Like many of you, Chuck and I went through a ceremony with each of our newborns. Dedication, baptism, christening. Different words and rituals, perhaps, but these solemn moments were our humble expressions of thanks and need. We thanked God for giving us this child and we acknowledged that we desperately needed Him to be good parents. These moments were, in fact, acts of surrender. We understood it would take God to make us godly parents and thus raise up godly children. And yet.
Take a deep breath.
One of the most gripping and overwhelming emotions I see in parenting today is fear. Fear of sickness. Fear of un-coolness. Fear of being different, being picked on, or being left out. Fear of failure. Fear of lack of intelligence, beauty, popularity, or sports skill. From the need to get all “A’s” in kindergarten (let that sink in a moment), to the need to wear just the right clothes, we fear that our kids may not “be enough.”
Widen out the lens to a bigger worldview and the fear factor only increases. Fear of not having a good job, fear of not marrying well, fear of not serving God, fear of not living well “enough.” Don’t even mention world tensions and local threats. We are consumed with the what-if’s.
We find ourselves living in The Land of Unknowns. From the child’s first night alone in the crib to the first day of school; from the first time driving behind the wheel to the first day at college; from the first kiss to walking down the aisle, we are forced into situation after situation where we have no control.
Many of us have survived ER trips. We’ve prayed our children through spiritually dark seasons. We’ve stood over their beds as they slept, or rolled in our own sleepless beds. We have cried out for insight and wisdom on their behalf. Yet we often feel helpless, or hopeless.
God gave us the children. He didn’t give us the fear that sometimes consumes us. Parenting is not meant to be a fear-based endeavor.
I believe the single greatest, and most underused, tool in parenting in trusting God. From that first cry, our hearts are to be ever-releasing our children to the care of the Lord. Do we really believe He loves our children, uhm, His children, more than we do? Do we really believe that He knows the plans He has for them? Do we grasp the comfort and power of His promise to “work all things together” for their good?
Is your child facing a sickness, diagnosis, label, sin issue, character weakness, or spiritual attack? Ask God. He knows your child better than anyone. Better. Than. Anyone.
When Charis was deathly sick, I sought God from whom to get help. I sat in many doctors’ offices and listened to the Lord as to whether I should take their counsel. It was fear that would have me jump through every medical hoop they suggested. It was God who directed my steps and saved Charis’ life on more than one occasion when faulty medical advice was given.
When our family was going through brokenness and sin and I knew it was impacting our children, I prayed over our house, anointed our rooms and asked God to be their defense and shield. He was their Good Father, He would protect them when Chuck and I were at our weakest and worst. It was God who would be the Healer of us all.
Through the years, as we have faced The Land of Unknowns — school decisions, good and bad friends, the opposite sex, college paths, all the many choices and temptations—we planted first in the Lord, His principles, His paths. Then we charted courses for and with our children. Not based on the fear of what-if’s but based on “What is God saying?”
Can I tell just you, these have not been popular steps. Many times our greatest obstacles to overcome has been the opinions of others. We had to decide to follow what God was saying, His promises, whether anyone else agreed or not. Is your marriage not spiritually connected? God’s promise to you is still true. Bank on it.
Simply put, God does not operate in fear. Perpetually fear-based homes are not His desire for parenting. Instead He invites us into Perfect Love. When we are at rest and peace with Him, we can give the same to our children. When we learn to trust Him, we can teach our kids to trust Him. Whether it is you alone, or you and your husband, press into the Lord in trust.
God made many promises to me about my children. Just recently He gave me this beautiful phrase when I faced a potential fear of the unknown.
I looked at Salem and the opportunity before her was ripe with many possibilities, good and bad. “Do you trust me?” she asked.
How can my kids learn to trust God with their lives, if I don’t trust God with their lives?
I spoke out loud what I heard in my spirit. “I trust God in you.”
That’s right. I can trust God to be with her and for her, no matter what. The fear had to leave my heart. God is stronger than my child, my enemy or my fears. God goes before me and my children. He is the most reliable and trustworthy person in heaven and earth.
And here is the clincher. God is on the hook for all his kids, parents and children alike. He loves me and you as much as He loves our kids. You are not letting go of your children. You are giving them back to God.
“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.”