To The Fretful Mom—Learning to Trust and Surrender

by Lindsey Wingo

fretful mom


I realized something recently. I want my kids to fit my mold for their lives. Often times, I act as if their ultimate outcome depends 99 percent upon me—my guidance, my decisions for them, my will for their future, my picture of who they should become. Oh don’t worry, I leave a small percentage in there for God’s will. (Patting myself on the back…)

The thing is, I am that mom disguised as a mom who “wants God’s will” for her children’s lives…BUT…

“I have to figure out where we are going to send our oldest to kindergarten in a year. Should we do public school? Well, the schools here are supposed to be great. Okay, year-round or traditional schedule? But, wait, what if they are exposed to things I don’t like? Okay, maybe I’ll check into private schools. That will provide them with a better education, right? Hmm…not sure if we can afford to send more than one child. I guess I’ll have to find a good job. But my resume looks pretty bad after four years of staying at home with my children…and counting. Okay, maybe a homeschool co-op. (Google local homeschool co-op groups. Click on first one listed.) Ugh! Why did they put such a weird looking family on the cover picture? (Scroll down.) Okay, they look pretty normal.”

If you are dealing with the “school decision” with your first child like I am (add to that being an overly emotional pregnant lady), you probably understand this neurotic thought process.

Then my thoughts shift. “Honey, I read an article about children experimenting with each others’ bodies…normal body exploration they say. What the heck?! How can we be proactive in teaching our children about their bodies and also protect them from harmful exposure to things they are not ready for? I want to prolong their innocence. Okay, no sleepovers. No shutting doors during play dates. And we have to really trust the families of our kids’ friends. And kids on social media? Uh-No. Never. Not happening. Maybe we should move to a cave.”

“Oh no. My two-year-old is shaking her ‘booty’ laughing hysterically. I’M A FAILURE!”

I turn my fears and anxieties into prayer. (Hmm, what a thought, right?)

“Lord! I’m terrified of raising my children and making the wrong decisions for their lives. What do I do? I need your guidance. I feel desperate, Lord!”

“Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil doing.” Psalm 37:8

Fret: “to be constantly or visibly worried or anxious.”

“But, Lord, I’m worrying about good things, right? I just want what is best for the children you have given me. I don’t want to mess up!”

“We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way. Our Lord was never worried and He was never anxious, because He was not ‘out’ to realize His own ideas; He was ‘out’ to realize God’s ideas. Fretting is wicked if you are a child of God.

“Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Put all ‘supposing’ on one side and dwell in the shadow of the Almighty. Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”  Oswald Chambers

Alright, Alright, Oswald, I hear you! (Side note: this devotional is kicking my tail and shaping my character this year. You should check it out.)

Okay, Lord, I’m listening.

“Lord, I acknowledge I am far too often worried about getting ‘my way’ in my children’s lives. I too often forget that you are the One who dreamed them up and created them in the first place. You knit them together, not me. You formed them in my womb. Your purpose and plan for them is greater than I can fathom. Your mold is far greater than my mold for them. Lord, if I have to trip over my own fleshly control and desires for my kids to lay them at your feet in surrender, I am determined to do it. I’m determined to rest in you. I’ll strive to parent my children in a way that would honor and please you, protect and guide them, and release them into the world as men and women seeking after Your heart above all else. But I know my greatest contribution to their lives is in daily offering them back to you. Daily surrendering my own will. Daily praying for your will in their lives. Daily resting in your sovereignty. Help me to cease striving, enjoy the right now moments as a gift, treasure the little years in my heart, and not spend my time fretting over the tomorrows. Forgive me for bolstering up this ‘stupid soul’ of mine in puffy arrogance. I’m not the one who ‘works all things together for the good’ of my children. That’s not within my power or my job description. I trust you, Lord. I choose to trust. ‘Have thine own way…’”

Lindsey Wingo Pic

 

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5 comments

  1. Emily says:

    I struggle with this fretting too! And it’s so true how it is disguised as acting “wise” like you quoted. So how DO we make decisions? Moving, schools, activities, etc all still require a decision and u am constantly learning how to seek God’s will for each of these things without fretting about them. Thank you for your insight 🙂

    • missionalmotherhood says:

      Hi Emily! You are so right, we can’t hide from the fact that there are always important decisions to be made. While I am no expert, I can tell you what I’ve begun to do. I think spending regular time in God’s Word has been crucial for me. Now, this looks different from day to day and week to week as all moms probably understand. But, more often than not when I feel I’ve gotten a direct word from the Lord on something I’ve been praying through, it has been during my routine Bible reading time (I’m currently trucking along at my own pace through the One Year Bible…I don’t freak out if I don’t finish in a year 🙂 ). Between that, seeking wise counsel, praying continually, and purposefully casting my anxiety and worry upon the Lord, I move forward with my decision knowing I’ve done my best to seek God’s guidance. There have been instances where I felt such confirmation from the Lord through His Word or counsel from a spiritual friend that I’ve moved forward in total confidence and peace. But, there are plenty of times I’ve had to simply “go with my gut” and ask God to divinely redirect if I’m making the wrong choice. I firmly believe God is not out there playing hide and seek with us while we hope we somehow find the right path. Sometimes I don’t realize how His hand was guiding me all along until I’m on the other side of a decision or circumstance. I believe if we are truly seeking the Lord’s will through a decision, He is going to guide our steps even when we don’t realize it at the moment. I also think He gives us “mommy intuition” about certain things. We know our children better than anyone else typically. Practically speaking, as far as our looming school decision for our oldest, my plan is to visit each option, do my research, pray for direction, and make the best decision I can (along with my husband of course) for our child. I’m just thankful that whatever route we end up taking, God is in ultimate control of my child’s future. And I definitely trust his supernatural, all-knowing control over my own limited perspective and selfish control. It’s always good to know we parents are in this together! Thanks again for your comment, Emily! – Lindsey

  2. Lisa Barnes says:

    My fretting story: My daughter has sensory processing disorder and was delayed in speech, and motor. My decisions seemed to be daily. I felt so blessed with our therapists, relationships of providers, etc. I didn’t have answers, but I knew our goals. Then, where to go to school? Preschools and Kindergarten had been just right. Wow, I investigated, studied, worried…realized I never asked God’s plan. Nothing was working, no plans were working. Within hours of praying His will…people approached me about homeschool. ..so many that had to consider it. It was His Will..Our whole family has been blessed with homeschooling her. We never get too old to need reminders to seek Him and not to fret.

  3. Kristi Hall says:

    Lindsey,
    I’m sitting in carpool.. Public middle school for my older two.
    And THIS touched the core of my heart today! None of this “stuff” is
    easy..but I AM THANKFUL WE SERVE A GOD WE CAN TRUST! Thank you for such a timely post! -just keep swimming- 🙂

    • missionalmotherhood says:

      Thank you, Kristi! So glad it ministered to you 🙂 I’m sure it gets more and more difficult to trust as they get older! Praying for you and your sweet boys!

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