I remember the icebreaker questionnaires from my school years. Questions like, “What’s your favorite animal?” or “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” would grace pages and be answered jovially. We would scroll through them and answer honestly, ready to share with our neighbor on the first day of school. And many times, I would see the question “What is your greatest fear?” and I would always answer with “throwing up”.
Now when I was younger, this fear was really just a fear. I would fear it, and then occasionally get sick and be traumatized for a little while, and then move on. It didn’t have much impact on my life and all was well. But many years, two children and a dash of anxiety later, and I found myself stripped of faith and cowering in a corner, when a fear became much more than that.
Thankfully, I am learning to walk in this life with a perspective that focuses on eternity, rather than the moment by moment. It is hard, and I’m nowhere near perfect or even good at it, but it’s something that I’m growing in baby step by baby step.
I think everyone has the potential to experience this, where a relatively easy-to-manage fear can become larger than life and steal our faith. And I truly believe that the enemy of our souls desires for this to be exactly what happens to us: as mothers, as women, as children of God.
Because really, if we are living in a state of fear, how effective can we be? I know that the times when I’ve been consumed in fear of what could happen, I’ve been rendered ineffective for whatever God has set for me to do. And whether that is just caring for my kids, loving my husband, or some other project that He has in mind for me, being left in this way can greatly impact not only our lives, but also the lives of those around us.
“For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self control.” (-2 Timothy 1:7) When I’ve been caught up in the harder days of fear, repeating this verse has brought me back. I would find myself singing the lyrics to “No Longer Slaves”, repeating the truths of it over and over. “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God…” Remembering the power that the name of Jesus can have over fear and its hold on me has been instrumental in the battle.
I think that we as moms fall into the trap of fear much more easily than others. It comes with the territory of being responsible for the raising of little humans, having a more natural bent towards nurturing their health and well-being, and being such easy prey to the guilt that tends to overwhelm us. We worry over our kids’ health, their schooling, their friends, their behaviors, and so on. Before they are even born, we are stressed about what we eat (or don’t), what kind of care we receive, what we listen to, how we sleep, and how we manage our daily lives. Then they arrive, and we hear a sniffle or a cough in the dead of night, bolting up wide-awake, going from sound asleep to firing on all cylinders in a moment. We fret over a child’s rough day at school, wondering what we could have done to make it better. We wonder if anything that we are doing is working, having any impact at all on their young, impressionable hearts. We fear, we fear, we fear.
And I often think about God, who we know has had not only our days ordained from the beginning of time, but the days of our kiddos as well. When I’m in a season where one moment to the next feels uncertain and worrisome, I find comfort in the knowledge that God is completely certain, always sure, and is never worried. He is steadfast, faithful, and is always right beside me.
Are you living in a place of fear right now? Are you feeling overtaken with anxiety, worry, and uncertainty? I want you to know that you are not alone. I also want you to know that God longs for you to let go of fear and reach out to Him, allowing Him to bear the burden of your worries. I want to reassure you that letting go isn’t an easy thing, and it doesn’t happen just once and then you never fear again. It’s a constant surrender, moment by moment taking whatever is plaguing you and laying it at the foot of the cross, right at the feet of the One who can shoulder all the burdens that you can’t.
When those fears have stolen your faith, fight hard and take back what is rightfully yours. In the beauty and complexity that is God, we find that fighting hard and surrendering go hand in hand, as we do the hard work of giving over of our worries, over and over again. Take a breath in, and breathe out His name, inviting Him to take hold of the things that you can’t hold onto anymore. He is there, and He is more than willing.
Rest easy in His arms today, mommas. You’re doing great and you are not alone.