I’ve discovered that being a parent is way above my pay grade. When I was first married at 21, I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom anytime soon. Then, as the years went by, my biological clock began to tick. Then it began to gong, like those huge clocks you see in England. Eventually God blessed us with Abigail.
Much to my surprise, she didn’t come with an owner’s manual in hand.
My husband, Kevin, and I struggled through her first few years of life as sleep deprived zombie-parents. We read books searching for advice on when to feed her certain foods, what position she should be sleeping in, and which music would develop her brain more. We even sought advice about how we could get her to stop undressing herself and peeling off her diaper in the night.
Side note: buy zipper PJs without feet and put them on your child backwards because unless your child is Houdini, there’s no way to get out of those!
Answers to all of these things could be found in books or online.
Now that she’s older and has started to mature mentally, Abby has been struggling with some anxiety issues. She worries about germs. She’s concerned about meat when she eats it and scared it will make her sick.
When Kev and I first realized what was happening, we were worried. We tried on our own to talk to Abby about her fears, reassuring her that we would never give her anything to eat that wasn’t cooked properly. When our own efforts didn’t make a difference, we had her talk to a counsellor. The strategies she was given seemed to work for a few weeks.
Although this is an ongoing issue, we’ve noticed what has helped Abby the most is constant prayer. To quote a recent blog written by her, “My parents help me with my problems by putting God in the situation. When we are going through a hard time we will pray for help from God. He always comes through.”
We have always told Abby that our help comes from God and that he understands our thoughts and feelings even before we speak them. We have also taught her the importance of prayer and sharing our struggles with other Jesus followers who can come alongside and support us.
Our home church has been supportive in so many ways through prayer, words of encouragement, and ideas about how we can help Abby. One member took the time to come over and talk with her about her fear of getting sick. We found out that he had the exact same issues as a child.
Although we often tell Abby that everyone has something they deal with, for her to hear that this friend, who is now an adult, was able to work though his issues with help from God and others around him, was such a blessing and comfort for us. Abby feels like she was able to get some good solutions to help her as well.
To hear from someone who has gone through something similar and share stories of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy is invaluable. We are so thankful God has put these people in our life path.
I truly believe professional help is extremely important when our kids are struggling beyond what we as parents are able to understand. And there are cases where medication is also needed. But along with these things, prayer and support from other Christians are equally if not more imperative.