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September 7, 2022 6:00 am
Ashley Willis aims to encourage moms to hold tight to the peace of God through every moment of parenting. She introduces four “peace pirates” that steal joy and how to effectively combat them. (Part 2 of 2)
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Today on Focus on the Family will explore how to find God's peace when you're struggling to find joy in mother. I think we have to take an assessment of what excitations do we have for our children and also what expectations are we allowing to be placed on and this is where that definition that real definition of God's peace alum comes in because I think sometimes we allow ourselves to be ruled by expectations great thoughts from her guest today, Ashley Willis and her hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly for joining us on John John. I'm so glad we continuing the conversation with Ashley. We covered some important topics yesterday about motherhood. I love the idea of peace Pirates that we talked about. Ashley explained that these pirates represent things in your life that can easily steal joy from you specifically in parenting and one of the biggest peace Pirates that I think all parents who struggled with his control. So often we want to manage your kids behavior on Jean. I did this, we were guilty of it to every parent has had that moment in the grocery store there kid just won't stop crying and you feel so embarrassed. What what can I do to get out of this and yeah and there's nothing wrong with wanting good behavior, but we really want their hearts to want to be good. That's the journey right we don't want our kids to have surface level character.
We want to go deep and that's what's got to take him forward into adulthood and be successful. Another piece pirate recovered yesterday was expectations. Why were hitting all the big ones. Every parent has expectations for their children but also for themselves. Pretty high standards and they can so easily become unhealthy expectations. We can't let those expectations rule over us that we need to have them, but we also need to evaluate what's controlling us. It can so easily steal the joy and peace that God is giving us and our guest today is going to help us rediscover the joy that we often lose sight of what we've got Ashley Willis again and she can help us understand how we can find God's peace in parenting. Ashley is an author and mom to four boys. We can tell you more about Ashley and her book peace Pirates when you call 800 K in the word family. That's 800-232-6459 or check the program notes for more and Jim, here's how you began the conversation with Ashley on focus on something annexing this you know typically when we have moms were in interviewing bones.
Women have such a capacity to put the guilt on themselves. You know I didn't do enough.
I'm the shortfall here.
It's my fault.
Whatever men I think our egos block that light adds the other guys problem right. It's the person that women just to have this capacity so you know what I need to own up to talk to that because to a degree that can be really healthy in the Christian walk that seems very laudable, but when it goes to extreme becomes unhealthy subtype help women understand that balance of taking on the guilt trip and I can relate to this semi-chatty talk a lot about this and that, because we really need to pay attention to the what were believing like our own self talk and I know for me personally. I had a lot of years where I just had negative self talk. I love the enemy to really get a foothold and convince me that was completely missing this on letterhead saying and and and maybe even in the beginning I didn't believe just I didn't have like the proper mother head instincts and so therefore I wasn't in a really be that great of a mom and I just kinda sloughing along here just trying to get us out even reading everybody to get my hands on and on and I think I would see to the Monte constantly feels like she's missing it. I would challenge her to really every day. Think of one thing she got rights and that's not necessarily a note to be conceited or anything like that but just to look for the positive because we do have to really be careful as really looking at ourselves and sang and myself assessing myself condemning is there such a difference there.
And it's good to self assess. It's good to go to the Lord and say Lord you know where my doing well need to continue and where the blind spot is we all happen were human beings working to improve his mom. But if you're constantly believing lies and hearing yourself. Can it be yourself that saying when you miss that again or I guess you let them play games to match a they're not on the certain reading level or you know what it's because of you that he's not potty training.
When everyone else is punishing or whatever it is we do really take that time and if that's what were doing it constantly just in integrating ourselves. That's not dead start flipping it around and thinking about you know where can we improve but also what are we doing right because I guarantee you every single one of us has at least one thing were doing right.
Maybe it's bringing laughter to the family.
Maybe it's that you're great at keeping the house organized. Maybe you know something that trains run keep our boys noticed this and then they they were staying somewhere else where it was, is and organized in a sense they like mom you do some ice to keep our house organized. Thank you and I just meant the world to me. I thought law. I guess that is a waste of time.
