When my second born child was a baby, he struggled a lot with his health. From chronic ear infections, to colds that wouldn’t go away, he was sick a lot of the time. We often had to use a nebulizer to help the poor guy breathe. I distinctly remember being up with him night after night as he cried out in pain. One night I eventually kneeled on his floor sobbing and crying out to the Lord for help.
All of this caused a huge amount of anxiety in me. I cared so much for my sweet boy, and I felt so helpless as I lacked any clear solutions. For me, at that time, I didn’t know how to engage with care and empathy without being anxious. The two (care and anxiety) went hand in hand in my mind.
Have you ever struggled to care for your child without carrying the weight of anxiety?
One of the greatest gifts God has given me through the years is teaching me how to engage in the issues my kids are facing without being overtaken by worry and stress. He has taught me to calm myself (Skill 2), how to receive His perspective on the difficult circumstances we have faced (Skill 13), and ultimately, how to release them to Him. I am still learning, but the relational skills are a game changer in giving me a road map for what to do when I feel overwhelmed.
No matter what season of life we are in, there will be challenges that can overtake us if we don’t have the capacity to face them. I am no longer dealing with a sick infant. But I am dealing with the concerns of a teenager trying to find the right college, another teenager possibly changing schools next year, a child struggling with low energy and difficult school work, and friendship struggles with another child.
With all of these challenges, I find myself pressing into what it looks like to care, be by their side and offer the help they need, yet carrying all of this while entrusting them to God who is the only one who can control all of the things I cannot.
So can we genuinely empathize with our children – see them, validate them, and walk with them – without being stressed and overwhelmed by their challenges? Absolutely! We might veer too much toward worry one day, and too much toward disengagement on the next. But as we take the time to invest in developing our relational skills and deepening our connection to God, we will grow in this beautiful art of being engaged without anxiety.
We would love to hear from you! Do you struggle to care for your children without being anxious?