Inspiration

Fear Not-Protecting My Kids


Parents, we can do this. We can take our parenting fears to Christ. In fact, if we don’t, we’ll take our fears out on our kids.”

By Max Lucado

Parenting Fears

No one told me that newborns make nighttime noises. All night long. They gurgle; they pant. They whimper; they whine. They smack their lips and sigh. They keep Daddy awake. At least Jenna kept me awake. I wanted Denalyn to sleep. Thanks to a medication mix-up, her post-C section rest was scant. So for our first night home with our first child, I volunteered to serve as first responder. We wrapped our eight pounds and four ounces of beauty in a soft pink blanket, placed her in the bassinet, and set it next to my side of the bed.  Denalyn fell quickly into a sound slumber. Jenna followed her mom’s example. And Dad? This dad didn’t know what to make of the baby’s noises.

When Jenna’s breathing slowed, I leaned my ear onto her mouth to see if she was alive. When her breathing hurried, I looked up “infant hyperventilation” in the family medical encyclopedia. When she burped and panted, so did I. After a couple of hours I realized, I have no clue how to behave! I lifted Jenna out of her bed, carried her into the living room of our apartment, and sat in a rocker. That’s when a tsunami of sobriety washed over me.

“We’re in charge of a human being.”

I don’t care how tough you are. You may be a Navy SEAL who specializes in high-altitude skydiving behind enemy lines. You might spend each day making million-dollar, split-second, stock market decisions. Doesn’t matter. Every parent melts the moment he or she feels the full force of parenthood.

How did I get myself into this? I retraced my steps. First came love, then came marriage, then the discussions of a baby carriage. Of course I was open to the idea. Especially when I considered my role in launching the effort.  Somehow during the nine-month expansion project, the reality of fatherhood didn’t dawn on me. Women are nodding and smiling. “Never underestimate the density of a man.” you say. True.  But moms have an advantage; thirty-six weeks of reminders elbowing around inside them. Our kick in the gut comes later. For me it came in the midnight quiet of an apartment living room in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as I held a human being in my arms.

The semi-truck of parenting comes loaded with fears. We fear failing the child, forgetting the child. Will we have enough money? Enough answers? Enough diapers? Enough drawer space? Vaccinations. Educations.  Homework. Homecoming. It’s enough to keep a parent awake at night.

I will someday ask God, “Why were you so good to my daughters and me?” and he will answer by pointing to Denalyn. “She just kept talking about you and your kids.” Denalyn takes regular prayer walks though our house, stepping into each bedroom and living area. She pauses to pray for her daughter and husband.  She takes full advantage of the invitation of Lamentations 2:19: “Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.”

Handling Parenting Fears

Parents, we can do this. We can take our parenting fears to Christ. In fact, if we don’t, we’ll take our fears out on our kids. Fear turns some parents into paranoid prison guards who monitor every minute, check the background of every friend. They stifle growth and communicate distrust. A family with no breathing room suffocates a child.

On the other hand, fear can also create permissive parents.  For fear that their child will feel too confined or fenced in, they lower all boundaries. High on hugs and low on discipline. They don’t realize that appropriate discipline is an expression of love. Permissive parents. Paranoid parents. How can we avoid the extremes?  We pray.

Prayer is the saucer into which parental fears are poured to cool. Jesus says so little about parenting, making no comments about spanking, breast-feeding, sibling rivalry, or schooling. Yet his actions speak volumes about prayer. Each time a parent prays, Christ responds. His big message to moms and dads?  Bring your children to me.  Raise them in a greenhouse of prayer.

When you send them off for the day, do so with a blessing. When you tell them good night, cover them in prayer. Is your daughter stumped by geography homework? Pray with her about it. Is your son intimidated by a new girl? Pray with him about her. Pray that your children have a profound sense of place in this world and a heavenly place in the next.

Accepting Parenting Fears

Parents, we can’t protect children from every threat in life, but we can take them to the Source of life. We can entrust our kids to Christ. Even then, however, our shoreline appeals may be followed by difficult choice.

The hard reality of parenting reads something like this: You can protect, pray, and keep all the bogeymen at bay and still find yourself in the ER at midnight or a drug rehab clinic on visitors’ Sunday, choosing between two voices: despair and belief.

