Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 13 {Motherhood Mess-Ups}

Chapter 13 motherhood mess-ups

Let’s Discuss Chapter 13

“Have you ever lain in bed awake at night and wondered, Why me?  I don’t understand these circumstances, God!  Have you ever felt like a failure, as if the rest of the world has it figured out, and you are the only one who just can’t seem to pull it together?  Your two-year -old won’t let you buckle her in the car, your three-year-old bites, your four-year-old hits, your ten-year-old struggles with reading, your teenager is defiant, or your grown child is making poor decisions –you sit there, helpless.” ~page 133

Oh friends – have you been there?

I have.  And I felt alone.  And I don’t want you to feel alone –  so today’s video is for all the weary moms, who need a glimmer of hope.

(if you cannot see this video – click here)

motherhood is not a sprint (3) (2)

 In Chapter 13, I talk about how surprised I was, to find that going on a vacation with children was not at all how I had imagined it would be.  When you look at all the adorable Facebook photos of families on the beach – those pictures do not tell the entire story.  Because now I know, vacationing with little ones is not a vacation for mommy and daddy. It’s a lot of hard work!  And truly, for a woman who had high ideals and expectations of motherhood, I have to admit this motherhood thing is WAY harder than I ever thought it would be!  God has both humbled me and brought me to my knees in prayer through my trials.

Here’s some funny photos from the vacation I was referring to in the book.  This was my Lexi – who insisted on putting her head in the sand, then she would cry from the sand burning her eyes.

Hilton Head 3

We would take her down to the water and rinse her off but then she would do it all.over.again.and.again.and.again. Bah!

Hilton Head 2

At one point, my husband took the sign off of the umbrellas that were for rent on the beach – and slipped the “for rent” sign on Lexi. Lol!  I thank God for this little girl who makes us laugh.

 God words


Discussion Questions:

1.)  What is one of your most memorable “motherhood mess-ups?”  In retrospect, did God use your shortcoming or mistake to teach you an important life lesson? If so, what?

2.)  Turn to Joshua 1:9 and read it slowly.  How could really believing the words of this verse transform your mothering especially when you have fear of “messing up”?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapter 13″

Walk with the King,


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  1. Courtney, I just love how real you are! I have an angel of a 6 year old and a “not so Angel” of a 1 year old following behind. They are oh so different and I am struggling with that and getting used to the little ones behavior and personality. I really needed this tonight and I am so grateful to you that you and your son are willing to talk about and let people see the imperfections. God is not done with us all yet, we are a work in progress. Phil 1:3


  2. Courtney, I just love these chapters on parenting and your honesty with your experiences in being a mom. As I read about your challenges in raising your children, particularly your son at the toddler and preschool ages, I got a good laugh bc my son who will be 4 in two weeks is the same way. Because my husband and I struggled to have him and are older parents, it’s even more intense. I remember going on our first vacation with him when he was 5 months old. We went to Rhode Island and had plans of hanging out on the beach and sightseeing and relaxing. It was one of the worst vacations we had. My son kept scratching on the play pen all night and was very fussy, and on top of all the other madness, I lost my wallet! Thank The Lord an honest person turned it in to the bus driver who mailed it back to me with all the contents untouched. Even now I still am trying to let go of that idea of being that perfect mom who keeps a neat house with a preschooler who will always listen and eat his dinner! Lol. The Lord gave me a reality check fast. I often call upon His name to help me for I cannot do it alone. Ad I sit back and look at my son now, I realize how sweet, smart and loving he is and he actually does listen :), and it’s all because when I let go and allow God to do the work in me through my son, it makes those more challenging situations and every tasks a easier to handle. It’s a transformation of the mind, if you will in the way society has taught us. One of my favorite verses I cling to is “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. (Matthew 11:28-30)

  3. You said it all Courtney, when you said you are still working on you and you have been seeing the changes. Yes, too many times we think we need to fix our children, but I truly believe our children act out to our reactions toward them.