I guess that does help our family kinda cute versus recognize that we all have those things that we do need it to think of the things not even city spouses listening, especially husbands coming to life and what she's doing right. I can't underestimate that like it's just it means the world when you point out the word that mom like it means the world and in the same way why she did the same for their husbands. That's so true that's a good way to go. I want to little emphasis on mom's in control, and partly because I saw this firsthand with my wonderful wife Jean.
I mean having two boys. It was one of things that as they became teenagers became a battle there trying to kind of expand their wings and she's trying to keep them, him bendable bit and we have no discussions about that may be time we need to back up a little bit into her credit, she really did like go in the proper way but it changed everything changed her relationship with her boys changed her relationship with me, and most importantly, it brought her more peace, more shalom, and I could see it, yes. So speak to that mom that is still in that battle and what Jean would say is I just wish I would've understood that earlier. I echo what she said because I we always see him as I was teasing say we are such different parents with our fourth as opposed to our firm because we don't let the little things bother us as much and we do give a little more you know, with the first I thought I was. So just try to keep a tight ship and and feeling like I'm failing miserably to them on his he feels you know, just like things are you there with this teenager specifically nominating this can happen earlier especially their strong-willed child and ran several of those and they they really just genetic. They have such a strong mind really sees things a certain way and leadership qualities because it's not all battening people, you know it's hard raising strong Melchizedek and serve them well in life but I think it's really giving them choices when when you can give them choices really helps go a long way. I think you remembering to choose your battles.
I mean, my goodness, how many times I've had to learn that the hard way. Is this really worth the fight because if it does this have to do with life altering things or is this just details because it is just details. It's not an alter their life.
Maybe it's not worth you know as all losing sleep over it. Having arguments that's really helping the teenager member. I would say mountain or molehill help trigger little different than you actually know. I'm sorry just put all of your mommy failure in the book but you talk about this potato chip out that an incident in your card is that one that was funny in this control orientation again. I didn't set myself up necessarily a dear friend of mine Lana.
She was visiting town and she was something some of the kids. I think Dave is out of town on business and I was like, let's take all four kids and at the time I want to say. My youngest was probably one-year-old you know and he's just a baby and my oldest was maybe an early middle school just to get kind of a frame of reference for all happen in the minivan. I got my snacks together, including chips okay and I like let's go two hours to Stone Mountain, Georgia, which is this really cool state park where you get to see some really cool things. There's music part so making our way there. I didn't have enough gas had to stop and of course as we go along, and we did not have one of the stanza has movies in it. Okay, so I'm also like to be just right and down as he goes along. The kids are just getting more and more disgruntled and we had had a couple stops of her bathroom and bottles and all this different kind of thing and it just aggressively was getting worse and worse and I remember at one point there was this bag of chips and I should have known I should just put it in little like Ziploc bags. Individual site is 20 and I had a bag of like to read as and they were all kinda shifting the chips around, but I'd made this comments that you know you only got chips if you were behaving in meeting certain criteria toward chip reward right now. These yes tokens usually work. This did necessarily work so there was one point where 1/3 child and I think was probably three at the time really one of the steps that he hadn't done whatever it was that I said the kids had to do and so our oldest Cooper starts pulling at the chips and he's like noting that he can have any work you are doing mom on said in my firstborn. I now I know he's like that's not what you said mommy said you what were just trying to get here.
Just try to get working out mom mom did say that he is a lot younger than you will begin the chips and he's like no you sat holding to these rules and you said and I was like mom you are not holding tight to my friends and literally by the end I like give him the chance. Like, and I think I was growling or something like they said it was crazy.
Anyway, I have lots of these. I called them mom stirred you get the monster monster, but a mom that I think given the chips like loudly and very likely some angst on it and he gives it over to them and he's like oh my gosh we all got a pause for a moment.
I think we finally got to the park in that moment. And all of a sudden, like were all looking around and they all said, I think one of them goes.
That was so funny.
