How many times have you thrown up your hands in frustration and cried, “I just don’t know what to do”? When our children are babies, we’re bewildered as to how to console them. During the toddler years, we can’t figure out how to keep up with them. As our little ones grow older, we have education questions, friendship dilemmas, and safety issues.
I don’t even want to talk about the teenage years and the sense of utter helplessness that often accompanies them. The questions never end. Even after our kids’ hormones settle down a bit, we still have matters such as college, marriage, and careers to worry about. I don’t think mothers ever stop worrying.
We worry because we know deep inside, somewhere down there where the motherly instinct resides, that our children’s lives are really out of our hands. We can’t hold them tightly enough, we can’t control their environment adequately, we can’t protect them sufficiently, and we can’t lecture them as long as necessary. When it comes right down to it, even giving our all to ensure a healthy, happy future just isn’t enough.
We recognize our limitations; we know we need help. So we spend hours on the phone with our friends seeking advice. We spend hundreds of dollars on the latest books promising the keys to success. We spend untold amounts of energy running around looking for help because we know that the answers we’re seeking are beyond ourselves. And, intuitively, we know they’re even beyond this world.
Sincere moms everywhere are looking to astrology, angel guides, enlightenment, the cosmos, meditation, and many more paths that promise to lead them to ultimate wisdom. They’re doing exactly what Wisdom instructs them to do. Wisdom says, “Those who seek me diligently will find me” (Proverbs 8:17 NKJV). But tragically, these moms are looking in the wrong places, so they aren’t finding the answers they so desperately need.
Then where in the world do we begin? There’s a clue—God created the world, and He created us. So He’s going to be the One who knows the answers to how to make our lives and the lives of our children work. God has the wisdom for which we’ve been searching. All we have to do is listen.
Now if Wisdom could talk, what would it say? No need to guess—there’s actually a recorded conversation:
I, wisdom, was with the LORD when he began his work, long before he made anything else. I was created in the very beginning, even before the world began. I was born before there were oceans, or springs overflowing with water, before the hills were there, before the mountains were put in place. God had not made the earth or fields, not even the first dust of the earth. I was there when God put the skies in place, when he stretched the horizon over the oceans, when he made the clouds above and put the deep underground springs in place. I was there when he ordered the sea not to go beyond the borders he had set. I was there when he laid the earth’s foundation. I was like a child by his side. I was delighted every day, enjoying his presence all the time, enjoying the whole world, and delighted with all its people.
Now, my children, listen to me, because those who follow my ways are happy. (PROVERBS 8:22–32 NCV)
It appears that going back to the beginning for our answers was even smarter than we thought. Not only is God, our Creator, there, but so is Wisdom! We’ve found what we’ve been looking for. What else does Wisdom have to say? A lot!
The book of Proverbs is so chock-full of Wisdom that it’s often referred to as the Book of Wisdom. Proverbs has been my favorite portion of Scripture since I was a little girl. I think the reason I love it is because it’s practical. One of my favorite definitions of wisdom is “supernatural truth lived out in a practical way.” That’s exactly what the book of Proverbs shows us.
Another reason I’m drawn to this book is because it’s written specifically for children, regardless of age. In the very first chapter it says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8). When I was a little girl, I understood that these practical words of wisdom were not only written from a parent to a child, but even more personally, they were written to me, a child of God, from my heavenly Father. Now that I have children of my own, I enjoy the added blessing of teaching my kids the practical lessons I’ve learned from my Father.
I wrote The Busy Mom’s Guide to Wisdom to bring the ageless wisdom of the book of Proverbs into the lives of today’s moms.
There’s a temptation to think that the Bible is a sacred but irrelevant book written for a generation long past. Too many thees and thous and prophets and genealogies to offer any application for our lives today. I’ll let the Bible itself respond to that accusation: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
We are tackling the same challenges the mothers in the Bible had to deal with thousands of years ago. The Word of God has quite a bit to say about discipline, obedience, marriages, finances, anger, fear, and everything else we face. As you’ll see, moms back then asked most of the same questions we do today. And the answer is still the same: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
The Busy Mom’s Guide to Wisdom contains fifty-two entries. With that in mind, you may want to read one entry per week, meditating on it for those seven days, while asking God to help you apply His timeless wisdom to your everyday circumstances. Or you may choose to read one a day, asking the Lord to search your heart and mold you into His image as you submit to the truth of His Word.
