Black Mother Hugging ChildI have a very hard time trusting God with my child.

Yeah, I know how that sounds.

Hey, I’m the first to admit that I’m no Hannah.

Who’s Hannah?

Hannah was a woman in the bible who begged God to remove her barrenness—okay, so maybe I’m a little like Hannah—and in exchange, agreed to give her child, her son, back to Him upon weaning.

Yep, that’s where we differ.

Of course, in the Old Testament, “give him back” meant literally sending her son away. Samuel lived in the temple and served the priests of the day.

But obviously Hannah was on to something. Samuel later became a great prophet, the one who anointed King David (see 1 Samuel: 1).

So here’s my thing: Like Hannah, I had enough faith in His power to believe that he could open my womb after two miscarriages and give me and my husband a baby. But somewhere over the course of this motherhood journey I’ve been on, I’ve resisted fulfilling my part of the deal: turning over my daughter to Him.

And no, I don’t mean dropping her off at the church to live. LOL!

What I mean by “turning her over” is…when I’ve done all I can and am supposed to do as her mother, being willing to surrender her well-being, her development, her future to the One who has control of it anyway.

That’s hard, y’all. Way hard.

It’s hard because I’ve found that I primarily parent out of my own pain. On top of hearing the stories of all the horrible things happening to our children day in and day out on the news, I haven’t fully reconciled my own stuff, my own pains and therefore, I base what I allow my child to experience, do or see, partially on whether or not I was hurt in that particular area.

The result? I unconsciously transfer my fears to her.

Here’s an example:  My daughter loves to give hugs. She’s a loving, rambunctious, aggressive toddler that will try to topple you over with hugs and kisses. And by YOU, I mean ANYONE. Yes, even strangers.


Don’t get me wrong, I SHOULD be freaked out when she runs away from me and jumps in to the arms of the random old dude waiting in line at the post office (True Story. Just picture my brown, Afro’d self nearly snatching that man’s arms off trying to get my baby out of his arms).

But what if it isn’t a stranger? What if it’s a man I know in my mind and heart would never hurt her?

Unfortunately, that’s when the muscle memory of my own pain kicks in.

Every time my daughter hugs a man we know or is picked up by a man we know, a 1000+ thoughts run through my mind. Real talk? I’m wondering if that man is aroused by my baby girl. Whether he would consider hurting her if I wasn’t present.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all my stuff coming to bare. Memories of being inappropriately touched. Hugged just a little too long. Held just a little too close.

With every twitching fiber of my being I have to stop myself from running over and snatching her out of the arms of her favorite “uncle” or one of the harmless brothers from the church like they are that stranger at the post office.

And fear drives all of this. Fear that my daughter will experience the same heartaches, violations and pains that I did. And an even greater fear that I—all powerful, super-Mommy—could’ve done something to protect her and didn’t.

Fear is an awful foundation for parenting because the only fruit it can bear is more fear. When we parent from our own pain we transfer our own neurosis and pathologies to our children before they have a chance to deal with their own. My baby girl will have enough experiences of her own to learn from without carrying mine on her back.

Especially at two.

Now, wait. I hear your protests. Yes, as parents we need to keep our eyes open. I suppose there are some areas where parenting from my own pain is a benefit. I’m SUPER aware. Things that some other mothers might miss because it’s not on their radar, not a point of pain for them, I pay extra attention to and therefore can help my child make better decisions regarding.

But once I’ve…we’ve…done all that, we must surrender the fate of our children to God. Trusting that he will protect them. Because the greatness in them, like the greatness in Samuel, will be born out of that ultimate, and for some, mysterious trust that He knows best.

* * *

This post is the latest in Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts’ “Faith & Motherhood” series.

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Tracey Michae'l

Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at


  1. Wow. This REALLY hit home for me. Because of my past exposure to molestation, it has made me extremely weary for the children I don’t even have yet. My fiance and I have lightly talked on the issue, but this really made me think we need to go back and really tackle this issue. I can see me sleeping lightly~wondering where Daddy is going in the middle of the night-even if it is to check on OUR daughter….Hmmmm…something to chew on.

