Are You Parenting Tight-Fisted or Open-Handed?

It began when my kids were babies.

The paralyzing fear.

All the what ifs.

What if I get sick and die? What if I am not good enough? What if I damage them?

And the question I was asking underneath all of that was: If my worst fears come true will I still trust you God?

I always know when I’m parenting from a fearful tight-fisted place.

My breathing changes. Anxiety creeps into my lungs and my jaw is clenched along with my fists.

And My Father continually whispers these words to me:

“Open your hands daughter and release them to me.”

Then of course my control comes out like a Mama Bear over her cubs: (because hello I have teenagers). “God, do your realize the state this world is in? Do you realize the really bad things which can happen?”

And then we go deeper.

Because really I feel I’m failing most of the time at this parenting thing.

Sometimes I say too much. Sometimes my temper scares the heck out of them and me. I heard Brene Brown say this recently about parenting:

“Sometimes I act scary when I’m scared.”

(Yes, Brene, my kids would wholeheartedly agree. Some of you who are Brene fans are going to get that in a minute). 😉

So how do you trust God when the whole world is spinning out of control and there is so dang much to teach them, protect them from, and I need a nap now just from writing that.

I lament to God:

“Of course I want to protect them from pain and mistakes! Isn’t that my right? Isn’t that my job as a mom?”

But then the Lord reminds me of all my pain and mistakes.

Wasn’t it the trials in my life which made me compassionate, resilient, and strong? Wasn’t it the falling and scraping of my knees which made me pick myself up and search for my way home?

We all know the story of the prodigal son finding his way home. But I’ve been wondering how the Father reacted when he left.

Did he fret? Did he stand at the window watching and waiting for his return? Was his fists and his jaws clenched as he paced the floor?

We don’t know those answers.

We do know how the story ends though and I think it gives us a clue if this father parented tight-fisted or open-handed.

We know that the day he saw the first glimpse of his son coming home, he bolted for him, welcoming him home with open arms, understanding, and compassion.

Maybe that’s the key here.

Instead of worrying about the mistakes my kids are going to make and protecting them from pain, maybe I need to be asking God for the compassion and wisdom in how to handle it when they do.

(And sometimes to know when to be quiet. Yes, I think my kids would add that).

Maybe our jobs as parents is to help our kids find their way home but not force or tell them how to get there.

To leave room for their heavenly Father to show them. To be a loving guide full of trust, not a commanding officer shouting orders or giving guilt trips from a place of fear.

(and to know how to stalk their social media let’s not be stupid here).

What kind of parent do I want to be? How do I want this thing to end? Do I want my kids remembering me parenting from a place full of angst?

Or to remember a mom who learned how to open her hands and trust God with her kids. These are the questions I’m asking myself these days.

Mamas reading this, this whole parenting thing is so hard and scary.

But the next time fear begins to creep into our lungs, we can close our eyes, take a deep breath, and choose to be brave.

And when our Heavenly Father whispers:

“Open your hands daughter and release them to me.”

We will, knowing, He has them.

 

(imagesource: canstockphoto.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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