"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Do Not Fear

***I will preface this post with this:
I've had this drafted for a while and have been too fearful (go figure!) to publish it.  But recently I have had several things happen that I believe is providence and encouragement to publish this.  I know I'm not the only one who struggles.  And I'm not going to pretend I don't.  God is glorified though my weaknesses. I find so much encouragement others and we are called to encourage one another.  I know I'm not a good writer and that's why I wouldn't say I'm a 'blogger' by any means.  But I do have thoughts swarming in my head and I want to help build up other moms through these words on the screen--even if they are full of grammatical errors, lack proper transitions, and are completely inadequate. I am not one who is very wise and I am not one who is very experienced.  Though having four children, I've only been at this for just over three years.  I'm learning as I go and what I write is a result. 
'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

Fear.  A four letter word that I didn't think I really struggled with in my life.  I trust God, I'm not one that I would consider really "scared" of anything (unless of course there is a closet door cracked just far enough for an eye ball to be peering out.  That I do not like!). I am aware that I must keep careful watch on my anxiety prone heart, but overall, I full rest in God's sovereignty and control.

Anger.  Another word that I didn't think I struggled with.  But wow, looking back over my life I see it has always been there.  Anger is an ugly sin and can be disguised and show it's ugliness in many ways.

My children are a blessing to me for many reasons.  One of the reasons is they bring me great JOY.  Another reason though, is they lead me to great repentance.  They are the instruments God has given to me in my life to reveal my sin to me.  Unfortunately not only is it revealed to me, but also to those that I love.  The ones that are dearest to me are the ones who are harmed the most.

My anger is put on display as I crush the spirits of my children.  I can rejoice that God is showing me more about the root of it.  By God's grace I am able to put off the old man and become more like Him.  It is a process that takes time and through it God reveals more of Himself to me as He conforms me to the likeness of Christ.  Oh, that's called sanctification.

I thought I was angry because I want control.
I thought I was angry because I'm selfish.
I thought I was angry because I'm impatient.

But I'm seeing there is a deeper cause for this sinful anger.


I am learning that a root of my anger is I am fearful.  I don't think I would have ever correlated the two.  Fear shows up in ways I was not expecting. Fear is driving my anger, which also leads into the desire to control.  It leads me to impatience.  

Now, hear loud and clear, fear is not the only cause.  My pride and lack of self control are just as big of a factor in my outpouring of anger, but recognizing that it can stem from fear is helping me overcome it.

My kids are standing and jumping on something, I yell for them to get down. I'm fearful they will get hurt.
My son is taking too long to get in his car seat.  I cut him down with my words because fear is driving my thought that we may be late.
My kids are playing happily but I get angry and take away their fun because I don't want them to wake the baby.  I'm fearful that I will be interrupted in what I'm trying to accomplish during his nap.
My daughter is so hungry for attention she will act like a fool to get it. She will do anything to get people to look at her and smile or laugh. I am not gentle with my words to correct her and instruct her. I'm fearful she will turn to worldly things and men for attention.
My child lacks self control in the little things. I'm fearful she will lack self control in the big things later in life.
My child constantly wants things she doesn't have. I fear she is discontent and will grow up to be jealous of those around her.

In all the above situations, my lack of self control has vomited out of my mouth the sinfulness of what is in my heart.  Lack of self control is a whole different topic, one which would make this far too long to read.  I want to focus on the fear.

I'm fearful of the present, but moreover I am fearful if the future.  Things that could happen in the next five minutes, five years, or fifteen years. But the future is not in my hands and the fear in me only displays the worry and lack of trust I have.

There are two types of worry: spiritual and material.  earthly and heavenly.
I do not struggle with fear of earthly things. I know God will provide and I know He will care for me and my family. 
It's the spiritual fear I struggle with. It is a temptation to idolize the salvation of my children. Yes, it is something I should and need to care about and be concerned with. Yes it is something I should be on my knees in prayer for pleading with The Lord to save them. It is something I should desire to see, but I am commanded not to worry about it.
In the childish and often foolish behavior they show, I see the sins of my children on display and it scares me.  It brings me great fear that I see the same sin that I struggle with or had struggled with before God saved me. Seeing the sin in them angers me.  why? Maybe it is because I forget they are fallen and sinful. I think it is partly that, but more so that I fear them living their life in sin and apart from Christ. Sometimes the sin of our children is a mirror back to us. Either a mirror to the current sin we struggle with or a look into our past. 

