Parenting Bravely – Even When You Think You Suck At It.


As I sat curled up in a love seat across from four of the most beloved and trusted women in my life, they stunned me silent with one challenging question:
What is your biggest fear?

My first thought was, why are we talking about me? Isn’t it time to dive into someone else’s murky waters? Surely there is another topic that is more pressing than this. My beloved friends didn’t budge. They stared wide eyed and silent in anticipation for my answer.

Their question threw my spirit into such a tailspin that now looking back, I don’t know if I even answered it. Or answered it truthfully.
So here it is: My biggest fear is being a lousy parent (who thus raises lousy adults.)

Perhaps, I’m not the only one.

I am daily battling the fear that I am an insufficient, hypocritical, off-target, joyless, unloving and all around crummy parent.

This fear is fed and thus grows by the lies I believe. Like the most flammable timber, these lies keep the fire of fear burning every day.

With every interaction I have with my children, an ember of an old lie glows brilliant orange ready to set my fear ablaze. You’re not a real mom. You didn’t give birth to these kids so they will never see you as their Mom. Did you really think you could do this job? You certainly can’t. Your kids don’t even like you, much less, love you. You might as well not even try because you are awful at this.

And let me just say that no amount of self image overcompensation (I may suck at parenting but I look cute in these new boots), no guilty pleasure indulgence (Netflix and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked), nor being a scholar in the field of “faking it” (no one needs to know what’s happening in our home) can snuff out these embers of lies.

Maybe you thought I was fearless (7 kids could have led you to believe this) but I am here today to confess and own this fact: My greatest calling in life, to be Mom to these 7 kids, is also the source of my greatest fear.

Simply stated, satan knows where to burn me. His desire is not only for me to burn, but also to crumble and go up in smoke by the fire of my fears.

The good news is that we have Living Water to pour out onto these embers of lies. I can simply hold up the truth of God’s word to the lie I’m hearing and watch as the outpouring of God’s truth washes away the lies. This is how I survive. This is how I can be BRAVE.

Parenting – especially quality parenting – is hard. Whether you have 1 biological child or 7 adopted children – it’s just hard. No one ever said it was going to be easy or fearless.

Being a BRAVE PARENT doesn’t mean you don’t have fear, it simply means you carry on despite those fears. You parent the best you know how to, you learn from mistakes, you try to get better. But you don’t listen to or believe the lies. You walk out into deep waters knowing the lies will be washed away.

What will you choose to listen to?

FEAR tells you to stay home and don’t bother with effort for you’re sure to fail anyway.

BRAVE tells you to show up ready and trust why you were chosen to do this.

FEAR says you aren’t worthy or deserving of this.

BRAVE says you have been called and chosen.

FEAR screams lies.

BRAVE whispers truth.

I will not give my fear of being a lousy parent even a drop of fuel with which to burn.

I choose to be BRAVE in deep waters.


As my friends asked me, now I ask you: WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? What lies feed the fear? What are the voices of your fear telling you? What would it look like to be BRAVE in this area?


Picture of Kelly Newcom

Kelly Newcom

Kelly is the author of the book, Managing Media Creating Character, and the founder and executive editor of Brave Parenting. She is a mother of 7 foster-adopted children. Kelly is passionate to help others bravely parent counter to culture and societal norms. She believes parenting is Kingdom work and must be done with the courage and bravery of a warrior of God.

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