilyLifeToday.com—or call 1-800-FL-TODAY if you’d like to order.
It’s really at the heart of the video series that FamilyLife has put together on parenting. It’s a video series called The Art of Parenting. There are lots of churches that forming Art of Parenting groups this fall-special classes or small groups that will be going through the video series. In fact a lot of churches are using our movie Like Arrows as a kickoff event to launch their Art of Parenting groups or classes.
If you’d like more information about how your church or your small group can go through this material, got to FamilyLifeToday.com—and the information is available there. If you’d like to go through the material with your husband or wife—just the two of you—it’s available online. You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com for information as well.
It’s available for free. Again, go to FamilyLife Today.com and find out more about the online version of the Art of Parenting.
Then of course, Dennis—your book—The Art of Parenting, which you and Barbara have wrapped up is due in from the publisher anytime. We are making the book available this month to listeners who can help support the ministry of FamilyLife with a donation. This is our fiscal year end—the month of August. We’re trying to make sure we end this year in a healthy financial place.
To help with that we have some friends of the ministry who have put together a $500,000 matching gift. So every donation we receive during the month of August is going to be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a total of $500,000. We’re asking you, as a listener, to do whatever you can do this month to help with our financial support and help us take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity. Not only will your donation be doubled, but we will send you a copy of The Art of Parenting book from Dennis and Barbara Rainey as soon as it arrives from the publisher—
—as our way of saying, “Thank you” for partnering with us in the work of this ministry.
Finally, if you are one of our monthly Legacy Partners—you should be getting information about this before long—we’re going to be having a Legacy Partner connect event on Thursday night, September 6th. Dennis and Barbara Rainey will be joining me along with FamilyLife’s President David Robbins and his wife Meg. We’re going to be talking about parenting issues.
The great thing about the call is we can interact together. We can have some dialogue, take some questions and respond to the issues that you are facing as parents. We are grateful for those of you who are monthly Legacy Partners and we look forward to the opportunity to interact with you. Again—Thursday night, September 6th.
If you’d like to sign up to be on the call, call us at 1-800-FL-TODAY. We’ll add your phone number and then we’ll call you when the phone call begins—7:00 Central Time on Thursday night the 6th. We look forward to connecting with you that evening.
And we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend. Then we hope you can join us back on Monday when we’re going to talk about what may be the most strategic—the most significant outreach strategy available to us in our homes and in our families in trying to reach our neighbor’s for Christ—we’re going to talk about hospitality. Rosaria Butterfield will be here to help us with that. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you on Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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