God has a heart for hurting parents. Should we be surprised? After all, God himself is a father. What parental emotions has He not felt? Are you separated from your child? So was God. Is someone mistreating your children? They mocked and bullied His. Is someone taking advantage of your children? The Son of God was set up by false testimony and betrayed by a greedy follower. Are you forced to watch while your child suffers? God watched His Son on the cross. Do you find yourself wanting to spare your child from all the hurt in the world? God did. But because of His great love for us, “He did not spare His own Son but gave Him for us all. So with Jesus, God will surely give us all things.” Romans  8:32 NCV

“All things” must include courage and hope.

Late that night a quarter century ago, I gave my daughter to God.  As I rocked her in our just-bought rocker, I remembered the way Abraham had placed Isaac on the altar, and I decided to do the same.  So following the centenarian’s example, I made our apartment living room Moriah and lifted my daughter toward heaven.  I can’t raise this girl, I confessed, but you can.  I give her back to you. Must have been a sight to behold, a pajama-clad father lifting his blanket-wrapped baby toward the ceiling. But something tells me that a few parents appreciated the gesture. Among them, Abraham, Jairus, and of course, God.

This excerpt was taken from Max Lucado’s book Fearless.

 


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  • KrisFromMI

    Well…..I hate to be a negative nelly for the first comment….LOL…But here is my story and I don’t know where else to put it. I have been searching the internet SO much the last few days. I just need some advice. Me and my husband have been together for going on 18 years. We have been married for almost 8 of them years. I was 27 he was 33 when we very first got together. I had 4 children. When we met he was not in a very good place. he was HEAVILY addicted to drugs and pretty much homeless. We seen each other a few times just “around” not dating or anything. He came to my house one night, and straight up told me, he had a SERIOUS problem and wanted to stop. That was the begining for us.Well life went along….we have been together ever since. we have had VERY bad downs and VERY good up’s! I will spare you all all of the details. Well, this is where I feel the demise of our relationship took the turn it is to at this point in time. Last year one of my husbands friends ( a much older friend at 74) got sick and eventually passed away. Him and his wife and me and my husband were very close ( she was much younger than her husband at 48 maybe). She was who I considered one of my best friends. We talked about EVERYTHING. Well I found out that a month after HER husband passed away that her and MY husband spent endless hours on the phone to eachother everyday. They would talk from the time my husband left the house in the morning (he is a truck driver) until the time he got home at night. Monday through Friday they talked for a minimum of 6 hours a day. I talked to “her” probably 5 to six times a week M-F and much more often on the weekends. I figured out one weekend that something wasn’t adding up. My husband told me a couple things that I KNEW didn’t tell him. After thinking about it over night, I figured out that he had been talking to “her” because she was the ONLY one I had said any of these things to. I asked my husband if he had been talking to “her”. He said yea, once in a while. I was like OK. ( “thought” it’s ok THEY were friends too) Well my mind would not let it rest. I looked on his phone and there were no calls from her or to her. That kind of boggled me. So I looked on out phone account.I ALMOST passed out!!! There were 6555 minutes of them talking to eachother in approx 20 days of the month that we were into. I didn’t know WHAT to do. He was sleeping in his chair. I walked outside, I went to my other girlfriend’s house and poured my heart out to her. She cried with me. I thought Hmmmmm….I am gonna call “her” off on my hubbys phone and see what her reaction would be to it being ME. :) She said Hiiiii……I said Hey…..she asked what I was up to…I said oh not much. I just got a question for ya…she said yea? I asked her if she had talked to my husband lately…..she says yea once in a while….I was like WHAT?! once in a while?!?! she hung up on me and has NEVER answered me again. I MARCHED to OUR house and gave my husband ONE last chance to tell me the truth. I asked him HOW much do you talk to “her” and he was adiment that it was ONCE IN A WHILE. I busted out my computer with the phone records on it and asked him AGAIN……NOW tell me……HOW often do you talk to her? well needless to say it has been ROUGH…..VERY rough. We have been working on our marriage, we do really good for a while and then something happens and I find myself dwelling on WHY did he so this to me…….Well THIS weekend he threw me ANOTHER blow that I am TRYING to deal with. He told me that he doesn’t find my breast attractive, AT ALL, actually he said that they just TOTALLY turn him off….he said he didn’t want to hurt my feelings but they just DON’T. He continued on to ask me if I breast fed my kids when they were born….I was TOTALLY dumbfounded and didn’t even know what to do. All I could do was cry! I feel SO horrible. There is NOTHING I can do about the way my breast are. I am getting older and YES I have had FOUR children! I am by NO means a beauty queen (far from it) but MAN…..for being 44 and having FOUR kids I THOUGHT I looked pretty darn good. But he busted that balloon too. I feel SO insignifigant and I don’t know WHAT to do anymore. I feel like NOTHING I do….or don’t do is right. I feel like I will NEVER make him happy so when do I QUIT trying to make HIM happy and start on making ME happy? I don’t know….I guess I just want some advice. I am 44 years old I am 5’7″ tall, I weigh 148 lbs. Part of me says IF he doesn’t “want” me, I am SURE I can find someone that DOES. But THAT is NOT me…….I LOVE my husband. I WANT to make HIM happy…..BUT I NEED to feel happy too :(

