by Cara Dury
As a parent, fear has been a persistent companion- at times an unwelcome tag-along and other times a paralyzing beast. When dreaming of my life as a mother, I did not envision a lengthened shadow. It was early on my path of parenting that I caught its sight, though.
Fear seemed easy to manage as a mom of littles. I know now it was (at least in part) because I was in control of so many aspects of their lives- their physical environment, food options, even who was able to interact with them. We know that parenting is a long process of letting go. And, so, over time the number of variables within my control has decreased and the number outside my control has increased – so, also, has fear’s size.
Fear’s presence in my life started affecting my parenting decisions. It impacted my view of others. It made the world seem big and scary.
Of course, this is not what God wants for us. He does not want our lives to be run by fear. He tells us directly He has not given us a Spirit of fear but one of POWER, love and self-discipline. These aspects of His Presence allow us to parent in peace- not fear.
God is a perfect Father. He knows our needs precisely and provides to meet them- even bringing us desperately to the end of our selfish and misguided attempts to find peace. He IS Peace. Tim Keller says, “The peace of God is not the absence of fear. It is, in fact, in his presence.”
Jesus spoke peace to the disciples in John 14:1: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send you in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you.”
We have the Spirit of God living in us. Peace is with us. We do not have to be overcome by fear of all the outcomes we imagine for our kids or the real and present difficulties they face.
This fight against fear is not one I have mastered. It is one in which I am presently engaged and often feel I am losing. Thankfully, we have a loving Father who welcomes us at every turn of repentance, who strengthens us in our innermost being and who loves out kids more than we do.
That last bit- about God loving my kids more than me- often irritates me. When people say it, maybe the timing isn’t particularly helpful. I know it’s true, though. That allows me to trust in His goodness and His good plans for them.
I can trust that everything they encounter is a purposeful part of His sovereign plan for their lives. Even the ways my own weaknesses might hurt my kids is part of the story He is writing to make them the people He designed them to be. When we think we are ruining our kids, we can be encouraged by the words of a mentor of mine, “You are not that powerful.” God’s story for their lives has room for all of the hardship – every mean word spoken to them, every disappointment, every injury, every lost opportunity.
What do we have to fear when it comes to our kids? Nothing. Fear is a liar. Fear will kill your joy, steal your sleep and destroy your peace. We know we have a good Father caring for us and for our children. We know we have a High King whose rule will not be thwarted. We know that great stories have messy middles. If God is for us, who can be against us?