parenting in faith, not fear

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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 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"