When Mom Isn’t Enough


“I didn’t get invited to the birthday party.”

“My friends were mean to me at lunch today.”

“Everyone else has a date to the dance.”

Any one of those statements is designed to break a mom’s heart. And over the 14 years I’ve been raising two girls, I’ve heard each of those and many more.

Every time it happens, I look at whichever child is uttering those words and wonder. I wonder why others can’t see what I see. I wonder why they can’t see that my quiet, loving, sensitive child is a force to have on your side with her strong sense of loyalty and wicked sense of humor. I wonder why they can’t see that while my quirky, exuberant, brilliant child may not fit any mold that’s ever been cast, her different way of thinking brings so much to the table.

When your child gets left out or hurt by others, it’s hard to help them. It’s hard to convince them that they are beautiful, smart, funny and worthy of friendship and love. Because you’re their mom. You have to say those things, and they know it.

There are no magic words that can heal the hurt. There’s no amount of ice cream or brownies that will make the sting go entirely away.

All we can do is be there when they cry, pick them up when they fall, and love them through it all. Because growing up is tough. They’re going to get left out. They’re going to get hurt. And we’re not enough to heal the hurt.

But God is.

God is the ultimate healer. He heals the broken-hearted. We know that we can’t fix all of our kids’ problems or heal all their hurts. And our kids know it, too. That’s why we have to point them in the direction of the One who can heal them. While we’re loving our kids through the disappointments and the hurts that life brings, we have to point them toward their loving Father who is ever so much more powerful than us at bringing healing.

Because as much as I love my girls, God loves them more. He delights in binding up their wounds. He hears their heartbreak. He collects their tears in a bottle. Because He loves them. He loves them enough to send His son to die for them.

So, when disappointment and heartbreak come, love your kids. Wipe their tears. Hug them tight. Wrap them up in the knowledge that they are worthy of love. Then point them to God and let Him love them, too, because He’s so much better at this healing thing than we are.

Categories: Motherhood, Parenting situations | Tags: , | Leave a comment

10 Things I Wish My Kids Knew

wish2In our house, we’re in the midst of the tough pre-teen and teen years. The easy days are few and far between. If it’s not one child having a crisis, it’s the other. Hormone-induced tears are a part of nearly every day. Some days I’m my girls’ best friend, and others, I’m the worst mom in the world.

Being a mom in this season is tough. You never really know which kid is going to walk through your door after school — the happy, care-free one or the moody, the world is ending one. There are days when I really would like to throw up my hands and just walk away.

But these two girls? They are the living extension of my heart. They are precious and amazing. They are mine. And there is so much they don’t know about what goes through my heart and mind as I parent them through these turbulent years. Here’s what I wish I they knew:

  1. I really don’t like disciplining you. I only do it because I want you to learn to make wise decisions. I want you to know how to exercise self-control and think about the feelings of other people.
  2. When you’re curled up in my arms sobbing your eyes out because of something someone else did or said, look up. There are tears in my eyes, too. Because I remember what it was like to be your age. Even though you think I don’t understand, I really do. I was your age once, and mean kids have existed since the beginning of time.
  3. When someone treats you badly, I’m going to tell you that you need to forgive them and move on. But even as I’m saying those words, I’m fighting my own battle to do the same.
  4. I don’t just make up rules to make your life miserable. I make rules to keep you safe and to teach you boundaries.
  5. I’ve never done this parenting thing before. I’m going to make mistakes. Please know that I’m doing my best.
  6. I am always praying for you because even though I mess up sometimes, God never does.
  7. I am trying to give you the space you need to become the person God wants you to be, but it’s hard. In my mind’s eye, you’re still my little girl.
  8. I am always on your side — even when it seems like I’m not. I always want what’s best for you. I always want you to succeed. I always want you to be happy. Sometimes, though, those things only come through tough lessons.
  9. Letting you fail at something is one of the hardest things for me to do. But I know that if I always step in, you will never learn the lessons that failure can teach you. Just know that when you fail, my heart hurts as much as yours does.
  10. I will always love you. No matter how much you screw up or how much you push me away, I will always love you. I will always be there to pick you up. When the days are long and the crisis hits, I will always be a safe haven for you.


Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Not So Picture Perfect


Pictures Once upon a time I loathed being the girl in the photograph.

I hid behind so and so. I offered to take the picture. Or I’d excuse myself to the restroom to the point I’m sure everyone in my family thought I had a bladder problem.

