Freedom From Fear and Anxiety as a Parent
Imagine being on a beautiful vacation to Grand Canyon with your family. You are all standing there in amazement, staring at this place that truly defies words and trying to hear the stories the layers of rock declare about its formation. The grandeur of the place just envelopes you as a cool breeze flows across your face and you take a deep breath and say “ this will be a treasured memory!” But as you turn around, you find your child playing at the sharp edge of a dangerous cliff. Talk about sudden terror and panic!
That’s exactly how I felt. I was on this beautiful journey of motherhood, admiring this adorable gift of a son that God had blessed us with. Watching him grow each day, he was just beginning to communicate and it filled my heart with joy. Of course, like all moms, I wanted to dedicate my life to feeding this child “ nutritious meals” only to suddenly find out one day that he has food allergies. My dream of motherhood turned into a nightmare. It felt like he was innocently playing at the edge of a dangerous cliff and any wrong bite can push him into the chasm below. As a mom, I never experienced fear for my son’s life like I did that day.
Anxious, fearful, overwhelmed – those three words described my general state of being most of the time in the days that followed.
Growing up I was a carefree girl, skipping along life with nothing to worry about. I guess childhood is meant to be that way. And I am so grateful for it. But in my subconscious mind I assumed life would continue that way until I was jolted by that incident that almost took the life of my son. We were in India visiting my grandparents town when it happened. In India where food is considered a love language, one of my loving and well-meaning relatives gave my son a snack. I was not aware of it until his whole face below up like a puffer fish and he started complaining of pain in his chest. The panic, fear and terror I felt were making me physically sick. Thankfully, we had an EpiPen with us. We never used it previously but we carried it in his little bag because the doctor recommended we do. I’m just so grateful to God for his provision and healing. The EpiPen helped stop the reaction.
Dealing with a child who has food allergies can be fearful, overwhelming and energy draining to say the least. I was like a hawk watching out for my son, hovering over him making sure nothing goes into his mouth without my approval. Worry was a nagging worm that was eating me away. I remember walking into the doctor’s office for my physical that year and the first word that came out of her mouth was “Adrenal Fatigue!”. She was right. I was so drained and exhausted trying to control and protect the life of my son that I just was depleted of all strength and had no fight left in me. With all the other challenges life was throwing at me I was drowning in anxiety and was controlled by fear. All the time.
Fear is a human emotion. The oxford dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”
Sometimes we think of fear and faith as equal opposites like day and night, hot and cold, north and south. But the truth is fear causes us to understand boundaries. It is not, necessarily, a bad thing. It keeps little children from touching hot stoves and sharp objects. It helps grownups take positive action when needed.
The authors of the book Lead Like Jesus write “The capacity to experience fear is a gift from God. When heeded, fear protects us. Yet what we actually do with fear when we experience it can prevent us from enjoying the good it can bring.”
Fear becomes a problem when it develops into the controlling factor, a driving force and a decision maker in our lives. When it sets up a stronghold in our mind is when we get into trouble.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
God in His mercy started showing me that if I continue to live in constant fear and despair of circumstances or challenges it can only result in hopelessness and eventually lead to a defeated life. I was in the shower one day, it’s been two years since the anaphylactic incident with my son and I heard the words “Unafraid – Undefeated”. I kept wondering what the words meant as I finished the shower and got dressed. I went out to the backyard and as I walked around, the Lord impressed on my heart these words:
“If you are afraid all the time you will have a defeated life.”
I felt like the Lord put a clear choice in front of me. Do I want a defeated life? Absolutely not! Well then, I can’t continue to live in fear. I finally realized that if I allow fear to control my life it will thrust a dagger in my soul and incapacitate me from living a life of freedom. I slowly began replacing fear with faith from daily soaking in the scriptures. I intentionally picked up God’s word to fight the fiery darts, the thoughts that the enemy was relentlessly shooting at me. It meant finding time in my day to deliberately and purposefully sit in God’s presence, read from the Bible, hear faith building sermons, journal my thoughts or sometimes prayers and allow God to pour into my heart. The everyday actions I took not only helped me with overcoming fear but were pivotal in beating procrastination and pursuing a purposeful and intentional life.
Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
As God spoke courage into my heart I began to recognize that although I’m the mom to this sweet boy and I’m responsible for his wellbeing, I am not in control of his life nor do I have the capacity to protect him all the time. I had to learn to hold him with an open hand and fully surrender his life and mine to the Lord, the giver of life.
Learning, believing, and behaving as if our lives are secure in the Lord, can become a path to recovery and victory.
Fear and anxiety drives great many people in our world today. Unfortunately, it’s not something “out there” as a statistic but a dragon that most of us fight on a regular basis. You may not have kids with allergies but may be as a mom you are dealing with fears related other areas of your kid’s life. Whether our kids are little and still in our arms or are grown and out of the house we do have stuff we worry about for our kids. And sometimes those worries become an unhealthy obsession that rob our peace. Its important to realize fear is what the enemy uses to cripple us and keep us from a joyful, bountiful life. Anxiety paralyzes and hinders us from moving into what God has purposed and called us to do.
Remember the time when Israelites were heading out of Egypt to the promised land? They were being chased by furious Pharaoh and his vast enraged army. They were blocked by the raging waters of red sea not too far ahead of them. They were surrounded on all sides! But yet the first word the Lord spoke was through Moses. “Do Not Fear!” (Exodus 14:13). In our human frailty we do sometimes “feel fear” but choosing not to dwell on it is very crucial for a victorious Christian life. Even during the times, we feel fear we need to choose to walk by faith.
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.
- Fear robs you from living in the present.
- Fear curbs you from enjoying His presents.
- Fear blinds you from sensing His presence.
Do you struggle with fear? Is it fear of sickness, fear of the unknown, fear of failure or fear of financial woes? Sometimes even fear of what people think? This is the kind of fear that will keep you stuck from stepping out and doing what God has called you to do? It is my desire and prayer that you find encouragement, hope and deliverance in the Lord just like I did.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [f]comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
If you want to know more about alleviating fear and anxiety as a parent, check out this Spotify podcast about how to be a “more confident mom” in a Christian home today.
At MomQ we believe that motherhood is a calling from God. While it is both a privilege and an honor, it is by no means easy! Moms have a lot of questions/concerns and need caring support along their journey. Whether you are a brand new mom or a little more seasoned, MomQ is here to help you fulfill your God given role. Don’t see a group in your area? Contact us today about starting one in your community!
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