Do it afraid. Courage is not the absence of fear, but going forward even when you feel afraid. I have heard these expressions a few times and it has become much more real as a mum. Actually, I think it started as a mum-to-be. I was afraid to give birth, but I had to do it afraid and I got through it. I was afraid to be left alone with my newborn son, but we got through it together. I was afraid to venture to Mum’s and Toddler’s for the first time, and I made it through and still go – hurrah!
I am probably painting a picture of someone who is pretty afraid. When it comes to the ‘fight or flight’ tendencies, I often want to spread my wings and fly far away. However, each day of being a parent has taught me to keep up the good fight – the fight of being a mum and the fight of faith.
Fight of being a mum
Getting up every morning to do the usual routine with Jonathan when I am overtired takes courage. It takes strength to keep on keeping on when all I want to do is pull the duvet over my head and sleep in. I love being a mum so please don’t think I don’t, but it’s really hard work! I have no idea how my mum did it (she does such a good job, even now). I have to fight my natural urge to sit around and do nothing because the kitchen won’t clean itself, the laundry will just pile up if I don’t keep on top of it and Jonathan won’t eat unless I feed him. I have to fight feelings of discontentment when I want to do what I want to do in spite of everyone and everything else.
But it’s not me that is fighting. Not really.
My help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:2).
Fighting fear with faith
There are times when being a Christian is difficult. Especially in a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant (a word often used to describe Christians) of Jesus and those who believe in Him. Sometimes I think it would be easier to blend in with the crowd, go along with what others are doing and just do it my way. That would be the easy option in the short term.
But I am all about the long-game.
Parenting is definitely more like a marathon, even though it feels like a sprint most days!
In the same way, being a Christian is about the long-game. The temporary culture of the day is short-sighted. Things never stay the same. Having an eternal perspective is important because it is exactly that – eternal.
Today, I was amazed to read that Jesus prayed for his disciple Peter, knowing that he would deny Him three times after Jesus was arrested.
“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 [emphasis added]
Even though Peter was convinced he could never deny knowing Jesus – he had followed him as a disciple for three years – Jesus knew that he would. But Jesus also knew that Peter would have a complete 180 degree change of heart when he encountered the risen Jesus. Peter would tell others about Jesus’ death and resurrection and strengthen the church. Jesus knew the long-game, whereas Peter, captivated by fear (boy, I get that) couldn’t see it at the time.
Whether being a mum or being a Christian, the long-game is important.
I am raising a beautiful baby and every day I am inputting into his life to see him flourish. Every moment, (even the challenging ones) when they are all put together, will shape Jonathan’s life. Every day that I fight fear with faith, I am trusting God who can see the full picture, even when I am afraid.
‘My faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour’. Lyrics from ‘Oceans’ – by Hillsong.