Parenting is a perilous journey not for the faint of heart. Nothing stirs up anxiety and fear quite like being a parent. Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard so many stories of parents who are worried, fearful, or grieving.
One young friend called me and confessed, “I feel like quitting! Parenting is so hard and I’m sooooo tired!”
Another friend wrote and told me her oldest is wrestling with mental health issues again. He’s afraid of the path his daughter is headed down and of suicidal ideation.
Many have confided that their kids are far from God.
As I’ve been praying and thinking about parents, I’ve been reading through the gospels. I am struck by how often parents come to Jesus desperate on behalf of their kids. Jairus came (Luke 8:40-56), the Canaanite mother came (Matthew 15:21-28), the Father of the son with epileptic seizures came (Luke 9:40-44), and others. Over and over through the gospels, we see Jesus’ heart for hurting parents.
Jairus was a celebrity of sorts. He was a community leader and a synagogue ruler. As He came through the crowd chasing Jesus, the crowd probably made way for him. However, when he came to Jesus, his credentials, his powerful position, and his honor likely meant nothing to him. He had one thing on his mind. His 12-year-old daughter was gravely ill. She was the daughter he cuddled as an infant. She was the daughter who probably jumped into his arms as a toddler when he came home each day. She was the daughter he sang silly songs with and played pretend games with after work. She was his precious treasure and the light of his eyes, and she was sick – very sick (Luke 8:40-56).
I know as a parent that nothing stirs up fear quite like illness. I remember when we were living in Africa as missionaries and our little daughter who was 18 months old at the time grew gravely ill. We had to admit her to the hospital, and we watched in terror as doctors were confused about her illness. She grew worse instead of better and I felt fearful she would die. I remember getting on my knees one night next to her crib and praying. That night, as I surrendered my child to the Lord, I reminded myself that He loved her even more than I did. As I wept on that dirty cement floor, I opened my hands in an act of surrender. God heard my prayers. He bent down to listen and the next day, our sweet little Bethany began to turn around. God ultimately healed her.
On the way to Jairus’s house, Jesus was interrupted by the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. As He stopped to hear her story, a messenger came with the news that Jairus’s daughter had died. Can you imagine? What a crisis of faith Jairus must have had. Jesus said He would come and heal her and then got interrupted. Jesus gently turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” You know the rest of the story. Jesus went to Jairus’s house and raised his precious little one from the dead.
As I think of Jesus’ words, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe,” I realize Jesus is still speaking those words to parents today. He is inviting us to not let fear paralyze us but to show our belief and faith in Him by praying. We could almost paraphrase that saying of His as, “Don’t let fear cripple you. Just keep praying and believing that I love your child more than you do.”
Friend, parenting is definitely the most perilous journey any of us will ever embark on. Don’t let fear cripple you. Just keep praying. When your child is facing surgery, pray. When your child goes to parties as a teen, pray. When your child chooses a mate, pray. When your child makes seemingly foolish choices, pray. Send them off in the morning with prayer, tuck them in at night with prayer. When they are adults, whether they live near or far, they need your prayers. You will always be their greatest prayer warrior. If you’re not sure what to pray, pray Scripture. You can’t go wrong!
The Gentle Parenting Summit Begins Today!
Don’t forget to register so that you can get access to all the sessions and bonuses. I will be live today in the Facebook group doing a question-and-answer session!