I have fears. I am afraid of making mistakes. I’m afraid of being hurt by those I love. I’m afraid of doing a bad job representing God. Most of all I’m afraid that one day our kids (our girls) are going to make the mistakes I made (wow, that is my deepest fear out there for all to see).
My parents, siblings, friends and neighbors could attest to my not so awesome behavior when I was a teenager. Let’s just say I was a young girl who desired real love and acceptance. I am very grateful at the young age of 20, God saw it fit to reach down from heaven and show me the depth of His love and grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And to be completely fair to God, He tried to show me that love many times prior and I either rejected or didn’t understand. But now, as a parent of two girls, I’m afraid of the choices they’re going to make. One day while expressing these fears to a dear friend, she gently said to me, “God rescued you, didn’t He?” And BOOM! There it was, I believed that my fears and struggles were BIGGER than God. Did I really think they were bigger than the God who created the earth, sky and everything in between? Bigger than the God who holds all of His creation in His hand? Bigger than the God who sent plagues to stir the heart of Pharaoh, or the God who sent manna from heaven for 40 years to His people, or the God who changed a murder’s heart, or the God who raised Jesus from the dead? You get the point (I hope).
My fears are rooted in my small significantly insignificant life having more power over my children than God.
So as I wrestle with this and work to trust my children in their Creator’s hands (I’ll get to that silly statement in a minute), I seek out wisdom from others on how to do this parenting thing. One friend tells me they’re reading a book, so I go and get that book. Another parent tells me their doing this to help and so I try it. This process begins to get overwhelming because there are many great resources out there, many resources I believe God has sincerely pressed on hearts to write. But trying to figure out what teaching method/book to use became an even bigger dilemma for me. I would begin a book and be so excited about it and then another friend would tell me they liked another book- and they sounded so confident in their choice- and so I would second guess the book I liked so much. Again, all of this going back to being driven by fear, oh a vicious cycle! So then in my flesh I want to give up. I have all the right intentions to raise our kids to love God, but trying to wade through the choices became overwhelming. And my method of trying to do it all became stifling. I was feeling suffocated by this process instead of freed.
Then God does what He always does, He gently talks to me through His Word and others. Trust me.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:29-31
Those six little words, “those who hope in the Lord,” were my ticket to freedom. Not freedom to be the most awesome parent in the world, but freedom to let go of my fears. When I put my hope and trust in God to guide me as a parent, to trust that my kids are in good hands with Him, the fear diminishes. God is not some awesome answer, He is the answer. And He knows our children’s hearts better than we do, He sees things that I don’t see. So as I trust Him, He helps me to know how to pray for them, to love them and to guide them.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9
And God began a new work in me. I’ve recently heard the phrase “lean into Him” or “press into Him” and I love the image it draws in my mind. It reminds me that if I press into God and put my weight on Him, I am dependent upon Him to keep me standing. And if He moves, and I don’t move with Him then I will fall flat on my face. May I lean ever so much into Him that I move when He moves, that I hear His heartbeat for our kids, and that I let Him put His arm around me and guide me to the next step. Because when I trust in Him to parent and lead our kids, I have invested in the One, whom no one compares and no one/thing will exceed.
When I find myself being fearful, I take whatever fear I have and share it with God. I even do this with our marriage. There are some days where I get this feeling like our marriage is under attack, now this could be God or it could be Satan trying to get me to be fearful, either way, I have learned to pray over our marriage and for my husband. And when I say share, I tell God my fears and then I envision myself placing that fear/situation/person in God’s hands. Because I am very visual, so this helps me to know I am fully placing trust in God. Now this is not some kind of full proof method to keep everything intact, because I know that my children and husband are capable of making their own choices. But when I pray for them, I trust they are in better hands then being held up in my fears.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
I don’t know where you are, you may not have fears or your fears may be totally different than mine. But I hope you know you can trust God and trust in God. And He will never fail you, never leave you, never forsake you. He is where we can find rest from our fears.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28