Sunday, May 08, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Mom Can Do Everything!"

“Mom Can Do Everything!
Or “How To Do Really, Really, Really Hard Things”
Mother’s Day
May 8, 2011
Philippians 4:13
Whenever I talk with my wife about Mother’s Day and ask her what Christian moms need to hear, she always tells me a variation on the same thing.

Tell us that we can do it.
Tell us that it’s worth it.
Tell us what we need to hear to keep going.

In other words, Christian moms need encouragement.

Why?  Is it a hard thing to be a mom?  A Christian mom?

Isn’t it easy??!

I mean, come on, how hard can it be?

I know that it’s not easy to be a Christian mom.

It’s a hard thing.

It’s wonderful, I’m sure.  But it is no cakewalk.

I think that being a mom, especially a mom of a very small child is one of, if not the, hardest job on the face of the Earth.

And while the work changes, it doesn’t really get easier as they get older.

And even when they’ve left the house, you don’t stop the hard work of being a mom. Do you?

I was just a store yesterday with a sign that said, “Mom’s hold their children’s hands for a short while, their hearts forever.”

So, today, I want to encourage you moms.

I want to give you some fuel for your fire.

And more than just moms, I want to help everyone to do hard things.

I think of my job sometimes as pointing people towards hard things and giving them the encouragement they need to do it.

Often in my counseling times, I know that the people I counsel feel like I’m asking them to do nearly impossible things.

“You want me to do what?”

“To forgive that person?  To not bite their head off?  To say what? To go where?  To do what?”

“That’s impossible.”

At home, when our kids don’t want to do something they say, “That’s impossible!”

And that’s really how we feel, isn’t it?

I have a few things in my life right now that feel impossible.

I can’t finish this doctoral project.  It’s too much.

Two weeks ago, I was knee deep in footnotes. There are 104 footnotes in chapter 2 alone, and I could not for the life of me figure out how to get them into the right format for this doctoral project. 

And I’ll tell you the truth, I was in tears. I was crying like I haven’t cried in years about these stupid footnotes!

It seems impossible!

So, we all feel that way about hard things–especially moms.

So, here’s our passage for today:  Philippians 4:13.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”


Does that include changing yet another diaper?
Does that include spanking yet another little behind?
Does that include helping them with yet another homework page?

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Even when they are teenagers?

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Here’s our title for today.

“Mom Can Do Everything!”

There’s a picture of a Christian mom for you.

“We Can Do It!”

And here’s our subtitle for today’s message:

“How To Do Really, Really, Really Hard Things”

I thought this one deserved 3 “Reallys.”

“How To Do Really, Really, Really Hard Things”

Did you ever make the mistake of asking your mom what she did all day?

“I mean, what’s your job?  What do you do all day?”

Kids who ask that often get to find out the hard way.

Moms feel how heavy life can be.  Because it’s a 24/7/365.25 job.

And it can get pretty weary.

But here’s a verse for you. 

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Alisa Liptak and I talked about this passage for the dedication today.

She said to me, “Philippians 4:13 is the center of our home, literally.  If you visit our home you will find it placed above the archway in our family room.  Its location in our home represents our family and home being centered around this belief.  We can do anything through him.”


“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Four points this morning. Quick ones so that you can take mom out to lunch.

How to do really, really, really hard things.


It’s about a personal relationship with Him.

Philppians 4:13 is written by Paul.

He says, “I can do everything through [WHAT] him who gives me strength.”

Who is that him?

It’s Jesus.  If you have the King James Version, you see it right there.

Scribes who copied the Scriptures for us probably filled in the blank there so that there would be no confusion in later manuscripts.

“I can do everything through [Christ] who gives me strength.”

It’s through a trusting and loving relationship with Jesus Christ that we can do whatever hard things there are to do.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

And that includes some pretty hard things.

In the context, Paul is saying that he can just about starve through Jesus who gives him strength.

Paul says (v.120, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Sometimes we miss the context of this.

We think that everything means anything we feel like God will give us.

No.  It’s whatever He has called us to, He will give us the strength to endure.

And that’s feast or famine.  Including in our parenting.

Mom’s if everything goes well in your parenting and you raise a superstar kid, then praise the Lord–you can do everything through him who gives you strength.

But, Moms, if everything goes haywire while you’re parenting and you don’t know what to do with the kid that he or she is becoming–you can do everything through him who gives you strenghth.

