When Moms Are Afraid

My sons listen to a Christian CD for kids that plays a song with these words:

When I am afraid I will trust in You

I will trust in You

I will trust in You

When I am afraid I will trust in You

My God whose words I praise.

I’m all about teaching the boys to be brave and strong, praying when they are afraid of the dark, a bad guy from a movie (a G-rated kids movie, mind you), or being made fun of at school. “God is with you,” I tell them. “You have nothing to fear.”

But then, days like today, I too struggle with fear. Somehow I legitimize it. I am fearful of some pretty serious stuff: health for the baby girl growing in my tummy, joblessness after hubs finishes his residency in a few months, where we might have to move for said job (city girl gone country?), or a fear of many—ruining my kids because I fail to be a rock star mom.

Fear robs me of the joy of the day. Like when my preschooler hands me a plastic toy army hat, half broken, and says, “put on!” then shoots at me with a finger gun, “Pew, pew, pew!”—that before I even shuffle to the kitchen to heat up day old coffee. Fear makes me numb in that precious moment instead of sipping in the precious joy of a boy calling to his mother, “See me? Am I strong? Am I a soldier?” Oh how I love my sweet crazy boys!

Fear paralyzes us, doesn’t it? We can’t see the way ahead and we feel out of control. So we stay put. Don’t move. Don’t embrace the flow of the day or see the world in full color. Our fears snag us, hold us, and place a film over our eyes to see the depths of the gifts of the moment—the gifts God gives us so freely. It even distracts us from giving and receiving love with those closest to us.

If fear robs us of the abundance God has for us, then we know where it comes from—the enemy of our souls. In John Chapter 10 Jesus is talking with the religious leaders of the day, known as Pharisees, who are so stuck in their way of doing things and being in control, that they can’t see Jesus for who He is. They fear Jesus will take power away from them. Sounds familiar right? When we get stuck in our own way, living in fear, we too can’t see who Jesus is—we too crave the power to control the outcomes.

Jesus says to them, “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Oh the riches of following Jesus! The riches of freedom from sin, guilt, and shame—freedom from fear of the unknowns because God is already before us.

In this section of scripture, John 10:1-19 Jesus uses the picture of Him being the Shepherd and those who listen to His voice are His sheep.

But what happens when we listen to the voices of fear?

We can’t hear the voice of our Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for His sheep.

But to trust Him? That takes courage. Courage we sometimes lack.

It reminds me of the story of Joshua. God led the people of Israel to the stepping point of entering His promises, a land flowing with good things, but there is one problem: the people in the land are intimidating, strong, and many. Just in the first chapter of the book of Joshua, the new leader of the nation of Israel is told to “be strong and courageous” four time. Four times. That means the encouragement to be strong and courageous was of essential importance.

Our fears are unconquered lands in our own hearts. Places we need to enter, insecurities that suit up their armor like enemies, expectations that shout their warnings, walls that seem too large to overcome.

But just like Joshua, we have a Father in heaven that walks with us wherever we go.

We may still need to live through our greatest fears: sick children, joblessness, marriage challenges, or loneliness to name a few, but we have a good, good Father that is with us—He will never leave us or turn His back—and His ways lead us to green pastures where He restores our souls.

What is the antidote to the disease of fear? Trust. Trusting in the Lord with all our heart and not depending on our own understanding—in all our ways, leaning on Him because He will make our path straight.(paraphrase Proverbs 3:5-6) He has a plan—even when we are in the dark.

Psalm 34:4-7 (NASB)

I sought the Lord, and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant,

And their faces will never be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him

And saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps around

those who fear Him,

And rescues them.

Question: Have you experienced God’s faithfulness in a time of fear? Please share in the comments.

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