Midnight Mom Devotional (Transcript)

Dr. Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: First time moms face a lot of pressure and stress, every night they're battling just to stay awake while also trying to console a fussy newborn. Where can these women turn for encouragement and support on those restless and trying nights? Well, today we'll hear from two women who are ministering to millions of struggling moms every evening. I'm Roger Marsh and you are listening to Family Talk, a production of the James Dobson Family Institute. Dr. Tim Clinton is our host for this broadcast today, and a few months ago he sat down with author and blogger, Becky Thompson and her mother Susan Pitts. The two women will discuss with Dr. Clinton their excitement for their new devotional called Midnight Mom. They'll also explain how their efforts to support moms daily in prayer on Facebook has literally gone viral. Well, this is a fascinating new program that we hope will speak to your heart. So here now is Dr. Tim Clinton on this edition of Family Talk.

Dr. Clinton: Hi everyone. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, Executive Director of the James Dobson Family Institute. This radio program is being recorded at the 2020 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm excited you've joined us today because you're going to hear from two moms who are doing God's work and ministering to other moms. Becky Thompson and her mom Susan Pitts. They're here to talk about their new work called Midnight Mom Devotional. Hey, welcome to Family Talk, both of you.

Becky Thompson: Thanks for having us Dr. Clinton.

Susan Pitts: Thank you so much.

Dr. Clinton: As we get started, I have a new granddaughter.

Becky Thompson: It's so exciting.

Dr. Clinton: Her name is Olivia Ann and my daughter Megan is a new mom, a year in. And I'll tell you what it's fascinating, it's everything we were told it would be and more, being grandparents. It's beautiful. It's also been a fascinating journey to watch human development all over again and to hear the stories, the midnight stories. Tell us a little bit about this piece of work that you guys are doing. I already know how much it would mean to my daughter.

Becky Thompson: Sure. Well, what we've realized as having this ministry for moms is that the midnight hours are some of the loneliest hours and here's why: this is when all of the fears and uncertainties and really the things that you've done throughout the day that you wish you could do over or things that you wish you could add to your day, rise to the surface of a mom's heart. And, and there's nobody to call and say, "Oh, can we process this together? Can we talk this out?" Everybody is supposed to be asleep. But the little secret is that mamas, most of us, rarely sleep. So when we sat down to work together, the book is actually based on our online ministry by the same name, "Midnight Mom Devotional," where nearly a million moms gather nightly on Facebook to pray. It's really incredible.

Dr. Clinton: Every night?

Becky Thompson: Every night, every night.

Dr. Clinton: A million moms.

Susan Pitts: Yes.

Becky Thompson: A million moms. So here's what that statistic actually looks like. 18 months ago we had 20,000 followers on the page, Midnight Mom Devotional, and we would post a simple prayer for moms. "Tonight we pray for the mama who feels alone." "Tonight we pray for the mama who feels overwhelmed," or tired or whatever that certain circumstance was. And then, moms would share it. They'd say, "This was me tonight. This prayer is for me. I wonder how many other moms feel the same way that I do." In social media terms, what happened was this term called viral, the post went viral, which means it was shared online by thousands of people. It was shocking. But then the next night, all of these moms that came from the prayer that had been posted saying, "Man, that prayer was for me. I wonder if it was for you to." Said, "Man, tonight's prayer was for me too. How do they know?" And it snowballed until now we have 895,000 followers in the community and nightly the prayers are shared on average between 15 and 30,000 times in 24 hours.

Dr. Clinton: So something legit has to be happening because it's got to be resonating, otherwise people aren't going to follow.

Becky Thompson: Exactly.

Susan Pitts: Exactly.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. So you guys must get right into the raw real stuff. Hey, last night. So we're in Nashville. My son-in-law, Ben is with me. So Megan is home with Olivia and Julie staying with her at her house. Olivia got a fever yesterday. She spiked up to 104, everybody's getting concerned. You hear what I'm saying? They were up like every three hours. I think they alternate or give Motrin and whatever they did-

Becky Thompson: That whole thing.

Dr. Clinton: ... that whole thing. But at the same time, I'm concerned. So I just want to check in. "How's the Olivia doing?" Princess O, I call her, and for them, like Megan, if she's alone by herself, she's exhausted. She is a dermatologist and she's got a nice schedule. But nevertheless the demands are pretty extraordinary. You hear what I'm saying?

