A friend and I joke that we’re worst-case-scenario moms, able to easily imagine everything that could possibly go wrong with our kids. While we laugh at ourselves, we also know we do this because our worst fear is that something will happen to our children. I’m sure you can relate.
After all, the news reminds us that we live in a world where trafficking and virtual kidnapping are real threats. But then it seems we go overboard and allow our fears to control us. (Two examples: One, an app that allows you to track your kids almost the same way that law enforcement monitors parolees. Two, a daycare in Edmonton, Canada, suggested that parents provide helmets for their children—for the playground!)
I realize that the tendency to be overprotective comes because “safety” gives us a sense of control. After all, if we take every possible precaution, then nothing will go wrong, right? Wrong. Sometimes our worst fears become our reality. That sad truth is why October is called Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Nine years ago, a friend of mine gave birth to a healthy baby boy. The next day, with only 15 minutes notice that something was wrong, his heart stopped. As my friend shares her story now, she offers two tips for parents to help them not be quite so afraid:
1. Acknowledge the reality of death.
“After Jonah died, I was crazy-scared something else would happen to one of my kids,” she says. “So I reached out to a family friend who had lost her 13-year-old due to a drowning accident a few years before and asked, ‘But what if another one of my children die?’”
That mom replied, “And they will.”
“At first, I was so taken aback I couldn’t breathe. But she was right. Death is a result of sin, and sooner or later we will all die. It can happen when we are young or old, with or without warning.”
And that truth is why my friend’s second point is even more important.
2. Acknowledge the reality of Jesus.
“This is what makes what Jesus did so great. Because of him, we don’t die forever; it’s simply the next step to forever with him,” she says. “For those of us who have to stay here and wait until our forever, Jesus promises to be with us every step of the way.”
Now, instead of worrying about if her children will die, she is more focused on making sure that when they die, they know what Jesus has done for them—all so they can live in heaven.
And that is an important reminder for us all. Instead of worrying so much—because who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your (or your children’s) lives—let’s spend more time talking about Jesus, praying with our kids, and helping them tell others about the hope (not the fear) that we have!
P.S. For some, the grief is still too raw for this kind of reflection. Visit this post for six ways to help parents whose empty arms are aching.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is thankful for friends who share their struggles and their hope.