“Boys, watch out for your brother, alright?”
“Stay away from the edge of the deck. And especially don’t hang over the side.”
“I don’t think you’re ready to ride your bike to the park. You never know what kind of people are up there.”
“Honey, did you put the laundry basket at the top of the stairs—just in case the boys wake up in the middle of the night and lose their balance? And before you come back to bed, will you see if I locked the front door?”
Fear. I’m so afraid that I’m going to lose one of my sons. So afraid that something bad might happen. We have a half-acre wooded lot that backs up to our neighbors. Between both houses, we have five boys between the ages of three and ten. I’m terrified every time I hear a blood-curdling scream. I’m certain there must be bones protruding from some body part.
This fear is crippling. It paralyzes me in the middle of a romantic date with my husband. I worry that the sitter might have accidentally left the front door open. I envision my youngest wandering out into the busy street we used to live on. We took a trip to the Florida Keys last summer, and all I could think of was the open banisters at the house our children were staying. The scene of them falling from the second to the first floor below haunted me in our villa each night.
Because of my fear, I exhibit large amounts of control over my children. Granted, some of it is necessary for good parenting. For example, I have a fear that when the boys are at a friend’s house whose rules vary from ours regarding internet and television, that they might stumble upon websites or channels that market sex. I fear that if they are exposed at such a young age, the struggle men face regarding pornography will take a foothold in their minds when they aren’t yet equipped for the battle. I think this is a healthy fear, and I have no intention of letting go of that one.
But the others … I want to let my children wander in our woods without fear of a brown recluse, or a poisonous snake. I want to let them build mountains of sticks to climb, twice as tall as they are, and not worry about them impaling themselves.
I often joke that parenting three young boys is kind of like being on suicide watch—I just have to make sure they don’t kill themselves. And while it is a little funny that my imagination unleashes such bizarre worries, I’m not so sure that it’s going to raise healthy teenagers. Another fear I have: rebellious teenagers.
Fear always cripples someone. In the case of parenting, I believe that it paralyzes both myself, and places unhealthy restrictions on my children. If I don’t stop my worrying, it is likely they might rebel from under my control when they are old enough to realize what I am doing.
It has only been in the last three months that I have been able to recognize and name this fear as it is happening. And I think it boils down to one larger issue—trust. My fear essentially says to God that I can care for my children better than He can.
The psalmist catches my mother’s heart in Psalm 56:8:
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
This I know: God is on my side.
O God, I praise your Word.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?
As I sit here writing on my deck the morning sun shines His mercies for today upon me. My children are playing in the mud and dirt below. I just heard someone going too fast around the road that wraps in front of our house. I turn my head, making a quick count of all three boys. Where are they? Are they away from the street? The work van whizzes by just as I count my last child. And I have to laugh. Fear has overtaken me for one breathless second.
Will I ever completely surrender the fear I have of losing a child? No, probably not. I am a mother and those children are my world. But I do believe that I can relinquish my fear to the Lord, so that I can truly enjoy other areas of my life. So that as the time progresses and my children take steps further away from under my wings, they will have peace and confidence in themselves. Where will they get that confidence from? They will have seen in me and hear it in my words of encouragement.
“You can do it, baby,” I say, as my toddler takes his first step.
“I didn’t know you could do that. It looks fantastic,” I tell my oldest, admiring his handiwork as he builds his first fire.
“Look at you!” I cry with delight as my five year old hangs precariously from a rock wall, 40 feet in the air. Thank God for harnesses and a father who knows what he’s doing.
And thank God for the whispered prayers of a mother as she stands back and watches, harnessing in her own fears.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
To Those Who Want To Be Truly Happy: Stop Chasing Happiness
Chasing happiness isn't all it's cracked up to be. Here are a few reasons why.
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
What Women Are Saying
-- Arlene Pellicane, co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships8 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles6 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Articles6 years ago
Relationships1 year ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture5 months ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions