Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fear of Parenting

Last Tuesday was a rough day...  

We all woke up late (alarm on silent) and I awoke just feeling generally crotchety. My kids woke up in fine form as well...  instant bickering and just pushing their limits. Ugh.

Welcome "The Bickersons".

For some reason or another, the season of facing my past has come, and I am having to uncover and deal with a lot of my past emotional baggage lately.

Quite frankly, IT STUNK.

I am remembering and thinking through things that happened EONS ago.  It's been a struggle as I air my own dirty laundry to myself and lay it before God. Honesty, true and brutal, it's ugly... I'm unwinding the threads of my past, breaking down the walls of resistance, taking responsibility for my life and forgiving wounds I bear that haven't been forgotten yet.


Back to Tumultuous Tuesday

I reacted and opened my mouth, spewing out some pretty acrid words and tones. Afterwards, I felt that all too familiar rock settle into the pit of my stomach.

Quickly amends were made, tears shed, arms and hands intertwined as we hugged and "made up", we each prayed, asking forgiveness and walked out the door, feeling like we were "OK".

Still, that rock remained in my stomach.

As I dropped the kids off, watched them walk inside that giant building with their little feet pattering, heads bobbing as they chattered, backpacks thumping on small bent backs, I felt like crying.

Driving home I fought tears.

When I got home, I gave in, sat in my "prayer" chair and let it go. I cried, reasons unknown, and just let the tears flow. As I sat, nestled in the corner of our giant chair, I expressed to God how hard parenting is. Parenting is THE hardest and most complex job on the planet. It's even more cumbersome when you carry your own emotional battles into the realm of parenthood. Parenting is imperfect because WE are imperfect.

I fear being a poor parent.  Making mistakes and scarring my kids for the rest of their lives. Repeating hurts and patterns that I myself endured throughout my childhood.  I fear this... I fear that...

Some of my blog reading has included a serious set of "super-moms"...  Those kind of moms that are "perfect" and seemingly have no such things as a dirty toilet, heaven forbid that they should leave dishes in their sink after dinner, they never let their highlights grow out because they forgot to schedule their hair appointment, their children don't fight, they never snap at their husbands, they have memorized the Book of Proverbs and use it daily in conversation with their perfectly groomed children (see my version of the Proverbs 31 woman)...


I am not one of those.  I will admit it.  Yes, I missed my hair appointment 6 weeks ago and keep forgetting to call to reschedule (Just call me Mama Skunk). No, I will not allow you to see my kids bathroom, partly because its the only bathroom in the house that I chose not to be in charge of, and because my son peed on the floor, apparently shooting down a "giant flying spider" (I am waiting for him to get home from school to pick it up himself).

 I am not perfect.  And I realized sitting in that big chair, that I am NOT called to be that kind of mother to my kids.  I am called to be ME to my children.  I am not to be a parent like my sister, aunt, mother, neighbor, best friend, or fellow saint to my kids.   I am called to bring the qualities and giftings the Lord gave to ME into the lives of my kids.  And I am to raise them according to their bent, not mine or my self imposed set of fears.

Parenting is a naked, ugly, somewhat earth-shattering mirror into our souls.  There are times, I hear myself or see myself when I am dealing with my precious children, that I can see the horrible stain of the sinfulness I carry.  Stains of un-forgiveness.  Impatience.  Lack of love. Loneliness. Comparison. Shards of anger.  Pride. Fear. Shame. Anxiety.

I can't hang onto it any more.  This journey is too arduous to carry all that baggage.  I can feel its time to lay it down and move forward.  I am learning to embrace the Grace of Jesus Christ, learning to let go of my control... and learning that I am perfectly imperfect.

Today, (I am saying this aloud as I type) I chose to overcome my sinfulness as a parent.  I chose to let go of my past.  I chose to be different.  To respond differently.  To seek the fruit of the Spirit in my own life so that it will spill seed onto my family.  I will offer myself some grace.  When I fail, I will make it right and mend those fences. I won't let guilt rule me or my actions.

And I choose to believe this verse when I feel like a failure as a parent...

Is. 41: 10, 13

10. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
13.For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.
(I love that the title of Chapter 41 in the Message version is entitled "Do you feel like a lowly worm?") Man, somedays I really do...  =)

It makes me feel so much better, that even today, when I got onto my son and then felt like a Schmuck when he went off to school, that the Lord is there, holding my hand, telling me not to be afraid...  He'll be right along side me as I journey through this parenting thing...  Instructing, loving, and holding me. 

Much love to you all, 
Mrs. Learning Not to be Afraid of Fear

What is your fear in parenting?  How do you overcome it?  What verses do you cling too as you travel the road of parenting? 


  1. Janelle - Thank you for being so transparent! Just last night I was talking to a young mother and expressed to her my many regrets from when my children were small. The most important job you will ever have is parenting - and you are thrown into it with no training and no manual (other than the Bible - and sometimes that convicted me rather than helped me - LOL ). Know that as you commit yourself to HIM and give your children to HIM on a daily basis, He will cover your mistakes - someday, you will be able to quote III John 1:4 with much thanksgiving!

    You have been on my heart this week - knowing that Mother's Day is this weekend.... I pray you feel Jesus especially near and close!

    Love you!

  2. Janelle -- Beautiful blog! Love your vulnerability and your heart. You are right - we are only called to be ourselves, not versions of other people we love and respect. I find that parenting is really good at bringing up the past. However old my daughter is, I re-experience my own life at that age. It can be brutal, but it can also help to make me empathetic at the same time. Sometimes the ONLY upside to suffering is the compassion it gives you for others... anyway - good job in your writing! Joy