This at a time when I was the size of a toothpick, had not one wrinkle or gray hair and nothing sagged. (Mamas, you know what I am talking ABOUT…MMMMHMMM.)

Fast forward to today…

Where I am the proud owner of wrinkles and gray hair and flab (especially the kind that jiggles when you wave your arms.)  And the sagging? Oh friends…

Forget. About. It.

On top of the obvious differences between 28 and 38 and four children later, I also have a body that’s been through the physical ringer in the last few months.

Bruises in random places. Feet that turn blue and look like they have been borrowed from a 90-year-old man with frostbite. A face that is preciously puffy from steroids. Hair that’s thin on the top and looks like a small animal took up residence on the bottom. And lest we not forget the not-so-fashionable roots that only exist because I am NOT spending money on highlights that are going to fall out.

(Bless your little heart, Dave Ramsey.)

In other words, 2015 will never be called, “The year Sara looked like a supermodel.”

But you know what?

This mama has been in a RIDICULOUS amount of pictures.

Because the one thing I’ve learned in surviving a stroke, losing a dad and fighting through life-threatening health complications is this, my sweet, sweet, mama friends:

Pictures of us aren’t for us.  They are for the littles, the tweens, the college kids and even the grown-ups that are someday left behind.  And I promise you, they don’t care if you are a size 2 or 22, if you’ve had a bad hair day or even if your face is the size of a small planet.

All that they want is you in the picture.

You may find it hard to let go of your insecurity.  You may give yourself a pep talk every now and again (I know I do.)  You may even have to remind yourself that it’s not about you.

But as you enter the season of pumpkin patches and field trips and Christmas bedhead mornings, remember this:  You are just as beautiful as you were ten years ago.  And really?

You are probably even more so.

Because nothing is more beautiful than a broken vessel used to do great things. For the more we break, the more beautiful we become. And the more beautiful we become, the less we notice our broken bodies and the more we pay attention to the hearts they house.

So go on, mamas, take that picture or two or twenty.

Take it for your loves. Take it for the one who has to fight to stay in it. Take it for the one who knows it might be her last.

Just. Take. It.

And even as the camera flashes, know that real beauty comes from a heart filled with Jesus-sized love and the rest is all just dust.

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail.


Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , | 2 Comments

One Easy Day

One Easy Day

I sat on my front porch the other day, looked at the sky and prayed this prayer: “Lord, can I have one easy day? Please?”

I’d been trying to navigate through the waters of a kid recovering from surgery while dealing with some other drama in her life and dealing with the other child who can’t seem to get organized enough to do the things she needs to do at school. Let’s not forget the everyday drama that just exists when you have 14-year-old and 12-year-old daughters.

I sat on that porch after meting out discipline to one of them and wondered when parenting had gotten so hard. I love being my kids’ mom. It’s a calling. I love them more than life itself. But right now, I really don’t like parenting.

It. Is. Hard.

Every single day is a constant struggle with one child or the other. There have been more tears shed in this house in the past month than at any time since they were crying babies. My husband is ready to move to Tahiti and come back when they’re 21. I’ll be honest. I am not enjoying it. I really want just one easy day.

I want one day where everyone does their homework without a fight. I want one day where friends act like friends. I want one day where everyone fills out their planner at school and knows exactly what they need to do when they get home. I want one day where no one forgets anything, no one has to stay after school and no one needs my help with math homework (I really didn’t like geometry when I was the student). I want one day without drama and without tears (theirs or mine).

I prayed that prayer for one easy day a week ago. And I still haven’t gotten it. But God has reminded me that he didn’t promise that this parenting thing would be sunshine and roses. He didn’t say this life would be easy. He did say He would be here. He did say that He would never leave us.

Because, you see, God isn’t interested in my comfort. He isn’t interested in me having an easy life. He’s interested in making me more like Him. He’s interested in growing me and my kids. He’s interested in forcing me to rely on Him instead of myself.

I could list off for you the lessons we’ve learned in this household this summer. I could tell you how much my older daughter has grown in her faith and her approach to life. I could tell you how much more of a priority it is for me to have a consistent time of Bible reading and prayer in my life. The evidence of growth in this particular season is everywhere in our family. But there have been very few easy days.

Because growing is hard. When our bodies grow, we tend to sleep more and require more food because growing is work. That holds true for spiritual growth as well. When we die to our selfish nature and become more like Christ, there are growing pains. And there are few easy days.

