God Made You a Mom for Such a Time as This, with Lauren Gaines

We’ve spent the last entire month trying to understand anxiety so that we can support our children, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve found it a bit overwhelming. The stats are staggering, and I sometimes wonder why God made me a mom in this season, when the stakes feel so high.
Can you relate?
The good news is that God is in control. Today, author Lauren Gaines, of Inspired Motherhood, is joining us with a reminder that God gave us our children to raise for such a time as this. It’s a much-needed perspective shift as we wrap up this important season, and I hope you’ll tune in!

To read today’s episode scroll down to the end of this post. 

Today’s show is brought to you by our newest prayer guide, Praying God’s Word for Your Child’s Anxiety

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Read Today’s Podcast Episode

Hey friends. So we’ve just spent the last several weeks looking at how anxiety is affecting the lives of our sons and daughters. And if you’re anything like me, you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed. In fact, you might be wondering why in the world God asked you to raise kids in the cultural climate of this day and age.

It seems harder than when our parents were raising us. You might even be tempted to give up, but today’s guest has a different message for you, one that I believe will encourage and equip you to do the hard work of ministering to and raising your children in spite of the culture we live in. Lauren Gaines is the creator of Inspired Motherhood, a place to equip and empower families to raise kingdom kids. With Lauren’s background in psychology, she takes a unique approach to parenthood and has a new book on the market I know you’ll want to learn more about called Unshakeable Kids, Three Keys to Raising Spiritually Strong and Emotionally Healthy Children. With her background in school psychology, Lauren is just the right person to have this conversation with today.

Lauren, thank you so much for being with us today. I would love it since this is your first time on the Million Praying Moms podcast, if you would introduce yourself to our listeners, tell them a little bit about yourself, your family, your ministry, help us to get to know you a little bit better.

Thank you so much, Brooke, for having me. I’m just so excited to share today. And yes, I am a mom of three kids. My oldest is turning 10 in a few days. So I’m like, oh no, double digits feel so big. And then I have a seven-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter. And before kids, I worked as a school psychologist. So a lot of people think that is a school counselor. It’s very similar. I did a lot of group counseling and…individual counseling. I started working in Baltimore City Public Schools. So that was really a tough job and heavy on the counseling. I also tested kids for special education. So I worked with kids who maybe have a developmental delay or autism or ADHD. And then I also really worked with teachers and parents to help kids learn best and understand behavior and how to replace behavior. If there’s a problem behavior and how to just get every kid to thrive in school. So that has always been a passion of mine. I’ve always like wanted to be a mom and be with kids. Even when I was little, my sister and I made baby, we had baby dolls, but then we made baby dolls out of like bocce balls. We would like tape them together and like have blow up like gloves and put like those plastic gloves and put water in them and call them our water babies. So I, I always wanted to be a mom. And then I had kids and I was like, mom why didn’t you tell me this was gonna be so hard? And she was like, I did, you just, you weren’t ready to hear it. And it’s so true. I love being a mom, but I also love having an outlet for myself. So I write at Inspired Motherhood and just come along moms in the trenches and help us to better understand how our kids learn and how to respond to behavior in the best way and how to, I also love bringing things from a biblical perspective, how to help our kids get a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I love that so much. One of the reasons I think bringing you on the show was something I wanted to do is because I feel like we have some things in common. We were just talking about this a little bit before we started recording, and that is that my background is in psychology and counseling. And you talk in the early part of your book, which we’ll get to in just a second about maybe struggling some in your early motherhood, you know, just like you said, like, Mom, why didn’t you tell me? You know, and I always think about that, that old saying or, or that old phrase or whatever it should be called, like, you know, your parents just kind of sit back and laugh when things are hard for you because you were a hard child or, you know, whatever, but I can, I can relate to that so much because I struggled a lot with my kids in the early years. I’ve written about that very openly. And the funny part of that to me as I look back now is that I took a lot of developmental psych classes in both undergrad and graduate school, but I somehow failed to remember in early motherhood that children develop at different stages. Like there’s these stages of development and their brains, like, you know, what they’re able to understand from a certain perspective is different at different stages of development. Even now I have a fresh 18 year old, high school graduate and his brain still isn’t fully developed. You know, like you have to think about that. And I think I struggled to put my school knowledge into working knowledge, like in my family life, in the early years of my motherhood. So I really am excited to have you on today because I think you bring that perspective in some ways to what we’re talking about. But the main reason that I’m really excited to have you on today is because I know that you’re passionate about equipping moms, as you said, to raise the children that God has given them for such a time as this, really like now in this world that we live in, in this culture that can be so hard for parents with so many new things that they have to deal with. The one thing I want our children or our moms that are listening right now to hear is that you were born for such a time as this and your children were born for such a time as this.