    • Karen

      Oh Kris, my heart goes out to you! What a heartbreaking situation you are in! In addition to the grief of losing a good friend you’re grieving the loss of trust in, and betrayal by, 2 of those who mean the most to you! Tragically, it sounds like grief has “thrown” them together, inappropriately. I hope someone has given you the name of a good Christian counselor in your area who can help you through this. And marriage counselor. This is too much to bear and sort out on your own…I’m so glad you have another friend you’ve been able to process this with, and cry with. Lean on that/those friend(s). I don’t know if this will help, but I heard it once……Set aside time(s), and amount of time, each day to give yourself permission to grieve. Then move through your day telling yourself at such-and-such a time you can grieve with abandon but right now you need to function. Maybe ___ minutes every 1/2 hour or hour, to begin with? I’m praying that you will have God’s wisdom and God’s strength for this moment. This hour. Today. Every day.

      • KrisFromMI

        Thank You Karen! :) I was begining to wonder if anyone read these things LOL Yes it does stink. I have always thought of myself as a very strong person, but THIS particular thing has thrown me for a loop. He still to this day “says” that nothing “physical” happened. My feelings are that all of it….physical and/or emotional is wrong. If they were doing nothing wrong than WHY were all of the calls and text deleted and also “pictures”, of WHAT I have no idea. I have had several people that know us say that they had seen things earlier. It all plays with my heart. I WANT to believe my husband. But in my heart of hearts I fear that he is lying to me. Then I have other people that have told me the stuff they have seen, and it tears me apart to think about it. My problem is that I am the type of person to just put on a happy face and keep all my feelings tucked inside. Sometimes though I BLOW my cork. It takes an awful lot…..but when it goes….it goes :)
        Some days I think Oh I will be fine! I can sort this all out. I was doing really good….then the this past weekend happened and I though WHAT have I been doing all of this time?!?!? I feel like a fool. Since the “friend” episode happened I have been trying really hard to be more flirtatious, dressing to seduce him or what not. Then I get the revalation from him that WOW I really don’t even turn him on :( He tells me I LOVE YOU! I told him I think that HIS definition of love and MY definition of love must be 2 COMPLETELY different things. I would NEVER do the things and say the things to him (the man I LOVE) that he does to me and he has no response to that.I think that he has some VERY deep issues that he needs to deal with and I am not capable of helping him with that. We can help each other with a lot of things and we have but I don’t know if his upbringing or WHAT his issues really are. I know that HE is not a very happy person, he is very negative about almost everything and he always thinks he has it the worst of ANYONE. I have tried for going on 18 years to help him through all of the troubles that he has had. BUT these issues I can’t fix……at least on my own. I WISH I didn’t love this man with EVERYTHING that I am. I wish I hated his guts and could care less….but I don’t. To answer your question about counciling…I have been in contact with one place, but they said that I would need to contact a different place because they deal more with people that are mentally “unstabe” I understand what they mean but somedays I feel UNSTABLE. I need to contact some other places. Like I say….I am having the days now where I “think” I can deal with this my self. :)

  • JBA

    I was truly blown away after reading this article. I was expecting to read about how to shop ’til you drop or have a girls’ night out with your closest friends in order to feel like a princess. But the author emphasizes that a woman should focus on her inner beauty instead of what the world considers beautiful is only external and very superficial. BRAVO, Nancy Jenkins! After reading just a few lines of your article, immediately, I realized I am a princess. I am a Cinderella. Better yet, I am a child of the King who possesses so much more than I ever realized. I do possess those internal qualities that God truly admires-being kind, bold, hopeful, resourceful, and honorable. I thank God for using you to help me understand that I am truly beautiful!

  • SaraLynn

    Thank you for this article. I loved it except one of the primary things that hit me in this new Cinderella movie was to Be Forgiving. It was a powerful scene at the end of the movie when Cinderella turns and tells her stepmother that she forgives her. Unforgiveness can destroy a person from the inside out! Cinderella could never have a happily ever after if she was not forgiving.