When we get on the other side of this intense growing season in our family, we’ll be able to look back at everything that happened and know that those hard days were worth it. Right now, though, we’re simply clinging to the knowledge that God is with us. We’re holding fast to His promises that He’ll see us through these tough parenting moments.

I know God is creating something beautiful in our family. I know that the end result will be more amazing than anything I can imagine. And I’m grateful.

But, I’ll be honest, I’m really looking forward to when God says yes to my prayer for one easy day.

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10 Things to Teach Your Kids about Texting and Social Media



My kids are 12 and 14, and they have their own cell phones. The deal around here is that when you go to middle school, you get a cell phone. When you turn 13, you get limited and monitored access to social media. Your phone is always subject to being monitored by mom or dad. Any text message or social media post is fair game. If we find something we don’t like, then there are consequences ranging from losing access to social media to losing your phone entirely.

In the past few months, we’ve encountered a few situations where social media and texting have caused some hurt, anger and frustration in our house. And I’ve boiled it down to a common factor: lack of respect.

We talk a lot about respect in our house. Most of the rules we have are based on the idea that other people deserve respect. But those little devices in our kids’ hands make it easy to forget that concept. It’s easy to say things we don’t mean when we don’t have to look the other person in the eye. It’s easy to ignore someone when they aren’t standing right there. Minor disagreements turn into major ones when teens try to resolve them via text because it’s impossible to determine intent or tone in a text message.

I’ve been working with my girls to help them understand that texting and social media are a tool of communication but not the only tool. And here are some of the do’s and don’ts I’m trying to impart.

1. Don’t say anything in a text or social media post that you wouldn’t say to a person’s face. Just because it’s digital, doesn’t make your words any less hurtful.

2. If you’re having a disagreement, request that you get together to talk it out. It is almost impossible to successfully resolve a disagreement via text or social media because you’re missing key clues to what the other person really means. You can’t see facial expressions. You can’t hear tone of voice. When emotions are already high, those nonverbal cues are important.

3. Never end a relationship via text. This seems to be the choice du jour of teens today. Ending a relationship via text is easy. You don’t have to deal with any of the other person’s emotions, and you don’t have to have a conversation. But it is incredibly hurtful. Ending a relationship via text hurts in ways that doing it face to face does not because to text a breakup tells the other person that you don’t value them or the relationship you had enough to extend the common courtesy of a face-to-face conversation. Ending a relationship is hard — and it should be — but it should be done in a way that doesn’t devalue the other person. A text breakup does just that. Short of an abusive relationship (in which case there are a whole host of other issues involved), a relationship should never be ended via text.

4. Think about whether what you’re posting is going to hurt someone else’s feelings. My older daughter’s friends went through a stage where they posted those memes where you tag different friends for different things — best friend, tallest friend, goofiest friend, etc. Someone always got left out or was upset about what they had been tagged as. Nothing good comes from memes and comments that ask you to choose among your friends. It’s best to just avoid those things altogether.

5. Use text and social media to praise your friends and share fun conversations. Use it to figure out your homework or make plans for the weekend. Text and social media are a great tool for communicating with others for simple things. They are a great way to stay in touch when life gets really busy.

6. Don’t post things that embarrass other people. Sometimes it’s funny to post a silly picture or a funny quote from a friend. As long as everyone is in on the joke, it’s fine. But if your friend specifically asks you not to post something, then don’t. Don’t use social media as a way to embarrass or get back at someone else.

7. Remember that whatever you post on social media is public. Your future college and future employers can see it. Don’t post things that will come back to haunt you later on.

8. Use text and social media to be an encourager. Offer praise and encouragement through text and social media. It is a great forum for that.

9. Don’t use social media and text to offer criticism. Criticism and correction should always be offered face to face. It’s hard to correct someone in love via text.

10. Don’t let social media and text become a replacement for face-to-face relationships. There’s only so much interaction that can take place via text and social media. You still need to get out of the house and hang out with your friends together. And when you’re together, put the phones away.

In this digital world, it can be hard to keep up with what our kids are doing on their phones. The key to teaching them how to be responsible with text and social media is to remind them to treat each other with love and respect. If our kids remember that they are called to “love one another” at all times — even when texting and using social media — they will be on the road to successfully navigating this digital world.


