Early in my marriage I had exactly what I prayed for, a loving husband and three beautiful babies and yet I often cried in frustration. I was so fearful of making a mistake with the huge responsibility of raising three helpless children who depended on me for their survival and development. Was I going to damage these precious blessings with my impatience and stupidity? These thoughts really weighed on me and I felt I was not passing the Good Mother test. I prayed constantly and sought wisdom from the Bible and read every parenting book I could get my hands on. And you know what I discovered? Fear is a paralyzer.
Parenting out of fear creates reactions with uncertainty rather than actions with confidence. Whether we have parenting worries or financial problems or any other out-of-control feeling, fear makes us grasp at decisions in desperation rather than in confidence.
Once I let go of my frantic need to do EVERYTHING RIGHT ALL THE TIME, I had many choices for action. Confrontation with a loved one is an opportunity to connect. When I had a tantruming 2 year old, I learned to model patience, teach love, and show grace. Running away, even mentally, doesn’t help anyone. As much as I wanted to shut myself in my room, pull the covers over my head and eat cheese and crackers in bed (who does that?) I learned to face problems with faith and courage and the support of Mr. K. There is a solution to most every challenge though the best answer may not be an easy one.
Fear is a paralyzer, but faith is an energizer. Let go of what cannot be controlled and cast any anxieties on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7). I’m still learning how to deal with fear, but when I look back on all that God has taught me and Mr. K by relying on Him through the trials of parenting, I see how I have grown in wisdom and faith. The kids have turned out pretty good, too.
The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.