So all season we’ve been talking about anxiety in children and how there’s really, I mean, it’s concerning. It’s at all time high levels in our children, both in boys and in girls, but we’ve heard a lot about girls recently in the news and things like that, but it’s very present, if not different in the way that it expresses itself in boys as well. And I hear from a lot of moms that they feel very ill-equipped to handle these kinds of serious issues.

They think that they themselves are not knowledgeable enough or they’re not strong enough or they’re not mature enough in their faith to help their children as they’re struggling. And I do think, I feel as a mom that’s still very much in the trenches herself, I do feel like problems exist today that didn’t when I was growing up or maybe that are just different expressions of the same heart issues that we had to deal with when we were growing up. But there’s…They’re magnified now because of social media. And I didn’t walk around with a phone in my back pocket like my kids, like my teenagers do. And so the challenges may not be different, but the expression of them or the degree of them or how they have to interface with them is very different now than it was before. So I’d like to hear from you. What have you heard moms, the moms that you serve, what have you heard from them about their level of stress given the struggles that our children face today?

Yes, oh my goodness, everything you just said was so good because I really do, in my book, I feel like God knew before, I’ll just touch on that before I answer the stress question that Ephesians 2 10, I tell my kids this all the time, that before the beginning of the world, God prepared good works for us to do, and so part of that is raising our kids. He gave us our kids knowing exactly what generation we would be in and what would be surrounding us. And he’s so intentional in everything he does. And if you look just at the world, you know, it’s amazing. It’s a miracle how a child is formed. And so we have to believe if he’s that intentional about that, that he is intentional about what kind of kids he gave us. And I think, too, for me, sometimes I have one child who’s very reserved and it’s different than my personality. And so at first it was like how do I navigate this? You know, like, why am I giving a child like this, God? I don’t understand. All the other kids are just going out and mine’s clinging to my leg, you know? And so I think a lot of moms are experiencing this to get to your stress question. They’re feeling the weight of the world. I mean, we already have way too many things to do. We’re over-scheduled, we’re overbooked, we’re running here and there. That alone feels heavy. And then…put on top of it everything that’s happening in culture and it just feels like, well, I can’t win, you know? This is never gonna get better. And one example for me personally, my kids were playing a geometry math game on the iPad and I was brushing my daughter’s hair. She has very long curly hair, so it takes a long time to brush. So I let her play the iPad and an ad came on a children’s math game with a man who was pregnant and he started leaking breast milk and my kids were like screaming like, no, what is going on? And I was grateful to be there in that moment to walk them through that. But I think that’s just one example of what I’m hearing from moms where they’re like, I was not even expecting this and it just like hit me out of left field and I didn’t feel equipped to have this conversation or I didn’t know what to say when this happened.

Yeah, I think you’ve nailed it. It’s this, you know, we are struggling as adults whose brains are fully developed, right, to absorb and to be able to understand all these constant changes and big things about how the world is functioning today. We’re trying to process it ourselves, both in the way that we look at those things through the lens of the Bible, but also like how do we treat our neighbor? How do we how does how does what the Bible says apply to this situation? How does it apply to the way I treat my neighbor who’s going through this it is it is a lot Even for an adult to process all of these things and I have heard You know, I have a friend that an acquaintance. I guess I would say who at one point just said, you know what, I’ve just given up even trying to manage what my kids are looking at on their phones. Like I can’t do it. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the time to sit down and manage every single thing that they look at on their phones. And I remember on the one hand, identifying with that feeling like, yeah, it is an overwhelming thing. But on the other hand being like, no, don’t do it. Don’t back off now. They need you, you know, in some kind of oversight that way. But it’s tough. It’s a really tough part of history to be living in. And it sounds like you agree with that wholeheartedly.