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When Your Child is Drowning in the Tough Stuff


My 14-year-old daughter has taken a beating in the past few weeks. She’s been sick for so long that she doesn’t remember what it feels like to feel well (she had her tonsils taken out yesterday, so hopefully, she’ll be on the mend soon). She’s learned about the ups and downs of a relationship with a guy. She’s been frustrated by her soccer situation. It’s been a rough couple months, especially the past few weeks.

And I’ve learned something in watching her battle through these things. First, she has more grace, patience and compassion than I ever will, and second, being a teenager is hard and being the parent of a teenager is hard, too. Being a teen is hard in ways it wasn’t when I was a teenager. And as a mom, I ache for my daughter and wish that I could spare her some of the hard lessons that this life is teaching her.

I know that God has it all under control. I know that he’s using these things to teach her something. But I’ll be honest, it feels like I’m watching my child stand in the ocean and get hit by wave after wave after wave. She comes up sputtering every time, only to get hit by another one.

That’s hard. It’s hard to watch your child hurt. It’s hard to watch them be emotionally and physically battered by life’s circumstance. It’s hard to watch them come up sputtering time after time after time.

And it’s hard to be the emotional rock that they need their parents to be. Because your heart is breaking for them. Every wave that hits them and knocks them down, knocks you down, too. It’s hard to have enough energy and emotional reserves to keep picking them back up again when all you want to do is lock yourself in the bathroom and cry for them.

In the midst of these tough moments, though, I am always reminded that God is creating something beautiful out of what seems like a mess. He’s standing in that ocean with my daughter. Not one single wave surprises Him. Not one single wave knocks Him down. When she is knocked to her knees, He’s there to lift her back up. She may not be able to stand in that ocean of life on her own as wave after wave of tough stuff knocks her down, but she can lean into God’s arms, absorb His strength and put her feet back under her.

And so can I. When this mom thing gets hard. When it hurts to watch my kid to get knocked down, I know that I can turn to my Father’s loving arms. I know that He can give me the emotional strength to see my daughter through illness, a tough soccer season, or a broken relationship.

Standing in this ocean we call life is hard for our kids, and it’s hard for us. No one ever promised us that life would be easy. But God did promise that He would always be at our side, ready to offer whatever it is that we’re lacking.

So, if your child seems to be drowning under wave after wave of tough things, remember that God is there to pick up your child — and He’s there to keep you standing as well. We’re not in this alone.

Categories: Character, Parenting situations | 2 Comments

Why Target Taking Down a Few Signs Doesn’t Bother Me


I wasn’t going to write this post. I usually like to stay away from controversial subjects in this space. But I found that after thinking about it for a while and praying about it that I feel the need to write about it. What is it, you ask? It’s Target’s announcement that they are moving away from gender-based labeling in toys and bedding in their stores.

It appears that this business decision by Target has set off a firestorm of criticism and praise from all different corners. And my take on this might surprise some of you.

My first thought was actually, why is this such a big deal? Most kids I know don’t care where they buy the toys they like. They don’t care if it’s bought off a shelf with green paper or pink paper. They simply want the toy they want. It’s us parents who care. It’s us parents who are using the gender labeling as a validation that we are raising our kids “right.”

You see, I have a daughter, and I have hardly ever shopped for a toy for her in the girls’ toy section. We’ve about outgrown toys now, but my daughter loved Legos (not the pink and purple Friends sets, the hard-to-build Star Wars and City themed ones), light sabers, Nerf guns and Matchbox cars (oh, how she loved Matchbox cars). One year for Christmas all she wanted was a scale replica of Mark Martin’s NASCAR truck that she could play with. She has never owned a Barbie doll. She never liked to play dress-up. She would rather get muddy, shoot Nerf guns and play street hockey on the driveway than pick out new outfits for her American Girl doll.

So I bought her toys in the “boys'” section of the toy department. And I never once thought that I was doing my daughter a disservice. I never once thought she would be confused about what gender she is. I was simply trying to cater to my daughter’s interests. She didn’t like dolls, so I didn’t buy them. She didn’t care about princesses and fairies, so we didn’t buy those either.

The idea that the toys we buy our children are going to shape their gender identity is quite simply silly. It is a bunch of hoopla about nothing. My daughter is 12 now. She likes to look cute when she goes to school. She identifies as a girl. But she still plays hockey. She still likes video games and sports. It doesn’t make her less of a girl. It just makes her a girl with some less than typical interests. And that’s OK. Because in all this hullabaloo over Target taking down a few signs, we seem to have forgotten one thing: God made each one of us. He made us with different interests and talents. And He did that so we could fulfill a purpose in His plan.