Becky Thompson: Yes.

Dr. Clinton: Thank God she has mom who was able to step into her life every day and be a part of it with her like the two of you guys, you know what I'm saying?

Becky Thompson: Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Clinton: "Am I a good mom? I'm concerned. I'm afraid." My sister's a nurse and they call a lot. You hear what I'm saying, "Is that what this is all about?"

Becky Thompson: At the end of the day, and we discussed how, "What do we want the takeaway of this book to be? What do we want moms to hold this book in their hands and know after they've held it in their hands and read through it?" And mom had a great answer and I'd love for her to share that. She wants moms to know:

Susan Pitts: I just want mothers to know they are really not alone, that this really is a community of women that are all over the world. I love the cover of our book that has these beautiful little houses on it and the little lights are in the windows and it's almost a representation of these mamas up at night and each one feels alone in that room. But each one is actually connected to motherhood across the world. And so the book has a place in it for them to write after the prayer "Tonight I'm praying for this mama." And by doing that, they write that in there saying that this particular prayer, either for strength or peace or a sick child, they're joining together and women all over the globe are now praying together.

Dr. Clinton: Talk to me about community because we know that we're a lonely people. I think the pace and the pressures and by the way, the pains of modern day life, isolate us and we're not made to be alone. And so knowing that there's someone out there who by the way just understands and they're able to verbalize maybe what I'm feeling. How important is that? What are you finding?

Becky Thompson: It's everything Dr. Clinton. I think this is one thing we're realizing about motherhood is that we're so busy, like you shared, your daughter's got her job, she's got this little one, she's going, going, going. It never stops. Even at night you're parenting through the night and you feel like you can't reach out horizontally. We know we have access to the Father and through His Son Jesus, we can reach out in the Spirit and take hold of the truth that God makes available to us through His Word and through His Son. But we need the connection horizontally as well. We need to know that we have vertical connection and horizontal connection. That we can reach out and say, "This is what I'm experiencing." And the neat thing about the prayer is that we get to voice the heart of the mother and then she can have hope attached to it.

Becky Thompson: I'm not just saying "I'm overwhelmed." It's thousands of women saying "I'm overwhelmed" and then they go, "Well I'm not the only one. We're all overwhelmed. And if we're all overwhelmed, what does that mean? And what is the Anchor of Hope?" And the truth is, the Anchor of Hope is Jesus for all of us. But the practical help, well that looks a little different for all of us.

Dr. Clinton: Are you guys like sharing tips about what to do or do you see people doing any of that?

Becky Thompson: What we kind of pride ourselves on with our Facebook page and then through the book is saying, there are a lot of people who can give practical advice and say, you're walking through this specific season, we've got advice for you.

Dr. Clinton: Babies got colic or something.

Becky Thompson: Want to know something interesting. I'm a part of a lot of mom groups on Facebook, not just ones that I read and lead, but once I sort of kind of exist in, but they don't really know I'm there. I'm just watching different mom groups and if I need advice about something I might even post in there. But there is a lot of contention sometimes in these mom groups because there is-

Dr. Clinton: Going at each other you mean?

Becky Thompson: Yeah, of course, of course.

Dr. Clinton: Really?

Becky Thompson: Yes sir. Because there's a "right way" of doing everything. There's a right way and nobody has the right way. Nobody actually knows what the right way is. Of course, professionals get to say what the safest way is and we listen to those professionals and that good advice, but the right way? We all have different right ways because for each of us that right way might look a little bit different.

Dr. Clinton: You guys take on some pretty significant issues in your prayers, like being anxious or angry or like you were saying, isolated and alone.

Susan Pitts: We do address the hard places of motherhood as well, not just the hidden places but the places that are so hard that they're so hard to even talk about and we provide a safe place for that. And nightly the women come by the thousands to share that they have experienced that hard place. And just the fact knowing that someone else has experienced that, we address things such as a recent loss, young widows, miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, anxiety, depression, we try to address lots of topics that perhaps aren't front center on Sunday mornings, perhaps that aren't brought from, the average pulpit or even in the average moms' group.

We go to the really deep places sometimes, but when we go there we find tens of thousands of women that have been there and the relief to just know that others have been there and now we as a community are praying tonight night together. It's amazing and it's powerful and the prayer is powerful because that's what we basically do. We pray. We are praying mamas.