In true busy-mom fashion, I can also understand if you simply keep this book by your nightstand. Then, whenever you have just enough energy at the end of the day, you can pick it up and trust the sovereignty of the Lord to confirm something He’s already been speaking to you about in your spirit.
However you choose to take advantage of the wisdom within these pages, I have full confidence that you won’t be the same when you turn the last page. Sound cocky? Nah. I’m just repeating what God Himself says about His Word: “The same thing is true of the words I speak. They will not return to me empty. They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do” (Isaiah 55:11 NCV).
Each entry is based directly on God’s Word and focuses on an issue I have faced as a woman and a mom, and I assume you have too. Let’s look at the five elements of each entry.
For every topic, I’ve chosen a verse from the book of Proverbs. The first thing I do is paraphrase it, or put it into my own words. I sincerely hope you’re not offended by my doing this. I am in no way, shape, or form trying to rewrite the Holy Scriptures. That’s not my intention at all.
I’ve just found that when I look at a scripture and think about how it might sound if it were written in my time and in my vernacular, it helps me apply the timeless wisdom of God to my life today.
The next element is in response to the question, How can I practically live out this truth that I’ve learned from God’s Word? I’ve simply jotted down my own thoughts in relation to the passage in hopes that you might find some application from my personal insights.
For me, the quickest way to be changed by the revelation in God’s Word is to immediately pause and pray. I have every intention of making any adjustments the Holy Spirit reveals to me through the Scriptures, but I’ve failed in my own strength enough times to know that the real power to succeed comes only from the Lord. Thankfully, He tells us that all we have to do is ask and believe that He answers: “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22).
Now it’s your turn to ask. After my prayer I’ve included some lines where you can write your own personal prayer asking God to help you apply the wisdom in His Word to your life and circumstances. What a wonderful record this will be of the privilege we have of serving a God who hears and answers our prayers. Don’t forget to go back and jot a quick note of thanksgiving and praise. Then share the story of God’s faithfulness with your children and watch their faith grow!
God definitely works most powerfully from the inside out in answer to our prayers. But that doesn’t mean we should just sit back and do nothing. When God speaks to us, there’s always a necessary point of action, in addition to believing, that we need to take. The Bible says, when talking about a man who believed God, “He was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to do. His faith was made complete by what he did—by his actions” (James 2:22 NLT).
For each session, I’ve supplied you with some blank lines to write out a commitment that stems from what you learned from the proverb we’ve been sharing. Think about how God’s wisdom applies to your life—to the things you do every day, to the way you interact with the people in your life, and to how you handle your many responsibilities. You’ll notice that each line begins with, “Today I will . . .” I want you to think in concrete terms about something you can begin to put into practice on the very day you write it. That doesn’t mean you’ll bring the change to completion in one day, but what you write should be a practical step that you can begin to implement right away.
For example, when you read Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (NIV), you could write, “Today I will stop trying to figure out how to fix my own problems. Instead of allowing worry to dominate my thoughts, I will choose to praise God for His power and faithfulness and trust that He will intervene on my behalf.”
I’ve saved the best for last—the pure Word of God, untainted by my personal paraphrase, point of view, or prayer, appears at the end of each entry. May I recommend that you write each proverb on a piece of paper, sticky note, or index card and refer to it throughout the week or day? You won’t even have to make a conscious effort to memorize the scripture. By simply repeating the verse over and over again, saying it aloud as much as possible for additional power, you’ll suddenly discover that you’ve successfully hidden God’s Word in your heart. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (NIV).
Wow! Are you as excited as I am about the change God is going to bring about in our hearts and lives and, subsequently, our families? By simply applying His timeless wisdom to our practical needs, we can see heaven meet earth, super join natural, and the Word come to life.
If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.
JAMES 1:5 NLT
If you’re careful to
DISCIPLINE your children
when they’re young, then
you won’t have to worry about
them so much as they get older.
PROVERBS 22:6, PARAPHRASED
It’s tempting to let toddlers and preschoolers get away with misbehavior because they’re just so stinkin’ cute. Unfortunately, that same behavior is not so adorable in an adolescent. It’s much easier to shape and mold a young child than it is to try to retrain a teenager. Keep the long-term goal in sight, and make the investment of parenting your child right from the start. You’ll enjoy the benefits for life. And they will enjoy the benefits of eternal life.
Dear Lord, thank You for the privilege of parenting. Strengthen me to be firm when it is the best way to demonstrate my love. Show me how to teach my children about You and Your ways, and keep my children close to You all the days of their lives.
Train up a child in the WAY he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.