I’m a confident mom. I’m totally used to bad days and I admit to feeding my kids toast for breakfast lunch and dinner other days. Now, besides the adjustment period every family goes through once a new baby is born, I’ve haven’t really had any big “adjustment” seasons or “rocky” seasons with my kids… until last year. My oldest wasn’t struggling with grades or with peers, but he struggled with self-esteem. I didn’t know how much another adult could effect his thoughts about himself, until we walked, even sometimes crawled through this season together. I was shocked. I felt like a terrible mom that my words, my heart and my love for him couldn’t fix what was going on inside of his mind. For the first time, I panicked. I cried myself to sleep after tight hugs and long days. I would cry in the kitchen as my husband tucked our kiddo in bed. Trevin and I would just stand in the kitchen not knowing how to “make” our kid believe us and not the feeling someone else gave him. As a parent I felt so discouraged. Do you remember a time feeling discouraged? Like you just couldn’t do the right thing, and your the leader?
I remember driving in the car feeling like my “leadership” in the home was ridiculous. I remember driving thinking how does the bible help in moments like these? How does a simple kids story like David and Goliath help me when I am doing my best but at my best, I still don’t know what I am doing? I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to make time to read that specific story. To be honest, I forgot to make time. So days passed, we prayed, I called my mom, another friend and we did our best to be there for Boston. Then I was reading the book of First Samuel for another project I was working on and remembered the nudge. I turned the tissue paper pages edged with gold that has been worn out over the years of use and found the familiar passage, David & Goliath.
In the bible, first Samuel chapter 16, we find Samuel the prophet obeying God’s instructions to anoint David to be the next King of Israel. Verse 1 God says “I have provided for myself a king among his (Jesse’s) sons.” David is anointed and verse 13 says “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.” Chapter 17 is where David meets Goliath. If you don’t know the story, here is the scene:
Jesse’s family is one of many who were Israelites. His oldest sons were soldiers in a battle against the Philistines. During this time, Jesse sends David (his youngest son, the anointed one) to take food to his brothers who are at war. When David gets to the camp he hears Goliath, the best soldier the Philistines have, shouting profanities against the children of God. He begins to question why none of the Israelite soldiers are standing up for God’s people and against Goliath. David offered to fight Goliath, since he saw no one else would. David goes to King Saul and offers to fight Goliath for the Israelites. King Saul tells David he is too young and unskilled. David shares with King Saul how he was able to kill a lion and a bear when tending to his fathers sheep. King Saul decided to give David a chance and gave David his armor to wear in the fight. When David tried on Saul’s armor he found it to be too big and no warrior can fight without the right gear, we all know that. So he pleaded with the king to let him fight using what he had in his hand. The king said “The Lord be with you.” And as we know it, David went to a water brook and gathered five smooth stones. Then in one of the most memorable battles, David a young shepherd boy defeats the greatest solder of the Philistine army with just a sling and a stone. Causing the Philistines to run in fear and the Israelites to win the battle that day.
So like I said before, when we look at David and Goliath we don’t really see any spotlights on leadership, except that we see David taking great initiative and stepping out in faith. His time spent with the Lord guided him in a situation that was filled with pressure, and his story is one for all little boys to hear across the ages, to encourage their faith in the Lord. But what about those little boys parents? I have read this story and put myself in the shoes of Jesse and later in the shoes of King Saul and found the sovereignty of God covers my limitations as a leader. God’s faithfulness encouraged me again to lift up my head and believe for another, brighter day in my parenting life.
Jesse sent David to his sons, not knowing he was the hand of God to bring David to the battle. Jesse didn’t know what he was doing, he didn’t realize he was sending David to face Goliath. King Saul tried to give David his armor. Saul gave David his best and it wasn’t good enough. I found myself reading the words across the page and they began to get blurry. I realized by the faithfulness of God again, I can do my best as a parent, but what matters most is Boston spending time with God and knowing who God says about him first. My kids will go through life facing great obstacles, and more than I want to teach them how to face obstacles, I want to teach them who God is and who they are in Him. Leadership can be discouraging, not knowing what to do or not having all the right answers, but I have opened my mind and asked God to use me like Jesse. Let me be the one to position the “Davids” I lead. I have opened my heart and asked God to use me like King Saul to give great responsibility to the “Davids” I lead and may they know in my heart of hearts I am saying “The Lord be with you” and that I desire their success.
In my parenting, I surrendered my limitations to the hand of God and my confidence was no longer in my leadership but in God’s covering of my boy. I know I can’t protect him from everything, and learning to let God lead my leadership resolved a lot of the pressure I felt, and that my son probably felt as well. A few other practical things we did: Instead of me taking the lead in the situation, I handed it over to Trevin. Yes we are a team always, but sometimes I notice things sooner just because I am with our kids more. This time we switched up our game plan, Trev took the reigns on navigating this situation. He had the conversations with Boston, we moved money from one part of our budget to another so Trevin could take him to get donuts throughout those months. Second, we continued to pray. Third, We had a strategic conversation. Trevin talked with a dad whose first born son is a young adult now and still loves the Lord. Were my other conversations helpful? Of course, but this conversation brought us different perspective. A perspective I couldn’t have. A man raising a man. Instead of finding someone who has been in my shoes, we found a leader who successfully raised someone in Boston’s shoes! (I loved this perspective change!) We’ve also changed our language with Boston about other adults who we give authority to speak into his life. These practical steps gave us wisdom, our home was peaceful again, and though it took about 7-9 months, I finally had my little boy again. I was really surprised at how long it took us to navigate this issue, but I can look back and see my son’s precious heart is stronger and smarter because of it.
Have you felt discouraged as a leader? It’s happened to me plenty of times, and this story has been a rock for me in my limitations since I read it this way. Is there another verse or story in the bible you lean on when you are discouraged as a leader? Comment below! I’d love to hear from you. Well, this wraps up my HOW TO FACE ANYTHING Blog Series!!! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole topic of leaders/followers and discouragement. Send me a message or comment below.
AAAAND I can’t forget…Let’s give a huge shout out to Sarah Atkinson for participating in the giveaway and subscribing to my blog!!! You have won the $25 Amazon giftcard for my blogs birthday!!! Please check your email girl. CONGRATS to you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our blog community!
Join me for my next blog series #AndersonHospitality this month with tips and tricks from some amazing ladies in my life, just in time for the holidays.