My eight year old daughter (Eva) is an enthusiastic Star Wars fan. She’s read most of the books, watched half the movies and studied the characters. Eva has even decided to grow out her hair for the sake of styling Princess Leia braids. At the top of her list of things to do in the park was chatting with Princess Leia, Jedi training and battling Darth Vader. So, imagine my surprise when while we were waiting in line to meet Kylo Ren (an evil warrior for the uninitiated) her eyes began to fill with tears and she told me she was afraid. As we stood there, I reminded her that it was all just pretend and that there was a real person underneath the costume. I reminded her that Kylo Ren was not a “real” person, just a character in a movie she had no reason to be afraid of. My words, my assurances were of little comfort and by the time it was Eva’s turn to pose for the camera she was visibly upset. I asked if she wanted to change her mind and forgo the photo opportunity. She did not and with her arms straight down to her side, walked into the center of the room as Kylo Ren approached. She stood there at full attention, with her hands straight at her sides as this evil character, drapped in black robes glared menacingly at her. With her eyes fixed ahead she remained stoic as he circled, peering down over the top of her head. And just like that the moment passed — she ran over to me beaming and said proudly “Mom, I didn’t give in to my fear!” This one small sentence caused me to pause and think about what we do when the real evil one circles us or our family. I knew it would be a question I’d circle back to. It’s been my personal experience (and one I’ve confirmed with other moms) that we Moms are unique in our struggles with fear. There is something about our role that causes the evil one to rely specifically upon a strategy of fear when it comes to mothers.
What happens when a Mom struggles with fear? Why is this method of spiritual attack so unique to those that identify as mothers and how can we combat it?
Types of Fear
Throughout the Bible there are many references to fear generally falling into one of two categories. The first category references the fear of God, a type of fear that is to our benefit and stems from a reverence for our Heavenly Father and Creator. In fact, the Bible tells us in the book of Proverbs, Chapter 1, verse 7 that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and later in Chapter 2, verse 5 we are told that the “knowledge of God” comes from a “fear of the Lord.” In Psalm, Chapter 19, verse 9, we are reminded that “The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.” These verses all describe what I would call a good type of fear.
The second category is very broad and includes those kinds of things we should avoid, run, or otherwise depart from given the opportunity. It also includes those things that we believe (rationally or otherwise) might bring harm to ourselves and/or our loved ones. Such harm can come in many forms including physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. This type of fear we often associate with “evil or wicked people” (i.e. in the instance of terrorism), a fear of death or the unknown and possibly even a “spirit of fear” not borne from God but rather the evil one. In the book of Ephesians, Chapter 6, verse 12, the Apostle Paul reminds us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
When Mom Struggles With Fear
The fear that comes from the kinds of things falling into that second category can really stop us in our tracks.A Mom overcome by fear is a weapon in the hands of the enemy. #MotherhoodMatters #FearlessMoms Click To Tweet
Generally speaking, mothers are more directly and intimately involved in the day-to-day happenings that constitute the raising of our children and their spiritual development. The latter is evidenced in our churches where membership is generally weighted more female than male as are our volunteers.
If as moms we are bound by fear, we are then unable to carry out the purpose of mothering and raising our children as God intended. I think we can agree that fear negatively impacts what we do, say or think — hindering our actions significantly if not completely. In some instances we are literally frozen with fear, unable to make wise choices if any at all and unable to lead our children as God would have us.
When we are overcome by fear in this way our instinct is to hole up and hunker down — like a hen with her chicks hidden underneath her. The problem with hunkering down is that it also takes us and our children out of circulation. It deprives us of the opportunity to demonstrate to our children and our community what it means to live our lives daily with one step/act of obedience and faith after another. Our instinct to want to round-up our chicks, draw them inside and lock the doors is a natural one but not necessarily a scriptural one. In fact, the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy, Chapter 1, verse 7, that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (I like to think of this as the “put on your big girl britches” verse!)
Not only does God’s word remind us that He did not give us a spirit of fear, it also provides us with plenty of examples of mothers stepping out in circumstances where they might otherwise have been overcome by fear. God is championing us to do the same.
In the book of Exodus we will find an amazing account of mothers defying the orders of the King of Egypt. This King was threatened by the growing Israelite population and so instructed the midwives to kill every male son born to the Hebrew women. The midwives chose to fear and obey God rather than the evil King Pharaoh and allowed both the male and female babies to live. As a result we read in Exodus Chapter 1, verse 21 that “because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”
Pharaoh, seeing that his initial orders were unsuccessful in taming the Israelite numbers then ordered every Hebrew boy who is born to be thrown into the Nile river. However, in Exodus Chapter 2, the story of another fearless mom unfolds. Chapter 2, verse 1 begins the account of a Levite woman who became pregnant and bore a son. Can you imagine the temptation to give into fear she might have experienced. The King of the land has ordered all newborn boys be thrown into the Nile river (which would mean certain death) and yet she chooses an act of rebellion. She chooses to hide her beloved son for three months, avoiding the detection of the King’s men until she could do so no longer. This mother doesn’t give into a panic nor does she throw up her arms in despair. Rather, we see her finding a basket, coating it to make it water-resistant and placing her three-month old son in the basket and gents placing it in the river. Then we see that the babe’s older sister stood by with an eye on him to see what would happen. Now scripture doesn’t tell us if the mother deposited the baby in a well-trafficked area, or if it was one known to be devoid of crocodiles but I tend to think the mother had a plan in mind as she left the older sister to keep an eye on the child.
In that same Chapter but further down in verse 5 – 10, we see how the mother’s fearlessness and rebellion in the face of evil are rewarded.
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” “Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
Because the midwives had a reverent fear of God, Moses was born. Because of his mother’s fearlessness, baby Moses grew to become a leader of the Hebrew people and the man chosen by God to lead the Hebrews out of slavery and from the tyranny of Pharaoh.Fearless moms come alongside God & facilitate their children living out His purpose for them. #FearlessMoms #MotherhoodMatters Click To Tweet
[There are many other Mothers in the Bible who had every reason to give in to their fear and chose not to. If you would like to read about others check out Jehosheba, 2 Kings 11:2, and Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:1-2:21.]
The Future of Fear
As long as we are this side of Heaven we can be assured that origins of fear will exist. However, take heart my friends, the existence of fear doesn’t mean that we must or will succumb to it. God tells us that he is the answer, the solution, and the deliverer of our fears. Indeed, there is no fear that cannot be overcome by Him.
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
“I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you;
you said, ‘Do not fear!’ (Lamentations 3:55-57)
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
If you are struggling with fear and would like someone to pray with or for you please leave a reply in the comments below. Remember, we weren’t meant to do this alone.