3 Secrets to Finding Joy with Toddlers

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. (Psalm 5:11)

Being a mom is a tough job. Sometimes it goes without any reward. Daily we face the burdens of our family. We make sure everything is in order in our homes. We sacrifice a lot. And often we can be left feeling drained and sucked dry of joy. But in God’s Word we are reminded that we can daily find joy in Jesus. Motherhood and the demands that are there on a daily basis do not need to drain the well of joy that is contained in our hearts. We can go back to God’s Word and get filled up all day long. Let’s take a look at 3 verses and see how we can find joy in motherhood.

1. Maximize your Moments. Minimize your distractions.

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

I don’t know about you but I find that joy is easily zapped from me when I become distracted by everything around me. I need to slow down at times and just appreciate the moment that God has given me with my boys. Like today, I stopped to notice my son (3 years old) go to the snack table at our Bible study and load up his plate with goodies. I was so impressed by his manners and his ability to do it all by himself. It was a sweet moment that I was able to just sit back and enjoy.

2. Keep Life in Perspective

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

I need to constantly remind myself that “nothing bad lasts forever”. There are some tough moments in the toddler stages. I have to remind myself that if I hang in there and teach my sons through these times that there will be a reward on the other side. It won’t always be like this. One day I will have more time on my hands than I know what to do with. For now, I need to remember that these precious moments with my sons are a gift and I will only be entrusted with so many of them.

3. Develop a Pattern of Grace

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)

I don’t know about you but I really need to work on showing myself grace. There has never been a perfect mom and there never will be. Even the mother of Jesus was not perfect. When I strive for perfection, I fail and I often beat myself up over it. I need to strive to become more Christlike, teaching my children a pattern of grace when I fall. I need to teach them that only God is perfect! As I teach them this, I help them develop a pattern of grace as well.

If you need more encouragement and some help finding joy in motherhood, my new book Make Your Moments Count would be great for you. Twenty moms and myself share the top lessons we want our children to learn before leaving home. It’s all about treasuring this time we have with our children and teaching them how to soar in the Lord.

Dear Father God, Please help me find joy in motherhood. May I not look for these days to pass too quickly but may I enjoy them to the fullest. Please continue to equip me and teach me what it means to be a great mom to my boys. And please give me wisdom on how best to equip them to follow You!

Finding Joy in Motherhood,

10 Verses Every Toddler Can Memorize

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11, ESV)

One thing that is extremely important to me is teaching my sons to memorize Scripture. At 18 months old my son Zion could say 2 Timothy 1:7 in sign language. I remember one night when I came to get him because he was crying. We had rehearsed this verse over and over again but I wasn’t sure if it was taking root. Well, as I rocked with him in the rocking chair and expressed he did not have to be afraid. He signed this verse and my heart swelled with joy. This is the greatest thing we can give our children. God says that His Word doesn’t return void so every time we take the time to plant it in our children’s hearts we will eventually see growth from it. That’s a promise from God!

So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; it will not return to Me void (useless, without result), without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11, AMP)

There you have it! God has promised us that His Word will produce results in our children. It will not come back void. This is why I have developed a list of 10 verses that every toddler can memorize. We just need to take the time to teach them. They are sponges and they will learn whatever they are taught, why not make that Scripture memorization?

10 Verses Every Toddler Can Memorize

These are taken from the ESV…

  1. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)
  2. Rejoice always. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
  3. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and of love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  4. …for he who is in you is greater than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
  5. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
  6. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
  7. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
  8. For nothing will be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)
  9. So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  10. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Please feel free to print these off and use them in your home.

Lord, please give us strength to teach our children what really matters. Please give us the wisdom to train them and raise them to follow You! May Your Word become a light unto their feet and ever be a lamp unto their path (Psalm 119:105). 

Focusing on what Matters,

Sometimes Moms Need a Break

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

Sometimes moms just need a break! Have you ever been there? That place where you are sure you are going to fall apart. The place where you are barely holding it together. The place where you are responding in a tone your not proud of. I’ve been there! I’ve been in that place where I feel done. I need a break! I’ve learned a few things about this.

