Ever since the news broke that police had found three women who had been missing in Cleveland for 10 years, I've been thinking about keeping my girls safe.
My girls are 10 and almost 12. They're past the age where I can keep that at my side all the time. They're past the age where I can monitor everyone they hang out with. They're past the age where I can monitor their every move. Yet, as a mom my first instinct is to want to put them in a bubble and keep them safe. I want to keep them where I can see them. I want to keep them from harm.
But the truth is that sticking my kids in a bubble and keeping them by my side all the time doesn't create successful, ready-to-launch adults. We've reached the point with both our girls where we have less time left with them at home than we've already had with them. Our focus has to be on teaching them how to navigate the dangers of this world, not on always being there to protect them from harm.
Whether it's physical harm, emotional harm or spiritual harm, we want to keep our kids safe from it. When they're little, that seems easier. Our kids are rarely away from us, and they're almost never with people that we don't know or don't approve of. As they get older, though, we have to loosen the reins a bit. We have to start giving them some independence. And that's when we have to rely on God. That's when we have to turn our worry and fear over to God and trust that no matter what happens, God is in control and He will watch over them.
I can't go to every sleep over. I can't monitor what's said on the soccer field or at the hockey rink. I can't protect my girls from all sorts of harm. But God sees them. He hears them. He watches over them. He is there even when I am not. Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God has told us not to be afraid. He has said the He is with us wherever we go. Placing our kids in God's hands is one of the hardest things to do, but it is something we need to do daily -- because our kids don't belong to us; they belong to Him.
We can and should be teaching our kids how to handle different situations. We need to teach them how to be safe. If you're looking for a great resource on what to teach your kids and what the true dangers are to our kids, I highly recommend reading Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) by Gavin de Becker. It is the best book I've ever read about how to keep our kids safe in what seems like a crazy world.
But it's important for us to remember that no matter how hard we try, we can't keep our kids safe from everything. People are going to hurt them. People are going to do mean things. And even though we can't always be there to stop the hurt, we can trust that God is in control, that there's nothing that He doesn't see. We can trust that God has a plan, and He will see it through. We can trust that our kids are in good hands.
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