A while back my two sons (ages 6 and 8) were allowed to play a video game while spending some time with friends that I would never have let them play…probably ever…had I known it was happening.
When I say never, what I really mean is that even when they turn eighteen (the recommended age for this particular game) and can make choices for themselves about what video games to play, I’ll hope and pray they’re men enough to know it’s not good for them and choose not to play it.
But they did play it once, and for a time afterward it was a part of nearly every conversation we had…morning, noon, and night. And I won’t lie mamas, when I realized what their tender eyes had seen, and how it had woven its way into their hearts and thoughts and play time…
I was scared.
We live in a world where life is no longer precious. Children are killed in the halls of what once were considered safe havens, and in many cases, violent video games were played by the perpetrators. And while my precious babes were busy drawing guns and dead people lying in pools of blood the day after they played the game, all I could think about was Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown…
And maybe having a friend who lost her son in the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007 makes me more sensitive to it, but what I felt that day friends, was raw, unadulterated fear.
It happens to all moms every now and then…that feeling that screams out “he’s going to end up being an axe murderer” as you watch your son chop off the heads of his lego men, or pull off the wings of an innocent butterfly. Sometimes I watch my two at home and wonder what type of men they’re going to end up being, and if I’m honest I have to admit that I battle a fear that they’re going to turn out way short of the good, godly men I pray they’ll be.
I was praying after one of “those” really bad days—you know, the ones where you want to throw your hat in the ring and change your name??—when it dawned on me…
Fear doesn’t come from God.
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).
And very gently, the whisper of the Holy Spirit—that beautiful, refreshing, redeeming whisper— flooded my heart with this reminder:
Parent in faith, not fear.
The truth is mama, we really don’t know how our children will turn out. There are no parenting formulas that make promises of perfect kids <—- Tweet that!
If there were, we’d all be putting them into practice and there would be a lot more of our kids diving deeper into the Word of God, serving others, and changing the world than leaving the church in droves. The sheer percentages of teens leaving the church these days is enough to make any parent live in fear.
But God’s Word says we must do something different—live in faith.
Here’s how I’m doing it.
1. Get introspective
Think about it mom. What tone do you want to set for your family as they maneuver their way through the storms of life? Your tendencies will be their tendencies. This thought alone is enough to make me dive into the Word and whistle a tune of faith instead of fear.
Pausing to connect with the One who is my source of peace gives me the opportunity to rest my fears at His feet and pick up faith instead. (Need help knowing how to pray?) Honestly, sometimes I even sing to Jesus during this time. Which brings me to my next point.
3. Be prone to worship
My home group has been going through Beth Moore’s study on King David. A few weeks ago we spent some time in one of my favorite texts about David that occurs before he takes the throne. David and his Mighty Men had been off fighting, and return home worn and ragged only to find their camp raided and their wives and children abducted. I wrote about my thoughts on it in an article entitled When Moms are Tempted to Despair, but Beth had this to say about David’s response to this horrible situation:
“While others were prone to wander, he was prone to worship.” (David, p 131).
David’s entire family was at risk, and I think it’s safe to assume he was afraid of what might become of them. But he didn’t give in to the fear. Instead, he chose to do the only thing he knew to do that brought the Lord near—worship.
I never feel so at peace, so close to the Lord and at ease with my surroundings as when I’m worshipping. Somehow it always brings the perspective I need—probably because I’m taking my eyes off of myself and my problems and placing them instead on the one thing that changes everything.
When I look at it, I remember that God has already given me everything I need for this life and the next. And friends, if He could pick this sinner up out of the muck and mire and set my feet on the Rock, I’m confident He can do the same for my sons.
This truth alone fills me with the faith I need to believe God remains in control even when my children are out of mine. Nothing, NOTHING, can separate them from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39) once they’re in it. Not violent video games, not abuse…
Not even my greatest fears.
And if that’s true, I might as well live in faith.