Yeah, I think there’s this tension between we want to protect our kids and we want to shield them, but we also know at some point they’re going to have to go out into the real world. So how do we prepare them without isolating them? That was another thing that I’ve been hearing from a lot of moms is they just don’t feel like they have a village. They’re like, how do I find people that I trust? You know, ideally my neighbors, people live right next to me because growing up, my sister and I were out of the house from nine to five every summer day, just at the pool, neighborhood and honestly some of it probably wasn’t the best but it was mostly innocent and I just feel like so many people don’t feel like they can do that with their kids anymore because you know my kids don’t have phones yet but a lot of the kids in the neighborhood do and what are they gonna and how do I know that their parents have the same level of protection that I would have and so we have a lot of conversations with our kids there’s a book about good pictures and bad pictures and I think there’s like a junior and a you know a regular level but just having those conversations is so important and not scaring our kids, but just like, hey, if something happens, come to me, you know, because we can’t, I think we do need to be diligent in protecting them and overseeing things, but we can’t live in fear of that and let that prevent them from living, you know? So we also need to prevent, or sorry, prepare them by giving them the tools to come to us and feeling like they can ask us anything without judgment or without us losing our temper and…helping them process whatever they’re experiencing when they’re not with us.

Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree more with that. We tried very hard to hold off on phones for as long as possible, and I’m pretty sure that our kids were among the last to get them of their friends. And then on top of that, we’re among the last to start being able to use social media apps on their phones. And now, you know, I’ve got an 18-year-old now, and so that changes as they get older. But, you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. I just want to affirm that, that we are saying there’s nothing wrong with holding out until the last second if you possibly can. And so I just wanted to take a second and affirm that. So let’s talk a little bit about your book. It’s called, Unshakable Kids, Three Keys to Raising Spiritually Strong and Emotionally Healthy Children. And in that, you talk a lot about raising children to be mentally tough and emotionally stable. But, and this, I really love this, because you were quick to say that the first step to doing this, is to making sure that we as moms focus on our own emotional health first. It’s kind of like putting the air mask on the airplane before you serve your neighbor. If you can’t breathe, you’re no good to them, right? So if it’s true that God sovereignly chose us to be parents to our children in this part of history, what practical tips can a mom take to empower herself to be able to handle what the world is throwing at her kids?

Such a good question because, oh my goodness, this world is crazy and so we definitely need to have tools. And so the first section of my book, the first key, I guess, is the mind because that is where everything comes from. And when you were talking about struggling to implement what you learned, that definitely happened to me. And I kind of thought that, you know, cognitive behavioral therapy was for people who had a depression or anxiety diagnosis. And I haven’t been diagnosed with that officially. So I’m like, I don’t need that. But then I quickly realized, wait, I do need this. Everyone needs to know how our thoughts connect to our feelings and to our actions and how they’re all influenced. And when we start to pace the room, it’s gonna bring certain thoughts to our head and it’s gonna cause us to feel certain ways and quickly becomes this downward spiral. So the first section of the book is really understanding how to hold every thought captive and understanding the true power of our thoughts. I mean, I cited some research from a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson about how our thoughts influence our everyday life. And they said that, I mean, it can disrupt our sleep, our appetites, it can affect our health. You know, we won’t have as much resistance to the common cold if we have unhealthy thoughts. And separate research, but they found even in kids, the same is true, that their negative self-talk is gonna play a role in their anxiety levels.

And a lot of times kids don’t even know that they’re thinking. They don’t know, you know, it takes some time to learn metacognition, which is thinking about what you’re thinking about. And they don’t always have that awareness that their thoughts are even influencing how they feel. So that’s also a big part of the book is helping our kids understand that.


