For the parent who feels powerless

Written by Jeannie Cunnion
Published on November 19, 2021

While sitting in my car in the pick-up line at school, I was doing what you might guess. I was scrolling through Instagram as I often do while I wait for my son to come bounding out of the building. 

Honestly, picking up my kindergartener brings me so much delight, because his four older brothers are now in middle school, high school, and college, and I am savoring these days where I get to be greeted by his big grin. 

But on this particular day, the truth is, I wasn’t savoring much of anything. I felt especially discouraged and depleted in my parenting.  

Looking for truth

As I scrolled, hoping to find an encouraging word or a promise from Scripture being shared by a friend (of course the Bible app would have been a better place to go!) an image, or better said, an ad, stopped me and strangely enough, led me to the truth I desperately needed to remember. 

The t-shirt being sold in the ad read “Everything I need is inside me!’ The caption was promoting the philosophy that we can flex our muscles and repeat a few mantras to muster up the strength we need to overcome our struggles. 

The messy bun on the model’s head made me feel like she understood me.   

Of course, as Christians, we know this message doesn’t align with the Gospel. We bring nothing but our need, and God gives us what we need. Everything I need is not inside me. Unless— and this is what hit me in a new way—you are referring to the person of the Holy Spirit inside me. 

Now, if that’s the message, add a shirt to my cart please.   

My lack of power

For a moment my heart ached for the moms who would read this empty promise and try, yet again, to navigate motherhood in their own power, when God has given us something—or better said, Someone—so much greater.

Yet, even as I know this truth in my heart, in many ways, I was that mom. I was trying, yet again, to parent in my own power. I was orchestrating circumstances in hopes that it would help my kid’s struggles more than I was falling on my knees praying the power of heaven down on their lives. 

I was depleted and discouraged because I was neglecting the One whom Jesus said would give us—wait for it—everything we need!   

Peter encouraged us in this truth when he wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV). 

God’s divine power

Yes, mama, everything you need is indeed inside you. But it’s not your strength and your sufficiency that will help you live, and lead your children in, a godly life. It is his divine power.

And that divine power is the person of the Holy Spirit who wants to empower you as you endeavor to raise your children in the love and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Where you can’t, he can! Jesus, after all, called the Holy Spirit our Helper. As he was preparing his disciples for his ascension, he assured them: “If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; but you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:15–18).   

For some, admitting we need help and lack power, no matter how hard we try, is frustrating. But the irony is, admitting we are powerless is supposed to be freeing. It relieves pressure we were never meant to carry. 

For example, we are powerless over the outcome of our effort in our kids’ lives. We are called (or better said, commanded) to plant seeds of faith, but we are not able to produce fruit. That is the beautiful and supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. 

Surrender and trust

We can surrender that work to him.   

But we are not powerless in the sense that we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us, spurring us on as we seek Christ and share him with our children. 

There is power in the name of Jesus! He is championing us in the holy work of motherhood so that God will be glorified in our homes. 

Yes, everything you need is inside you when you put your trust in Jesus, and he puts his Spirit in you. Rely on him to do what he was given to you to do!


Consider a few extra resources:

How can Christians cultivate joy in the midst of hardship?

“How one simple practice changed the way I parent”

Freedom in Christ—a more enjoyable way to live

Live perfectly imperfect

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Jeannie Cunnion

Jeannie Cunnion is the author of the Never Alone Bible study, Don’t Miss Out, Mom Set Free book and Bible Study, and Parenting the Wholehearted Child. As a self-described grace-clinger, Jeannie’s writing is woven with wisdom, humility, humor, and a contagious love for the good news. She is also a beloved Bible teacher and frequent speaker at women’s conferences and parenting events around the country.

Jeannie holds a master’s degree in social work, and her writing has been featured on outlets such as The Today Show, Fox News, The 700 Club, LIFE Today, and Focus on the Family.

Jeannie and her husband, Mike, are the proud parents of five boys who range from five to twenty-four. Her hobbies include grocery shopping—because, five boys—and praying—because again, five boys. 

When not cheering for her boys on the sidelines, you’ll most likely find her singing worship music off-key in her kitchen while trying not to burn dinner again. To know Jeannie is to know her deep love for Danita’s Children’s Home in Haiti.

She would love to connect with you on Instagram @JeannieCunnion and on her website at jeanniecunnion.com.

Read more about Jeannie

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