Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)
TITLE: From Arachnophobia to Kiddo-phobia
By Ann Renae Hair
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I used to be afraid of spiders. Now I’m afraid of kids! Well, not kids exactly, but parenting them. I have wondered: Why weren’t we warned? Then I realized: If we knew in advance how scary it is to be a parent, we may choose not go there! Then we would miss out on all that the Lord has for us to experience that teaches us more about Him!
I’m so thankful for a few foundational truths that I learned in a parenting class at church when my son was two years old. However, I was not prepared for the emotional battle. These little people that I loved and adored (and were so cute) had little minds of there own that they didn’t mind using. Everything I knew in my head became mush when my emotions were stretched. I became like a rubber band, ready to snap at any given moment. I never hurt my kids, but I definitely wasn’t helping them or enjoying them like I dreamed about motherhood. I knew that what they were getting away with was not best for them – and so young!
I was fearful of my kids not “turning out right”. In desperation I prayed for wisdom. With obsession I read every parenting book I could get my hands on. Wisdom became my idol. With each book came the next experiment in technique that I tried on my kids. Wow, were they confused! It was almost like a game – Mom of the week! I was stressed out, yelling, crying and lacking joy.
Meanwhile, knowing I was failing more and more often, I was really tested by God about my motives. Or shall I say motive? SELF! Ugh. Ouch. I didn’t see that one coming. I realized that I was reacting to my non-perfect children, based on my selfish expectations, rather than responding to them with patient training. Then I painfully realized their behaviors with which I was most frustrated, were a mirror of ME! I was also exasperating them by presenting my requests of them in the form of suggestions or questions, rather than specific instructions, anticipating response more mature than most adults can manage! With truth exposed, confessed, and forgiven, healing began. Fear began to lose its grip. Fine strands of hope began to weave into the making of each day through the process of transformation. Stress…became a response to the current challenge; Yelling…became a conversation to better understand each other and our God; Crying…became tears of joy! This process continues to refine me that I might reflect my Savior to my precious children.
The opposite of being fearful is being confident. I was relying on myself and the logical tactics of others. I’m now confident in God and the step by step method of growth we each have to walk; no games, no gimmicks, no clever tricks – just faith, hope and love that leads to joy.
Fearfulness comes from focusing on results. I saw a t-shirt this week that said, “The Journey is the Destination”. Our pastors have taught that our eternal relationship with God begins at the point of salvation – not at death. We can share a taste of heaven with others, here on earth. Where better to start than with our children?
What actually scares me the most is to think of what kind of person I might be, if not for the privilege of parenting. As for the spiders, I just squish ‘em!
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