The One Thing to Remember When You Fear You’re Failing as a Parent

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One of the areas where I am most sensitive is my role as a mother. If my husband asks something homeschool related and the girls don’t know the answer, I immediately feel like I am failing them.

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I just want so much for them. I want more for them than I, with my human limitations, can provide. I am afraid that I am a bad mother. I think that is the appeal of things like Instagram. We can post a picture of something we have done well, receive affirmation and feel good about ourselves in that moment. Please do not read any judgement in that. We all need someone to say, “Good on you.” every now and then.

As I live intentionally unafraid this year, I am tracking fear through Scripture. I am amazed at how often it is mentioned and I haven’t even made it out of Genesis.

I have been thinking about Hagar for a couple days and how she was sent off into the wilderness with her child, Ishmael.

And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. – Genesis 21:14 ESV

Eventually, the meager supplies she set out with ran out. Hagar, convinced that the boy is about to die, places him under a bush. Scripture tells us that she “sat opposite him, lifted up her voice and wept.” Is there any cry quite like the cry of a mother who can do nothing to help her child?

Something about the story kept coming back to me.

And God heard the voice of the boy…

“What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.” – Genesis 21:17

Do you see it? Hagar is the one crying out and twice in one verse we are told that God heard the boy.

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It’s as if God is reminding Hagar that she is not the only one watching over Ishmael. We are afraid to fail as parents because we are, often, under some delusion that we are the ones ultimately in control of their lives.

We want to take all of the credit for their successes and all of the blame for their failures. We forget that the God who knew them before He ever created them is more than capable of caring for them.

We can know that, whatever mistakes we make as parents, God hears our children where they are.


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Stacy Edwards
Stacy Edwards is a trucker's daughter and a pastor's wife. She is a homeschooling mom to five daughters. Stacy is an author (Devotions From the Front Porch, Thomas Nelson, January 2016), speaker and coffee drinker. If you need her, she is probably hiding in the bathroom. You can also find her hanging out on Twitter (@sjedwards), Instagram, Facebook and on her blog, Servant's Life.