Fearless Motherhood

Fearless Motherhood

by Leslie Ludy | January 1, 2012

 

She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet.

Prov 31:21

Here in Colorado, I’m surrounded by thrill-seekers; those who love to scale steep mountain cliffs during lightening storms or hang perilously over drop-offs forty feet above the ground, suspended only by a disturbingly thin rope.   My two younger brothers, in fact, are the type that enjoy bungee jumping off high cliffs, ice climbing up slippery embankments with pick axes, and off-trail-double-black-diamond skiing through avalanche country.  They have some great stories to share from all their many exciting adventures. 

I’ve always been more of a play-it-safe kind of girl.  It’s not that I’m a complete wimp; I’m just not a big risk-taker.  I don’t especially enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with defying death on the side of a mountain.  To quote Marilla Cuthburt (in Anne of Green Gables): “I’d rather walk calmly along, and do without flying or falling.”  That’s the kind of existence I naturally prefer. 

Unfortunately, mothering four little children does not offer such a luxury.  Motherhood is filled with opportunities to fret, fear, worry, panic and experience far bigger adrenaline rushes than any extreme mountaineering adventure could ever provide.

We have worked hard to make our home safe for our children; with locks on medicine cabinets and barricades on tool drawers.  However, kids seem to have a knack for finding the one moment when something potentially dangerous is sitting out on the counter for two minutes.  When Avonlea Rose was two she found a bottle of natural cough syrup on the bathroom counter, and told me she drank it.  While it is more likely that she dumped it down the sink, I was still feeling a little panicky.  After being on the phone with poison control for thirty minutes, I was relieved to discover this particular syrup was non-toxic.  And I can’t forget the time a couple months ago that Hudson ran into our bedroom at three a.m. announcing that Kip had vanished in the night.  We searched the house for what felt like an eternity (it was actually just a few minutes) before we finally found him fast asleep underneath his bunk bed.

From charging straight toward the deep end of the swimming pool without a life vest, to jumping from the highest point of the playground’s climbing wall, (Avy, in both cases) my children know exactly how to push my mother’s “panic button.”  No matter how watchful I am, they always seem to find that one moment when my back is turned to try a new death-defying feat.  And I know I’m not alone in my “mommy adrenaline rush” moments.  Whenever I’m at the park or pool around other moms, I frequently hear such statements as, “You almost gave me a heart attack!” or “What are you trying to do, get yourself killed?!”

As mothers, God has naturally given us a fierce protectiveness over our children.  Most of us would gladly sacrifice our own well-being to make sure that our little ones are kept healthy and safe.  But all too often, the enemy of our soul and the warped culture in which we live will attempt to twist this natural God-given protectiveness into an attitude of constant paranoia and fear.

“You’re a mother – you can’t help but worry!” is a comment I’ve heard from many fellow moms.  In today’s world, it’s normal to believe that having children is a good excuse for living in fear and worrying constantly about all the things that might possibly happen to them.  And yet, when God commands us to “fear not” He doesn’t say, “except when it comes to your children.”  Rather, He commands us to be strong and courageous in all areas of life, including motherhood.  As women, we are walking according to His pattern when we “do good and are not afraid with any terror.”  (I Peter 3:6b)

I realize this is far easier said than done.  Just like every other “mamma bear” out there, I understand quite well the temptation toward fretting and paranoia over my children’s health and safety.  If my kids ever get sick or hurt, there is the temptation to ponder “worse case scenario.” What if they end up in the hospital?  What if this is really serious?  And on and on the worries roll like tumultuous ocean waves.  And if I allow those thoughts and suggestions to take root, I can quickly become paralyzed by dread and panic – the very thing God asks me not to allow into my life.

But when I turn to Him for strength, He enables me to walk a different path; to choose faith instead of fear; to entrust my children into His more-than-capable, ever-faithful arms of protection and love.  In those moments when fear attempts to knock, He reminds me that He cares more about my children than I ever could, that He wants the very best for them, and that He has promised to faithfully watch over them like a loving Shepherd.   He is a far better Protector than I ever could be.

God has called us to fearless motherhood.  Contrary to popular belief, our job as a mother is not to fret, worry, and imagine worse case scenario.  Rather, our job is to “take every thought captive to the will of Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 10:5) and not allow fear to have dominion over us.  Our job is not to obsess over every new study in child safety or panic about every germ that comes near our kids.  Rather, our job is to “fear not, believe only” (Luke 8:50) and know that He will faithfully preserve that which we have entrusted to Him.

Yes, there will always be those momentary surges of adrenaline when our children startle us with their new and daring feats.  And yes, we can still maintain our God-given protection radar and keep a watchful eye over our children’s well-being.  But by God’s grace, may we not dishonor Him by wallowing in fear, laying awake fretting, and foreboding over all the terrible things that could possibly happen to our children.  Rather, like the Proverbs 31 woman, may we have no fear for our household, for they are clothed in scarlet; protected and covered by the precious blood of our King.  That is the secret to fearless motherhood – knowing who He is, and taking Him at His word.  Let us never forget that His love for our children begins where our comprehension ends.  He cannot be anything but faithful to His own.

His truth shall be your shield and buckler.  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day.

Ps 91:5-6

 

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