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Entries in Cry out to God (2)


3 Steps to Joy for Young Mothers

Kate Hagen's desire to help mothers is an outgrowth of her counseling ministry; but more than that, she loves young moms and feels compassion for their struggles. In this Personal Care UPGRADE, she suggests three ways young mothers can include more joy in their lives.

Kate says, "I wish I could go back and tell myself these three things." 

Oh, Kate got me (Dawn) there! So many things I'd tell my younger self, now that I'm seeing life from a more seasoned point of view!

Kate continues . . . 

Yesterday I was reading a journal from my early years of motherhood. As I read my old entries, I was heavy hearted as I remembered all the guilt and desperation I felt—always wishing I was doing better.  

I want to go back to that Kate and give her a hug.

I want to tell her:

  1. Enjoy your kids more!
  2. Release guilt about not feeling connected to God.
  3. You're doing the best you can right now! And it's enough.

If Kate from 10 years ago could spare 15 minutes, I would expound by telling her about these three steps to joy. 

But I would make it quick, because there would be a child to run after at any minute!

1. Enjoy your kids!


Look for God's image in them. When you see them in the morning, and you're a Zombie monster due to a terrible night's sleep, look into their big eyes and think, "You are made in the image of God."

I promise, it will help! God’s loving image is there, even when they won't let you go to the bathroom by yourself.

One of the best mom verses is I Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins."

Yes, my kid's sins (shortcomings) are covered as I love them, and SEE God's love in them.

Be your kid’s biggest cheerleader.

I remember deciding I wanted to be seen by my kids as a cheerleader more than a police. It was a life-changing decision that positively affected my relationship with my kids immensely.

As much as possible, be slow to anger and slow to speak, and instead be quick to listen and quick to forgive.

 These contrasting ideas will really help you enjoy your kids more. It’s a guarantee.

Have these be your rules: less talk; more listening. Don't worry if you break them. You will. But, have them be your standard. (God does.)

2. Release guilt about not feeling connected to God.  

I spent so much time and ink feeling bad about not being close to God.

It's good to cry out to God. It's very Psalmist!

But I think I often missed the joy God was trying to give me by longing for it to come the way it used to. Before kids. 

I wanted the old, deep, spiritual connection I had when I was 20 and had all the time in the world to spend in meditation. This was NOT possible during this season. 

Letting this expectation go, and enjoying the ways God WAS showing up, might have brought me a lot more joy. Looking for things to be grateful for, writing them down and speaking them aloud could have changed my joy-level greatly!  

Some of the ways God was showing up for me when my three kids were constantly needing me—and I had no time to meditate: 

  • In my baby's laughter
  • In chunky thighs (If God's not there, I don't know where God is!)
  • In sweaty hands grabbing for mine
  • In baby arms gripping the back of my neck

3. You’re doing the best you can right now. And it’s enough. 

"I'm not being the best mom/wife/friend I want to be."

That's true! Let that be true. And let that be okay.

It's really just an ego-centered thought. It's focused on you, not the other person. Feeling guilty that you're not enough isn't helping anyone! It's not a Jesus thought.

Let it come—it's ok that it's there—and then let it go.  

You're not being the best mom in the world. True! But, treat yourself the way God does. Be gracious with yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect.  

I'd like to go back to that old Kate, give her a hug and tell her what a good job she's doing. Remind her to constantly be looking for ways to enjoy her kids. Encourage her to treat herself the way God treats her... full of compassion, mercy and love.  

What would you go back and tell yourself?

Kate Hagen spends most of her time teaching, knowing and loving her three kids in their beach community of Leucadia, CA. She has a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling and has written, spoken and counseled women about mothering, body image and health. She runs a small essential oil business from her home, and usually smells pretty good. At her website you can read her journey of grieving and laughing as her mom passed of cancer, as well as her thoughts on the Bible and body image. 

Graphic adapted, courtesy of svklimkin at Morguefile.


7 Times We Most Need to Cry Out to God

In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson urges us to CRY OUT to the Lord. But why?

"We think we don't need God... until we DO!" Dawn says. "Oh, we may not say we don't need Him, but we certainly act like it."

Is that true of you? Come on, be honest.

Dawn continues . . .

I remember how people flocked to their houses of worship shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, afraid and confused, so many Americans realized they needed answers and protection "from above." All over the nation, God's children cried out to the Lord.

And God answered from heaven as His people came clean with Him and sought Him. "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears" (Psalm 34:17). There seemed to be a fresh sweep from heaven as hearts were more sensitive to His Word.

But then after a while, life got back to "normal," didn't it?

We forgot how much we need God. And so many stopped crying out to Him for protection, for help, for anything more than a simple "give us this day our daily bread."

As I'm preparing my heart for the OneCry! simulcast, part of the True Woman 2016 National Women's Conference, I'm considering this whole issue of "crying out." There are many scriptures to direct my thoughts.

How would you answer this question: When do we most need to cry out to the Lord?

Here's what I believe:

1. We need to cry out when we realize we've wandered.

I sense this need when I sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"—"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love".

We wandering sheep so need our Shepherd. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, sacrificed his life for us (John 10:11) and rescued us from spiritual death. But we are so prone to wander away from His loving care.

We wander away into darkness, wickedness, habits and addictions that injure us—body and soul.

We need to run back to the Shepherd's care and cry out to Him: "Bind my wandering heart to Thee."

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).

2. We need to cry out when we're frustrated by our sin.

Have you ever resolved to live for Jesus, and then found yourself in some pit you created by sinful choices?

The battle is real. We struggle against not only our own flesh—the war within (Romans 7:14-25), but also against spiritual forces of evil that come against us (Ephesians 6:11-13).

We need to cry out to the Lord when we struggle and say with Paul: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" (Romans 7:15). Our deliverance is in Christ (Romans 7:24-25).

3. We need to cry out when we understand we are helpless.

Jesus said, "...apart from me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5b).

We are helpless, even when we think we are strong or invincible.

Because we are helpless, we cry out when we are in trouble (Psalm 34:6) and our heart is faint (Psalm 61:2). Jesus understand our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), and the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26-27).

4. We need to cry out when we're distressed over life's circumstances.

No matter our situation, no matter our struggle, the Lord desires to be our Refuge.

In Psalm 18, David dealt with his distress in the midst of his enemies by running to the place of protection and rest in God, his rock and fortress.

"In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help," he said (v. 6a). David knew God would be a "shield for all those who take refuge in Him" (v. 30b).

We cry out to God because "...who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?" (v. 31)

Like David, we will discover God can relieve us in our distress, but we must cry out for Him to be gracious and hear our prayer for help (Psalm 4:1).

5. We need to cry out when we need clear answers.

As I write this, so many have told me how they are struggling with how to vote in the coming elections. It's as if we've forgotten God is in control; we've pushed Him to the sidelines and not taken His thoughts into account. This is a huge mistake.

We can spread out ALL our concerns to the Lord, asking Him to give direction. We need His wisdom for family concerns, financial concerns, spiritual concerns, concerns for our nation, etc.

We must not trust our "own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5-6). We must seek and trust the Lord.

"If any of you lacks wisdom," James wrote, "let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him" (James 1:5).

6. We need to cry out when we sense it's "all about me."

Did you notice all the "I" words? This morning the Lord is speaking to me about this.

So many of my prayers are about me, myself and I. And that's sad.

We are not ONLY to cry out before the throne for ourselves (Hebrews 4:16).

We are also urged in scripture to cry out for "all people, for kings and all who are in high positions" (1 Timothy 2:1-2), for God's servants who seek to spread the gospel (Matthew 9:38; Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1), for fellow Christ-followers (Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:9; James 5:16), and even our persecuters—those who attack and oppose us (Matthew 5:44).

How often do I cry out on behalf of others... relatives, friends, churches, neighbors, the poor and needy, prisoners and those in all sorts of "bondage," the Persecuted Church, our corrupt and increasingly godless nation?

God, have mercy.

7. We need to cry out because it can lead us to glorify God.

There is a sense that God desires His people to cry out, and then stand back and watch Him work. And then we have the blessing of praise—the privilege of honoring Him.

God spoke to His people in Psalm 50:15: " upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."

Oh that we would honor God and rejoice in Him. In fact, my biggest heart cry is for revival: "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" (Psalm 85:6)

There are no doubt many other reasons we need to cry out to God, but these are a good place to start: in humility, understanding our great need, and desiring to please and honor Him.

Which of these thoughts encourages you to "cry out" to the Lord today?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), andUpgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Heartsand a writer at She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.