This day reminds us of the unrest in the world, of terrors that can strike unexpectedly, and of all that can be lost in a moment. The world is a dangerous place. War and senseless violence are increasingly commonplace.
But what about our daily terrors?
What about the challenges and fears of raising a family and launching young adults into such a world? How do we react to our kids driving cars and leaving home and making significant life decisions?
Do we live out our faith? Do we remember: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4 NLT
In moments of parental terror, I often forget, even though I’ve had nearly thirty-eight years of mothering practice.
When launching adult children into mature independence, one of the most difficult parts is to respond according to faith, rather than worry. Also difficult is to know when to keep our mouths shut. Is our speaking truly motivated by faith or driven by worry and fear?
When we speak, we can interfere with the Holy Spirit’s work in their hearts. Merely by verbally repeating the current truth He is impressing upon them, we can inspire resistance. When they’re already listening to God and aiming the right direction, it can discourage them if we advise. When they’re in the launching phase, we have to learn when to keep silent and when to speak.
Most mothers I know find this to be the hardest task of all!
Recently, such an event occurred when I charged in and gave advice to an adult child who was already moving the right direction. My input was not necessary. Thank the Lord that he works on my heart, changing me and causing me to grow. I share my apology in the hopes that it will help you, dear fearful mother.
Dear sweet offended child, this is an apology.
Mothers are complicated creatures. When we get you, you’re tiny and helpless and your survival, growth, and development are entirely in our hands. We are mother bears who would tear anyone apart who tried to harm you. A mother loves and worries and fears for the safety of her kids all their lives, even as you grow into adulthood, even when we know you are capable of making decisions and caring for yourselves.
Still we fear – Will they make good choices? Will they be harmed? Will they be victimized? Will they be safe? We know that bad decisions can have lifetime consequences. We’ve lived it, and we want to protect you from life.
Yet that’s not rational, because the mistakes and trials of life teach the lessons and turn us to Jesus, and He uses them to make us wise and strong and godly. In moments of terror, mothers forget. Our sinful natures blind us to the truth.
It’s a constant struggle to give our kids to God repeatedly, yielding you into His care, knowing that He WILL work ALL things together for your good. To worry and be afraid is irrational when God is so big and good and loving, and worry is sin, and we know it.
But all mothers fail to have perfect faith. Occasionally our fear overtakes us, and we swoop in and try to fight your battles and “slay” your enemies. We are afraid.
Rather than turning to God and begging for help and wisdom, I went into mother bear mode. I feared for the safety of my baby cub, and my protective mother instinct came roaring in. Fear paralyzes brains and turns mothers into grizzly bears. This is how mothers are made.
Rather than doling out advice, I should have assumed you already had taken the right steps to handle it and approached you in that manner. You had mentioned your action steps earlier in the week, after all, and I simply forgot as the terror of all the possible outcomes struck me. I should have listened to my rational voice that said,”Wait. Is this the best way to go about this?” before I sent you that text. But I didn’t. I let fear make the decision.
My intention was to try to keep you safe, to protect you, to prevent harm. But in reality I ended up trying to play God, which I cannot do, and hurting you in the process. My intention was NOT to make you feel stupid and irresponsible, yet I know I made you feel that way by advising you unasked, and for that I am truly sorry. I hope you can forgive me.
Of course you’d thought this through. Of course you’d talked about this with your friends who are detached enough not to turn into mother bears. I’m glad you have such good friends.
Please accept my apology for treating you like a child who wouldn’t know how to take care of yourself. Forgive my lapse of faith, please, for not holding fast to the God I love and trust, knowing He would care for you no matter what. I am proud of the way you are sorting through the aftermath and growing in faith and knowledge and strength. In this saner moment five hours later, I know God will take care of you, that He loves you more than I do, and that He is already working all of this together for your good. I know He is the anchor of your life, and so there is no need to be afraid. I know He will use all of this to grow you into a wise and godly person.
Please accept my apology for not handling that with more tact and grace and faith. When we are afraid, we are to trust in God, and I failed. Please forgive me for not being what I should have been in that moment. I am now restored to right sanity by Jesus, who awakened me in the night and worked on my heart and convicted me of sin and who loves you so very much. You are precious to Him and to me.
I love you so very, very much. God has great plans prepared for your life. He is preparing you for them. You will bless many people’s lives with your kindness and wisdom and your compassionate heart. I thank God for all He is doing in and through your life.
Love, your sinful and repentant Momma
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).