As I meet with moms who are a bit ahead of me in the parenting journey, they confess that like me, the hardest seasons weren’t the baby/toddler/preK years. No, they were the times the kids were bullied. Or, when they took the car keys and headed out for the first time. Or 100th. The first dating break-up. The first college paper that had them in tears.
I’ve blogged about it before, but the heartbreak our teen and young adult kids have walked through emotionally did me in for a time. The blows they endured gave me a self-made wall I erected in hopes I’d never grieve for them again. Honestly? I wanted to erect a real wall for them so they would be protected.
Recently, both had new opportunities. One was a relationship. A new start after a very rough break-up that left all of us jaded. The other was a social situation that took them out of the comfort zone and possibly put them in path of temptation and peer pressure.
My stomach felt a constant clench. I didn’t want these things to move forward. Neither showed direct danger, but because we’d experienced heartbreak before, I didn’t want anyone to try. Let’s stay home. Every day. Do nothing. With Others.
I knew fear skirted inside my wounded heart and planned to take residence. The hard part? I didn’t feel an urgency to evict. I wanted to hover, even though fear ruled, not faith.
Looking for Biblical inspiration, Mary, Mother of Jesus, of course comes to mind. What if she was presented with the birth plan for the Savior of the world and politely said, “No, thanks.” Where would we be? Where would I be?
I also thought of Miriam and Moses mom. What faith she must have had. With her son in danger, she placed him in a basket and put him in the water. I know the many thoughts that would have crossed my mind, and I don’t think many would have been full of faith. Would he drown? Would animals get to him? Would the plan backfire? I imagine I’d be concocting all kinds of plans where I keep my son and he stays safe.
But that kind of thinking, as loving as it sounds, stunts growth. And in Moses case, would have cost him his life.
Parents like the one I’m tempted to be are often called helicopter parents and I’ve yet to see anyone hover close to a helicopter and not get hurt. I do no favors to my loved ones when I keep them so close they never break free from my grip. I’ve seen the effects of that, and it only breeds fear in the child/ren.
Right now as I type, I’m not close location wise to the kids. I can’t see who they are with or what they are doing. Worse yet, what others are doing to them. It can be mind numbing if I allow it.
Again, the Bible is my guide. Proverbs is that reliable book that helps me in the daily ins and outs as a wife and mom. Here’s what I’m choosing:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:1-12, NIV
Those verses remind me I’ve poured all the wisdom and discernment God’s given me into the kids. Hovering isn’t the same as establishing boundaries or protecting them in the face of danger. I had to trust God with everything. Including the children God’s entrusted to us.
I know I’ve written on the fear theme quite a bit this year. It’s not just my journey, but there’s someone out there reading now who is struggling. Maybe it’s not as a parent, but as a child with an aging parent. Perhaps you’re questioning your career or financial future? I don’t know in what area fear is slinking around trying to find an in, but you have every right to kick the true defeated one out. I know I am.
How about you?