Mom said give him the check anyway. Being able again to laugh about it.
I apologize for losing my temper but I also had a good lesson about that. You know, Cooper. I'm glad you wanted to keep the standard, but sometimes you know mom's death have to adjust based on different scenarios and things so it was a learning thing for all of the firstborn little flexibility will relate to. First John 418 versus there's no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. This should speak to a mom's heart dies and I love this talk a lot about fear in the back because I do think a lot of our decisions as mothers or even the feelings of failure or even trying to control her having X excessive expectations. It comes back to this deep-seated fear that were missing at that were not going to do right by her kids and that there can eventually not lead the life that they could have led because of us and and what I found Canada and in just the research I did for this book and also my own journey as a mother is that we really can't lead and can't hear it from a place of fear and it goes back to this verse how there's no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, meaning that when we leave from a place of love. That fear dissipates. And that's really leaning on the Lord because he only trust him again it goes back to trusting the Lord, knowing he loves these kids even more than we do, and he sees the bigger picture. He's not just saying this one day we feel like were missing.
It he sees it all and that we can really really leaning the love and really cast their side, because fear is something where it's not always bad, necessarily warn us against things and that so that's a good thing that when we are constantly in that place of fear we let fear kinda set up in a home in our hearts, that is, speak, then there's not room for that last incident were not to be as nice to our kids were going to constantly be snapping at them because we are afraid that that were not teaching them) and Berra says things are going to go in a wildly wrong, down the road course actually is also leading to anxiety. Oh sure there's there is an epidemic of anxiety, especially among mothers. I and myself. That's a part of my testimony and a lot of that you know that I experienced was in the parenting years of just this deep-seated anxieties of a failing miserably and I think a lot of it comes from the weight we feel as being a mother of knowing that this is a gift that we don't want to take it for granted and that's a good thing we do need to know like God gave us these kids, it's a big role that were selling but I think only allow that to just rule in our hearts where love is supposed to roll them were missing were missing the joy that Senate eight.
I'm reminded of this by Mary. I love Mary story and carrying Jesus and she is carrying the Savior of the world and talk about having anxiety or having missing you don't mess about Mary it out and doing it and then having to do a lot of going through a lot of hardship in her journey and I'm reminded us because I think about you and after she delivered Jesus, you know, having no place to deliver him except around the animals. The first visitors you know are shepherds, people shut even now in the probably stinky ending on the person. He's very have a strong sense of smell, and I think about the animal cells and like the shepherds and all the staff and here she's trying to give birth in really not ideal, and I think about all the things that she could be anxious about. She could be worrying about germs. She can be worrying about the future.
Whatever it is you know it not going perfectly because she's carrying Jesus but it says that you know Mary treasured up all these things that she looked at all this she treasured up all these things in her heart and she pondered them often and she actually in the Bible. She's recorded in doing this twice. The second time she does this is after they lost Jesus for three days and then find him among the scribes and it says that she looks at her son. Learning unit probably her first glimpse of his ministry and become the man that is a man he's becoming. And it says she treasured up all these things in her heart and pondered them offense of two very stressful moments and I just I look at that as a mother, and I think we can really really learned a lot from Mary because she must've understood God's peace. She understood that yes, there's chaos in this life.
Yes, there's imperfections in this life that really when we surrender it all to God we trust that God is really still in control and he has you know are our best in his heart he wants good things for us and he doesn't waste our pain that we can have is peace that we know we are in good hands and we can treasured up. I love that term treasured up because that's what we need to do. You know, even in our failures, we can laugh about it and we can look back and be like me and that was that was a really tense moment treasured for the little little lenses of our kids becoming the person you know that God is created and to be just treasuring up those moments is so important. Actually, one of things it must be the journey. The voyage of the peace Pirates changes a little bit with age so when you were the preschool mom that had to be a little different from the teen mom so described that as a mom of preschoolers were some of those peace Pirates were they look like.
Oh my goodness it is so different because you're facing different trials and issues and you as a mom of toddlers. I think that a lot of peace Pirates come down to just being exhausted, just exhausted. And this is where I do see Margaret money martyred and come in a lot because it just requires they require so much of our time right just takes all the time with her into bed you did just need some sleep and you like. I don't even know what day it is walking around and you have something nasty on her shoulder from feeding and he didn't even know like range is specially bred when Europe's grocery store that happens what is too many times and you have no idea. You like to see that they just kindly tell me here's a little different.
I think for me personally I really struggled with excessive expectations, like just not that first team not knowing what is this supposed to look like you know I and every every child is so different but just really trying to get down to what it is, what are healthy expectations both for my child and for myself.
I think I think some of those become deeper issues with teens offer circle: you are trying to protect and do all the things spyware whatever might be right, trying to be the perfect parent right and it's harder and harder. I think to be that protective parent. We need to do it right. Inevitably, I think you can lose some of those bottles and then it's how do you repair the damage that's done in love and make sure there they know that you love them even though they may have failed, which is so critical that absolutely is critical. You know, I think it was James Dobson who said rules without relationship equal rebellion in that that is something that I've held onto because I don't want my kids to rebel against me and an even more so, I would have a good relationship with them and so I had to remind myself of this a lot as a parent, especially with teens be there to lovingly guide them along this because we all make mistakes. So true. You urge moms to follow the advice in Philippians 4.
What's good about this discussion I think is applying it going the Scripture to to a mom's role yet. How does the house for a yes I love that verse because it talks about what we should focus on. You know we talked earlier about what we allow to kind of set up shop in our mindset is think allies were believing the trees were believing and so is story just to remind others listeners it says to focus on what's true, noble, right, pure and lovely. And you know I placed this in the bud to this being gold.
It's gold that is from God that can fill our heart and mind and also pass it on to others and I think the more that we allow you to allow God to remind us of these things and and fill our mind with these things are worthy of praise with with the good moments of motherhood, then we are more likely to really have that outpouring into our kids into our spouse because were not just full of fear were not just the live condemnation. You know that we bring on herself and so we do need to look for those golden nuggets you know and I and that's kind of what I call it and I know again it's another private reference that there is so much: I think you do for me. If there's something I've learned along the way, is that I just I need to remind myself constantly to look for it and eat it with teenagers especially.
There's been a lot of times where it is, it can be really tense because you're like me and you know in a year, you're going to be in college urge her to be in your own job and I want to make sure you understand this thing that I think that we can focus on well what is something they've been doing really right, like where do I see the gold with this kid when you call it out. It's so good for your mom heart and figured out heart, but it's also really good for the kid, but I don't know who said this that I felt held on this for many years but praised behavior is repeated behavior and and that's coming that goes for adults to do that with children, especially when we can point out those golden moments and say manlike with Connor after the story earlier about him praising his friend and being excited for his friend getting an award even though he himself really didn't get a true award release that he was expecting. I committed and I said you know what kind this is a golden moment because you were such a nice friend and you had joy enjoying the accolades of others and I just like that such shows your character and that's a wonderful godly trait and and he saw that he continues to do that and so as parents we do have to look for enemies really wading through a lot like wading through a lot of find the gold bug yes yes you know right at the end. I want to have you express a story that really hard heartbreaking story about a group from years lost her young daughter center to your battle with cancer. What sounds even awkward to say that this would work to that awful situation teach you man and I'll share briefly the story so she my friend Katie and her young daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer and they did everything that every parent would do.
Getting the best medical health and many surgeries and by the time she was four years old, the doctors came to her and they said I am so sorry that we've done everything we can do in this tumor keeps on growing and assembly can either try some other treatments that may actually debilitate her further. Or you can go home and just let her daughter and and just enjoy the leaders it's it's a horrible choice for a parent to have to make the Katie and her husband Billy in that moment, they looked at each other. They pray there very strong Christian people and they said we felt like we need to go home. You know, we spent all this time at the hospital at the Ronald McDonald house and down you know where they house people who are unit their children are going to treatments and it is semi-complete and total chaos going completely out of control and gesture heartbreaking every day.
