There is a famous Bible story, about a man named Peter who briefly walked on water.
On a stormy night, the disciples were sailing across the sea. At dawn, among the waves, they saw Jesus walking across the water toward them. Despite their justifiable fear, Peter, one of his disciples, asked Jesus to call him out of the boat so that he too could walk on the waters.
His daring faith allowed him a few miraculous steps across the surface, but then his eyes shifted. His mind was flooded by doubt, then by fear. He started to sink and called out to Jesus to save him. Jesus reached down for Peter but called him out on his lacking faith. “Ye of little faith. Why do you doubt?”
I identify with Peter. I asked Jesus to call me to Him so I too could walk on the waters. To me, parenting is like this sailing trip across stormy waters. It’s exciting, challenging, and rewarding. The lyrics of the song ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong United move me deeply and center around the story of Peter being called out upon the waters. I listened to it frequently during a season when we decide to uproot ourselves from California and move to Romania in order to grow our family through adoption.
We stepped outside of the boat. Uncertain about the future. Our kids are the other people in the boat. They have front-row seats in our lives, and no matter what our mode of transportation or the weather forecast, they witness our faith and our actions. They hear our words and are keen observers of our thought processes even if we just mumble.
Curiosity pulled Peter over the side of the boat, which fueled his bravery. We, like Peter, find ourselves trying to do the brave thing, but as we let our minds wander, we allow fear, doubt, and anxiety to make us waver, pulling us down.
Peter was rebuked for his little faith. I find knowledge to be the best way to build strong faith. Reading the Bible gives me a strong foothold in the storm. Knowing the One that calls us. Trusting Him. Remembering His promises. For He knows the plans he has for us. To provide a hopeful future.
There are a few disciplines I have tried and tested over time, that have proven to hold steady in the storm: Reading the Truth and Praying the Truth.
Using our eyes to fill our minds with the Truth, constantly renewing it with light and theology will significantly influence every aspect of our lives, including the
way we understand motherhood and in consequence how we speak to God and to our children. This in turn will affect how they perceive their own identities and safety in this stormy world.
It is so tempting to disengage as we scroll on our devices, snacking on junk food for the mind. But if we do so, we will have no nourishing meals to lay in front of our families to feed their souls. The Bible provides such nourishment of truth that holds up in the storm, versus the meaningless drivel that teases our tastebuds but leaves us empty of energy.
Our other steady resource is to call on Jesus. Even when it gets difficult or frightening. Praying. Using our words to address Him and thus teach our kids whom to call on and how to do so.
I make a point of talking to our Heavenly Father alongside them, to let them hear the words of truth about their identity in Christ, and what they were called to be and to do. They are made in the image of God, made with purpose, filled with spirit, brave and beloved.
In the stormy nights ahead, the Truth they fill their minds with about who God is, and who they are, will be their lighthouse beacon.
I had no idea that God would use my voice in such a way, to pray aloud through reading his Word. As far as parenting goes, those two actions are a privilege, not a chore; they are the most connecting and healing times spent with our kids. It takes discipline and takes practice to keep stepping outside the boat during the storm and walk by faith without sinking.
Mothers are the first theologians in their families. In the privacy of our homes, we can choose how to feed our minds and the minds of our children. If we feed them spiritually, they will develop a taste for it. They will reach for that spiritual food as they grow too. That is my legacy: to introduce my kids to healthy food for their souls. So their minds remain healthy and strong in the face of adversity during stormy nights.