    Words and emotions are power and that is what I am learning each day. If I am upset my children are upset and they act out a lot. If I expect them to act up and I tell them they are rude, they act rude. I am learning to change my mindset about myself and my children and in turn I am seeing the good in them. However my journey continues.

    Peace to you.

  4. I do not have children and probably will not. We have been married 32 years and I am passed that. But, I want to say that I truly admire and appreciate all the true mothers. The mothers who are humble and want to do what is right no matter the suffering and sacrifice that it takes from them. That looks, to me, like Jesus. I say this to those who are unseen as well as those who are up front and in videos and blogs. Keep going, for, in due time, you will have a beautiful harvest. I thank you for your hard work. In Christ, Ginny

  5. Thanks for this video and being open about your struggles with your son. We are having a difficult phase with our son right now. I have a hard time remembering the good times when there are so many rough times in the day. Yesterday we had such a good and fun beach day! I’d like my focus to be remembering those kinds of days instead of the harder ones. Thanks for your encouragement!

  6. Lately I’ve been struggling with my 9 year old son who will be 10 in May! He’s been having major attitude, rolling of the eyes, not wanting to praise & worship God in church, having to be pushed & shoved to do his duties (homework, chores) and not caring about being disciplined for his misbehavior! Is this typical for this age??!! If so, how do I control myself & emotions so I don’t squash his spirit!!? His dad & I have a healthy relationship, we live for The Lord & serve in the church…so he’s not coming from a broken home or anything! Any suggestions??!!

    1. Crystal,
      I have 3 boys ages…21 yrs., 18 yrs., and 13 yrs. old. My 13 year old is still going through some of the things you’re dealing with in regards to your 9 year old. Some of it is part to hormones and the rest of it is just him testing his boundaries and being defiant like we’ve all been at some point in our lives. It can be annoying and as mothers it can cause us to be very emotional because it hits us right in our hearts and at times we may feel as though it’s a personal attack. First and foremost remember what the Scriptures say, we wrestle not against flesh and blood. In your prayer time with God pray for your son. Talk with your husband and make a point to pray for your son with your husband and last but not least do what my mother did for me. Go into his room at night after he falls asleep and pray over him. While you labor in prayer sit down with your son, pray with him and then have a real heart to heart talk with him. Even though he is being raised in a healthy godly environment there can still be underlying issues that he isn’t talking about so he expresses them in a disrespectful manner. Make sure you and your husband present a united front and have clear boundaries and expectations for your son. If you feel as though your emotions are going to get the best of you and your going to lash out, take a quick time out and come back and talk. I deal with getting emotional too. I just have to step back for a few minutes before I can re-engage because I don’t want to act or talk in anger and I want to be clear headed in the situation.
      As far as praise and worship at church, what are you looking for from him exactly? I know as a child growing up in church I never raised my hands because to me it was embarrassing. I did stand, bow my head, close my eyes…I was very respectful and sung along with the songs, etc. Every child is different.
      Praying for you and your son!!

      1. Thank you so much Jamileh!!! Really appreciate you taking the time to encourage me!! And to let me know its normal 😉 Yes, prayer is definitely needed and I know The Lord will reveal much to me if I press deeper!! Many blessings to you & your family!!

  7. I am having behavior issues with 9 year old boy too! He doesn’t want to do homework, chores, get up on time. Thank you for the verse today Courtney, my husband and I both need it! Oh and love the sweater! You always look cute and put together. Where do you get your tops?

  8. I loved your encouragement today! Thank you for the reminder to give my children the best of me and to offer grace to others as they seek to do the same. I also appreciate your wisdom in seeking out those Titus 2 women in our own lives. This is the first time I have done that and it is such a blessing to get encouragement from older women who have walked this journey already.

