What's A Mama To Do?
This week's post was written by Theresa Adams who is constantly trying to convince herself that tea is just as good as coffee.
In the last few years we have had to sit down with our two boys, multiple times, to share with them that people near and dear were no longer going to be married. We've also experienced a lock-down at my son's elementary school. We've known people who have passed away and others who have battled life threatening illnesses. And this is just what our little family of four has encountered. The world at large is full of broken marriages, hurting people, dangers and uncertainty. As a mama who has two little ones, which means my heart lives outside of my body, there can be much to cause fear. Much to cause anxiety. Much that could overwhelm us.
It would be great if they made life-sized bubbles for our kiddos so that we could shield them from all of the brokenness and messiness they will encounter here on earth. But since that isn't an option what are we to do? How to shield them and let them experience it all so that when they go out into the world, as an adult. they will know how to comfort those in the brokenness rather than add to it? How to insulate them from all the negative? How to do so without your own fear being a burden upon their childhood? How to teach them that being courageous is sometimes more important than being safe? How to prepare them for life so they won't come running back to us and live in our basements? Unfortunately they will not encounter another way until they are rejoicing in heaven. Only then will their tears finally be wiped away. Then there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Until that time there are all of the above and more.
This whole living in fear thing is new to me. Growing up and in my young adult life I was mildly void of fear. Spontaneity beckoned me and I typically answered without much thought or concern of what could or couldn't happen. I hitchhiked and went on solo trips across country all without a cellphone (least you think that was on account of bravery let me just be honest and say it was because they hadn't been invented yet.) I threw myself off of cliffs into the water below just for the thrill of it. Now, since becoming a mother, I get nervous and clammy driving over high bridges or when my kids get too close to the edge of a ledge overlooking the water below. Even though said ledge towers above them and there is literally no foreseeable way they could fall in. Still clammy. Still sometimes hold onto the hood of my youngest least a sea creature from down below were to leap up and decide he'd make a tasty treat. Okay, maybe not that last one so much but you can see how easily it is to be dwarfed by the umbrella of "what-if's." And these are just for the run-of-the-mill fears. Not the life threatening "what-ifs" about contracting a life-threatening disease or coming into a life-threatening situation simply when going throughout your day It, again, really does make the kid-in-a-bubble thing sound not so bad.
It's all too much. There is too much to fear and there is too much that could go wrong. But if we let fear win then we are going to miss out on too much joy. Too much love. Too much spontaneity and too much good. Life is hard enough as it is that we don't need to be saddled down by any additional weight of worry or anxiety or distress. What is a mama to do other than to spend time on her knees and trust the One who gave her those that cause her heart to live outside of her body. What can we do but believe and trust Him when he says:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
We can also remember we have a choice to live each day one day at a time. Not looking too far ahead but rather just soaking up the moment and the gift that it is. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want fear to get an inch more than it deserves. It has it's place and it is a good emotion to have when, say, you run into a grizzly bear. But day in and day out I want my emotions to know that I'm in charge and I want to model that for my children.
Fear often is nothing more than an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous. In most cases it isn't even an actuality it's just a possibility. These ones we are raising up are going to need all the braveness they can muster. They who take their cues from us. They look to us before they have a reaction. They cry harder if we gasp when they fall. They look more triumphant after seeing our smile. They need to know that we think they've got this. They also need to know that we've got this and that in the times when we don't that we have someone to turn to who will never falter. Never leave. Never change. They need to know that we will keep trusting in the One who holds us all in the palm of His hands. They need to know that we will keep crying out on our knees for the courage and peace and love only He can provide to keep the fear it it's place.
"Steps unseen before me,
Hidden dangers near;
Nearer still my Savior,
Whispering, "Be of cheer"
Joys, like birds of springtime,
To my heart have flown,
Singing all so sweetly,
"He will not leave me alone"