As a mom to six kids I have had many reasons to worry.
Over the course of my 27 years of parenting, I have been up many nights. I confess to trusting God with my kids. Until it comes to trusting him in a difficult decision with so many unknowns. Then it is much more difficult. I do not like the unknown and parenting is full of them.
Most of the time kids turn out fine. But when you are a special needs mom or a parent of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder or FASD that fear is real. I sometimes let this worry and fear inform how I make decisions and how I respond to a situation.
When I am letting fear control me, I am less than gracious.
There are also many unknowns in our world. These unknowns cause us to fear. Fear causes us to circle the wagons, to accuse and judge. We have to fight against fear.
I may not know the future with my children or the world but here is what I do know:
God is love and there is no fear in love. (1 John 4:19)
The Orthodox Study Bible adds:
“Perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment”
This so true.
We are all tormented by fear..
We are mired in fear.
We are hearing voices constantly telling us to be afraid of the world, our country, the people whose ideas, religion or skin may be different than ours. We are stuck in this fear.
This fear, at times, translates to the people we love best in our own homes
How do we get out of this mindset?
Turn and Love
This is hard to do in the moment. If I could stop and ask God for the strength to turn and love- even if it means I keep silent for a few minutes. Those minutes may bat away the fear and assumptions I am making about the situation. Turn and love is a choice and it allows me to be more gracious.
He is good and His love never fails. He is the truth we need to tune our ears too. We need to get off the roller coaster of fear and take it all to Him.
The big scary world issues and also the little tiny fears we hold.
We have to know the truth about who He is. One practical way to do this is to read the Psalms, and listen to the prayers that tell is who He is.
Stop and Listen
Before I let fear and worry rush in, I need to stop and listen.
I want to listen and pay attention to the world around me.
So listen to the birdsong, the wind in the trees, the kids laughing.
Listen to others and honor another's story. Possibly even one you may not understand or agree with.
This is not easy work, but it is necessary work.
If we are to stop letting fear torment us and allow love and peace to rule, we need this work.
But we are not meant to carry it alone.
We can ask for His grace to help us.
I am so thankful that His mercy and compassion are new every morning. I cannot change the world, or maybe I can, one little moment at a time.
But I can change the atmosphere of fear in my own heart and home.