  1. Often when I get to this point it’s because I have not given myself adequate time to rest. There’s a list of things that I want to get done and just can’t. There are projects scattered all around my house. Toys in every direction. I need to let go of all of this and take the time to rest. Rest is what my heart and body need. Tonight, instead of getting some work done, why don’t you treat yourself to something. You got through a whole day with the kids. You accomplished more than you will ever know, so tonight you deserve a treat. Pick one from my list and use it to celebrate your sweet accomplishments today.
    • Eat your favorite chocolate
    • Watch a movie
    • Watch a tv show
    • Make a phone call
    • Read a good book
    • Take a bubble bath
    • Take a hot shower with no interruptions
    • Drink a hot cup of tea
    • Have your favorite ice cream
    • Go to bed early
    • Spend some time outside
    • Put on some music and relax
    • Draw
    • Write
    • Pinterest
    • Play a game
    • Do a craft project
  2. Show yourself grace. You are only human after all!
  3. Another thing I see when I have gotten to this place is a lack of putting my trust in the Lord. I have to run back to Scripture and glean from God’s wisdom.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, AMPC)

For some encouragement in the journey of motherhood, buy my ebook Make Your Moments Count. It is sure to uplift your spirits and remind you what’s most important with your children.

Dear Father God, when the demands of motherhood leave me breathless and anxious may I run to You. May I find safety in Your arms. Please hold me tight and guide me through this maze as I try to teach my children what it means to truly follow You! 

Taking a Break in the Lord,

Top 5 Verses to Encourage Moms

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears it down. (Proverbs 14:1)

I think the best way to ensure that we are building our homes and not tearing them down is keeping our minds on Christ. It is so important to memorize God’s Word so that when the mommy failures come (and trust me there will be many, I can testify of this!) we are equipped to handle them. God can quickly draw us back to His Word and use it to breathe new life into us.

Motherhood is tough. There is nothing easy about it. The enemy is constantly on alert looking for the mom who is struggling and ready to attack her. May these 5 verses be a go to for you the next time the enemy tries to attack!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Today is a new day mom. Stop focusing on the mistakes of yesterday or where you went wrong. Focus in on God’s faithfulness and His mercy. He’s got something good in store for you today!

“Therefore, my dear brothers stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Every minute you put into your children is not in vain. Every prayer you pray is heard. Every tear you cry is caught by God’s loving hands. None of this is in vain! God has a purpose through it all.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

A harvest is coming. That’s a sure thing. Don’t give up. God is doing a good work in your children and He will be faithful to complete it.

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)

Don’t forget to laugh mom! You are clothed with strength and dignity in the Lord. Trust Him, He’s got this and He has you through it!

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2)

We must set our minds on what matters most. There is an eternal work being done in your home as you raise disciples to follow Christ. God has equipped you to be everything you need to be for your children. He wants to use you to help them understand His heart for them!

Dear Father God, Motherhood is definitely one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I’m thankful every day for the guidance You give me in Your Word. Please help me to stand strong against my enemy and to declare that You are faithful today as I walk through the mess that can be inevitable with motherhood!  

Please make me more like You so my children see Jesus in me,

You’re Not Just a Mom

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Ever have those days where you feel like you’re just a mom! I want to remind you that you are so much more than that. Here’s just a short list to remind you that you are much more than just a mom.

You’re the Queen of your daughter’s castle.
You’re the First Love of your prince charming’s heart.
You’re the Gourmet Chef to fill their empty tummies.
You’re the Teacher with the lessons of life.
You’re the Author of the daily pages written in your child’s heart.
You’re the Cheerleader of your children’s talents.
You’re the Nurse for their wounds.
You’re the Encourager of their dreams.
You’re the Umpire calling the games of life.
You’re the Referee calling the fouls on the field.
You’re the Lover of their hearts.
You’re the Party Planner for all their fun moments.
You’re the Coach calling out the strengths in your child.
You’re the Housekeeper bringing order to your home.
You’re the Lifeguard at bath time and pool time.
You’re the Counselor guiding them through life.
You’re the Shepherd leading them to Christ.

You’re more than just a mom,