“Are you scared?”
I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?
“Of anything,” he answered.
I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.
“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.
Of course I was scared.
I was scared…
- I’ll lose my temper.
- I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
- I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
- I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
- I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
- I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
- I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
- I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
- I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.
In short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.
And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.
Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:
Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?
Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.
I’m sure you have fears, too.
But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.
If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).
Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.
What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.