  9. I’m currently a mama-in-training, 🙂 Still a big sissy to 5 younger bros and sisses! But training for the day when I’m a wife and mama God willing. LOVED how humble and honest you were in your video! Love Elizabeth George too! ((Hugs for ‘stickin’ by the stuff’))

  10. 1.) None of us are perfect, although we strive to be, and we always strive to put it right and apologize and ask for each child’s forgiveness. Although we have never experienced anything major. Prayer has been very effective, we have seen Big changes in each child’s heart.
    Each of us as a family confess our faults to God and to one another. We remind each other from God’s Word how we are to behave, and treat each other as Christians. Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.

    2.) Be ever mindful of God in our parenting, keep strong and courageous in The Lord – whatever fears we have hand them over to God and rest in Him. He is always with us. Everything will work out for the good of The Lord.

  11. Such wise words you give here, Courtney. I just wrote about what all the parenting fears are good for on my blog, and when my kids were little I had so many! I now have two adult, two teens and an 11 year old and they are such a joy! Thanks for encouraging moms to not follow formulas and philosophies, but to follow God. Hugs, friend.

    1. Could you inform me in a nutshell the “normal” behavior of a 9 year old boy…going on 10 soon??! Not sure if your 11 year is boy or girl! Just thought I try though 😉 TY!!

  12. First let me say Courtney that I know exactly how you feel when it comes to a ‘wild child.’ My circumstances were a little bit different however I can identify with you whole heartedly. My middle son, who is now 18 yrs. old, was diagnosed with autism when he was 6 yrs. old. Along with his autism came extreme hyper activity and the strength of 8 grown men. He could literally pick up furniture by himself at a very young age and move it around the room. We would tease and say he had the strength of Sampson because we let his hair grow long. It was so curly I couldn’t stand to have it cut. Anyway, because of his autism and all that came with it, it was a struggle to take him to public places. He would run wildly through the store or would throw himself on the floor and scream. Once we went to IHOP for breakfast. He literally picked up silverware and starting throwing it across the restaurant. We left so no harm would be inflicted upon anyone. Church was our biggest struggle. We always sat in the back so he could run around in the foyer or for quick escape with him if need be. People at church understood about his diagnosis. As our son got older one of the Sunday school teacher’s was brave enough to ask if she could take him into her class. I asked if I could accompany him and she said yes. As time went on I was able to slip out of the room half way through the class and eventually he would just go into the class without me, sit down, color and play with puppets as he listened to the story/lesson. It was a truly magnificent change only brought about by God!!!! It was truly something that my husband and I thought we’d never see. Throughout the yrs., until he settled down, we would get judgmental looks from people. Once a lady who has no children came up to me in the grocery store and got in my face and told me I needed to control my son and didn’t know what I was doing. Through the yrs. we’ve taught our children never to judge someone else’s parenting. When your out in public somewhere and you hear a child scream or throw a fit, don’t judge!! You don’t know those people, you don’t know the circumstances under which they’re operating, you don’t know what kind of day they’re having, etc. Instead try to read the situation the best you can and offer help. If you don’t feel offering help is appropriate then pray for them as you go throughout your day.

  13. Quick P.S. Our 18 year old son is now the quietest, most well behaved child we have. Only by God’s mercy, grace, direction, and strength have we been able to endure and keep walking this path to truly see the fruits of our labor! Praise God!

