Fear.  It is so insidious, so deceptive. It can bind us, shackle us, keep us tied up by shame and guilt and regret…because often it looks responsible and mature. The Lord has been revealing more to me about my fear as I have been working through the Fearless study. This time He has been powerfully speaking to me about my fear of failure…specifically as a mother.

This fear grips me almost every morning as I wake and consider whether or not I will be able to love my children well or not lose my temper and speak harshly or unkindly…and it follows me to bed every night as the regret and remorse over what I didn’t do well for the day replays over and over in my mind.

And as I am reading the story of Jesus and the disciples and how He left them in the boat…by themselves during the storm…I think I can relate deeply to the disciples in their bewilderment and fear. I have cried out to the Lord over and over again to give me a patient heart, kind and gentle words and encouragement instead of criticism when I am interacting with my children. And night after night I go to bed wondering if He has heard my prayers because it seems I have failed once again. WHERE IS MY SAVIOR? WHY DOES HE LEAVE ME IN THIS HORRIBLE, FLESHLY STATE?

And then His words in Matthew 14:27 ring so sweetly in my ears, “But immediately Jesus spoke to them saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.’” The command to not fear only makes sense when preceded by Jesus’ statement, “It is I.” I am the One who spoke the world into being, who created you, who sits sovereignly as Ruler of All. The Great I Am is commanding us to…NOT BE AFRAID.

But I know my sin and my selfishness and my pride that leads to anger and my inability to love my children unconditionally at times. What if I every day I confessed these struggles to the Lord and asked for His grace to overcome AND stopped ruminating over my failures all day? What if I clung to and spoke the truth to my heart that Paul gives us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His GRACE is SUFFICIENT and His POWER is made perfect in my WEAKNESS? What if I entrusted all of my concerns about school and discipline and extra-curricular activities to the Lord, trusting that He knows my children’s needs better than I do? What if I walked forward with JOY and PEACE in the Lord instead of frustration and regret…what if?

The struggle is that taking this approach seems irresponsible and in many ways foolish in my human-thinking. Yes, God is able but I am still their MOM. Moms worry, that’s just what they do. But then I am confronted by how much of my fear is really rooted in pride and idolatry of self, thinking that somehow it is up to or about me, when in reality it is all about Him. These precious children have been entrusted to me by their Heavenly Father and the plans and purposes for their life, according to Psalm 139:16 were written before one of them came to be.

Being a mom does not equal being God to my children. In fact, in confessing my failures and weaknesses to them and asking for forgiveness, I can then remind them that they have a Heavenly Father whose love for them is perfect in every way. And, they have an opportunity to see grace in action as Jesus forgives their fallible and weak mom who is desperately in need of His daily mercy and grace.  And perhaps they will catch a glimpse of one of Jesus’s most powerful blessings from the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Rooted in Christ


Galatians 4:9 says, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”

This was one of the Scriptures I read earlier this morning from my Thistlebend Fearless study. What a thought provoking question. My study followed this Scripture up with another thought provoking question, “What are the worthless things of the world that have a pull on you?”

I wrote down things like how I’ve been comparing myself to others and their weight gain in pregnancy versus mine. I wrote down that the opinions of others have a pull on me, specifically a made up opinion in my head of what my husband thinks a wife should be like. These things are so relevant and real to me, things I very much consider throughout my day and can determine my state of mind or mood at any given moment.

This Scripture in Galatians describes these pulls from the world that I have as “weak and worthless elementary principles.” When really thinking about these pulls from the world, especially in comparison to the truth of Scripture, they are so worthless. Why is it worth my time to compare myself to someone else, thinking they’re better because they’re a smaller pregnant woman than me? It doesn’t even sound logical when I write out what my mind is doing there.

A friend of mind this morning sent me an article that she had read titled, “Don’t Turn Motherhood into an Idol.” The author, David E. Prince, wrote about how it’s easy to let children become the central focus of a mother’s life instead of the gospel. When that happens, he says, motherhood can easily become a burden instead of a blessing. A mom can constantly feel the pull from the world to compare and feel like she hasn’t done enough because a “good mom” is supposed to do, fill in the blank.

The author challenged moms to stop trying to be good moms and start being gospel moms. Moms that have the gospel as their central focus. I love Prince’s ending sentence of the article: “Satan delights in self-righteous supermoms, but he trembles at humble gospel-moms who just keep joyfully plodding along, imperfectly but persistently, trying to walk in line with the gospel and call her kids to the same.”

I started thinking about this article and this idea of being a gospel mom in light of what the Lord has been teaching me through the Fearless study and R.C. Sproul’s book The Holiness of God. One of the memory verses from the Fearless study, Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” God alone is God. He alone sits on the throne with the whole world under His rule. He alone is holy and is the only one set apart. Because this is all true, I believe I can hear the angst in Paul’s voice when he asked the Galatians the question he did in Galatians 4. I can hear his angst as the Scripture asked me the same question, WHY would you turn back to the worthless elementary principles of this world?