I feel like if I look back, I’m 45 years old, if I look back on my adulthood, one of the most productive things that I have learned to do, and I’m not going to say that I do it perfectly all the time, but I’m much better now than I was 10 years ago, is learning to take my thoughts captive, is learning to control what I think about, learning not to let my thoughts go crazy in a million different directions or spiral downward very quickly. And it isn’t always easy to teach that to your child. I think it is something that we get more mature at. We get better at it the more we start to do it. But it has had one of the most profound impacts on my ability to cope with just general life stuff. Because I tend to be a reactor. It’s my gut response to something is to react emotionally to it. And I know that about myself. And so I’ve gotten better at being able to put blocks up. They’re like, no, you gotta think about this first. No, you gotta go to God first. No, you got, you know, don’t respond before you have a moment, remove yourself, whatever. Those things are sometimes harder to teach children, but it is so worth it to teach them, at least in some way, to be aware of what’s going on in their minds and the impact. And our children have always played baseball. And I think there’s a mental aspect to all sports, but there is a huge mental aspect to baseball because baseball is a game of failures. Like there’s no other sport where you can fail as often as you do with baseball and still be considered really good at your sport. And so it’s really kind of crazy if you look at it from a statistical perspective. And so our kids have constantly battled their minds. There is a point probably in all sports, but specifically in baseball, where it doesn’t really matter how good of an athlete you are. It doesn’t matter what your natural ability is or even the work that you’ve put into your skill. If you can’t win in your mind, you’re probably not gonna go any further.

Oh my goodness, so true. And I think that kids don’t always understand that. Like you said, like they just don’t even realize because they’re not paying attention. They’re just living in the moment. And I had an experience, I’m like you, where I just react emotionally and quickly. And even yesterday, one of my kids was struggling and right away, fear kind of came into me. And I was like, oh no, cause they were away and they came home upset. And I was like, something happened. Right away, my mind goes the worst case scenario. And it was like, okay, Lauren, you need to pause and stop. And so I actually did pray. I don’t do that every time, but I was like, God, give me wisdom on what’s going on here. And then God just dropped it into my mind and I figured it out that we’ve had a lot of change in life recently and I hate change and my child is my child. So that child also hates change. And I realized that it wasn’t even really about what they were saying, they were just saying, I was just tired. But it was, and so they didn’t connect that there’s all this change going on, even though it’s good change. And they’re just feeling the weight of that and things weren’t feeling steady. And so I think we might not always have that initial awareness of what’s going on. And kids certainly don’t know. A lot of times when kids are having anxiety or they’re upset, they say, I’m tired, my belly hurts, or I have a headache. They don’t know to say, I’m thinking some pretty dark thoughts right now.

They can learn to say that, but I think as parents, if we can educate ourselves on that and we can help guide them in that process so they can see like something else is really going on here and we can learn psychological tools for that. But I think one of the other keys is, well, it’s not in my book, but key that I’m like, it kind of goes throughout the book is inviting the Holy Spirit in and praying and not doing this alone because God knows my daughter who has a lot of hair.

I tell her all the time, he knows the exact number of hairs on your head and I swear it’s a million. And so it’s amazing God knows our kids more than we do. And so we have to invite him in and we have to pray and we have to ask for that discernment and we need to pause and listen for his voice because he will guide us in all things when it feels like the world is crumbling around us.

Yeah, I can’t agree with that more. I’ve been saying often on the show, I would say really this entire last year as everybody’s been with me and my oldest son’s senior year of high school. And we’ve just now graduated him and he’s been gone all summer playing baseball in North Carolina. And now he’s going to be going to college in a few weeks. Um, I think if anyone has listened to any shows during that time, they’ve probably heard me say this and that is that my most constant prayer over this time frame has just been, show me. Just show me, Lord. Just show me what I need to know. Make the hidden things known. Help me to see the right path forward. Give me the right words. Give me the answer. Show me your face. Show me your path. That has just been, it’s a very simple little prayer, but it’s just as inviting the Lord to come and be a part of that experience. Be a part of whatever.

