I sat down and opened my journal this morning, but the pen moved slowly. The little globe on my desk shows me Africa, Asia, and Europe right now, and I am reminded of just how big this world is, while at the very same moment I feel a little baby kicking inside of me and I feel like the whole world is right here. How is that possible? And how many mamas are thinking the very same thing this morning?
I’m wondering how the French mothers who buried their adult children this weekend are grieving. I’m thinking how on earth are the Syrian and Iraqi and Afghani mothers surviving as they rocked a colicky baby in the freezing temperatures of the refugee camp all night. I am up to my neck in the shepherding of little hearts in my own home, a job I consider to be the privilege of my life, and yet all that echoes in my head as I read and see and watch the world is How long, Lord, how long?
Because the truth is this: I want to face every reality of the world, but I don’t know how to hold this fear. When my pen finally moved across the blank lines of my journal, here’s what came out: “How will I raise my sweet babies without creating in them a sense that they will always have something to be afraid of?” I don’t want that for them. I want a life laced with joy and covered in graces, with a touch of Pinterest decorating our home and making an appearance on each holiday table setting. Don’t we all? Life is so much easier when I can just think about those things.
But I can’t just think of those things. None of us can anymore. The fear is too close, happening too often, and so much of it is too astoundingly representative of what God said would happen. I wonder if a lot of us are looking around thinking that the easy, me-centered faith we’ve been living here in the West is not holding up to the kind of faith modeled for us in all of scripture. The latter is a much bolder faith. It is willing to risk anything, and it is stripped down of everything in the world except a perfect Savior and his death on a cross for our sake. It loves big and believes in grace, but perhaps most importantly, it knows that there is nothing on earth worth keeping compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus. Just ask every single one of the eleven disciples of Christ who did lose their lives to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. What were they most afraid of? It seems to me the only thing they feared was holding in the truth they knew would change everything.
Friends, I know I am the least qualified person on earth to write this. Because y’all, not only am I not a Bible scholar, but I am afraid. What will this sweet little boy in my belly face in his lifetime? I cannot confidently answer that the way I really want to. But here is what I know and what I am trying desperately to remind myself of today: The enemy’s greatest weapon against us is fear, but that is really all he has. Because the fear is what will paralyze us and make us question our good, good, God. Make no mistake, our adversary is not really after our homes, our careers, our families or our 401Ks—although many of us might see it that way. Those things mean nothing to him; he knows good and well the temporary nature of this world. He is after our faith in Jesus, and he will chase it down relentlessly with fear. And this morning, as I tremble a bit to write this, I truly believe our job as mamas and followers of Christ is to press in to our faith more than ever. Our God has always known the condition of our hearts would be bent towards fear, so he wrote a Book spanning history that tells us again and again we don’t have to be, and the empty grave proves it. He has reminded us that our lives are a breath compared to eternity, and we can confidently live with that perspective. And mama, be assured that God knows the fierce love and protection we feel over our children. When we cry watching them sleep, He knows that feeling even though our words can’t describe it. When our hearts burst with joy when they say their first prayer, He gets it. And when our anxiety goes through the roof at the thought of anything ever happening to them, friends, He understands. And his response was written generations before any one of us felt this beautiful weight of motherhood: “Point those babies to me, remind them of all I have done, teach them my words every hour of every day, pray and don’t ever stop, and remember that when you feel fear, that is not from me, because I gave you a spirit of love, power, and a sound mind, and mamas, never forget that I AM. And I will be for your babies. And I still will be at the end of this world, too.”
As I am wrapping these words up, the sun is peeking out over the mountains to the east of our home, and you know, it just seems fitting for God to give a sunrise right in this moment. He is near, friends, and we can be confident that He is as just as He is loving. Always has been, always will be.
Lord, be so near to our brothers and sisters in every corner of the world today. God, don't let us stop trusting you, even when the fear feels too big. You are the God of all nations, all tongues, all peoples, all history. Make our faith bigger. Amen.
“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…” 2 Peter 1:19.