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Parent in Faith Not Fear

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Guest contributor, Brooke McGlothlin

A while back my two sons (ages 6 and 8) were allowed to play a video game while spending some time with friends that I would never have let them play…probably ever…had I known it was happening.

When I say never, what I really mean is that even when they turn eighteen (the recommended age for this particular game) and can make choices for themselves about what video games to play, I’ll hope and pray they’re men enough to know it’s not good for them and choose not to play it.

But they did play it once, and for a time afterward it was a part of nearly every conversation we had…morning, noon, and night. And I won’t lie mamas, when I realized what their tender eyes had seen, and how it had woven its way into their hearts and thoughts and play time…

I was scared.

We live in a world where life is no longer precious. Children are killed in the halls of what once were considered safe havens, and in many cases, violent video games were played by the perpetrators. And while my precious babes were busy drawing guns and dead people lying in pools of blood the day after they played the game, all I could think about was Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown…

And maybe having a friend who lost her son in the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007 makes me more sensitive to it, but what I felt that day friends, was raw, unadulterated fear.

Living Scared

It happens to all moms every now and then…that feeling that screams out “he’s going to end up being an axe murderer” as you watch your son chop off the heads of his Lego men, or pull off the wings of an innocent butterfly. Sometimes I watch my two at home and wonder what type of men they’re going to end up being, and if I’m honest I have to admit that I battle a fear that they’re going to turn out way short of the good, godly men I pray they’ll be.

I was praying after one of “those” really bad days—you know, the ones where you want to throw your hat in the ring and change your name??—when it dawned on me…

Fear doesn’t come from God.

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).

And very gently, the whisper of the Holy Spirit—that beautiful, refreshing, redeeming whisper— flooded my heart with this reminder:

Parent in faith, not fear.

The truth is mama, we really don’t know how our children will turn out. There are no parenting formulas that make promises of perfect kids. If there were, we’d all be putting them into practice and there would be a lot more of our kids diving deeper into the Word of God, serving others, and changing the world than leaving the church in droves (enough to make any parent live in fear).

But God’s Word says we must do something different—live in faith.

Here’s how we can do it.

1. Get introspective

Think about it mom. What tone do we want to set for our families as they maneuver their way through the storms of life? Our tendencies will be their tendencies. The way we respond to the surprises of life will set an example for their own response. Let’s shake off the fear and ask God to help us figure out what a faith response looks like.

2. Pray

Pausing to connect with the One who is our source of peace gives us the opportunity to rest our fears at His feet and pick up faith instead—choosing to cover, not hover.

3. Be prone to worship

Beth Moore, in her study on King David, has this to say about the Shepherd King:

“While others were prone to wander, he was prone to worship.” (David, p 131).

Time and time again, David chose to worship God when faced with fear. His very words rang out with worship as he ran toward a giant—odds stacked against him—leaving the people of God with their mouths hanging open.

The odds might be stacked against our children, too. We might be tempted to see the stumbling blocks of life towering over them like a giant we can’t possibly take down. Or, we can choose to think about the legacy our actions leave them, get on our knees to cover them, and choose to worship in the face of fear.

I’m choosing faith.

“Lord, help me stand strong in the face of fear, knowing it doesn’t come from You. Give me the strength to fight for my children, leaving them the legacy of mama who believed, prayed, and stood firm against the fear. In Jesus’ Name. Amen”

 

Check out Brooke’s brand new book, Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most
Available at Amazon

Asking God for the Things They Need Most
brookeBrooke McGlothlin is Co-founder of Raising Boys Media, where moms and dads come to discover delight in the chaos of raising boys. You can find her writing about fighting for the hearts of her sons at the MOB Society blog, or living a life in pursuit of Jesus at her personal blog www.brookemcglothlin.com. A normal day finds Brooke homeschooling her two boys, wrangling two large Labs, Toby and Siri, writing to bring hope to the messes of life (in the midst of her own messy life), and falling more and more in love with the man she’s had a crush on since the third grade (who just happens to be her husband).

 

 

14 Comments

  • Sis

    We just decided to let the kids play minecraft on the ipad. It is very addictive, I’m hoping that with teaching about making wise decisions, and limits, they will learn how to make good computer time choices.

