Parent by Faith, Not by Fear
By: Ashley Thrift
I will confess to you my greatest fear as a mom: I fear my kids will get lost or stolen. This has always been my fear as a parent, but even more so since I became a mom of two girls in this crazy world.
The world is dangerous, scary, and unpredictable. But I cannot put my kids in a bubble or shelter them from the world, because of my fears.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says to “walk by faith, not by sight.” This applies to everything we do in life, including parenting. The Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. How many times do we make parenting decisions based on what we hope for our kids’ future? All. The. Time.
How and when we discipline, where our kids go to school, the values we have for our families — these are all examples of parenting decisions made by faith, not by sight. And just like any other act of faith, we rarely see the results immediately.
But I’m Worried All the Time
Should he play with that? Isn’t that a girl toy?
Should I let her go to that play date? What if the other kids are still sick?
Should we involve them in that sport? What if they get hurt?
Parents never lack things to worry about. God knows your fears, and He is greater than them all. He tells us to cast all of our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
God doesn’t want us to do this parenting thing without Him. He loved all the little children, big or small, before they were ever created. Before God entrusted our kids to us, He knew just what they would need. So before He knit them in the womb, He made you (Psalm 139:13).
Behind all of our worries, big and small, is this fear that we’re not raising our kids the right way. That we’re messing them up and that our mistakes as parents could hinder God’s purpose for their lives.
Don’t let the fears of the world persuade you against God’s prevailing promises.
When a difficult toddler causes us to raise our voices one too many times, the fear of failure wells up in our hearts and we question whether we’re cut out for this. When our children become teens, worry about how the long-term impact of their decisions leaves us wondering: Did we do enough?
Don’t let the fears of the world persuade you against God’s prevailing promises. His faithfulness continues through all generations (Psalm 119:90).
Focusing on God’s promises helps us set an example for our kids: We do not have to live in fear. And when things do not turn out the way we had hoped for or planned, we can lean on God for understanding because His ways are greater than ours (Proverbs 3:5, Isaiah 55:9).
You’re Going to Make Mistakes
Parenting is a lot of trial and error, and no parent is perfect. But if God has entrusted us with our kids, that says a lot about how much He loves and trusts us.
Our kids are going to make mistakes, and we are going to make mistakes. This is a fact of life, not a reflection of your parenting. Lean into the Lord to overcome your fears, and let your children be children. God’s steadfast love never ceases. He is faithful when we are faithless, and He gives us a fresh start every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
When you feel anxious or fearful, turn to God’s Word for comfort and advice. The Bible is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). Write down what scares you and surrender it to our almighty Father, Creator, Protector, Healer, Rescuer, and Peacemaker. Our children are in His hands, and so are we.
Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Just as we love our children, God loves us. And just as He has faith in us as parents, we must have faith in Him to guide our parenting. Parent by faith, not by fear.