People tell me my children are good. But those are the people sitting in front of us at church. I know how many times they have gotten up or acted up.

But I don’t want to be raising my children to look good. I want to raise them to want to be good.

I know how little good it will do in the long run if they are “sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside.”

As a fellow mommy of little people shared with me:

I think as they get older, it moves from training spankings into heart training and that is where it gets tricky. Heart work is so much harder than just spanking and takes so much more time. And it takes some serious re-organizing of a day.

They have—and are acquiring—the head knowledge. But it’s obviously not stuck permanently in their hearts yet. Because it’s not always coming out.

Which is not a problem exclusive to two-and-a-half-year-olds, is it?

I know in my head how I should be training them. But it doesn’t always come out in my actions and tone of voice.

I think it all boils down to what a mom of six, many years ahead of me on the journey of motherhood, told me:

I wish I had relied on the Lord
in anticipation
instead of just
out of desperation.

And that, that is the daily, hourly, moment-by-moment struggle.

Lord Jesus, I don’t just need Thee every hour—I need Thee every second…


  1. Oh, yes,
    I need Thee every hour, every hour I need Thee…
    especially when in the past 30 hours I’ve slept only 4, and my little baby is crying and I’m working my hardest at getting the food ready… how happy I am that I used to memorize hymns, for those moments when the brain is too tired to formulate a prayer. This was the hymn that came out today.
    Mommies sure DO need Him every hour (no, really, every second).
    Great post =)

  2. I love this! Heart-training IS so much more involved than spanking, but is *SO* rewarding! Why not consider taking spanking out of the picture altogether, and just start heart-training young – without the spanking?
    If you’re open to considering this, here’s a link to explore rejecting spanking:
    And if you Google “Christian peaceful parenting” or “Christian gentle parenting,” you will find a lot of sites from a Christian perspective 🙂
    Blessings to you and your babies! I’ve read this site for a while and you are an amazing, wonderful woman, wife, and mother <3

  3. sweetmomma says:

    Wow! “Anticipation instead of just desperation.” Sounds like a wise friend.
    Thank you for sharing. I read this this morning and have been thinking of it on and off all day. I know others it can bless by my sharing it too. 🙂
    Much Love!

  4. Wow, this blessed me and convicted me today, Gretchen! I have a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 8 month old, and today was just one of those days where I seriously wondered if we were going to make it! I have had to apologize to them repeatedly today. Like you, I know in my head how I’m suppose to be training them, but sometimes the overflow of my heart shows me just how desperately I need Jesus!

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