  • Emily

    Yesterday was stressful. Right before lunchtime I got an email from the high school saying that the school was in “shelter in place” status. Basically, they were on lockdown, but shelter in place apparently is a less distressing term for parents. I received a text from my daughter at the same time saying that they had been locked in the girl’s locker room and weren’t allowed to leave. Most of the details weren’t released to the media, but it’s a small town, people talk, including law enforcement, no one knows the meaning of the word discreet in a small town. It turns out that a student told a friend that at noon, he was going to go out in a blaze of glory in the cafeteria (they have multiple lunch times and that just happens to be my daughter’s). The friend was smart enough to call the police and tell them what was going to happen. The police shut the school down. Actually, they put all of the schools in the district (5 total on lockdown). They brought in the SWAT and the bomb squad. Once they were able to take the suspect into custody and made sure the school was clear, they allowed the kids to resume their day (about 3 hours later). What could have been a horribly tramatic day, was halted by the actions of one smart kid, law enforcement, school administration, and most importantly the grace of God. During the day, the school made it sound like they were on lockdown due to a rumor, but there were no real concerns. It wasn’t till last night that all of the details began to come out. It was then that I lost it. Knowing that my child was in a situation that literally could have been life or death, struck such fear into my soul. I didn’t sleep well last night and hugged her extra tight before I left this morning. Still feeling uneasy this morning, I opened up my email at work and this blog post was waiting for me 🙂

    God sure knows what He’s doing and always seems to know just what I’m needing. I needed to read these words this morning. Thank you for the post! You’ve made a fearfully upset mama, into a slightly calmer, more at peace mama!

  • Kathleen Mills

    For some reason I have never feared how my kids will turn out (even when it appears they may kill each other before they hit 13…which for one is in a couple of months). When this type of thing (inappropriate movie, video, whatever) has happened at another home (which is has more than once of course), I do get very irritated at those parents that refuse to parent (sigh, maybe someday my human anger won’t pop up so quickly), and at home we have a talk…or really a conversation. My prayer is that if they ever encounter the bad situation, or the bad guy, or whatever that they will have the faith and courage to deal with it! How? Well at our house we have talked about drugs, and strangers, and ‘really mean people’ since they could talk. I have always explained that some people don’t know that God loves them, and it leaves such a giant hole in their heart that they make bad choices, sometimes really bad choices that hurt kids or adults. We aren’t to live in fear of them (although we use our good brains to not be in the wrong places) but rather to live praying for these people. So somehow my kids have always viewed ‘stranger danger’ not in a terrified way but a sad way…as in ‘mommy do you think that person is a stranger we should pray for?” when someone looks a little scary to them. It seems to help, both them and me. Hope this was helpful?? And trust your boys…I once had a parent tell me a “funny” story about how my son refused to watch a PG13 movie (he was 9 at the time) when they were on an overnight trip because I hadn’t given him permission. This dad thought it was so funny that even when he told my son “she’ll never know we won’t tell her” that he insisted on going into the other room and not watching. Needless to say, my son hasn’t been on an overnight with them again…

  • Jessica Wolstenholm

    Brooke, this so hits me at home. I battle worry that they won’t turn out the amazing, Godly adults I know they can be and pray they will be. And worse, I fear it will be my fault. But I say it to the moms in our community and I have to remember myself, faith and fear cannot dwell in the same place. We must get rid of the fear to make room for faith.

    Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s helps to know I am not alone in this battle. And thank you for creating a book to help us mamas go to war!

  • Theresa

    Such a good reminder to “Parent in Faith, not in fear”. There are so many things I want to protect my son from, but I just can’t. I can pray that God protects my son, but also that my son would turn to God and make wise choices

  • Buffy Williamson

    The Lord really dealt with me on this issue after the Newtown incident. Operating in a spirit of fear is not of the Lord. He gives us a spirit of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Thanks for the great reminder, Brooke!

  • Kallie Ybarra

    I feel like the majority of who my son will become comes from my husband and I, so I have made it a point to observe myself and act and do things the way I hope my son will do them in the future. All I can do is my best and the rest has to be left to God…he already knows who my little guy will be…I just hope I can guide him along that path to being the man God wants him to be! Great post…my little guy is still small and play dates are a thing of the future but I hope that the kids my son chooses to be friends with will share in his beliefs and ideals and I won’t have to worry.

  • elisa

    Brooke, thank you so much for this post. I’m about to chaperone a youth retreat, and fear of something aweful happening as we travel — or as I’m away from half my family — could truly steal all my joy. Thank you for the remind to put my trust in The Lord, and to pray! I needed these marching orders!

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