So they went home and in that time of going home. Etienne and her husband felt this burden to prepare their daughter for heaven and it was just it it's hard for me not to get choked up sharing this. And so Kadian would often talk about heaven and her her daughter Bennett is her name would ask her questions and she table mom, do you think of the dogs in heaven.
You know when the Angels liken he does she ask all these questions and Kadian would just graciously talk to her about it not. She didn't want her to fear rising away and there was one day where Bennett was talking to her mom and she said mom, do you think when I go to heaven and I can send you flowers from Ann and Katie and Pentecost from him and I'm sure holding back tears and she said absolutely that there's gonna be so many flowers in heaven flowers you've never even seen, and I would love for you to send me some and that she kinda found that back to memory really hard sweet hard and sweet moment. All the same time will tragically about two months after they took Bennett home she did pass away peacefully and Kadian did say she says peacefully.
She talked about this in her caring bridge account she so beautifully wrote that it did make sense. It's that peace that goes beyond our understanding talks about and she said you know they're never going to be the same. You can never fill that void of losing a child, and she said that it it was just this unexplainable peace of knowing that she's not in pain anymore. There's no surgeries.
There's no wires up to her anymore. She's the Jesus one day will see her again. Well about two months later, Katie and her husband decided that they probably should move from the home where she passed away wishes to have you and so they were rolling up the rug and just preparing to move and as they wrote of this right in the very middle like of where the middle of the rug would be on the back of that there is something stuck there and they go to pick it up and it turned out it was a puzzle piece and Kadian said that was very weird because they hate puzzles like nobody in the family like puzzles and she's like this end up in the middle of this ride would really like puzzles and has was like yeah that's weird she turned it over and she said when she turned over that puzzle piece. Literally, she almost fell down and she's got cold chills all over her body, because on that puzzle piece was one single flower.
She said for her. It was what she referred to is like a God wink of just him saying I see you. Here's your flower from heaven and you know you can take that a lot of different ways every Kadian. She held onto that puzzle piece because she said how fitting that that flower was on a puzzle piece because when you're in the midst of something like watching your child battle cancer and pass away. It's a bunch of puzzle pieces that don't fit.
It doesn't make sense. It's not something we can ever understand this side of heaven, but we do know that that when when we trust God with the pieces of our life, the pieces don't make sense. That is actually where we find this piece and so I was just so challenged by my friend. Choosing to look for Peter to look for God's peace to to look for little God wink's in her life. That could say that from God. Just kinda reminding her.
Hey, you can still have my piece.
Even after this tragic loss.
It just showed me man.
If she can find peace. I can find it so powerful is what Jesus was saying, guess what everybody it's not about this life exactly about what's going to come. I think we struggle the human understanding that you know that's what the Lord is here to unfold for us something bigger something better than what a beautiful story. What awaited him this I think actually you have hit it out of the park. It is so wonderful and what you've experienced in your walk with the Lord is just so illustrative and helpful to all of us parents, thank you for this great book peace pirates don't what the Pirates steal your peace and I think everybody should want a copy of this that we could even cover all the continent here and I hope you'll get in touch with us and get a copy of this book.
If you make a gift focus for any amount will send it to you if you can afford it. Were going to trust others will cover the so just call us and we'll get this into your hands is one of those resources. I think every parent, every mom should have.
And as you can make monthly pledge to Focus on the Family will send this book to you.
We have a website full of great resources for you and if you're facing something really that we haven't covered today, but you need some help with give us a call. I would just phone call where numbers 800 K on the word family details about the book how you can donate and other health is all captured there in the episode notes. One of those tools that we have is a free parenting assessment. It is a great little investment of your time. Take five or six minutes and tell you good results that show, your strengths are, is a mom or dad. And maybe an area or two needing some attention and will follow-up with additional parenting assessment on our website. Ashley, thank you so much for that.
He also mentions trailing a pleasure next time Nancy Boren offers a very transparent message on how to be a husband who nurtures his wife, but all you know like I you will have a Jim Daly of the entire team. Thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back once more help you and your family thrive.
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