When I married my husband, Jim, two and a half years ago, I also became the instant mother of his 3 young children. (Their mom had passed away.) I had previously worked as a nanny and had a lot of experience caring for my niece and nephew, so I felt confident in my child-raising abilities. What I did not count on, however, was the incredible sense of fear that came along with becoming a mother.
I really can’t remember very many times in my life prior to getting married when I felt fear for my own life. But that all changed when I became responsible for these three precious little lives who were completely dependent on me for their safety and well-being. All of a sudden, my life mattered so much more! Their safety depended on my safety so that I would be there to protect them.
Before I met Jim, I had planned to adopt kids anyway. I always wondered what kind of mom I would be. To my surprise, I have a FIERCE mama bear instinct that I never even knew was inside of me!!! I can feel my blood boiling on the inside when someone hurts or threatens to hurt my kids! I even scare myself sometimes!
About a year ago, something took place that created an unsafe situation for our kids. At first, the threat wasn’t obvious. As time went on, however, and as more information was revealed, I realized that the problem was much worse than I originally thought. My question then became, “What can I do to keep my kids safe in this situation??? “
Since then, life has changed A LOT around here. The kids used to be able to play on the swingset or in the sandbox while I watched them through the window. Now, they are not even allowed outside at all unless my husband or myself is standing guard over them.
I have felt a HUGE change within myself as well, in my inner being. I feel like I now live in a constant state of fear. I find myself losing hours of my day to “worst case scenario” daydreams and trying to make plans for what I would do to protect the kids or myself if these things happened.
Some days, I am so paralyzed by fear that I can’t even get simple everyday tasks done (like emptying the dishwasher or deciding what to cook for dinner.) There are times that I just break down and cry and mourn the loss of the care-free lifestyle we once had, which now seems like a distant memory.
I’m sure a lot of parents can relate to the fear of something bad happening to their children, especially in today’s society! It’s not fair for our kids to have to live in fear and grow up in a world where their safety is always in question. I’ve even started carrying fire arms (which I never thought I would do) out of fear for our safety. So what is the answer? How do I cope with this???
I know that the answers to life’s problems can always be found in the Bible, if you know where to look. That’s why tools like BibleGateway.com are wonderful! You can search for Bible passages by topic or theme if you don’t know where to start. You can also choose from tons of different translations so that you can find a version that is easy for you to understand.
I am a Christian, and I whole-heartedly trust God with my life. But sometimes even Christians can get caught up in their circumstances and allow themselves to be led astray. Our friends and families, although well-meaning, are just as imperfectly human as we are. That is why it is important to seek our answers from the one place where we will get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Bible.
The first verse that came to my mind was, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB- New American Standard Bible) Fear doesn’t come from God, and anything that doesn’t come from God comes from the enemy (the devil.) The Bible says that the enemy “is a liar and the father of lies.” -John 8:44 (NASB) and that he “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” -John 10:10 (NASB) He has nothing to offer us except bondage to our fears based on false pretenses.
The first verse that popped up when I did a search for “fear” on Bible Gateway was, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” -1 John 4:18 (NASB) The “perfect love” to which this verse refers is God’s love for us. If we turn to God and allow ourselves to submit to Him and trust Him completely, He will break the chains with which fear has us bound. This verse is also a great reminder that by entertaining fear, we are only punishing ourselves and making ourselves suffer needlessly.
I often have to remind myself that fearing the unknown or fearing the future is a complete waste of time and emotional energy. Why would we cause our bodies and minds so much stress and anxiety over things that will most likely never even happen? Even if they do happen, the situation will inevitably NOT play out the way that we thought it would.
Fear is a struggle that I’ve had with myself daily for quite a while now. I keep reminding myself that if something bad happens, I will deal with it at that time. By dwelling on my fear, I could miss out on so much happiness in my life because I’m too busy being worried about everything that might go wrong. I would end up looking back on my life with regret, knowing that I never appreciated what was there while I had it because I was too busy worrying that I might lose it.
As I said, this has been a daily battle for me. It’s a war I have to win over and over again every single day. Being a believer doesn’t mean that we have it all figured out. It just means that we know where to turn when we need help climbing our mountains. The more time I spend in prayer and worship, the more freedom and joy I feel. There is a direct correlation between time spent with God and inner happiness. It is when I am “too busy” or “forget” to spend that time with Him that I struggle the most.
If you are struggling with any type of emotional bondage and you don’t know where to start or what to pray, just do a Google search for “worship music” and start listening. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your heart can change if you are open to receiving the good that God has for you!
UPDATE: Shortly after writing this article, I took a trip to Pittsburgh and visited my home church for support. My church family prayed for me and encouraged me, and I am happy to say that the paralyzing fear that was overtaking me in the months prior is now GONE!!! It has been almost 2 months, and the fear has not returned. Hallelujah!!!
I am in such a wonderful place of hope for the future and appreciation for all that God has done and IS DOING in our lives! Never underestimate the power of prayer and the power of changing your attitude and focus! By focusing on all of the positives in our lives, and by reminding myself of all of the times God has miraculously saved His people from the most dangerous of situations, I can walk through each day with confidence and expectation of good things!
If you are experiencing any type of hardship, be sure to surround yourself with supportive and loving believers who will pray for you and lift you up! Even if you, yourself, are not a believer yet, seek out someone who is to pray for you, and allow God to show you how good He is and how much He loves you!
If you are not currently a believer and/or you have questions about what that means, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to chat with you and help you to find the answers to your questions. God bless!