I don’t mind that Target is taking down those signs. If it makes some girl (or boy) feel more comfortable shopping for a toy that isn’t a “typical” girl or boy toy, then that’s good. Because instead of making a child feel awkward about focusing on their God-given interests, we should be celebrating them. We should be encouraging them to be who God made them to be. My little girl who played with Matchbox cars might grow up to be a race-car driver. Your little boy who played with dishes and play kitchens might grow up to be a chef. Why would we want to try to mold those interests into something else?

They’re just toys. It’s just a sign. There are real problems in this world — children are starving, wars are raging, children are sold every day into slavery. Maybe we should focus some of our outrage on those things and just let our kids play with their toys.

Categories: Childhood, Daughters | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Jesus, Please…

Jesus Please

Life around here has been a bit of doozy. You know that tummy-twirling ride where you spin and spin and spin and the floor drops out? Yeah, that’s pretty much our summer.

And the grand total of my contribution to my children’s spiritual and educational enrichment?

My mad skills and ability to push play on the Blu Ray. I kid you not. But on the upside, I am really awesome at pushing play.

So there.

My auto-immune disease is kicking my bum and my lungs and my heart and I’m sure something else by next week.


I cannot say this season of our life was and is without good.

I. Just. Cannot.

In a world that often says our God is good only when the outcome is good, my summer is a living testament to what happens when the outcome is a big, blessed mess.

Love without boundaries. Grace that meets us daily. Peace even when the floor drops out.

It is a road that ekes out not an eloquent, perfect prayer for health and safety and all things lovely but rather a sacred “Jesus, please…”

Standing outside my babies’ rooms after another day of holding frustrated little hearts who miss their mom so very much.

“Jesus, please…”

Watching my littlest sleep, feeling like I’ve lost her first year and in some ways, lost a piece of  her.

“Jesus, please…”

Holding his hand knowing he is carrying the weight of our world squarely on his exhausted shoulders.

“Jesus, please…”

It is in this whispered call that His good can seep into our fear, our frustration, our blessed unrest. Because at the end of the day, we are not called to work out our own good. We are called to be champions for eternity.

And sometimes?

Eternity needs our hard stuff more than it needs our happiness.

Now I know this is not the feel-good sound byte of back-to-school we mamas want to hear. I know it would be easier to pray for things that are safe and comfortable. I know the thought of anything other than happy already weighs on our hearts.

I. Know.

But what if, instead of a list of a million wants, this school year we prayed a “Jesus, please…”

One that said, “Make it good. Make it beautiful. Make it matter for eternity.”

Oh friends, what if?

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew, one-year-old Sophie, and her new little miracle Maddie.  When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers.  But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful. She recently began her own blog called Where Feet May Fail. Be sure to check it out. – See more at: http://www.everydaytruth.net/2015/05/08/beautiful-together/#sthash.MQ5W7JBA.dpuf


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Don’t Let Fear Rule Your Parenting — The Rest of the Story


A little over a week ago, I wrote this post about not letting fear rule your parenting. The next day, I got a phone call from my 14-year-old daughter in Ecuador saying her throat felt like it did when she had an abscess in it.

If you want to know fear, send your child to a foreign country and have her call you and tell you she’s sick and needs medical treatment. She got to spend part of her day in an Ecuadorian hospital and ended up on the first flight home, cutting her trip short.

After writing that blog post about not letting fear rule your parenting, I was confronted with a situation that made me wonder whether that was the right tactic to take. If I’d just kept my daughter home, she would have been here when she got sick again. I wouldn’t have spent 24 hours wondering if she was going to be OK. I would have had her right here where I could check on her. All of those thoughts went through this mom’s very worried mind last Tuesday morning.

But do you know what one of my daughter’s first questions was? She asked me if she could go back to Ecuador next summer. Despite not feeling good and being scared and sick in an Ecuadorian hospital, she couldn’t wait to go back. The experiences she had, the friends she made and the joy she found while in Ecuador for a week ministering to others far outweighed the crumminess of getting sick and having to come home early.

I know that God wanted my daughter on that mission trip. He’s given her a huge heart full of love and compassion along with a fearless spirit that revels in new experiences. He wanted her to have a taste of what that looks like on the mission field.

But Satan did not. There’s nothing Satan wants more than for us to hide behind our fear to keep us from doing what God asks of us. Satan would have loved for fear to have kept me from putting my daughter on that plane. He would love for fear to keep me from letting her go again.

