There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18
Fear. It’s the primary emotion of children from trauma. Oh, it comes out as mad, but make no mistake, it is fear that hides underneath. They are afraid, afraid of rejection. So they push love away to keep form experiencing more of the heart-devastating rejection. The heart can only take so much of it before it hardens like stone and shuts itself off with steel doors and pad locks. Our job as the forever moms of these wounded children is to allow God to use us to. one by one, remove the pad locks and open the steel doors until only soft flesh remains (Ez. 36:26) and fear is gone. Perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love comes from God, but until our child is able to accept Him, they look to us as a model of the God that they will one day surrender to. So we are charged with being a shadow of that perfect love that casts out fear.
If God is our model of perfect love, what does His perfect love look like? Scripture shows us:
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
He is patient. He is kind. He suffers long. He protects. He bears all things, believes all things hopes all things and endures all things. He never fails. (1 Cor. 13)
His love is everlasting. (Jeremiah 31:3)
He is abounding in love and grace. (Exodus 34:6)
He is slow to anger and forgiving. (Numbers 14:18)
He disciplines those He loves. (Proverbs 3:12, Psalm 23:4b)
He gives boundaries to express His love. (Numbers 34, Deut. 32:8, 2 King’s 14:25, Psalm 74:17, Micah 74:17, Acts 17:26)
He gives us commands to help us abide in His love. (John 15:10)
Sounds like the perfect Grandma/Arnold parent to me. While we can’t be the perfect, I have found it interesting that when we model God’s parenting style of structure and nurture, our kids feel safe in the boundaries and safe in our love… perfect love casts out fear.
If God’s love were void of discipline and boundaries, it would cease to be perfect, and if God’s love were only discipline and boundaries, it would cease to be be love. When we follow God’s model for love, fear is cast out and our kids are on their way to experiencing the ultimate act of God’s love in their softened hearts… His Son, Jesus Christ.