Sunday, November 20, 2016

Being a Mom is Tough- Don't be afraid

"Don't be afraid, because I'm with you; don't be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I'm truly helping you. I'm surely upholding you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10

I have been praying for a friend who has struggled with deeply wanting a baby while undergoing the agony of multiple miscarriages.  My heart breaks for her.  I often pray for her and have been asking God to intervene, answer her prayers and heal her. As I am praying I keep hearing that I should tell her, "Don't be afraid."    This is harder than it seems.  

Being a mom is hard.  I was desperately afraid of being a mom. My sister died at age 15 and sometimes when you ask my mom how many kids she has she say four and one in heaven. My teenage sisters' rebellious years were hard. Don't be afraid. My friend Susan lost a precious baby girl at 9 months. Don't be afraid. My friend Missie's sweet daughter has a form of Microcephaly and Cerebal Palsy. Don't be afraid. I know two women who have given up their children for adoption, both struggled with many poor life choices and addiction. Don't be afraid.  My friend Betts' daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. Don't be afraid. My bible study friend Renee adopted a little girl from Africa who has had developmental challenges. Don't be afraid. After my friend Shelby miscarried, God brought a little foster girl named Emilie into her home that has changed her life purpose and our community. Don't be afraid.  

A church friend took in two foster girls who had been horribly abused by their own family and the fact they came back with lice every time they visit their family was the smallest of their problems. Don't be afraid.  My friend Alison wanted a little girl after having six boys, she was blessed with two girls. Don't be afraid. My friend Tracey signed up with a local adoption agency and after months of silence and agony, she found out she was going to be a mom- almost exactly nine months after registering with the agency. Don't be afraid. 

My friend Jaletta lost her 17 year old daughter to suicide. Don't be afraid.  My friend Carmen's deep desire of being a mom led to being a foster mom for two young boys, yet all she can post on Facebook is a picture of her family's shoes lined up biggest to smallest.  She dreams that one day she will be able to adopt them but knows that it possibly won't happen. 

My college friend's daughter Bailey prayed for years to have a little sister, her parents were happy with three kids, they now have four including a little sister from Rwanda.  Don't be afraid. After years of struggle, God miraculously answered prayers for my friend Karena who had dreamed of being a mom long before getting married. Don't be afraid. God answered my friend Erica's heart desire to bless others because she was blessed, when three young women choose her and her husband to adopt their children. Don't be afraid. God allowed my friends Beth and Avis to have children when doctors told them pregnancy could possibly kill them. Avis's daughter is planning her wedding and Beth's daughter has been a dear friend. Don't be afraid.  

God gave me two precious boys in spite of my deep fears of heartbreak and failure. I was afraid.  I knew the grief of parenting and as the oldest of five, I knew kids were a lot of the work. Yet as I completely surrendered every part of my life to God after doing the Bible Study Experiencing God, I heard that quiet voice say, "Trust me." So I did. I held on to the promise that children are a blessing. As Psalm 127:3 says, "Children are a blessing and a gift from the LORD." In spite of my fear and doubts, I would say over and over, "Children are a blessing."

Most people aren't afraid of having kids like I was, but if you have a place you are struggling with fear; my encouragement to you today is to not be afraid. I just read the story of Joshua and Caleb after they had come back from exploring the Promise Land. The people were so afraid of the giants in the land and the hard times, they missed out on the blessing God had for them. Going to a new place, taking new territory, growing a family, starting a business and inviting someone into your heart is scary and hard work. But there is a blessing on the journey.

Joshua encouraged the people, "The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them." Numbers 14:17-19
Unfortunately, they did not listen to Joshua's good advice and let their fear determine their behavior rather than trusting God. As a result, their kids had to suffer in the wilderness for 40 years. There is no doubt there were giants and hard times ahead in the Promised Land, but the blessings would have far outweighed the work.  Don't miss out on the blessings God has for you. Don't be afraid.  

As Laura Story wrote in her song, "Blessings." 
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe
My prayer for you today is that you accept the blessings that God has given you and not be afraid.

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