“Ultimately they are God’s children, not ours, so you just need to trust.”
I have heard this COUNTLESS times when it comes to children. This speech is often given to parents at churches or in ministry or religious settings. I’ve heard it and I believe it, I really do. Honestly!
Yet in the short 3.5 months that I have been a parent, this sentence has taken on a shift. I used to believe this so earnestly when I was a youth pastor. I wanted to get this truth to be embedded in the brains of all the parents I worked with. Now as a parent myself, I can’t help but raise my eyebrows and say, “okay, how?”. How do I trust?
I confess I have some unhealthy anxieties when it comes to parenting, as I’m sure most of us do. I look at this world and follow the news and my heart pounds to an unhealthy rhythm. I completely understand now why my parents were so protective over me growing up. I’m terrified. I’m so scared of anything happening to my little one and the world ever hurting him. But I’m also scared that… I’ll…. be the one to hurt him.
And of course I will, I won’t be perfect. Several weeks ago I was putting him in his carseat and as I was buckling him in tightly, I accidentally clipped a bit of his skin on his thigh while buckling. My baby is not much of a crier but he cried in that moment and I went to an unhealthy place. “I’M A TERRIBLE MOTHER” my thoughts echoed as I pulled him out of the seat and cradled him in my arms to soothe him. He was fine within minutes with a tiny bruise but I was not fine within minutes. The memory of his face when he realized the pain repeated itself in my mind over and over. And what scares me is that if something so tiny, so accidental, could cause me to question myself entirely, what’s going to happen later?
Another time I had just settled him into his stroller and as I was looking for the hand sanitizer in our diaper bag, the valet attendant started cooing over him. The valet remarked how cute he was and gently stroked his leg. I felt uneasy, but I didn’t want to risk being that crazy parent and so I continued looking. My husband comes over and tells the valet to ask before touching someone else’s child as this valet was now stroking my then 6 week old baby’s face. Considering I sterilized my hands every 5 minutes that that point, I went into a slight panic. Not just panic, but shame. Why was I more afraid of being seen in a particular over protecting my baby? Sure it was a simple and ultimately harmless infraction, but the fact that I chose my own fear over my need to protect tormented me. How could I have failed?
I know in my head I need to trust God. I need to trust God with my caterpillar’s life and I need to trust God with my life holding his. Each night after he was born I would pray and thank the Lord for entrusting me with such a precious and beautiful being. And though I know all this in my head, what my heart feels and what my emotions scream is – HOW?
A few weeks ago I had a conversation with my previous supervisor and mentor. Our short conversation shifted this entire truth for me as she gave me one of the most profound truths about parenting I think I have ever heard (I’m going to paraphrase ):
Our children are God’s children, so we have to trust. Yes! And God entrusts us with this particular life. Yes. And God is entrusting THIS particular life with THIS particular parent. Yes… Because there is a particular skill or gift or something that you have as a parent that God wants to pair with this particular child. And so you in particular have something as a parent that God wants this child to receive. What!
I have not stopped chewing over this one statement since. I guess my belief on babies being made was God miraculously breaths life into each being we create. Yet this shifts everything. It’s not some accidental collision that God blesses into life. It’s a divine pairing orchestrated by the Creator, determining who belongs with whom. This rules out any belief that any child is or was an accident or a mistake. This rules out any thought that someone was not meant to be a parent. This cancels out the misunderstanding that some of us were placed in the wrong families. This breaks the lie that I am or will be a failure as a mother.
Because God entrusted us.
I’ve always sought to better understand myself and now there’s been a new awakening as I want to understand in what particular way am I being called to minister to my child. What is it that God is asking me to impart onto him? What skills or talents am I pass on to him in our interactions? What is so unique about me that God chose me to be with this beautiful child of His that He decided and chose ahead of time to pair me with? With you?
So the concept of trusting is not a blind, clueless, religious statement to just shut parents up when they confess their worries. The concept of trust goes beyond to say that I can trust God, and there is a reason He trusts me. And if HE trusts me, then maybe I can do this. Maybe we can do this.
Yes, you can do this. You just need to trust.