Encouragement for Today
“Fears of a Mom”
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries
Isaiah 54:14, “In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.” (NIV)
Are you a mother who battles with a spirit of fear where your children are concerned? A father’s greatest fear is usually that he won’t be able to provide for his family. A mom’s greatest fear is typically that something will happen to one of her children.
Fear is a funny thing. It sometimes provides healthy caution but more times than not, it seems to produce undue stress and anxiety over things we have little to no control. The Bible has a lot to say about fear. According to one Bible text search, “fear not,” or the equivalent to that, is said 365 times. Let’s see, how many days of the year are there? Well, that means we have a verse to hang onto every day of the year.
One day I was fretting over having let one of my children go to the lake with another family. I totally trust this other family and had no real reasons to feel anxious, but this gnawing feeling of “what if” seemed to be my constant companion. I kept having little flashes of her getting injured or worse. I went to my husband and asked if by any chance he was having these same feelings. He simply said no.
A profound thought struck me. Perhaps the reason why I am so mentally spent by the end of the day is because my mind is constantly on the go where my kids are concerned. Most concerns are small like: Did they brush their teeth? Are they cold? Did they have enough breakfast? Or, did they study their spelling words? But then I have flashes of fear that pierce my heart and make my pulse quicken. Mostly this happens when I hear of bad things happening to other children. A terrible car accident, a brain tumor, a heart defect, a drowning, a child choking- this list of what if’s goes on and on. No wonder I’m so tired!
It’s okay for us moms to be protective over our children and watch out for their well being. It’s one of the most important aspects of our job. But it’s not okay for the fear of the unknown to paralyze us and stifle our kids in the process. The reality is that God has assigned a certain number of days to our children and nothing we do or don’t do will add to that number. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27).
I do not speak of this topic lightly. I know the reality of bad things happening to children. When I was 18 years old, my mom gave birth to my beautiful sister, Haley. But tragedy struck when she was only 16 months old. Despite all our pleas for the Lord to spare her, His answer was “no” and she passed away.
Also, when my second daughter was only 6 weeks old she became gravely ill. My husband and I heard words from a doctor that no parent ever wants to hear. “We aren’t sure she can make it through the surgery. You have 5 minutes to tell her goodbye.” Though my voice was paralyzed and silent, my soul screamed out, “Nooooo, you can not take her. I will not let you take her!” How do you tell a lifetime of dreams all wrapped up in one child, goodbye?
As they wheeled her away, I collapsed into my husband’s arms. He gently led me out to the parking lot of the hospital. Outside, he cupped my face in his hands and asked me who did Ashley really belong to? Whose child is she really? With each of his questions, I kept saying she was my child. Through his own tears, he kept asking these same questions and finally, I answered him with the truth. “She is God’s child.”
So in the middle of our tears and pain, we mentally lifted up our daughter and released her back to God. Though my tears did not cease, the panic in my heart did. I felt the most amazing peace wash over me and fill up every hurting crevice in my soul. Thankfully, Ashley’s crisis ended differently than Haley’s and God allowed her to stay with us and be healed. But the motherhood lesson I learned that day in the parking lot will stay with me forever. When I fear for my children, I have to relive the following exercise:
1. I have to go back to that parking lot and lift my child up to God.
2. I have to state that they are His first and foremost.
3. I have to proclaim my love for God no matter what the outcome is.
4. And I have to realize that I cannot control my children being kept safe. Not by my prayers, not by my worries, and certainly not by my fears.
If you are a mother who is often paralyzed by fear concerning your children, make a choice to stand in that parking lot with me and lift him or her up to God’s sovereign hand of protection today.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, please help me to make the right choice when fear threatens to invade my life. Help me not to react to fear, but to turn to You. Thank You, Lord, for being the stronghold of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you are struggling with fear, copy Psalm 27:1 on an index card and post it somewhere that is visible throughout your day. Do a word study using your Bible concordance to find other verses that speak to your heart about fear.
Then, close your eyes and stand in that parking lot with me. Lift each of your children up to the Lord. Pray for their protection and provision. Tell Him that you trust Him. But let the deepest cry of your heart be for the courage to tell God you will love Him no matter what.
Are there chronic fears that Satan uses to distract you from accomplishing God’s purpose for you?
Are their chronic fears that Satan uses to distract you from allowing God to accomplish his purposes for your children?
Learn to recognize when fear is running away with you and don’t go down that path.
Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
Isaiah 43:1-3, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flamed will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of
Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?” (NIV)
The Bathtub is Overflowing, but I am Feeling Drained; by Lysa TerKeurst
New release for July at www.proverbs31.org
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?, by Lysa TerKeurst
The P31 Woman, our monthly magazine
Originally published Friday, 30 June 2006.