By Ashley Anthony

What is a mother’s biggest fear?? I think most moms would agree with, “Am I wrecking my kids? Am I literally messing this all up?” So many times this fear has swept over my mind as I have parented my three kiddos. This fear thought comes to mind during the simplest things like, “Am I being too indulgent by letting my kids have this huge cupcake?” to life biggest decisions like, “What if we foster and bring more kids into our home?” I know that fear is not from the Lord. I even know that I should give all my fears to the Lord, little and big. His Word literally says, “Do not fear, for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10), but Satan is sneaky and he likes to mess-up God’s plans. He likes to sneak in and tell you lies about your parenting. That you aren’t good enough, and he goes even deeper by whispering to you that the decisions you are making are going to really wreck your kids!

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you.
I do not give it as the world does.
Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.
John 14:27

In 2016, my husband and I sat through classes at our church to prepare us to be foster parents. As the class started coming to an end, we knew that we had been called to foster care, but were our kids? Every time we made the plans that moved closer and closer toward fostering, I became more and more fearful that our kids would somehow be messed up by this process. Would they accept a new kid in our home? Would everyone get along? In some ways, I wanted to back out. I just wanted to walk away and keep everything easy. It was Satan who was feeding me lies that we couldn’t do this as a family. It came in subtle ways and in big ways; a family member even told me, “This is going to mess up your kids!” When we talked with our kids, they were all in. We all were. But they were 10, 8, and 6. What did they know about trauma and the hard things other kids their age were facing outside of a stable home?

The day finally came when we were asked about two brothers coming into our home, and we said, “Yes!” Truthfully, it was hard, harder than I ever realized it would be. We all had a lot of adjustments to make. We had two new people in our home who had to get used to being with five new people they had never met. I can only imagine their fear during that time. We adjusted to our new normal, but I was constantly worried for my biological kiddos. Were they ok? How were they handling this? There were many tears shed by all seven of us. We learned a lot during those two months. We had grown closer, but still the whole process scared me so bad, I just wanted to say, “Nope, that’s it, we are done.” But I knew that wasn’t from the Lord, He had called us to this. Even through the hard things.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

After a short break, we got a new baby through Safe Families. Safe Families is a voluntary foster care system. He had special needs, and was such a joy. I saw my kids’ love for him grow every day as we became attached to him. And yet again, in the back of my head I was thinking this attachment is going to really wreck their hearts. Little did I know how much. We tragically lost him to bacterial meningitis while we were hosting him. The grief we all felt was unimaginable. I thought, we can’t possibly do this anymore. The grief, the heartache is just too much. This has definitely messed me up, but also my kids! But, when God calls you to something, He always makes a way! He mends the brokenhearted. His closeness during that time was all we needed.

When God calls you to something, He always makes a way! He mends the brokenhearted. His closeness during that time was all we needed.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

About five months later, we hosted a newborn baby for a few weeks. Oh, the joys and excitement of a newborn! The kids were thrilled, but two short weeks later, he was gone. The kids loved having this sweet baby to rock, hold, and love on. They were really sad when he was gone. After a while, we said yes again to an 18 month old boy. He was full of energy and fun, and the kids were thrilled to come home after school every day to play with him. We had some trials, and as we dealt with those, that fear crept back in, “What are we doing?” “This is too hard!” “MY kids aren’t getting the attention THEY need!” God quietly whispered to me, “These are ALL MY KIDS, love them well!” I continued to struggle with the fear of, “Is this messing my kids up?”

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

After the last little guy left, I asked my kids some questions about fostering. “What do you like about it? What was hard? What was easy?” Their answers were clear: these past few years, I haven’t been messing my kids up! What I realized is that, although there have been some struggles, grief, heartache, and so many more things, my kids have been learning compassion, love, joy, and patience. They have learned that all kids need love and hope. They have learned that we need to love their parents well too. They have learned that sometimes we have to put our wants to the wayside to make room for someone else. What have I learned? I have learned that when God clearly calls me to something, I’ve got to give it ALL to Him. He will put it all in place. He will take the fears and crush them. I’ve learned that wrecking my kids may sometimes be ok. If my kids grow closer to the Lord through this, then YES! PLEASE WRECK THESE KIDS!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

What are you being called to as a mom? Is it making you fearful that it will wreck your kids? Present it all to Jesus. He will make the path straight for you! He will sustain you, and you may just be surprised how it shapes and molds your kids along the way!

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