Becky Thompson: And you mentioned these areas, you mentioned the loss and the stillbirth and you mentioned anxiety and depression and mental health issues and financial issues and all these things and those aren't typically thought of as motherhood issues. This isn't, "I have a preschooler," or "I have a toddler," or "what do I do when I'm in a disagreement with this other mom, how do I heal that friend-?" These aren't typically what you think of when you think of motherhood, but I think we all know that a mother's life, it's a 360 view. There's so many other parts that play into her motherhood.

Dr. Clinton: I love that. When you guys are up online and you all are praying, take us there. What's it like? I mean is there a prayer like out of the devotional that you post? I mean, what's going on?

Susan Pitts: We like to do this in the moment. These are not scheduled out necessarily, a few may be, but generally speaking, these are not scheduled out. So at seven o'clock every evening we start to text. We'll start to say, "Who are we praying for tonight? Which mama has the Lord laid on your heart today?" Because we'll start to pray for that mama.

Becky Thompson: And this is just a text conversation between the two of us. This isn't something we're posting online. This is-

Dr. Clinton: Oh this is between the two of you.

Susan Pitts: Yes, I'm sorry. I don't think I made that clear.

Becky Thompson: This is between the two of us.

Dr. Clinton: So you guys are initiating your ministry.

Susan Pitts: Yes, at seven o'clock.

Becky Thompson: Together.

Dr. Clinton: Who are we praying for tonight?

Susan Pitts: Who are we praying for tonight?

Becky Thompson: Who are we praying for tonight?

Dr. Clinton: Because that's really what you're doing in the Devo too.

Becky Thompson: Yes, yes.

Dr. Clinton: As I was reading through them you pick a mom-

Becky Thompson: You pick a mom, yes.

Dr. Clinton: ... a mom who's deployed.

Susan Pitts: Yes.

Becky Thompson: Yes.

Dr. Clinton: I saw that. I mean to the mom who has horrible anxiety and she is terrified.

Susan Pitts: So at seven we start to text each other and we say, "Who has the Lord laid on your heart?" As he showed you somebody, kind of given you a heart picture of who you want to pray for tonight and then one of us will generally know and say, "I've been praying for her all day." And so we will compose the prayer, generally speaking, with one mother in mind.

Becky Thompson: With one person. Sometimes it's a mom that we know in our real life who's going through a situation and then we take the situation that she is going through specifically and we make it a general prayer for other moms facing the same type of hardship. So sometimes we have prototype mom, just a mom that we know that we can pull from and say, "We pray for the mom whose husband is working a lot of hours this week." And then we write that prayer and they're so short, they're just little, they're not long prayers. And the beauty is we address her need, we speak to the Lord and we ask Him to meet her need and we simply offer peace or hope. We say, "Lord, you know what this mom needs in this situation. This isn't some big - it's just us."

Susan Pitts: We're not a part of a large back-office ministry. We are literally the Midnight Mom Devotional Team. Becky and I, and we do this just as a mother and daughter every night at 8:30 we put the prayer online. Right about that time we'll put the prayer online and we will sit there and in astonishment and in praising the Lord, we will watch it and it will go so fast. It will go to almost 2,000 people liking and sharing on the Facebook community in less than one minute or two minutes. It will fly off. We'll just say, "Lord, let your Word, let your prayers go out, let them go out and reach the places where women are not connected yet."

And then what I do, and I know what Becky does when she has time because she's a young mom, but what I do is I will stay, I have a little gingham couch, I call it my gingham prayer couch. I'll stay on that couch and I will just start praying and the prayer requests will come in. We'll get almost sometimes, I mean hundreds and I'll start messages and I'll just start praying for them as personally as I can and we'll do that until it slows down.

Dr. Clinton: What a ministry? Becky and I have done a couple of things, interviews before together and she's known to so many, millions. It must be joy in your heart. But what I like hearing here is I like this multi-generational thing and how there's a connection that seems to really probably resonate with everybody out there. You hear what I'm saying? Because the two of you talking together and praying together and people get that. I remember a song, an old hymn growing up as a boy "My Mother's Prayers" that followed me. And when I think about that, I think everybody out there knows that mama has been praying for me since I was knee high. And there's something powerful about when women come to pray, not minimizing men, but when women pray, praying women, I grew up in the country that we'd say this, "They put the dogs up under the bed, if you know what I mean." Yeah, they do. I mean, because there's something that's going on that resonates at the heart level. Tell us about Becky growing up, real quick.

