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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Who Loves My Children More?

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

1 John 4:18 (ESV)

Both of my children just graduated, my daughter from college and my son from high school. It’s been such a proud season for my husband and me, and one that also carries with it the unspoken knowledge of changes that are inevitably coming. I mean this is what we’ve been preparing our children for – to someday leave the safety of home and enter their own journey through life. Still, surveying the horizon of unknown change is the epitome of bittersweet.

I thought I was doing pretty well all things considered, and then it happened, the conversation that I knew would come. My adventurous daughter, Sydney, affectionately referred to as our “little vagabond” (because of her love for travel) came with a proclamation. “Mom, I understand that I am going to have to start at the bottom in my career and I’m okay with that, but if I have to start at the bottom, I don’t want to do it in St. Louis.” She paused briefly and quietly continued, “I want to do it in a city that I can really enjoy. I want to live in Denver.”

A million thoughts rushed in instantly and I knew this was a moment of truth for me. I could either be the “cheerleader” that I’ve told my daughter I would always be for her, or I could be the “wet blanket” that tries to squelch her dreams because selfishly I don’t want her to move away. What’s a mom to do?

The words from 1 John 4:18 come to mind, “perfect love casts out fear.”

For the past three years or so, the truth embedded in this verse has been intermingled with a question the Lord has continued to bring as I prayed for both of my children and their futures. The wording is always the same and pierces deep into my mama’s heart each time it comes. “Steph, do you believe that I love your children more than you do?”

For those of you who are parents, sit with that thought for a while!

Tears almost always fill my eyes when the question comes, but my response is always the same. A quiet, “of course I do” echoes out from the depths of my soul, because the truth is, I do believe this.

Psalm 139 tells me that God himself “knit my children together in my womb” and that “every one of their days has been ordained for them and written in His book.” My not-so-little ones “are fearfully and wonderfully made” by the creator of the universe. And when I let that knowledge really sink into the depths of my soul, I find a strength that allows me to let my little girl go. I can trust that I have no need to fear her future, for she is securely in the hands of a God I trust with everything – even my children.

So I smiled and swallowed the lump in my throat as I cheerfully spoke, “Well, you got some graduation money, I guess you need to schedule some interviews and book a flight.” There was a strange look on her face that I still haven’t been able to articulate but she smiled and confidently said, “Well okay, I guess I better get looking.”

Personally, I don’t think there are words to describe her look. I just believe it to be the reflection of the knowledge she holds deep in her heart that I will always support her dreams. To me this is priceless.

For the record, she did get a job in Denver. So trusting God with her future is now more real than ever. I will not say that fears haven’t crept in, but day-by-day and moment-by-moment I’m giving these normal mama fears to Jesus and he takes them.

Remember, the verse says, “perfect love casts out fear,” which means fear will creep in at times and need to be thrown out. I’m human and so are you. Fear will always try to force its way into our circumstance, but if we entrust those fears to our Savior, he is faithful to help us.

For Your Reflection… 

What are you fearful of these days? How can the “perfect love" of Jesus help you let go of your fears?


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