Get Behind Me, Fear

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The worst parenting I’ve ever done has been when I’ve parented out of fear. My mind runs to the future, and all manner of frightening scenarios play out in my mind.

This is true about the really big things, but just as often hinders me as I deal with the small things with my children. I can remember being so worried that one of my children would never be able to sit down long enough to do his math. As a little boy, he paced around the dining room table during school, and  I was sure this would lead to problems down the road. He now has a degree in finance. 

I worried about thumb sucking, siblings fighting, potty training, messy bedrooms, SAT scores, and picky eaters. In more recent years I’ve worried about rages, destructive behaviors, bullying in our home, RAD, sensory processing disorder, and all manner of very frightening things – and do you know what? Not one of those worries has made me a better parent. I am not more loving, patient, or effective in my mothering when I let fear grab hold of me. I become a harsher version of myself.

Today I find myself worrying about the big things, like will Dimples heal enough to rejoin our family. Yesterday we had a glimpse of hope during a good therapy session…and that hopeful feeling lasted for all of five minutes before I found myself wrapped up in that sticky web of fear once again.

I often think of the verses in Philippians chapter 4, about not being anxious, but I stop too soon. I need to get serious about this later verse,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Ph. 4: 8

I honestly have no idea what our family is going to look like a year from now, but I do know that parenting out of fear will not help us get where we need to go. Today I will think about what is true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

Want to join me?

Lisa

 

 

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

27 Comments

  1. Paula Miles Spears
    July 3, 2013

    Yes. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      Paula, this applies so well to all of our kids – doesn't it? The older ones and the younger.

      Reply
  2. Sonya Hillrich
    July 3, 2013

    Thanks so much for your expressions here, Lisa. I am walking through a less intense version of yours, but the feelings inside of me are so similar to yours. I want so much to walk in truth, to trust & connect & love with abandon. But fear is right there,waiting for my moments of failure, or my kids' weaknesses, to capture my mind.
    Hang on, friend. Know that other moms are walking a similar walk. May we cling with all we can muster to our Father who led us to this place.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      Sonya, I love what you said about loving with abandon. I think that is where fear hinders us – we get so caught up that we are loving as fully as we can. Thank you for sharing that.

      Reply
  3. Lindsey Meyer
    July 3, 2013

    I needed to hear this today as yesterday we were given yet another delay in our 2.5 year journey of waiting to see if we’ll be able to adopt our foster son we’ve had from his birth. Thank you for the reminder, Lisa.

    Reply
  4. Gina
    July 3, 2013

    Agreed! Nothing good happens when we think and live in fear. We're fostering my first baby now… all the scenarios that play out in my mind about the future leave my stomach in a pit. But when I trust God for each day and actively not fear the future — oh man, so much better. Thanks for your blog, its very encouraging.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      You are so welcome, Gina. How wonderful to be fostering…may the Lord grant you great peace.

      Reply
  5. Andrea Gaines
    July 3, 2013

    Thank you! Love you

    Reply
  6. Amy Leong
    July 3, 2013

    Great reminders. Thank you.

    Reply
  7. Sami
    July 3, 2013

    I read "Risk is Right" by Piper at your recommendation and it helped me immensely. Just days after I read it through we were asked to adopt a 3.5 yo extended relative and I read enough blogs to know what we could face. But I pushed fear away with the verse "Be strong and courageous…" (Joshua 1:9–but how many times does God patiently remind Joshua with the same words!). So we are moving forward with expectation that His grace will be big enough when we need it (and we are excited! We have been working towards adoption for a long time even though this placement was a surprise). I am a very, very anxious person by nature as well and it's not natural for me to be successful at pushing it aside. I need to pray a lot–but being dependent upon God is a good place to be right?

    Thank you! Your blog always encourages me that I'm not "crazy!"

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      Sami, I'm so glad you liked Risk is Right – such a great book. If anybody is seeing this for the first time, you can download it for free one Desiring God website. Blessings as you move forward with the adoption plans.

      Reply
  8. Pat Fogle Leong
    July 3, 2013

    Amy, if FB and other social media have a place in our lives—-it is in posts like this one. What I would have given (but also know things happen in our Lord’s time) to have had the wisdom of others to read and be encouraged by when parenting. I pray that Dimples will be able to return to the family whom God has chosen for her.

    Reply
  9. Emily
    July 3, 2013

    "I honestly have no idea what our family is going to look like a year from now, but I do know that parenting out of fear will not help us get where we need to go."

    so good. with parenting and all else.

    i love you,
    em

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      You've seen my fear, Em, and you know just how rotten it is. Thanks for the love.

      Reply
  10. Hannah Jasmine Tucker
    July 3, 2013

    <3 YES.

    Reply
  11. Gwen
    July 3, 2013

    This is exactly, exactly what I needed to read this week. Sometimes the fear of the future is overwhelming, and lately I have indeed become a harsher version of myself. Thank you so much for this post — it spoke LIFE to me!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      I'm so glad, Gwen – it helped me to write it.

      Reply
  12. Molly Kitsmiller
    July 3, 2013

    I am trying also to daily remember that "each day has enough troubles of its own" and not borrow trouble from tomorrow. It is a terrible mercy to only be able to operate day to day because of the knowledge that we cannot control what will happen tomorrow. Decisions about the kids we are caring for in the foster system are totally out of our hands. I am starting to learn that is truly where trust in the Lord is real – my trust has never been tested so much. I just pray it is getting stronger through the testing!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 3, 2013

      Molly, SO good to hear from you. We need to connect sometime – I'm sorry I missed you when I was in CO. Keep breathing and trusting.

      Reply
  13. Charity
    July 4, 2013

    Our faiths version of this scripture is…if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things…such a reminder that all that is good comes from god and to seek for those things in life. Thinking of you, hope you got to spend the fourth with the family enjoying life in this land of freedom.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 5, 2013

      Thank you, Charity. We had a wonderful Fourth of July.

      Reply
  14. Michele
    July 5, 2013

    Just what I needed to hear today. Thanks for sharing…your blog always makes my day a little brighter.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 5, 2013

      I'm so glad, Michele. Thanks for letting me know.

      Reply
  15. Bethel
    July 6, 2013

    Yes, Lisa. I do want to join you. Thanks for asking. It's just what I needed this morning.
    Miss you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 6, 2013

      Miss you too, Bethel. Let's talk soon.

      Reply
  16. Andrea
    July 6, 2013

    Your blog is always what I need to hear. Thank you for sharing your heart and your life in a very real but always uplifting and Christ honoring way. We just had our first home visit with our daughter who has been in residential treatment for 4 months. We adopted her 3 years ago at age 13. PTSD, RAD and a few other diagnoses in there. I can get consumed by fear, but I know that is not going to help matters at all. We also don't know what our family will look like in a year, but I can't parent her, or any of my other kids out of fear. I am thankful I have a Father who I can lay my fears at His feet, each and every day.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      July 8, 2013

      Andrea, it's so nice to read your comment, knowing that you are on this road with me. We haven't had a home visit yet, and I don't think we will for awhile. I, too, am so thankful for Jesus.

      Reply

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