Both of my children were napping near me while I was folding laundry; and all of a sudden a thought hit me like a ton of bricks…“What would I do if something tragic ever happened to my children?” In that moment my heart sunk into my stomach. Tears begun to fill my eyes and fear tried to grip my soul. In that instant I recalled my first brother.
My parents have three children. I am the eldest and I have two younger brothers. My youngest brother was the unexpected blessing that came about 11 years after I was born; we became far more grateful for his unanticipated arrival after February 2001. I can vividly remember everything that took place on that rainy day. I had just enjoyed a fun, romantic day with my boyfriend (now my husband) at a church Valentines’ event. We later decided to go see the movie Thirteen Days. While I was in the theater, before the movie began I received a phone call. I normally don’t answer the phone in a movie theater but I felt compelled to answer. It was my mom. She seemed a little off and quickly asked to speak to my boyfriend. She had apparently prepared him for what she was about to reveal to me. We stepped out of the theater room and she explained to me my first brother had died. My future husband practically carried me out of the theater as I grew limp and wailed over the news. When I was 20-years-old, we buried my 18-year-old brother, Gilbert, Jr after a tragic accidental fall off a cliff side in La Jolla, California.
The thought of something tragic ever happening to either one of my children is not something I should easily disregard. I don’t mean I should have taken the thought seriously as a sign or some sort of prediction; but I needed to acknowledge it for what it was…a strategic attack of the enemy. He was throwing an arrow at me (Eph 6:16). He was sending me an open invitation to fear. If I entertained the idea of something tragic ever happening to my children, I would become fearful, then I’ll begin to worry about my children. If I begin to worry, I will start doubting, and I’ll no longer fully trust in God or His promises to protect my children. Satan knows my history. He knows what happened to my brother and he would love to paralyze me with fear over the idea that something similar could happen to my children. What kind of mother would I be if I was constantly petrified that something might happen to my children? What kind of children would I raise? Satan would love to keep me captive in fear and doubt. In 1 Peter 5:8, the scripture describes our enemy, Satan, like a prowling lion looking for an opportunity to devour his prey. He desires to steal, kill and destroy us all (John 10:10). Therefore, we need to properly arm ourselves against his lurking attacks.
The enemy has conjured up countless reasons to fear, especially for those of us that have boys. Why do boys think they’re immortal? No matter the reason, the following 5 steps can help you conquer all fear.
How do I conquer parenting fears?
- Give Your Children to God. In everything we do, the first step we need to take is to pray. Like Hannah did in 1 Samuel, she thanked God for blessing her with a child and then dedicated her son to Him. In the same way, surrender your children to God. Acknowledge you need His help, His protection and His guidance in parenting your children. Ask God to cover them and have His Angels keep your children from harm (Ps 91:11, Heb 1:14).
At one of my workout-playdates, I had a lovely conversation with a fellow mom of 6 children. In her I saw the beautiful surrender of a mother to God. With ease she expressed how she completely relies and trusts God with the care of her children. She acknowledged how parenting 6 children she couldn’t afford being exhausted over the worry or fear of each one. In that moment I was reminded of how God’s peace truly transcends all fear, concern or worry. If we give Him our children to care for, we have nothing to fear.
2. Cast Down All Fear. Our minds are truly a battleground for intense warfare. Think of how many thoughts go through your mind in a single moment. It’s quite fascinating! What we need to be careful of is what we do with these thoughts that enter our mind. Not every thought that comes to mind is of our own. Like the question that came to my head out of no where while I was folding laundry. It was not my own contemplation, it was an arrow of the enemy. When our minds are bombarded with fear we have to cast them down. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.” When that horrible thought entered my mind, I literally spoke out loud and prayed, “I cast down the thought of something tragic ever happening to my children. No weapon, no calamity, no destruction will ever touch my children in the name of Jesus!“
Anytime a thought of stress, worry, or fear enters our mind we cannot ignore the thought. We cannot simply “replace” the thought with a new one thinking it will go away. The thought is like a seed. Once a seed is planted in our minds, Satan will be sure to water it again and again. He wants the seeds of fear and worry to grow. Before we know it, we’re trapped by it, like a weed choking the life source of every other plant (thought, confidence, peace) around it. So as soon as that negative seed (thought) comes to mind don’t disregard it. Come against it! Uproot it! Don’t give it the ability to root into your mind, spirit or soul.
