Giving Our Kids to God
Standing a few feet away from my four daughters as they run around the playground at our favorite park, I’m always struck by a battle of warring emotions. To see their unbridled joy and love of life brings the kind of fulfillment to my heart that makes me feel like I might explode. But also, there is something else that fills my heart: fears and worries about the things that feel outside of my control. What if they fall? What if they get hurt? What if I’m not there when they need me?
If you’re a parent yourself, you’re no stranger to the constant temptation to worry about your children’s well being. So much fear can be wrapped up in parenting: fear that bad things will happen, fear that your kids will make mistakes, fear that you will make mistakes. The list is never-ending, refreshed with new things to fear every day of your life as a parent.
The world is a scary place. Just turn on the news, flip through a newspaper or log onto Facebook. But that’s nothing new. The world has always been full of darkness and sin, just as our God has always been good, faithful to fulfill his promises and work everything for our good.
It makes sense that we are inclined to feel fear and worry about our children. We were created to treasure them deeply, for as we’ve been taught, “Children are a heritage from the Lord.” (Psalm 127:3, New International Version). All throughout the Bible we see how greatly God cherishes the youngest of his people and he created each of us with a heart that reflects his own. I believe that the deep love, care and concern we have for our kids were first found in the heart of the Creator himself.
What we weren’t created for, however, is to live and parent from a place rooted in fear, worry or anxiety. The Bible tells us “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, New King James Version). I can think of so many times as a young mama that I have cast away the gift of God’s peace at the altar of fear and worry over my children’s lives – and for what? What positive or beneficial thing has fear or worry ever produced? What kind of life does it give?
Mamas, it’s time for us to take hold of the power God has given us to create a legacy of hope and faith for our children. The Bible says, “Therefore do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NIV) Every day we have a choice to make. Will we show our children what it looks like to run away from difficulties, cowering in fear and cursing our hardships? Or, will we show them what real, raw, gritty faith looks like by placing our trust firmly in the loving hands of a God who has always been good and faithful to fulfill his promises?
The foundation of this kind of faith is rooted in hope – the kind of hope born from the peace that comes from believing Jesus when he said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NIV) Hope isn’t pretty or fluffy and it’s not passive. True hope isn’t simply wishing for things we want to come true. True hope comes from believing that God is who he says he is and that he will be faithful to fulfill his promises, even if he never reveals the how or the why to us.
When we align our concept of hope with God’s, it’s easier to view the challenges and hardships our children face as experiences that will build their character and make up their testimony, rather than obstacles to be desperately avoided. We have to remember that God promises to “work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)
We can begin acknowledging God’s sufficiency by praying for our children. But instead of simply praying that God will protect our kids and keep them out of harm’s way, we can ask him to mold and shape their character and prepare them for the path He has laid out before them. Like Paul, pray that their “love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)
Mamas, we need to be brave enough to release our children into the competent and sufficient hands of God – the same God who has provided for, cared for, and deeply loved us. Just think of Hannah, barren for so many years and then finally blessed with a son that she eventually gave over to serve the Lord. Or Moses’ mother who knew the only chance she had to save her son was to send him afloat the Nile in that basket. These difficult circumstances that each man faced played a huge part in the story God was writing for their lives. Just think of how different things might have been if their mothers hadn’t been brave enough to follow God’s leading in their lives, despite what their feelings were probably telling them at the time.
Being led by fear can cause us to shield our kids from things they need to encounter and work through to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. Instead of trying to shield them, we can show our kids what it looks like to trust God in our daily lives and with our futures, so they will hopefully grow to trust God in the same way. We can be encouraged when we remember that God knows the plans he has for us, and they are plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
God loves our babies just as much and even more than we do, because he loves with truly perfect love. So mama, today take a deep breath, and say a prayer releasing your children, along with your worry and fear and anxiety, to the God who has promised to fill you with his strength made perfect in our weakness. Everything will be just fine, not because of who you are, but because of who he is.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.