Today our 10-year-old boys (twins) rode their bikes to school by themselves for the first time ever. 

That might sound insignificant to you, but in our house it was a huge milestone. We chose to trust our good God, our parenting, and our children. In short, we chose faith over fear.

Fear vs. faith-based parenting

The life of a parent is filled with millions of moments just like this, where we must choose between faith and fear.

What drives the choices you make as a parent?  Do you trust you are equipped to parent well? Do you trust your children with small tasks that will eventually lead to bigger things? Showing our kids that we trust them is imperative to their developmental, emotional, and spiritual growth. It allows us to live out our faith, which models the Gospel to our children:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” —John 14:27

Let’s be honest. There’s a lot of room and justification for fear. The world can certainly be scary. You might be convinced that the only way to parent is through fear because it “makes sense.” 

But God doesn’t want us to be fearful. He has equipped us— through His Word— with parenting instructions that stand the test of time. He wants us to put our trust in Him— and when we do, we’ll bear good fruit, such as joy and peace. That kind of home— that kind of relationship with God— is the best sort of witness to our children. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?

So how can we be faith-based parents, trusting God with the details of our parenting? 

1. Learn the character of God

Trusting a trustworthy person you know is common sense. Trusting someone you’ve never met and you don’t know is insane. We can only trust God when we know him. Learn about God’s character and His heart for you through His Word.

Trust is a choice we can make after we observe patterns of behavior. We must know His character, His promises, His patterns, and His directions. This will yield a trusting relationship greater than any you have ever known because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). 

Knowing who God truly is will combat fear, anxiety, and worry in your heart. You’ll begin to trust that He is who He says He is, that He keeps His promises and that His plans for you— and your children— are good. 

We can only trust God when we know him. Learn about God’s character and His heart for you through His Word.

2. Hold fast to the directions God gives us about parenting 

In other words: God not Google.  

I am grateful for Google on many days. Just the other day, Siri helped me remember how many teaspoons are in a Tablespoon. But other times the wealth of information available to us is overwhelming and circular. The Internet and the world will give us a lot of parenting advice— but not a lot of peace. 

God has given us the essential parenting instructions, such as: 

  • how to interact with our children (Ephesians 6:4, Psalm 103:13, Ephesians 4:1-2)
  • how often to teach them about Him (Deuteronomy 11:19)
  • where to go for instructions or when you are confused (Philippians 4:6)
  • how/why to discipline (Proverbs 29:17, Ephesians 6:4) 

And that’s just naming a few. Although there aren’t any direct Scriptures on co-sleeping, public vs. private school, or what age to give your child a cell phone—  you are equipped with the Word of God and indwelled by His Spirit to handle any situation through Scripture, prayer, and the wise counsel of your church community.

3. Build trust through relationships, repetition and rebuking

Our active trust in God is a byproduct of who we’ve observed Him to be. The same goes for our kids’ trust in us. 

We can’t control all of the outcomes. Mistakes will happen. Milk will spill. Curfews will be broken. Lies will be spoken. But each of these moments is an opportunity to connect our broken, sinful children to truths about the character of God—  how He allows for consequences and discipline when we rebel against Him, how He delights to extend grace and rescue repentant sinners. 

This takes a lot of: 

  • Allowance for error
  • Observation and
  • Conversation

When you allow your children freedom, and they make a mistake, talking about it yields opportunities to train your children. Remember Proverbs 22:6?

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Choosing faith

Before our boys rode the mile to school by themselves, we practiced with them over and over and over. Through repetition and observation, we were able to gauge whether their skills were trustworthy. We knew they were trained well to look both ways. We talked about what would happen if they didn’t. We spent many moments chatting about potential flat tires and hypothetical scraped knees. 

Eventually— after all that training and due diligence— we chose to trust our children. And ultimately— we chose to trust God’s sovereignty in the life of our children. It’s the only thing that can be guaranteed. So here’s to tomorrow— another day of trusting God with my children— yielding peace in my soul.