“5 Things A Mom Doesn’t Need to Worry About”
By Cindi McMenamin
It happened. I helped my daughter, a recent college graduate, move in to her apartment two hours from home so she could start working her first career job. My, how time flies. My, how God provided. And, oh my, how many of my worries throughout her life were unnecessary — and still are.
My daughter, now 21, hates when I worry. Not only because she’s now an adult and has to keep reminding me that she’s perfectly capable of doing things on her own. But also because she doesn’t want to have to worry about me worrying.
And I’m pretty sure God hates…
my worrying too.
God’s Word tells us “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6, NLT). And what happens when we follow God’s instruction to pray, instead of worry? Verse 7 tells us: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I’ve recently come to see how many of my fears and worries, throughout my daughter’s childhood and now into her adulthood, were unfounded because I know and love a trustworthy God. Because God hears our prayers and answers them according to His infinite knowledge about what’s best for our children, we don’t’ need to waste our time worrying. Praying? Of course. But worrying? Never.
Let me encourage your heart with five things you and I never need to worry about as a mom:
1. Your Child’s Friendships – I used to worry about my daughter making friends when she started school. As an only child, Dana wasn’t “outgoing” when it came to initiating friendships. Yet the same God who helped me extend and respond to others and form lifelong friendships while I was in elementary school did the same for her, in spite of what I saw as timidity or weaknesses on her part. While I have constantly prayed that my daughter would find and choose friends who would be a positive influence on her, spiritually, she had some close friends I wouldn’t have chosen for her. But, Dana ended up having a positive impact on them and leading them to a better understanding of Who God is. He wanted His best — for her and her friend — rather than what I considered “best.”
2. Your Child’s Spouse – I also worried about my daughter finding Mr. Right. First of all, I felt guilt for not praying for her spouse from the time she was born. (I heard a friend of mine say she had been doing that for her daughter and that made me feel like a total loser of a mom for having never thought about my daughter’s marital status until that conversation. I worried that maybe her soul mate wouldn’t be as “complete” since I’d only started praying for him, and sporadically at best, after Dana was already 7 years old.) Then, I feared that Dana’s chances of meeting a husband would decrease substantially once she graduated from college. Yet, in my own life, meeting my husband had nothing to do with where I went to college and whom I met there. But it had everything to do with a God who engineered the circumstances and the relationships in our lives through whom my husband and I met. If God was sovereign over the details of when and how I met my husband, certainly He is sovereign over the details of my daughter finding her spouse, as well.
3. Your Child’s Choices – God was the perfect parent, but Adam and Eve still sinned. So even when you are doing all you can to guide your children spiritually, they will still make choices of their own. At times those choices won’t be the best ones. But that’s how they learn and grow through their mistakes. And that’s when we trust that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Instead of worrying about your children’s poor or less than best choices, pray for their strength and wisdom to discern God’s will over their own (or someone else’s) and find ways to encourage them, but not pressure them through verbalizing your worries or concerns.
4. Your Child’s Health – I know moms who stress over how many vegetable their kids eat, the quality of air they’re breathing, how their skin is burning under harmful cancerous rays, and how many hormones are in those chicken nuggets, which are often the one thing our kids want to eat in their formative years. As you and I do the best we can to ensure our children eat nutritionally and get adequate sleep and exercise, we are powerless, in some ways, over their health. And yet, I am comforted knowing that nothing touches us — or our children — that hasn’t first passed through God’s loving hands. What an assurance! No matter what my child contracts, no matter what he or she touches or eats (and we’ve all been horrified by what they’ve put in their mouths), God has their little (and adult) lives in His hands.
5. Your Child’s Future – I remember the panic I experienced when my daughter expressed interest in attending an acting academy in Hollywood for her four-year education. Besides it being located t in the dead-center of Hollywood (which isn’t the safest or cleanest place to live), she would be at least two hours from home and without a strong spiritual mentor (that I knew of) in her life. And yet, as the time got closer for her to decide upon where she would continue her education, my husband and I continued to pray…for Dana’s discernment and for her to hear God’s leading in her life. Ultimately, Dana determined the acting academy was not where God wanted her and she opted for a Christian university instead.
When we trust the leading of God’s spirit on our children’s lives, God can lead and persuade them a lot more effectively than we can. Sometimes, too, we assume our desires for them are the same as God’s desires. But God is looking beyond our children’s physical safety and what makes their parents feel comfortable and is weighing the entire man or woman He wants your child to become. God takes into account the lessons they will learn along the way, the challenges they will experience that will shape their character, their fears and uncertainties that will drive them to depend on Him. Instead of worrying, trust the process God is allowing in your child’s life, pray for them to hear God’s leading, offer guidance when asked, and then wait to see what God does. That process can be as exciting (or as worrisome) for you as it is for your child. You decide. If you are hopeful for their future, while trusting God with it, they will most likely learn to do the same.
Cindi McMenamin is a national women’s conference speaker and the best-selling author of numerous books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 120,000 copies sold), Women on the Edge, and When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter. For more information on her books or ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your soul, marriage or parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.