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Parenting in Fear or Faith?

By Debbie Hansen —

Parents, do you believe that God has a plan and purpose for your child’s life? Of course, you do! Do you believe that God is Sovereign and rules over all? Of course, you do! I am sure that you have even reminded others of Romans 8:28, God works all things together for good.

I would never have said that I did not trust the Lord for my children’s lives and spiritual wellbeing. We have prayed for our children since before they were born and believe that they are a precious gift from Him and entrusted to us for a short period of time. Surely, I was trusting Him for their lives.

But perhaps you are like me and have found that new stages of childhood and parenting have brought new challenges and new temptations to fear or worry. Or maybe when your hopes and dreams have been interrupted by what has appeared to be a curve ball, difficulty, or serious trial you have been tempted to despair. Perhaps your imagination has run wild with worry about what could or might happen.

It is easier to trust God for our children when things are going well. But what happens when things do not go well, or our plans for our children seem to go awry? Do you ever find yourself trying to explain away paralyzing fear and despair due to your great love for your children? Is God still sovereign and good?

Dropping our dear ones off at school for the first time, giving them away in marriage, or sending them off to Afghanistan, our tender parent heart is prone to focus on ourselves and the circumstances rather than on the goodness and wonder of our Sovereign God. We seem to have a knack for imagining the worst possible scenarios.

Over my years of parenting, God has been gently growing me in trusting Him for my children’s physical and spiritual wellbeing and in releasing them to His care. Sometimes the process has bee relatively smooth and easy, but other times it has been rough and has brought me to my knees in despair. But even there, God has met me and rescued me.

Elisabeth Elliot is quoted as saying, “There is no grace for your imagination.” He does not give grace for the “what if’s” or for what could happen, but He does promise that, His grace is sufficient for what is happening and His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Moses’ mother, Jocabed, could have been paralyzed by fear for her son’s life, but Hebrews 11:23 says that “She did not fear the king’s edict,” (imagine that for a moment!) but did what she could and released her beautiful gift of a son back to the Giver of Life. She trusted in the One who loved her son even more than she ever could and had a plan and purpose for his life.

Lord, help me to parent in faith. You know that I am weak, show me where I am not trusting in Your grace and mercy; help my unbelief! I know that no amount of parenting can substitute for trusting the living, sovereign God. Help me to take every ‘lofty thought’ and ‘what if thought,’ captive to your will and trust you for my children. Help me to rely on You with each new stage of parenting. Help me to remember that You are also at work in their lives and use even their poor choices for good. Holy Spirit, please help me to speak truth to myself instead of listening to my fears. Thank you that You, the Good and All-Powerful Most High God, go with them downtown, out in the fields, or even to Afghanistan. You have ordained the number of days for each of our children and I will trust You. They are Yours and You have a good and perfect plan for their lives.

As Marty Pagano stated so powerfully at Jocelyn’s Celebration of Life Service, “Lord, You are Sovereign, and You are good!”

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God (Psalm 42:11).

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