  14. 1.) My most memorable motherhood mess up would be the following.. when our oldest (and only daughter) was in 7th grade, we had an argument. I can’t remember what it was about. She became very emotional and started crying. She told me I didn’t understand because I was perfect and never made mistakes so I just couldn’t relate to her. That really struck me! I couldn’t believe she thought that about me!! My husband pulled me into the bedroom and told me our daughter was right, that that is how I act most of the time. I act like I have it all together and that I’m doing it all right. My husband doesn’t say things like that off the cuff. If he notices something and says something then I pay attention. I sat in the bedroom and prayed and took a really good look at myself. My husband prayed with me and then I went to talk with my daughter. As she cried and raised her voice at me I just sat there and calmly listened. As I listened and watched her God allowed me to see things through her eyes. I had never seen myself the way she saw me! After she was through I still didn’t know what to do. I was in unchartered territory. The only thing I knew to do was to hug her, apologize, ask for forgiveness and pray. Since then things have never been the same…in a good way. A lot of things changed within my heart that night. Since then God has really softened my heart and shown me that it’s ok to be human in front of my children. I don’t have to put up a front like I’m perfect and great. They don’t need to see that, it’s fake! That night I realized I had been doing to my children what my mother had done (and still does) to me and my siblings. I love and care about my mother however even to this day she projects an image of perfection and goes out of her way to constantly tell us kids that she never lies and is as close to Jesus as any one person can get so we’d do well to follow her example. Ladies, I’ve learned that this is not the attitude we are to have. If our children and husbands see us this way things will not be well in our homes. Growing up I always felt like I could never measure up to my mom or God so at some point I stopped trying and went down a really really bad path for quite some time. I just stopped caring as I didn’t see the point any more. If God expected me to be super perfect (like I thought my mom was) then there was just NO way I could ever have relationship with HIM. So, to the best of our ability and with help from God we can project the proper image of HIM to our children so as to not be a stumbling block to them.
    2.) The words of this verse are powerful. God has commanded us to be strong and brave no matter where we go. We are not to be discouraged because HE has our back. As long as we look to HIM…include HIM in everything we do we can be strong and brave. HE is our strength!

  15. Not much to add since I don’t have children yet, but I love Joshua 1:9 as a reminder in all situations to trust God for my strength and courage.

  16. Like Courtney talked about with her expectations, I too had high expectations I how my kids would act. And how amaIng, calm and collected I would be as a mother. Haha on me! They are 3 (almost 4) and 9 months and already their different and amazing personalities are shining through. I love the statement that Courtney made about she is still growing and so is her son. As a sinner who continually receives grace, I must also continually provide grace to my little ones.
    I have often felt alone in my mama struggles since so many of my friends present a front of perfection. I have amazing (but not perfect!) kids and would love someone to talk to about “kid stuff”. This book has been such a blessing and I appreciate how honest Courtney and the other mamas are. Thanks you all for keeping it real!

  17. 1. I completely connected with Courtney talking about her wild child. I have two little boys (4 & 2) and they can both get pretty wound up, especially in social situations. I have walked away from many playdates and outings so embarrassed and wondering why God chose to give me such rowdy boys when I see friends who have these calm, quiet daughters. Many times these situations have led to anger on my part directed at the boys (and not righteous anger). I think God is teaching me so many things through my boys, including to pray before I talk, and to care more about what God wants the condition of their hearts to be than what others may think of us. Motherhood has already been more stretching than I ever could have imagined, but I’m so, so thankful that God chose me to be their mommy.

    2. I think motherhood can be very overwhelming and lonely at time. The fact that God is with us wherever we go is so encouraging– we never need to be frightened or dismayed. We can be strong and courageous knowing this. I think this verse is a great reminder to cry out to God when we feel fear and negative attitudes creeping in. He can do more for us than anyone else.

  18. Your video made me laugh right out loud! I have five boys who are very close in age (the oldest is 13 and the youngest is 7). My 11-year-old and my 7-year-old are the two who are rambunctious and can’t seem to sit still. However, Tucker, my 11-year-old has also grown so much in past year or so. He has such a loving heart and is so kind. He will help anyone with anything, even the undesirable tasks. He is growing into a leader and he has no problem telling people about Jesus. I look at it this way: maybe his rambunctiousness is going to lead to him doing great things for God. Plus I have hope for Owen! I grew up with 3 sisters…boys are different!i am homeschooling them now as well, so I’m learning a lot of new things. What’s scaring me to death right now is my almost 14-year-old and his attitude. Where did my sweet little boy go?? Lord, help me not to lock him in his room until he turns 18! Or lock myself in my room!!!

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