But even though this experience was gut-wrenching for me as a mom, even though her trip didn’t end like anyone had planned, God still triumphed because we didn’t let fear hold us back. My daughter should be good as new soon (she’s having her tonsils taken out on Aug. 31), and she’s already started working to earn money to go back to Ecuador next year. She had an amazing experience in Ecuador that will change her life forever. She has the best opening line of a “What I did this summer” essay that I’ve ever heard (I started my summer in an American hospital and ended it in an Ecuadorian one). And I was stretched as a mom to let go of my fear and trust God with this child of my heart more than I ever have before.

I was reminded once again of something I learned when my kids were very young. They are not mine. They are God’s. I just get to be in charge of them for a little while. My biggest job as a mom is not to get in the way of what God wants to do in their lives. And when I do take steps to allow God to work, I have to be ready for Satan to attack because he doesn’t want me or my kids growing in our faith and confidence in God. He wants fear and worry to hold us back.

Won’t you join with me in not allowing Satan to have that kind of power over us and our kids? As our kids head back to school, let’s be parents who choose to let our children walk in the path that God has laid out for them — even when it means we have to set aside our own fear and worry.

Categories: Motherhood, Parenting situations | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Let Fear Rule Your Parenting


A little over 12 years ago, I sat in a doctor’s office and was presented with the fact that the baby I was holding in my arms shouldn’t be here. I was told that 99% of babies with her particular health issues miscarried before they were born. In the weeks that followed, as a young mom of two kids under the age of two, I made a few decisions about the type of parent I wanted to be.

You see, I had been handed a miracle, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all kids are miracles. There are so many things that have to come together just exactly right to create a healthy baby. The fact that that happens more often than it doesn’t is a miracle.

I found myself having to answer the question “What do I do with these two miracles?” So I made a few hard and fast decisions in those first weeks of my second daughter’s life. One was that I wanted to be an intentional parent. This blog is an outgrowth of that decision. The other big decision I made was that I never wanted to parent from a place of fear. I didn’t want my decisions about what my kids could and could not do to be based on fear because irrational, paralyzing fear is not from God. It is a tool that Satan uses to keep us from doing the hard things that God asks us to do.

In the past 12 years, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve had to remind myself of that decision not to parent from a place of fear — sending my girls off to their first sleepover or their first overnight camp, sending my 7-year-old out on the ice for the first time to play hockey with a bunch of boys, sending them off to their first day of middle school. But never has that decision been tested more than it was last Thursday when I put my 14-year-old daughter on a plane to Ecuador.

Two doctors had expressed reservations about her going on this trip. She’d been really sick not a week before. She was still on antibiotics. Every single fiber of my being was screaming that I should keep her home where I could keep an eye on her. But God was clearly saying “Send her.” In those moments of tear-filled fear and paralyzing doubt, the rubber met the road on that long-ago decision not to parent out of fear. This moment was where I had to decide if I really believed that fear was not a good enough reason to stop my daughter from going on this long-awaited trip.

So, last Thursday, I chose not to let fear rule my parenting, not to let fear get in the way of God’s plan. I put my daughter on a plane to Ecuador. And I am so glad I did. That picture at the top of this post is her playing soccer with some kids in Ecuador (she’s in the red shirt). She has made new friends. She has worked hard and connected with some kids in Ecuador. She’s had the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to people she would never have met if I had let fear make me say no to this trip. And even from the short text messages I’ve been getting, I can tell that she’s going to come home a changed person.

Parenting out of fear never ends well for us or our kids. When we parent out of fear, we often rob our kids of the opportunity to try new things, meet new people and grow spiritually. Fear should never be the only reason we tell our children they can’t have a new experience. Don’t get me wrong, there are valid reasons for telling our kids no. Our 12-year-old didn’t go on this trip because we don’t feel she’s old enough or mature enough to travel across the world on her own. The reasons for her not going, though, aren’t rooted in fear; they’re rooted in what’s appropriate for her age.

However, if you’re making decisions about what your kids can and can’t do and you find fear is the only reason you’re parenting the way you’re parenting, it might be time to reevaluate. It might be time to take a close look at whether you’re making decisions based on  prayerful consideration of what’s best for your child or based on your own worries and fears.

Because when we let fear rule our parenting, we let Satan rob us and our kids of some of the great adventures God wants us both to have.

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