936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
“Mom, isn’t it so great that bad people don’t get away with their bad stuff?” My seven-year-old son smiled up at me. I leaned over the kitchen counter and looked straight into his eyes. “They do, Love. They do get away with their bad stuff.” My mind flashed to recent news stories. I kept them to myself. That was months ago. But this week was no different.
“I know it’s not the solution,” I stared out the window, my husband drove on, “but sometimes I wish it was.” I read him the article, another mass shooting in two days. “It’s days like these that I want to move deep into the woods.” I told him.
As we drove, I watched the prairie dogs out the window, dotting the fields. They burrowed deep into their cavernous homes beneath the parched August soil. I wanted to follow suit — to take my babies where the world cannot reach them. And yet, there are still dark spaces down in those burrows, as well as in the woods we were driving toward. Some days, when we head to those the hills, it feels a bit too much like running away.
Yet I know that this mothering instinct — to protect my children at all cost from the horrors and devastations of this world — cannot drive me to run away. No, it needs to press me to consider what I’ll run to.
We will run tired and weary during these short days on earth, and what will we run to? Will our steps be driven by fear or faith? Two weeks ago the words stopped me, spun me, reoriented me, found me in a deep chasm of fear and threw a rope down into the depths to meet me:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ’My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!’
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:1-2, 5-6, 11
“Pestilence”, stopped me. Stared at me. In recent days, sickness has pressed in around us, far too close. Friends, family, acquaintances fighting for their lives. The reality of this broken world stares me in the soul, just like those four sets of little eyes that peer into mine each morning, assuming I will protect them. How can I protect them from what I cannot control?
That day with his words, “Isn’t is great that bad guys don’t get away with their bad stuff?” I needed to end on hope. “This is a broken world.” I told him. Glimpses of the brokenness eclipse their little worlds, broadening those spheres in a way I ache to shield them from. “We have to remember, when we see the brokenness, that Jesus wins. He has already won.”
Psalm 91 revealed the black hole of fear that has been swallowing up so much goodness in my life. Something compelled me to divide those words, to stare them down, to write down the faces they wear today. And so I wrote.
“You will not be afraid of the terror by night”
Death in the night
“Or of the arrow that flies by day;”
Worries over finances
“Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,”
A child falling ill
“Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.”
Technology or social media addiction
Harsh words or anger
Children falling away from truth
Our glory over God’s glory
As I put a name to these fears, I realized just how tangled in and attached to them I have been. These fears have been an ever-present, paralyzing companion. Fear has a way of disguising itself as control. I want to control the circumstances around my family, so I dwell on every possible scenario. But when we do this, the fears burrow deep and fester. They devour us. And yet, the very act of naming them began stripping them of their hold on me.
As I name each one, I go back to the promise preceding the fears: “You will not be afraid.”
Leave them behind.
Run in faith, not fear.
When the atrocities of this world flash in front of our eyes, across our screens, or sink deep into our stomachs, run again and again and again to that promise, “You will not be afraid.”
Every time we run to that promise, we release another shackle of fear. And one day, we’ll glance back to see what once held us captive and crippled laying in the dust far behind us.
We’ll see that the bad stuff doesn’t win.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!