3. Know How to War Against Fear. I touched a bit already on how to war against fear by verbally casting it down. Let me further say, we cannot underestimate the power of our words. When God speaks, he creates. Since we are made in God’s image, the same goes with us; when we speak, we create. Proverbs 18:21 tells us, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” We have to be very careful what we say when a thought of fear enters our mind. We have a powerful weapon in our mouth. Let’s use it to destroy fear and not cultivate it!
The Bible explains in Ephesians chapter 6 about the armor of God. It shares with its readers the battle every believer is in and how to use his/her weapons. Faith is our shield that quenches the fiery darts of the enemy. God’s word is our sword, mighty and sharper than any two-edged sword. Knowing our weapons and how to use them will help us win the war against fear. It becomes imperative that we learn God’s word to develop the use of our sword. When we know more of God’s word, we build our faith (our shield)-Rom 10:17. We become fearless soldiers.
When we utilize our mighty weapons of faith, God’s word and our voice (confessions and prayers) effectively we can easily destroy the works of the evil one. James 5:16 says, “…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results”. We’re most effective when we confess God’s word in our prayer time, when we don’t doubt God and when we speak life to our situations. I often use prayer books as a guide to help me know what to pray (scripturally). My two favorite prayer books are:
*Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian-I love Stormie’s transparency and how she relates to us as parents. At the end of each short chapter is a prayer and a couple of scriptures to meditate on.
*Prayers that Avail Much by Germaine Copeland- A perfect book to find a prayer founded on the word of God quickly that meets your situation. I just look it up in the table of contents and believe in what I pray.
4. Hold onto Hope. This may seem redundant but it’s necessary. It’s very important we hold onto our faith and hope. The best way to do that is to meditate and often think of the promises of God. Even if in the beginning you’re struggling to believe God’s promise, keep reading, keep confessing, keep thanking God and it will help your unbelief. Your faith will get stronger!
Jer 1:12 reminds us that God will make sure His promise will come to pass. God is faithful! We can trust in Him. He is unlike anyone we know. We can depend on Him. He will never let us down. We can surrender our children to Him and we can be in peace knowing they’re in the best hands.
5. Stay Under God’s Protection. Many can question my brother’s incident and wonder if my parents surrendered him unto God. Yes they most certainly did. However my brother was an adult. He made his own choices. If we are not careful our choices can take us away from the wings of protection God offers. As I mentioned earlier, the Devil eagerly waits for opportunities to destroy us. Sometimes those opportunities seem like a door barely cracked open. Nevertheless God warns us in Ephesians 4:27, “and give no opportunity to the devil.” The enemy never plays fair! Things like strife, unforgiveness, envy, or any kind of sin are what opens these doors. We find more instruction on how to identify these cracks and how to close these doors in the Bible. Unfortunately the truth is ignorance is not bliss! Even God cried out about how His people are destroyed because they lack knowledge (Hosea 4:6). I plan to discuss this more in Part II of my blog because I also want to discuss the tragedies that take place with younger children, who cannot make decisions on their own.
God desires to keep us safe and protect us. Psalm 91 is a beautiful example of His desire to watch over us. Yet God is bound to His own words. If we step away from Him, He gives us that choice. He would love to chase us down but He won’t make us serve Him. If we refuse His love, we refuse His protection and He won’t force it upon us. Again and again He warns us of the destruction that the enemy can bring upon those who are away from His loving arms. I know it breaks His heart to watch us get beaten down. I’m praying through this blog that I’m equipping parents to no longer be tormented with fear. I’m praying Satan will not paralyze you with worry. I’m praying all my readers acknowledge themselves as the mighty warriors they are in Christ and rightfully use their weapons to disarm the enemy. We can win this war for our children. They don’t have to be victims of a tragedy!
To Be Continued…