Fear. It’s a real icky four-letter word. We’ve all experienced it. We’ve all cowered under it. And we have all surely tried our best to overcome it. Dictionary.com defines fear as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.” I’d say that’s pretty accurate to what I’ve felt. And I can honestly say I’ve experienced a new depth of fear since becoming a mom.
I wish I could say that I get these warm fuzzy feelings when I think about the birth of my little girl. Instead, I look back at it and feel the fear. When Charis came out, she didn’t cry like I anticipated and was rushed over to a table where she was surrounded by several different doctors and nurses. I remember feeling heartbroken that I didn’t even get to see her sweet face before she was ripped from my body to be evaluated. The doctors and nurses worked on her for a few short minutes to get the gunk out of her lungs. Finally, she cried. As I lay in my hospital bed trying to wrap my head around what was happening, I was overcome with fear. What was wrong with her? Would she be okay? Would I be okay if she wasn’t okay? What did I do wrong to cause this? SO MUCH FEAR.
But as I stated, she did finally cry—well, more like squeaked; nonetheless, it was a sound, and it brought peace to my momma heart. And I wish I could tell you that that was the end of my fearfulness over her little life, but that’s just not the case.
Pre-motherhood, I would say I was a pretty positive and upbeat person (and, for the most part, I would agree I am that way now). I was able to separate the rational from the irrational. But now that I have a little tiny human who I am responsible for, I find myself questioning a lot more. Being more cautious. More scared. More fearful of what could happen to her.
Let’s face it, you wake up and turn on the news in the morning, and it’s filled with story after story of child abductions in your local area (if I’m being honest, this is one of my biggest fears), drownings, children dying in cars because their parents have forgotten about them in the backseat, and children wandering out of houses to be found dead. Suicide and depression rates in our young children are rising. School shootings. Reports of bus stops no longer being safe for our children. The list goes on and on. And it’s devastating.
Many a night, I’ve lost sleep over dreams of watching my child drowning right before my eyes. Several times, I’ve contemplated whether or not to walk into our local Target after reading articles and social media posts about men profiling women and children in our store. And on many occasions, I’ve held Charis closer at a park when a man walking alone passes by us. All of these moments driven by fear.
Fear can paralyze you. But what I have also learned is that fear is a LIAR. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control” (The Passion Translation). I’m so thankful to know that God hasn’t given us the spirit of fear, and what I’m learning is it’s easier to combat the fear when you know and believe that.
Years ago, an accident happened with my nephew at the babysitter’s house. Zeke, my nephew, would have been about a year and a half or two years old when it happened. Long story short, the babysitter was washing his hands with water that was hot enough to melt the top layers of his skin off. He has severe burns on his hands that had to be covered and treated for weeks. Not to mention the fear he had of hot water moving forward. Instead of giving into fear, my brother chose an attitude of faith. “I have to know and trust that God loves him more than I do,” he said. “Accidents will happen, and I have to trust that God has His protection around Zeke.” There is such wisdom in that. God created our children long before we even had a desire for them. God knit them together in the womb so intricately (Psalm 139:13). As parents, we are just stewards of the sweet gifts the Lord has placed in our hands. They ultimately belong to Him. I urge you to read Psalm 139 in its entirety. It will give you such a heartfelt picture of how much He loves our babies (and us, too!).
What the Lord is ministering to my heart is that I have to live in a place of trusting His love and protection for my child. It’s the only way to settle my heart. Because the truth of the matter is I CAN’T protect my child from everything. I wish I could, but I can’t shield her from everything wicked and perverse in this world. But what I can do is equip her with the armor of God, pray for her protection, and commit her life into the hands of her Heavenly Father. That doesn’t mean I’m not still cautious and do my best to teach her not to talk to strangers, and to wear her seatbelt, and to put her hand on the stove. It means I have to work hard to force those thoughts of imagined fears from my mind. It means I have to be rational and full of faith.
I’m learning that the best way I can “protect” and parent her is by being filled with God’s Word, trusting Him through faith, and having a strong prayer life. Being connected to the wellspring of life brings you to an entirely new and fresh perspective that only God Himself can give. The world teaches us to FEAR, but God teaches us to have FAITH. So I encourage you all to choose FAITH over FEAR. I pray God would draw you into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him where He can reveal the great intentions He has for your babe.
As our faith increases, our fear decreases!