“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (ESV)
In every season of motherhood I’ve experienced so far, I’ve found myself in moments of feeling like I’m at a loss for what to do.
When bringing my babies home from the hospital and in those newborn days that followed, I remember staring at them and asking myself, OK, now what do I do?
Now, in recent late nights, with tears of frustration from teenage rebellion freshly fallen on my shirt, I’ve found myself asking God, OK, now what do I do?
The truth is, I can’t think of very many times — even outside of motherhood struggles — when I’ve prayed for wisdom on the next thing to do and it has simply come to me.
Of course, if I need an answer immediately, I’ll say a quick prayer asking God for His help, and I’ll call or text a trusted friend. But most of the time, wisdom comes from a slow, gradual understanding of what needs to happen. Godly wisdom comes from experience, time and slow growth with God.
Praying and taking the time to slowly understand the Bible are some of the ways I experience growth. And so one of the prayers for wisdom I’ve prayed throughout the years is: God, please make me the mom (insert child’s name) needs, not the mom she wants.
This prayer came from understanding Philippians 4:19 a little better than I used to. Paul, the author of these words, was writing them specifically to the church at Philippi about their financial generosity: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
While we should not take this verse out of context and use it as a way to believe God will give us whatever we want, these words, this promise from God, can extend into all areas of our life, including the need for wisdom. But we have to pause and understand the difference between our needs and our wants.
In parenting, the mom my kids want is super “chill” about laundry and messes. She’s always understanding about homework and to-dos not getting done. She never loses patience on their bad days, is generous with money and is always fun.
While those are all great qualities, that’s not always the mom they need.
Sometimes they need firm reminders to get things done or to push themselves to be the best version of who God created them to be. The more I ask God to show me what my kids need, the more glimpses He gives me into their hearts.
And sometimes, when their decisions make me feel like I’m going over the edge, God reminds me that my kids need a mom who prays for and believes in the best of who they will become.
So when we are at a loss for what to do — whether it’s in parenting or a different area of life — asking God to be the God we need, not the God we want, is always wise. And this simple prayer I pray over my kids can transfer into any area of our lives: friendships, jobs, volunteer roles …
God, show me what this person needs from me today.
But may we also be prepared when God shows us what they need and it reflects those same things we need from God … grace, mercy, love, kindness and compassion.
Ultimately, when our view of God is based on need, not want, it will flow into all areas of our lives.
When we find ourselves asking the question What am I supposed to do?, we may not have an instant answer. But we can have a process with God — the God we can trust to see us through until the answer is clearer.
God, thank You for being the God we need. Help us redefine our wants in all areas of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (ESV)
Can you think of a time when you responded to what someone needed from you (grace, mercy, forgiveness, etc.)? In what areas of your life do you have needs? Journal your thoughts today and ask God to show you what you need most from Him. Then share with a friend what God is showing you, and share with us in the comments.
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