My mom and dad loved me and did the very best they could, but my home life growing up wasn’t stable. A certain amount of anxiety became hardwired into my personality. It’s not that I couldn’t cope with life, but that life just made me anxious beyond what others felt.
I longed to give my kids the stable and secure childhood I never had. I wanted them to be at peace even though I struggled with this myself.
Growing up, my kids were used to hearing me speak in soothing tones. My son would accuse me of “yelling” at him if I raised my voice just enough to let him know I meant business. We laugh about that now.
My husband and I didn’t fight much, but usually disagreed in quiet discussions.
Kids make messes, but I worked hard to keep things clean and picked up. It was rare for anybody to have to look for clean clothes in the dryer. I’m a simple cook, but we sat down to dinner as a family almost every night.
It’s not that our home life was perfect, but I did everything I could to make it calm, clean and orderly, as though I could somehow give my kids peace that way.
WHAT I PASSED ON TO MY KIDS
The last thing I ever wanted to do was to pass my anxiety on to my children.S
till, my adult daughter and I agree that I passed a milder version of anxiety on to her, though she says she doesn’t remember me being especially anxious.
How did that happen when I worked so hard to create a peaceful home and I didn’t even appear anxious to her?
I imagine it was the slight edge in my voice, or the fear my children may have seen in my eyes at times. Kids are so good at picking up on what adults really feel.
Yet while I unintentionally passed on some anxiety to my daughter, I’m also partly responsible for passing on a legacy of peace through Jesus Christ.
What are you passing on to your kids? (A Mom Worth Imitating)
PASSING ON OUR FAITH
Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Moses instructed them to pass their faith on to their children. His words are written for us as believers in Christ too:
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9, NIV)
My husband and I didn’t know much about how to pass our faith on to our kids, but we tried our best with what we did know.
No matter how organized I was, it seems like we were always rushing out the door to church on Sundays. Turning around because somebody forgot a Bible, or to use the bathroom. Smoothing a child’s hair in the parking lot before we went in.
We knew we were supposed to have something called Family Devotions, but not really knowing how, we just tried different things. We memorized Scriptures sometimes at the dinner table, or read through a devotional. I wish I’d known enough to buy them a kids Bible so we could have gotten them in God’s Word right away. (Free Resources for Family Bible)
Though we were usually exhausted by the kids’ bedtime, most nights we said short prayers with them before tucking them in. We taught them to sing Jesus Loves Me and a few other Christian songs we knew.
We didn’t know how much of it was sinking in with the kids. Yet we knew the Lord wanted us to keep trying.
Even more important than anything we did deliberately to pass our faith on, was the fact that over the years my husband and I developed a vibrant faith in Jesus.
Kids really are so good at picking up on things. Just like they could no doubt read anxiety in my tone of voice, or the look in my eyes, they could also read the genuine joy, hope and peace that I found in my faith.
God is so faithful. He used our highly imperfect efforts and growing faith in him to influence our kids.
As moms we try so hard to get everything right for our kids. Most of us have traits or habits that we don’t want to pass on to them. For me, this was my tendency toward anxiety. Sometimes, even when we try our very best not to, we can unintentionally pass these things on.
The good news is that even though we can’t give them the perfect childhood, we can pass on a legacy of peace through Jesus Christ. As moms we do so much to pour good things into our kids. I just want to encourage you that every single thing you do to pass on your faith is so worth it! (5 Ways to Give Them Jesus)
Even if that means the housework has to wait a while longer.
When our kids got to a point of questioning their faith, or went through a health scare, I understood too well that there is nothing more important we can do than to pass on our faith.
Our adult children, and now our grandchildren, love the Lord Jesus with all their hearts. My daughter may deal with a watered down version of my anxiety, but she knows the One who can calm all her fears.
FOR MOM’S WHO STRUGGLE WITH ANXIETY:
- If you find that your anxiety is interfering with your relationships and responsibilities, it’s important to reach out for help. Your local church is often a great place to look for referrals to a Christian counselor.
- Choose to prioritize your relationship with the Lord by reading his Word and praying daily. Christ is the ultimate answer to anxiety. Your children will pick up on your growing faith.
- Try keeping a journal of Bible verses and passages that God uses to speak to you about your anxiety. Consider memorizing some of the verses. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you truly understand them and apply them to your mind and heart. It takes patience and effort, but God wants you to have peace!
- Let the housework wait a bit and read your kids a Bible story. Let them hear you pray often and encourage them to join in. Teach them faith-filled songs. Jesus is the ultimate answer for your kids too, no matter what they face.
FOR THOSE WHO SUPPORT MOMS WITH ANXIETY:
- Be open about your own spiritual struggles, even if they have nothing to do with anxiety. We all struggle with something. Your honesty and lack of judgement can promote openness and build others up.
- Pray for the work of the Holy Spirit. Even those who take medication for severe anxiety will often say they still face a daily battle in their hearts and minds for peace.
Guest Blogger Bio
Patti Beck Burkett is a passionate follower of Jesus, and one very blessed wife, mom and grandma. She loves making a big pot of something and having people over, serving at her church and anything outdoors (in a city girl way). She also happens to have a rare neurological disease called Chiari. Patti loves writing to share spiritual encouragement and practical solutions for other women facing chronic illness at Hope No Matter What. You can also connect with her on Facebook.