And he wants to do that. He wants to show us what he has for us. And it’s not always, sometimes I find it frustrating that he doesn’t give me the whole story all at once. I’d really like to know the whole thing. But he doesn’t do that. Instead, he’s teaching me to rely on him as a mother and as a woman of God in every single circumstance that I encounter, good, bad or ugly. He is in it with me. He is in this, you know, he is in your child’s anxiety with you, you know, your whatever, whatever you’re dealing, your child’s depression or he is in your child’s battle with pornography or whatever issue you feel like your child is dealing with today that you feel like why do we have to be dealing with this? Why do we even have to be living in this time frame when we have to deal with this? God is still in that with you. He’s in the trenches with you and he wants to show you himself in the midst of it. What else would you share with us as far as you know, these practical tips to get ourselves empowered.

Yeah, I think so this is a big section of my book to knowing our identity in Christ and it’s so important for our kids. I think to know that I feel like there’s an attack on identity. And so we need to know who we are and what God says about us and who he is really. And I think we need to know God’s word and we need to memorize scripture and hide it in our hearts so that when the time comes God will bring it back to our remembrance. My kids actually like having Bible study, which is interesting because I’ve heard some people say like, don’t force your kids, you know, because sometimes that can just feel chaotic and, and I kind of like a chore, you know, but my kids seem to enjoy that in this season. So we have been going through, we just pick a book of the Bible and I’ve been going through it together. And it might only happen once a week. But they really enjoy that time. And it’s just good to go. We read like two verses at a time, and then discuss it. Do you have any questions? What do you think this means? And really digest it together as a family. And even my four-year-old, a lot of times, is kind of like playing, not fully listening, but it’s amazing the things that she has repeated later. And I’m like, wow, she really was listening. So I think we need to get, I mean, God’s word is alive, it’s active, it’s sharper than a double-edged sword, and it says it can discern between, what is it, between joint and marrow. So when we don’t know what’s going on, like exactly what you’re saying, we don’t know.

God knows and he can show us and part of that is activating his word, opening it up. That’s how we use that weapon. I’m always amazed when I think of the armor of God. There’s only one weapon that’s for offensive purposes to kind of push back that darkness and fight back and it’s the word of God. And so we need that, you know, we need the defensive things. We need to be on guard and guarding our hearts and minds, but we also to take territory and to move forward and to push past some of this junk that’s just around us, we need to know God’s word. And I think there are ways to make it fun. Like if your kids don’t like sitting down and reading the Bible, there are other ways, flashcards or have them copy it and write. Writing is something I learned too as I wrote my book, that writing changes your brain. If you wanna rewire your brain, write it down. It will change that pathway. And so I think that’s an easy thing for kids to do.

One of the things that we have done forever in our home. So Million Praying Moms produces monthly prayer guides and they’re topical. They, like we have, this month’s is on, you know, praying God’s word for your anxious child. We have other topics for your, we have one on anger. We have one on purity. We have one on identity for your child’s identity in Christ as well. And we’ve been producing prayer calendars forever, ever, like scripture inspired prayer calendars. This is what, these are the verses that we’re praying this month and whatever. So what I’ve done routinely in our home, I started, we started out homeschooling, we moved to a private school and then we moved our kids to public school. So we’ve done a little bit of all of it. And so I say that only because we’ve had to figure out how to get God’s Word as a part of our regular day in just about every schooling situation that you can come up with. And so when they were real little and we were homeschooling, we would sit around the table and do this. But later, when I was driving them to school, we would take, I would pull up that prayer calendar on my phone on the way to school. And we live really close to the school. So it didn’t take us very long to get there. But I would read the verse to them, the verse of the day or passage of the day. And then if they didn’t understand it, if there was something, if I needed to fill in the gap for them and help them a little bit, then I would do that for them. And then I would say, okay, how does this apply to your day to day? How is this gonna apply to your world today? And if they couldn’t answer, then I would sometimes try to give them little hints or whatever, we would just talk about it. In the five minutes, literally five minutes that it takes us to get to their schools, that’s how we spent our five minutes together. So that…