Why do I say no to my children's requests? As I ponder this I realize that often the requests are harmless, yet I in fear say no.  Being free from this fear would make life more joyful!  And the good news is that as a child of God, I AM FREE from this fear! I have all I need for life and godliness! (2 Peter 1:3) But there is still a struggle. Worry is a sin and stems from a lack of true understanding of God.  God offers worry free living, but we must understand the promises and purposes of God in order to have a worry free life. A life free of fear.

Scripture tells me in 2 Timothy 1:7,  "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." I need to remember that when I am fearful it is because I am leaning on my own flesh and strength, because that does not come from God.

Why do I fear the future for my children? Maybe because I know how I fail daily to properly love and train them.
Why do I live as if God's grace will run out? I am a living testimony of the work God can do in a heart and the transformation it can have on a life. 
Why do I fear God will hold that back from my children? I know that God knows who his elected children are, and I can pray my children are among the chosen. But worry and fear of the future will not add their names to the book of life. God is still in the business of saving souls and instead of me worrying about them, I need to focus more on the character of God, reflect Him to my children, and trust my heavenly father.

I want so badly to control my children's salvation, when in all reality I should be so thankful that I'm NOT in control of it because I'd be certain to mess it up and fail!! Praise God he uses us broken vessels and fallen people as part of the plan but that the control rests in His hands.

And apparently it isn't going to get easier as my kids get older.  My friend Wendy writes some wisdom and shares her personal story at re:flect-I.
So what am I to do?  None of these will cure anger.  It is a process.  Recognizing that the anger may stem from fear is a starting point.  Though it is a work of the Holy Spirit in me, Scripture tells me that I must work out my salvation as well.

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling" Phil 2:12

Trust in His promises:
"So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth." 1 Cor 3:7

Raise my arrows:
"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

For their salvation, for our patience, for joy in the mundane, for wisdom.
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:3

Be Humble, Repent, and Ask for forgiveness:
Something that we are commanded to do and makes a noticeable difference is to truly humble myself and ask for forgiveness from my child--or even all of them at the same time.  I know my heart is only humbled by the work of the Holy Spirit, so I must be willing to be molded and humbled.  My children are always so quick to forgive.  It's amazing how it works almost as a reset button--if I am proud and do not seek their forgiveness, it is like I enter in a downward spiral and it continues.  The opposite is also true--when fellowship is restored and sin is confessed and forgiven, we can continue on in joy.  It is a beautiful thing.
"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you."  1 Peter 5:6-7

Put off worry, anger, and impatience:
Be willing to be molded.  Pray to see sin and recognize it. Remember who is in control. Am I getting angry over something that really matters? Am I impatient because we really need to go somewhere or just because I'm always in a rush? Slow down and enjoy life with my children. Laugh. Give a gentle answer. Trust in Him.

Put on love, mercy, grace, and kindness
 Reflect Christ in all I do and point them to Him. When I imitate Christ, He will be glorified as they are pointed to Him. And when I fail to imitate Christ, because I will, I will humble myself, ask forgiveness, and repent. In that He will also be glorified as that points them to Him.
As moms we need to get past the point of trying to be perfect for our kids--instead we need to let them see how imperfect we are as we point them to the One who humbled himself all the way to death on a cross for us.
Memorize scripture
Both verses that will help put on and put off.  If God's word is hidden in my heart, I can stop the fear inside me before it erupts into anger and a loss of self control.
"I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11


  1. So encouraging! I recently came across this idea of anger stemming from fear too! I wasn't sure about it at first, but after thinking about it and analyzing various situations, I totally get it. You said it so well here!

    I haven't read these yet, but have this series bookmarked... http://www.thebettermom.com/grouchy-great/

    Thanks for this good word!

  2. Thank you for having the courage to share this post!
    I never connected the idea of fear to anger. I need to look at my own life and really see what is the root of my anger, apart from selfishness, pride and impatience.
    Thank you for pouring out your heart on your blog, so that we all may be encouraged.

    Andrea, thanks for posting the series! Excited to check it out!

  3. Such a great post, Allison! You left me challenged and encouraged. Oh how I wish we didn't live on opposite sides of the country!