5. Regularly reflect on God’s care.
In my daughter’s sophomore year of college, we discovered she had two learning disabilities that significantly hindered her academics. Unfortunately, her diagnosis came during her most stressful period to date, when she was already struggling to stay on top of her assignments and life. She needed certain accommodations to pass, and had to fight persistently for her university to honor student disability laws.
She worked so hard, often studying until one or two am, then getting up for an early morning test. Her consistent sleep deprivation began to blur her vision and, coupled with her mental fatigue, made her learning disabilities more pronounced. She’d dreamt of being an engineer since middle school and had diligently pursued her goals, but feared her efforts might not be enough. She’d call me in tears, “What if I can’t do this?”
Those heart-wrenching conversations became all the more challenging with every passing semester. If she failed, she’d have to start over with two years and tens of thousands of dollars lost. I spent countless hours in prayer, not knowing how to respond. Her decision to proceed or quit had to be just that—her decision. Her pain, all that was at stake, and the uncertainty of everything, knotted my insides. But then I reflected on the many ways God had cared for my daughter, since birth. I reminded myself of specific times, listing each in turn, when He’d guided, protected, or provided for her.
I also reflected on the truth preserved in Scripture, such as in Psalm 139, which tells me that God hand-crafted my daughter, knows everything about her, including every challenge she’ll ever face. Verse 16 says, “[His] eyes saw [her] unformed body; all the days ordained for [her] were written in [His] book before one of them came to be” (NIV).
Ephesians 2:10 reiterates this promise when it states, “For [she is] God’s masterpiece. He has created [her] anew in Christ Jesus, so [she] can do the good things he planned for [her] long ago” (NLT). These truths reminded me that God has a plan for her, one He set into motion before she took her first breath, struggled with her first test, or received her first diagnosis. I chose to trust that He would lead her toward that good and hope-filled plan, as He had been doing for every moment of her life prior.
Parenting is perhaps the most challenging, joy-filled, and at times, frightening role we will ever embrace. God created us as emotional beings, which means we will, on occasion, experience fear. Our challenge is to acknowledge and address our fear in a Christ-honoring way so that we can parent courageously, actively demonstrating what it means to live dependent on God.
Photo Credit: © Getty/Igor_Alexander