I can be a worrier, and I know many, many women who could confess the same. When my children were young I worried about failing them. What if I wasn’t attentive enough, didn’t connect them to the right playgroups, didn’t engage them with the right sporting opportunities, didn’t foster their education adequately, didn’t address their emotional needs satisfactorily, and on and on and on the list went. Then add to that my concerns about juggling a professional life on top of parenting. I worried that by stepping away from my career to stay at home I would forever impair my future professional opportunities. When I did work, I worried that I was shortchanging my husband and kids. It was a no-win situation.
These were the small concerns of my daily life. I also had the big worries: what would happen to the boys and my husband if something happened to me? What would happen to the boys and me if something happened to my husband? And what would happen to us if something happened to one of our children? These worries made my heart pound in the dead of night, my stomach lurch, and sleep elude me. These were the worries that sought to steal my present reality and its joy.
While it might sound cliché, it was only through the grace of God that these fears were addressed and lifted. In fact, as I look back, it seems that God led me directly into each one of these fears in order to teach me how He can and will sustain me in the valleys of life.
These were the worries that sought to steal my present reality and its joy.
Five years ago, my husband went through a life-threatening illness. I remember lying in bed awake one night and whispering, “I can’t do life without him.” As soon as I uttered this declaration, I realized the lack of faith it revealed. Thankfully my husband is well now, but walking through that dark time taught me how to rely on God in order to sustain my sons and me.
A mission trip to a third-world country led me to face the fear that my husband and boys would not be okay if something happened to me. “Would I go or not?” was really a question of whether I would choose to live in faith or fear. I knew that God had not given me a spirit of fear, so fear could not be the guiding force in my decision. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 2:17 ESV). In the end, I went to Haiti, and I learned to deeply trust that in Christ I could have perfect peace about my future as well as my family’s.
Finally, God led me to address my greatest fear, which was the hurt or loss of one of our children. Twelve weeks into our third pregnancy we lost our third child. The miscarriage was sudden, painful, and traumatic; yet, in the face of unexplainable grief, our hearts kept beating, we kept loving, and we faced another day. Life triumphed over death, and joy returned to our hearts and our home.
I knew that God had not given me a spirit of fear, so fear could not be the guiding force in my decision.
I can’t declare that I no longer worry. Now I’m the mother of two teenage boys, and the temptations to worry seem abundant. However, I have learned to surrender worry and rest in God’s promises, where I find unfailing hope. A daily devotion I receive from Gather Ministries once said, “You are not made to cower and fret and wring your hands. You are made to walk with eyes up, head held high, so you can see the path I take you.” What encouragement to walk away from worry and into freedom! Each day I want to hold my head high as I journey on. I choose to surrender fear while I keep my eyes lifted to the One who reveals this path toward life.