Susan Pitts: Oh great.

Dr. Clinton: I want to hear some of this.

Susan Pitts: Well, I'll tell you a story about how part of the Midnight Mom got started, a little bit, was way back in the beginning when I was getting ready to have her and my husband was out of town on a business trip. And so I went to the hospital to have her. Pretty much, I was by myself, I was young, my community was back East and I was in Oklahoma and so I was having this little baby by myself and - at the hospital of course and everything went well. But I love to tell the story about how after I came home we were so close to that hospital that I could see the white cross from my back door and how nightly I would pray for those moms that might be in that hospital by themselves.

So one of the other things I did as a young mom was I would always journal my prayers, and this is one of my favorite Becky stories. When she wrote her first book and she had her first book contract, I went back to the year that she was born and I looked in one of my prayer books and I had prayed that the Lord would make her be able to minister to other moms. She was a baby, she was still inside. I was pregnant and I prayed that she would have a ministry to women in the hard places.

Dr. Clinton: I'm going to have you start praying for me. That's beautiful.

Susan Pitts: It was so good. She was just, she was rambunctious and fun and she has always had the favor of God on her life. We talk about that all the time. Becky made a little CD when she was in the fourth grade. [crosstalk 00:16:11]

Dr. Clinton: I want some more of this stuff.

Susan Pitts: She was so blessed of the Lord she made a, they had an art contest in the State of Oklahoma and one day she came home, she said, "Mama, I'm going to have a billboard." And I said, "What honey?" She said, "Oh, I did something in class and they're putting it on a billboard." So she went to the governor and we met at the governor's mansion and we have a picture of her standing outside of her billboard and this is what her life has been like, that God has favored her in a way that has allowed her to expand her ministry, because we do Kingdom Work. She does Kingdom Work and that's the main thing is all this has led to Kingdom Work for her.

Dr. Clinton: It reminds me of that passage. I think it was Paul writing about Timothy "The unfeigned faith that was first in your grandmother and then in your mother and I'm confident is also in you Timothy." That multi-generational flow is beautiful, isn't it?

Susan Pitts: It's amazing. I mean I have a legacy of prayer.

Dr. Clinton: That's Deuteronomy 6 work. That we really are to be about our faith in such a way that we post it and it influences our children and our children's children. You're listening to Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Dr. Tim Clinton, your host today and we have in studio with us, Becky Thompson, you know her, mommy blogger, Par Excellence, I mean, and writer with an amazing gift. Her mother, Susan Pitts is here with us in studio. I'm delighted to have her. She's telling a couple of stories about Becky and we're going to get some more out of her here in just a moment, but coming back to the interview, Becky "hope" is a big word for you. You have a little book on that.

Becky Thompson: I do have a little book on that.

Dr. Clinton: Talk to us about the significance of hope and young moms and finding our way.

Becky Thompson: Absolutely. Well, I think there's a little quote that I was asked to submit. The publishing house that I'm with was creating a coloring book, which is great, but they said, "Do you have a little quote that you might want to put in the coloring book that we could make into art?" And anyway, long story short, I was driving down the road and my new book at that time, back in 2016 was called Hope Unfolding. It's still available. It's a great resource for moms, Hope Unfolding, and I thought, "What can I incorporate in hope?" And it just sprang up in my heart. "Hope is best when shared." And I believe that. And it sort of became a motto for my ministry. Hope is best when shared. And what I mean by that is if you have a belief that things won't always be the way they are right now and in motherhood, that's important for a couple of reasons.

We need to know that we need to embrace the moment that we're in because they're going to change. But also when we're in the hard places that we're not stuck in those moments forever, that we can eventually lead up out of them. That we can share that hope with others. We can say, "This is what I believe to be true. This is what I'm standing on today." And we can invite other women, other moms, other people in other seasons of life or similar seasons of life to stand on that common hope. So I think hope is best when shared and I think hope is important because if you have hope, you really have everything you need for tomorrow.

Dr. Clinton: Yeah. So coming back to this issue of praying, there's hope in it because it's like, "Okay, we get to go to the Throne of Grace and ask God to be in our moment. That I'm not alone even though I may feel alone, even though it may be 1:40 in the morning or 3:00 AM, and I've got a fever, and a child and it's been rough. God help me. Speak to me." And going to a community where I'm getting reinforcement. Talk to me about the faith element and how women are going there through your Facebook page, through the Midnight Devotional.

