Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Parenting with Faith Over Fear

Yesterday the courts made official what we had been anticipating. After a year, our 4-year-old foster daughter was reunified with her biological parents. There will be another post about that...but as I was having coffee in a quiet early morning house today I read a post by Preston Yancey and felt a sweet reminder of how God is working so many things together for good in my heart and family right now. 

Preston's post has a different point than mine, but in the beginning, he shares a story about times in his life when fear and shame have been attempted as motivators, but what won out was encouragement and faith. Specifically, God powerfully used an obscure verse in Habakkuk to plant a future hope in him when he was 13 years old.

"Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5 NIV

I have been tempted to worry about the child who has left our home. Her safety and overall development have been my concern for the last year--and now I will hopefully get an occasional visit. I pray hard against recurrences of the issues that led to her removal. I field questions from well-intentioned friends about what the 'what ifs.'

Meanwhile, I am sending three young teenagers into the world at warp speed. My Summer is a mixture of camp drop-offs--where they are out of my sights for 1-3 weeks at a time, preparing for the brand new world of high school, and teaching them the immense responsibility of driving on real roads with other human beings. 

Last week I started compiling a list of life survival/adulting skills my husband and I have yet to cover and I am almost at 200--the same number of weeks we have left with them before high school graduation. In all of these things, there are true safety considerations. They are still minors and my job is to teach them to live outside the nest...but as they become increasingly independent I find myself fighting daily fears of what could happen if things don't go well.

I want them to fly, not flop. While I know that scars and hard knocks are powerfully used to sanctify and develop us into adults who are used by the Lord, I adore these people and frankly, would prefer they arrive at adulthood as innocent and intact as possible.

So, the temptation is to desperately warn them about ALL THE THINGS. Be on guard!  The verse from Habakkuk this morning, however, took me back to being their age. I am reminded that I was never attracted to the fear-mongerers. I wanted to hear from the people who believed in me and spoke to me about the bright hope of the future. I think even of our most recent foster, at least once a week at prayer time she would point to the large painting of Jeremiah 29:11 over her bed and say, "Just pray that tonight, Mama." We all want to reassurance that there is a plan, maintained by someone stronger and wiser than us, for future hope.

Perhaps the most powerful lesson God has impressed upon me in our 4 years of foster parenting is that even our biological children are entrusted to us but for a little while. We stood before our congregation and proclaimed many years ago our belief that they are His. We build all sorts of safety nets, invest in future dreams and give them everything we have--but ultimately, we are not in control of their future. We can either be terrified by this or exhilarated.

May we never let our parental fears drown out our overwhelming hope we have for the life God has planned for the people we love. This is challenging. It requires us to loosen our white-knuckled grip and release them to their loving Creator. It is a daily laying down of our will for His. We must put this phrase on repeat: Faith triumphs fear. 

We want the people we love to be safe and dare I even say wildly successful, but at some point we have to ask ourselves how success will be measured. As for me, I choose God's utterly amazing story. 

"Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." 

1 comment:

  1. I love everything about this! Such an encouragement and reminder as my triplets head into their senior year of high school! Can relate to so much of your writing as we share our faith, parenting triplets and foster care! Much love to you


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