Feast or famine.

But only through Christ.  He died for your sins.  He came back to life to give you life!

So get to know Jesus.

Ransack your Bible.  Get on your knees.  Get to know who Jesus is and what He has done and what He is up to.  Relate to Him.  Trust Him. Love Him.  Follow Him.  Talk to Him.

And he will get you through.

When I was crying a couple of weeks ago, it was in the context of prayer.  I was pouring out my troubles to the Lord.  And he strengthened me.

Get to Know to Jesus.


This is one of God’s promises.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

But many of God’s promises are only actualized in our lives when we believe them!

We have to believe this for it be fulfilled in our lives.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

In believing that, we get that strength.

The Holy Spirit of God empowers God’s promises.

And as we trust them, we get God’s power.

That’s the normal way that God works.

Often, I want God to do something in me or through me BEFORE I trust Him.

But God wants me to trust Him and what He’s said and then He works powerfully in  me and through me.

Take Hold of God’s Promises.

Moms, I want you all to hear this.

Get a promise every day and take hold of it and then pray it back to God all day long.

What is your promise from God’s word for today?

You should be asking yourself that question each day.

What is my promise from God’s word for today?

“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.”

Heather tells herself that promise regularly.  Maybe ever day.

And every morning she goes looking for new compassion.  For new mercies.

Because God has said that they will be here each morning.

She takes hold of that promises.

Moms, let’s do this. Raise your hand and yell out a promise that you’ve been taking hold of in the last few weeks or months.

[take promises]

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

And those promises are for more than just moms, aren’t they?

This is how to do really, really, really hard things.

Take hold of God’s promises.


When you don’t know how you’ll get it all done, do the next thing.

This is advice I’ve gotten from Heather Joy, as well.  I think she got it from Jill Briscoe, but I’m not sure.

When you don’t know how you’ll get it all done, do the next thing.

We are attempting to homeschool our four kids.

And that is a big undertaking.  To realize that you are responsible for everything they are going to learn from birth to about age 18 is just breaktaking.

And you can’t do it all at once.

But you can just do the next thing.

For Paul, it was writing this letter to the Philippians.

This was a ministry letter, a fundraising letter, a thank-you letter all in one.

At this point in the letter, Paul is trying to encourage the Philippians to send another gift–not so much for him as for them–because they need to give and to get the blessing that comes with giving.

And there is no way to give without giving.

As Nike would say, “Just do it.”

You’ve got to step out in faith.

Every night we sing with our kids, “Trust and Obey, for there is NO other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”

It’s trust AND obey.  Not or, not trust and if you feel like it obey.

It’s trust and obey.  No other way.

Step out in faith and do the next thing.

What is the next thing for you, Moms?

Sometimes it’s making another meal. Another meal.
Sometimes, it’s having that disciplinary conversation again.
Sometimes, it’s getting on your knees once more for that child.

Do the next thing.

But, don’t do it alone.


Christianity is not a solo-sport.  It’s a team sport.

We do it together.

Philippians 4:13 doesn’t stand on it’s own.

It doesn’t say, “I can do everything (by myself) through him who gives me strength.”

What does Philippians 4:14 say?

“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.”

Philippians is all about sharing, teamwork, working with others, living the Christian life in community.

We are not lone rangers.

We need each other.

Don’t go it alone.

To do really, really, really hard things, we fly in formation.

Moms, you need other Christian moms to do this right.

We have a new ministry forming this Fall led by Kelly Beck and some of her friends called MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers.

I had asked Kelly to tell us all about it this morning, but she couldn’t be with us today.

The whole point is that moms need moms.

And you know what?  Dads need dads.

Christians need Christians.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

And one of the ways that He strengthens me is to give me other Christians to lean on.

If you don’t have a Christian friend, it’s time to get one.
If you aren’t a part of a solid Christian church, it’s time to involved.

If you aren’t being a Christian friend to someone it’s high time to give of yourself so that they don’t try to go it alone.

Rosie the Riveter is probably the wrong picture here.

Though this is what my wife is actually like.  She can roll up her sleeves with the best of them.  And my kids think that “Mom Can Do Everything!”  And they are right.

But she can’t do it all by herself.

She needs girl-friends. And she needs me.  And she needs all of you.

And so do you.  We need each other to do really, really, really hard things by God’s grace and power.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”