Parenting Through the Seasons: He Will Hold Me Fast 

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Eccles. 3:1). And for every season of parenting, there are unique joys and unique challenges.

In the baby and toddler years, great care goes to keeping our children physically safe: locking cabinets, blocking stairs, and minding the size of their bites of food. In the elementary years, we dig in deeper to the social and emotional challenges of growing up: encouraging more independence, navigating relationships, and fostering interests and activities. In the teenage years, the babies we once spoon-fed and the children we once taught to read and write start to pull away, asking for car keys, social media, and later curfews. 

Suddenly the thing I have been preparing my children for all along—being independent and able to leave the nest—is the thing I fear most. I grasp for control through excessive words and rules like I’m grasping at straws. “Let go” is what I know. “I can’t” is how I feel. 

In this season, God is showing me just how much I desire to control out of fear and how little control I have actually had all along. The hymn He Will Hold Me Fast reminds me who does hold control in all seasons, in all circumstances.

The Gettys paint a picture of a God who holds on to those he has saved without fail. They sing of a God who can be trusted to hold not only my life, but my children’s. 

He will hold me fast

He will hold me fast

For my Savior loves me so

He will hold me fast

When I feel panicked about making decisions or what the future might hold, the lyrics remind me that God is holding me in my fear, whispering, “I’ve got him. I’ve got you. And I won’t let go because I love you.” 

The Good Shepherd

In John 10, Jesus describes our relationship with him and the Father as that of sheep to a shepherd. God’s people are the sheep, called by name by the shepherd, Jesus. The shepherd cares for, leads, and lays down his own life for the sheep. Jesus teaches that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice and the shepherd likewise knows each of his sheep. The imagery of protection and being known runs deeply through this passage:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

John 10:27-30

Praise God that I can think back to the ways he has been with me through trials and joys. God has known my pain, doubts, and frustrations when I don’t know the next right thing to do in parenting. He knows my joy and happiness in the gift of my children’s lives. His strong and able hands are on all parts of our lives. I can stand on Jesus’ words that “no one will snatch [my children or me] out of [his] hand.” He is holding us fast, even when life feels out of control, hard, or painful

Held Fast in Jesus

I’m not above speaking aloud to God in the midst of the pangs of raising children, recalling his promises as David did in the Psalms: “You say you’ve got him. I don’t. I don’t know what to do. But you promised that you have him.” In those moments, the lyrics again come to mind like a balm to my soul. He will hold me fast, for my Savior loves me so, he will hold me fast. 

I find comfort that God is holding me through all the seasons of parenting. And that he is holding my children through all their seasons of growing up.

I find comfort that in God’s infinite mercy, he holds me fast because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. He holds me fast because Jesus loved me enough to die for my sins. And he holds my children fast because of that same Good News.

As my children get older, and as my grip slowly loosens on their daily lives, God’s grip on my life and my children’s has never, and will never, change or loosen. What comfort that the hand and grip that has held my children all along was never mine—but the Lord’s.

He has held us fast, he is holding us fast, and he will hold us fast. 

Interested in learning more from Dawson Cooper? She’ll be participating on a parent panel during our 2023 Conference, “Milestones and Transitions.” Register today!

Dawson Cooper lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, Wil, and three boys (ages 7,10, and 15). She graduated from Wake Forest University. While at Wake Forest, she began freelance writing for a local magazine. She has been writing for Rooted Ministry since 2017. She also works as a lead floral designer with Marigold Designs. Dawson and her family attend Covenant Presbyterian Church where she is involved with leading a youth small group. When she isn’t at or driving to her boys’ various games, school events, or activities, she enjoys reading, playing tennis, and enjoying a good meal with friends. 

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