The Lord revealed as I read that article and thought on Galatians 4:9 that I may not be a self-righteous supermom just yet, but that’s the path I am walking down and I do strive to be the self-righteous super-wife and super-friend and super-employee and super-Christian. I don’t want to be their slaves anymore and the beautiful thing is I don’t have to be—all because of the GOSPEL!

Because Jesus humbled himself to come down to earth and be a human, lived a perfect life, out of obedience and love died on the cross, and then three days later rose again, and because God in His loving mercy said He will look on Jesus to pay for my sins, I no longer have to live for the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world.” I don’t have to be enslaved to my fleshly sin desire to be the self-righteous superwoman who’s constantly bowing to everyone else’s expectations. No, by God’s grace, I can live for the gospel that broke my chains. The God that sits on the throne can be my focus.

Paul points out in Galatians 4:9 that in order to go back to the weak pulls of the world we would have to turn back: “…how can you turn back again…” It’s time for me to make another turn. A turn back to my King. By God’s grace alone to stop looking at an Instagram post of someone that I have made to be perfect in my mind and compare myself to them. It’s time to confess any comparison to the Lord and then encourage instead of compare. To stop allowing the enemy to take my focus off the sweet gift from the Lord inside me and put it on something worthless. It’s time for me to stop feeling the non-existent pressure from my husband of having our house together or to look a certain way or to know all things about mothering and confess these perceived pressures, again by God’s grace, to the Lord and to my husband and instead remember the point of marriage—yet again the gospel.

Of course, this is all much easier said than done and just because I’m “feeling” pumped about being this gospel focused woman doesn’t mean there will be overnight change. I know this happens in the Lord’s timing, not mine. I won’t do this perfectly, but He alone provides the growth, and when He does, it will be all for His glory. I’m tired of fearing, however, that something will be lost if I don’t continue to try and please people (the pulls of the world) and please the Lord at the same time. Maybe you are too. Let’s pray for each other, that we’ll lay aside the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world” and instead be gospel-wives, gospel-moms, gospel-employees, gospel-friends and gospel-Christians, not for us, but for Him.

Planted for His Glory


The Thistlebend winter/spring study, Heart of a Woman, came to a close a few weeks ago. We were given several great options to continue to study God’s Word until our summer study begins. Since the Heart of a Woman study revealed to me how much of my sinful thoughts, actions, and behaviors are rooted in fear, I felt the Lord leading me to choose an interim Bible Study called Fearless, which focuses on replacing fear with FAITH.

Today, one of our focus Scriptures was 1 Samuel 2:1-10, which is known as Hannah’s Prayer. Hannah’s story is one of grief, but also of triumph. She was married to a loving man, but she was unable to have a child, and so she was deeply grieved. On top of that, her husband had another wife who was able to have children, and she maliciously taunted Hannah. Yet Hannah trusted the Lord. She cried out to Him in her affliction. And in time, God answered her prayer. He granted her a son – Samuel — who grew up to be a great man of God. Hannah praises God for who He is and what He has done for her. She gives God all the glory for the gift of her son.

As I spent time with the Lord this morning, I thought about how beautiful Hannah’s faith was and how she trusted God. The Bible tells us that Hannah’s heart was grieved, for she did not have what she most desired. But she did not fear. She trusted that God would hear the cries of her heart.

So…I went on my way for the day. I was busy most of the morning. I finally had a chance to check my texts and was shocked to read that that my husband had received some very disappointing news. Our insurance had denied authorization for a medical procedure he badly needs. Scheduling the procedure had been an answer to prayer. Everything had lined up in ways that only the Lord could have ordained. Then, suddenly, unexpectedly, the path we were on crumbled away – and no other path is in immediate sight.

It was after processing this news and praying about it that I remembered my time in my Fearless study this morning and recalled Hannah’s Prayer:

“How I rejoice in the Lord!
How he has blessed me!
Now I have an answer for my enemies,
For the Lord has solved my problem.
How I rejoice!
No one is as holy as the Lord!
There is no other God,
Nor any Rock like our God.”
(1 Sam. 2:1-2, TLB)

I was reminded that God will solve our problem, in His way, and in His time. His timing is perfect! He is sovereign over everything: doctors, insurance, medical procedures, schedules. He alone is God. He holds the world in His hands. He will make a way for my husband to be healed according to His will.

Our God is so great! He lovingly and graciously gave me Hannah’s Prayer this morning to prepare me for a difficult predicament later in the day. Hannah’s example helped me avoid my default “what if” negative thought pattern. What peace there is in the truth of who God is!

Like Hannah, I proclaim: “How I rejoice in the Lord! How He has blessed me!” (1 Sam. 2:1, TLB).

Growing in Grace