Overcoming parenting fears and remembering that time I rafted the Ocoee

Despite what my family may think, I wasn’t much of a worrier until I became a mom. Or maybe my worries are on steroids now and it seems that my slight worries before were silly. I’m confident that people who are not parents are capable of the same irrational worry I sometimes experience. But I have never been paralyzed by fear and worry until I became a mom.

I did have that moment in my mom’s van after picking out bridesmaid dresses and colors for my wedding in SOBBING TEARS because…just what if I decided after my wedding that I made the wrong decision? What if I regret the color choice? My mom had to get ugly with me, “Brittany, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! You will be MARRIED! Who cares if 5 years from now you decide coral pink was the wrong color?”

Six years later and I don’t regret my color choice. I do, however, regret my hairstyle on that day. Whatever. 

And there was that awful, horrible trip down the Ocoee. I cried THE ENTIRE TIME (and I was in college)! I blame the fact that I didn’t have true seat in the raft because I was the smallest and made the 7th person on the raft. No where to secure my feet and I spent all my energy dodging the dang guide’s paddle. Just terrible. Will never ever do that again. My first and last trip down any rapids.

More than my hairstyle on my wedding day, I regret this little adventure. I’m the one squeezed in a non-seat next to the guide. 

Parenting has some slightly more legit worries. Thanks to the news and social media, I read/hear all kinds of scary situations that I think are just destined to happen to me and my family.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. 
Elizabeth Stone

Worry is just part of the package when you become a parent. Spit-up, poop on your clothes, sleep deprivation, lots of laundry, spending your entire grocery budget on formula/diapers, absolute joy and delight, gratitude, an undeniable desire to grow closer to the Lord, and…worry. It’s all inevitable. But that’s no excuse to accept worry as the norm and live with it.

Worry is sin and it must be fought just like any other sin…by the word and power of God. I believe, at least for me, that the root of all my worries is fear.

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 
2 Timothy 1:7

without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 
Hebrews 11:6

Since Scott’s arrival I have become so convicted over my fear and worry. I have realized that my decision making skills as a parent are determined by making a list of all the possible scenarios in my head, then choosing the one that has the least likely opportunity to have a devastating outcome. Good grief! Not only is it exhausting to rack my brain with all the things that could go wrong, but who am I to think I can even get close to determining an outcome?

I live in fear. I hear a tragic news story or read a link on FB and Twitter and I file it in my head under “Things that will probably happen to my family because, though we are held in God’s hands, I live in an evil world.”

I’ve always been taught by my wise father that nothing happens that God doesn’t cause or allow. And while that is so comforting to know that God orchestrates everything in my life, I always have the “what if” that lingers in my head.

What if He allows tragedy in my life like the tragedy I see on the news?

I know His promises. I know He will never forsake me. My fear is being faced with tragedy, even knowing He will be behind, before, and with me the whole way. I don’t trust that His presence will be enough and all that I need in the midst of tragedy.

I want to trust, so so badly. I don’t want to parent out of fear. I want to parent like I’m free from fear and worry, because I am! I want my kids to live in that freedom. I don’t want to hinder their childhood because I’m terrified of some hypothetical, usually irrational situation.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’m foolish! I still need the wisdom and discernment of my Father to guide my decision making. I’m so thankful for His discernment because there have been times in Lily’s life that it has protected her from something that really could have been devastating and harmful.

I desire to live a life so intimately acquainted with my Jesus, the Protector of my family, that my mind doesn’t drown in worry over things that might happen. I just simply want to trust. And I want to rid my mind of all worry about the future. I pray for my mind and heart to by guarded from the enemy’s thoughts that are only meant for my destruction. I pray for my decisions to be rooted in the assurance of my omnipresent God and the truth that He loves and cares for my family more than I do. He has more investment in their lives and hearts than I do…for He created them for His purposes, not for me and not for my purposes. I just have the blessing and privilege of raising them according to His ways.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is lent to the Lord. 
1 Samuel 1:27-28

It’s so hard to give back something the Lord gave me. It’s so hard to release control of my kids to Him. I must remember that I never had control anyway, so there really is nothing to release. I simply have to let Lily and Scott be His, while I am a vessel He is using to help them become all that He created them to be.

God is my Father, He loves me, I shall never think of anything He will forget, why should I worry?
Oswald Chambers
Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay heir hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake.  This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you and mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. 
Luke 21: 10-19

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. 
Psalm 112: 7

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 
Romans 8:6

Are the comforts of God too small for you, or the word that deals gently with you?
Job 15:11

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 
Proverbs 31:25

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s