Devotional by Megan Paraiso
When my four year old began waking up grumpy and sad almost every day and would come home from her day grumpy and sad, and then go to bed, you guessed it – grumpy and sad, I chalked it up to normal four-year-old stuff. Maybe a growth spurt and some hormonal changes happening in her little body. Then came the tantrums, the constant thumb sucking, the barely eating and I became more concerned. I would ask her if she wanted to go on a walk, go outside to play and the answer was consistently “no”. I started to doubt my parenting and wondered if I’d broken her.
I began changing some things around to see if it would help. After a couple weeks of this behavior coupled with some strange statements from her, I reached out to different sources to try and get to the bottom of it. We came to realize she was having issues with one of her friends, and after a while it was starting to wear on her. There’s no blame or shame on anyone in this situation – they’re only four years old! I had to keep my “momma bear” self under control, but still felt all kinds of emotions like anger, sadness, and confusion. Then I prayed and in came the peace. The peace of God. And I had a decision to make. I could act out of fear or I could act from this peace. A pretty common crossroad in this life of faith wouldn’t you say?
John 14:27 NIV says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Carrying the peace of Jesus is like nothing this world of fear could offer. When fear of the unknown creeps in, it is then we have the choice to allow peace to redirect us, guide us, and move through us.
Where fear tells me I should have pinpointed what was wrong with my daughter earlier, peace tells me I did what I knew best with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Where fear tells me I don’t know her as well as I thought, peace tells me I am the mother that God prepared for her and I am exactly what she needs. Where fear tells me she’s going to be damaged from this or this could happen again, peace tells me God will order her steps and delights in every detail of her life. Where fear tells me to pull her from all the social activities because you just never know, peace tells me I have the tools to help strengthen her self-confidence.
After receiving this news I got in my car with my sweet, creative, loud, fun-loving babies and prayed. Prayed that God would guide me. And I began declaring good things over my child in my spirit. I got home, talked it over with my husband and we set up a plan of action which mostly consisted of teaching our daughter the difference between good friends and friends we have to love from afar and that we cannot always help everyone in the way we want to (her greatest attribute thus far in her short little life has been inclusiveness and I love that about her). Turns out she’s gained some great new skills and I have seen her shine in a new way.
When fear is our compass we can miss out on amazing growth opportunities that Jesus wants to walk us through. Fear will rob us of the beauty that comes out of the mess. I pray, just as I have learned over and over how good the peace of God is, that you would tap into that same peace today. That whatever fear you’re holding onto as we head into the Devoted season, it would be replaced with the peace that surpasses all understanding.