Becky Thompson: One thing about all of this, Dr. Clinton is that we want to connect women to the Heart of the Father. We want to connect women into a relationship with the Lord that might not previously have any experience in having a relationship with the Lord. They haven't been taught how to pray. Maybe their moms haven't taught them how to pray. Maybe they don't have grandmothers who taught them how to pray.

Dr. Clinton: Or they could be in a place where they don't feel very pretty before God.

Becky Thompson: That's right.

Dr. Clinton: There may be some stuff. Richard Foster and his classic book on prayer. One of the lines I took from that book was he said, "one of the greatest deterrence to an active prayer life is the belief that all has to be right in order to pray."

Becky Thompson: Right, and mom shared something very recently with me about this idea and that is that sometimes we put prayer in such a small box. It has to look like this. I have to be alone. I have to have this type of mindset. I need to say these words first before I say anything else before the Lord and really sometimes our being is a prayer. Sometimes we can have a communication with God or a conversation with God because he hasn't left the room. We don't have to have this whole grand word choice. We can just say, "Okay, I know you're here and I really need your help. I know you're with me. God, Lord, I don't like the way I've been acting. I don't like what I've been doing. Can you just help? Can you help?"

Susan Pitts: I always feel like my life is a prayer. I don't know how to explain it except when I sigh before the Lord it's a prayer. When I sing it's a prayer. When I am doing my dishes and thinking and praying to the Lord, it's a prayer. Part of just our motherhood is an act of prayer that we live. Being mindful of the Lord.

Becky Thompson: And so we try to invite women into a broader understanding of how they can communicate with the Lord so freely and so openly and how Jesus through His love and sacrifice and then resurrection made that available. And so taking prayer outside of this box of how it has to look and how it has to be has brought freedom to the hearts of mothers to remember that the resource that they really need is right there in the room with them, and they can always ask him for help or hope or encouragement or support in any season, in any situation.

Dr. Clinton: I love what you say about just being continually in an attitude of prayer and actually believing that God is there for you. Let me throw one more piece out here before we go away and that is to, to the young mom who is discouraged, who feels like her prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, she's trying and it's not connecting and she feels terribly disconnected and it's like, "I want this and I'm trying and I'm lost." What do you say to her?

Becky Thompson: We remind her that the God who loves her never leaves her and that she might not hear him in the way that she wanted to hear him answer. She might not have that clear direction or that clear hope or that clear insight or wisdom or whatever it is that she's been after, but that God is as close as her breath and he holds her and there isn't one word that she's ever spoken that he's missed, that he has caught every word and every tear and every sigh and he loves her. And even when she doesn't feel or hear him like she has in previous seasons, that he hasn't abandoned her and he has hope for her and a future for her. And it won't always be the way it is right now. And she will have seasons when she hears him clearly and the sun shines on her heart and she looks back and sees what he was doing in this quiet season of life.

Dr. Clinton: Thank you guys for the gift I think you've given to us all. Midnight Mom Devotional, almost a million followers now on the Midnight Mom Devotional Facebook page. And what they're doing is they're speaking into the hearts of mamas. Hey, the hand that rocks the cradle still rules the world. And you know what, we need to encourage her, so babies can grow up to be strong, young men and women. Go do the same thing for their babies. This is all about multi-generational flow and transmission. You guys, it's a beautiful gift to write out a prayer because it gets it started. It helps them get into and say things maybe they can't even verbalize and then God does the work. Thanks for joining us.

Becky Thompson: Thank you so much for having us.

Susan Pitts: Thank you for having us.

Roger Marsh: A touching reminder to wrap up this Family Talk Broadcast. For those moms struggling emotionally or if you feel completely overwhelmed, God knows your pain. Scripture tells us that He is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Our prayer is that every mother listening to us has been encouraged by this meaningful conversation and to the men who are listening today, please be attuned to your wife's needs and be sure to support her when she needs it. You can learn more about Becky and Susan's work by visiting our Broadcast Page at drjamesdobson.org. Once you're there, you'll find links to their rapidly growing social media pages and their popular new devotional as well. Simply go to drjamesdobson.org and then tap onto the broadcast page. Well, that's all the time we have for today. Be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.
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