The very last thing, and then I would, you know, as we were in the car line, I would pray for them for their day. I would pray that scripture over them. And so that was the very last thing that they heard when they got out of the car was mom praying God’s word over them. Um, or if, and if my husband was available, he would, you know, join in and ride with us sometimes and do it. So that’s something we did for years while I was taking them to school. And then when they started driving to school or riding with a friend to school, we went back to the kitchen table and we met for breakfast. We would still open up the prayer journal, read the, we did the same thing. We just did it around the table instead. And it was short and sweet, and it wasn’t this big long drawn out conversation. It didn’t take that much time, but we were sitting down over God’s word or driving over God’s word together every day. And they may not remember every single verse that I read to them over the years.

But I believe that God will use it because in addition to God’s Word being living and active like you were talking about, it also doesn’t return void. God, it does exactly what God wants it to do in that time and for all time. It does exactly what God wants it to do. And so I just trust that he’s going to use that even if I can’t see it right now, even in times when I’m upset with my kids or they’re going through something difficult or they’re making a choice I wouldn’t like. I still trust that God’s going to be true to his Word. And as I’ve been faithful to try to put it in their hearts, it’s his job then what to do with it.

Yeah, oh I love that because sometimes we take on God’s job and we need to just let some of it up to him and then do our part. The last thing that I thought about was to just enjoy our kids. And I know that sounds so simple, but to have that heart connection with them and we can spend so much time kind of worrying over all the things or trying to schedule out what activities they’re going to do. And I wrote in my book, there was like one day where I didn’t look my child in the eye. I went to bed thinking, I’m not sure. Like we had conversations, but it was when I was making dinner and I’m sure there’s going to be times where you can’t drop everything and driving, you can’t stop and look them in the eye. But I think it’s so important, we’ve lost the art of eye contact with screens and to just pause and enjoy the sweetness of life with them. Go outside, blow bubbles. And I have younger kids, so they still wanna do that. But take a walk with them, a bike ride, just enjoy their company and who God made them to be. And I think when you create that strong heart connection with your child, it just builds that foundation to when you need to correct, you know, when you need to make a withdrawal, you’ve already had some deposits in there. And it just brings a sweetness to life for you too. It just like relaxes all those fears and anxieties when you can just enjoy your kid and really try to see them for who God created them to be and not who you kind of wish they were. But you know, each of my kids has a different personality. And it’s so unique and interesting and neat, even if it’s not exactly the way I would do something. I’m so fast. I love like personality. And when I took that in college, I loved learning about that. So maybe I’m just weird and fascinated by how kids tick. But I think when we have that understanding of who they are, it helps when they face adversity to know like what’s really going on or what’s really bothering them.

Yeah, absolutely. I love that so much. All right, so Lauren, thank you. This has been great. This has just been fantastic. And I know everybody’s gonna wanna run out and get your book right away. It’s called, Unshakable Kids, Three Keys to Raising Spiritually Strong and Emotionally Healthy Children. I think it’s a great compliment to the other resources that we’ve shared in this season on helping our children who struggle with anxiety. Could you tell everybody how they can find out more about your book, where they can get connected with you, and what you’re doing for the kingdom of God?

Yes, definitely. So it is on Amazon, which I feel like is probably the easiest place to get it. But it’s also on Baker Books website, which they have a pretty good discount on their website. And I am mostly on Instagram. I also do send a weekly newsletter that I give extra kind of behind the scenes things or freebies that they can print scripture prints, things on behavior that parents can use right away. So email is a great way and they can find that on my website to sign up for the newsletter. And I would love to just connect with other moms. I love hearing other people’s stories and learning from each other. That’s how we sharpen each other. I love hearing even your experiences, Brooke, and what you’ve done. I’m gonna take some things and implement that into my family’s life too.

Thank you so much for being with us, Lauren. Thanks for hanging out with me today, friends. Don’t forget to get your copy of our new prayer guide, Praying God’s Word for Your Anxious Child. You can find it and more about Lauren Gaines now in the show notes at millionprayingmoms.com. Till next time, friends, the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you. Be gracious to you. May the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.


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