    • Candaceerin: Yes, definitely talk with your fiancé about this. Help him understand your history so he’s not caught off guard or offended by something you might do. My hubby and I had quite a few talks about my questioning or hovering over him while he is with our daughter. He’s understanding but I know I also have a responsibility to work on me in this regard. Thanks for your feedback! 🙂 TMLG

  2. Tracy, I learned some big, BIG lessons aroundthis one. It gets easier – but it takes A LOT of work. My daughter is decidedly different than I am bc I wanted to be super conscious of not making her into a ball of fear. It worked but there was some heartache involved and that’s what you have to brace yourself for – doing ALL the work and still having the heartache. It’s his will not ours.

    • Thanks, Tarana. Every day is a new challenge for me but I’m slowly learning how to be more conscious of when I’m operating out of fear. I’ll get there. And then there’ll be other Mommy-worries to deal with. Lol!

  3. Thank you for this brave post. I am sorry you went through this. I can’t imagine how tough it must be to know whether you are over or under reacting to these situations. I found some good parenting information on this at There is a parenting hotline 24 hrs a day, 415-441-KIDS (5437). Enough Abuse.

  4. Thank you for being transparent and real. I have had thoughts even though I have 2 sons.

  5. Preach!!! This is so true. And although I am not a parent myself…I see so many parents do this.

  6. I don’t think there’s anything wrong w/ hovering over ur baby girl. Most violations come from people you trust. If your instinct says “follow him”, then follow it. We live in a patriarchal world where women are used/viewed as entertainment. Unfortunately, until we change this, we will have to be on guard for our daughters. I’m not saying to parent out of fear or not to trust God. That bible you thumpin is filled to the brim with justifications for slavery and patriarchy, including justifying rape by marrying the rapist. It’s disgusting. We don’t want to pass our fear to our children or misinformation

    • Lol. Thanks for commenting, key-key. I’m very clear about the historical and cultural contexts presented in the bible (and found in pretty much every document–religious or otherwise–during the times the various components of the bible were written). I’m also clear on the love, grace and mercy taught by Christ in the midst of it all. And THAT is the base from which I’d like to operate as a mother. I agree, I must keep my eyes open and stay on guard for my baby girl. But as I noted in the post, once I’ve done all that, I will surrender the outcome to God. For me, that’s the very definition of living my faith. 🙂

  7. I can most definitely relate. I’ve always been very over protective of my oldest child and it shows. I went to God in prayer about it and although I’m stillprotective of my kids I pray for their safety and I have peace in knowing that God will be their protection when I can’t and they’re with people (ie grandparents) who will do their best to protect them. You don’t want to drive yourself crazy being overly worrisome. As parents, we do EVERYTHING in our control to protect our children and teach them what is right and wrong and what to do in certain situations and we have to believe that they will be great. They’re in good (God’s) hands.

  8. I am guilty of this. Keeping hawk eyes on my child without letting people know they are pedophiles until God proves them innocent is hard. Unless I can see her I am imagining the worst. It is hard not to expect the worst and it sucks when people don’t get just how deeply abuse can warp your mind.

    I can’t see myself relaxing until she is old enough to protect herself. Even with grandma especially with my family. It sucks having to to force yourself to trust your child’s dad. And even then 1000 nanny cams don’t take away the fear.

  9. So sorry for your pain and fear! This is such a difficult thing to deal with – my mother in law was repeatedly, severely abused as a child by her uncle, to the point where she completely disassociated and repressed the memories for decades, and is now having to relive them coming back to the surface. It is so, so painful for her and everyone who loves her. You are on the RIGHT TRACK being aware and vigilant! Witnessing Angela’s (not her real name) struggles is a wake up call that ANYONE could be an abuser – and most people don’t want to accept the fact that it is ALMOST ALWAYS someone with a close relationship. That garbage was allowed to continue because her parents were in DENIAL, not wanting to believe that a trusted family member could do such terrible things.

    Good on you for breaking the cycle, and placing your DAUGHTER’s well-being over all other concerns. <3

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