He wasn’t very big. In fact, some people questioned his true age. But I was still afraid of him.
I was afraid too often as a mom. Not that my kids would physically hurt me—though some were capable, and we did have a few scary moments.* No, I more feared something it took years for me to articulate. I feared losing my sense of meaning—the threat that even at my best, I didn’t matter.
I’ve found this to be a common fear among SAFE moms. For many of us, being a mom is the core of who we are. Serving mouth-watering nutritious meals, kissing booboos, reading bedtime stories, camping under fir trees, cheering at soccer games, crying at graduations, and dishing out epic words of wisdom—these are the things mothers are made of. Right? We anticipated disobedience, turned up noses at peas on the plate, and sibling fights over toys. And we planned strategies for dealing with such childhood issues.
But we weren’t prepared for the vehement denial of our role, the stiff-arming of our attempts to embrace, and the crushing of our precious love offerings. For some reason, our husbands did not experience this fear at all. They couldn’t grasp why we seemed to take our children’s attitudes so personally.
Because I often operated out of deep fear, I opened the door to more. I was afraid I would be overrun by rebellion—in fact, I frequently had nightmares about this. I was afraid of failing. I feared what others thought and often felt misjudged. I was afraid of having to pay for my kids’ consequences the rest of my life. And I was afraid something awful would happen and I’d carry guilt the rest of my life.
When I attended a course that had me identify my greatest fear, it came down to fear of engulfment. And you know what I discovered? The root of that fear, of all things, was asthma as a child. Can you believe that? The real cause of my fear actually had nothing to do with my kids at all!
In fact when we take an honest look, all fear is rooted in some past pain. Otherwise, how would we know to be afraid? And if we’re brave enough to get really, really honest, we’ll discover the one we hold responsible for that pain is … God!
Ouch! Yes, we don’t trust God with our pain and then we try to control things so that we never experience that kind of pain ever again. When the slightest hint of a similar pain whispers to our subconsciousness, fear rises up like Godzilla out of the sea of unreasonableness.
So, then, how do we send this fear monster packing?
- First, we need to forgive God. No, He didn’t sin, but some sneaky enemy of our soul has convinced our sub-conscience that He did. So, try it. Tell God you forgive Him for the pain in your life and ask His help to restore your trust in Him.
- The second suggestion is to consider professional help. Never minimize past pain that continues to hold you captive. Many of us have experienced trauma that requires professional guidance in order to break free of fear’s stranglehold.
- The third remedy is found in 1 John 4:18, Perfect love cast out fear. Ask God to lead you on a discovery of His perfect love for you. You see, when we are immersed in God’s perfect loving embrace, there is no room—at all—for fear.
With that in mind, fear then can become our friend. Fear is the red flag, reminding us we have wandered outside the safety of God’s perfect loving embrace. Fear is waving it’s arm, shouting, “You’re headed toward Godzilla’s quagmire! Turn around! Run back to the safety of the Father’s infinite love!”
*An important note, some of my friends’ kids posed serious threats to family members and pets. This is nothing I take lightly. My friends weren’t ranting paranoids. I had many SAFE moms visit my home and look surprised when they saw our kitchen knives displayed on the wall, because they had to keep theirs locked away. Some had to have safety plans in place. One friend is now hiding from her estranged child in a government-approved safe house.