That’s how I found myself in the ER, just my son and myself. My mind became filled with the anxiety of “what if...”
What if my baby boy needs emergency surgery?
What if my husband can’t make it to the hospital in time?
What if something goes wrong?
As moms, it’s easy to become anxious when it comes to our kids. Having a piece of ourselves running around outside of our control is not for the faint of heart. Yes, us mamas have worried about our babies since the beginning of time. Even Jesus’s mom, Mary, showed signs of anxiety. The first time the Bible mentions Mary’s worry was when she discovered He was missing, after visiting Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. She had assumed he was in their large traveling caravan— when they got home she discovered she was wrong.
Mary and Joseph made the long trek back to Jerusalem, in search of their young child. After THREE days they finally found him in the Temple. The Temple! When Mary saw him, she asked “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” (Luke 2:48).
Though Mary had moments of anxiety, she had learned to trust 100% in God. Remember when the angel told her, as a virgin, she would become pregnant and give birth to the expected Messiah? She responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” It would have been easy for Mary to become anxious, but she chose to believe the promises of God.
As followers of Christ, there will be times when we become anxious. The good news, friends, is that we don’t have to be slaves to our feelings. In times of stress, we can look to God’s promises. We can remind ourselves that the God we serve is full of unfailing love and faithfulness. I love our memory verse this week, in which Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” The answer to our anxiety is being honest about it, and releasing our situations to God.
That day in the ER, the doctor confirmed my worst fears: my son did have to go under the knife that day. I sat there in tears. Even in that valley, God orchestrated the timing, the doctors, the nurses, and every detail with precision. My son was made well, and was able to receive the nutrients he needed.
I love the rhetorical question Jesus asks, in Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” The obvious answer is none of us can.
Worry is our attempt to control what only God can. The only change it produces is stunting our growth in Him.
Whatever you are anxious about today—whether it be your job, kids, health, or finances— admit your need, and release it to Him. When anxiety rears its ugly head, again and again, keep taking it to the One Who is in control, and growing your trust in Him.
Truth be told, I don’t know very much about the 924 accounts I’m following. But I do know that what or whom we choose to follow can lead us to truth, or the twisting of it. I say “twisting” because sometimes the lies are subtle, and if we don’t recognize lies for what they are, they become intertwined with the truth. That’s when all the “noise” can make us feel overwhelmed and confused.
As Christians, it is imperative that we correctly handle the word of truth. And I think that’s increasingly important in our current culture. We have become a culture obsessed with influence, personality, fame, likes, and follows. It’s natural to want to follow someone whom we admire. Our challenge is to follow the Gospel of Christ versus the gospel of a personality.
Our ultimate goal should be to become more like Christ— not someone else. In Malachi chapter 2, we read that “the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge.” If we are following messengers of the Lord to instruct us, we also need to be rightly dividing the knowledge they profess. Is it in line with God’s truth? Do they preach the gospel, or push their personality? 2 Timothy 2:15 requires me to periodically take stock of what I’m following, because after all, I feed on what I follow.
I enjoy following encouraging and beautiful accounts on Instagram, and social media can be a helpful resource when used with caution. But I also know how easy it is to “follow” without following through to vet the sources that influence us. Let’s challenge ourselves to hold the modern day Priests to the standard of God’s truth. Ask God to give you discernment when you read a post or comment about Him and His word.
Even in “happy places,” we need to be on the lookout for twisting of half-truths. Make it a point this week to pray about the feeds you follow, and ask God to fill your heart and mind with His truth.
The frustrating truth about restoration is this: it takes time. I have begged God for an answer, willing to know when? But, today there isn’t an end in sight.
The book of Nehemiah is a celebration of restoration. It depicts the beginning of the Jews’ return to their land after years spent in exile, and the process of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. They spent years in captivity in Babylon, years of wondering if God was still working, years of asking God, how and when? After decades of displacement, they were finally granted freedom. But their city back home was still destroyed, there was still no end in sight for their full restoration.
Despite being in the messy middle, we see the Israelites celebrate. Nehemiah shares that they worshipped the Lord for almost an entire month, praising Him for His provisions. Even when the work wasn’t finished, they acknowledged the restoration already happening. They thanked God for their deliverance, and trusted Him with what still needed to happen.
The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt; the city was restored to its former beauty. The Lord kept his promises; our God is a God of miracles. He can bring restoration to even the most broken of stories. Yes, even yours.
What is broken in your life that you are trusting God to restore? A wandering child? Your marriage? Your finances? A friendship? Your emotions?
I don’t know how or when our current placement will end, but I trust the Restorer who alone breathes new life into every situation.
When your journey has brought you into the deepest, darkest parts of the woods, know that you are not alone. Jesus is moving. Begin to thank Him, like the Israelites, for His deliverance and restoration. Trust Him with the long road ahead. Trust that His timeline hasn’t stopped just because you feel like yours has.
You may not see it yet, but He will make all things new in His time. He alone can breathe new life into the wandering, the waiting, and redeem our darkest moments all for His glory.
As moms, we all feel a burden of love for our children, a love capable of strengthening us for great sacrifice. When it comes to our families, we act out of this love, doing the next right thing to the best of our ability.
Whether you’re changing diapers or doing the uncomfortable work of disciplining, I believe God has placed us all, intentionally, where we are for “such a time as this.” But because we are not only mothers, but daughters of the King, there will be different seasons.
I don’t know about you, but lately I feel my season changing. My heart is being stirred in new directions. Some of you may feel a calling to lead, some to build, some to write, serve, speak...the list is as broad as our giftings.
If you find yourself uncertain of your purpose for the season you’re in, consider Esther and Nehemiah—neither of them were given imperative commands into their calling. The expectation was that, no matter the season, they—and we—would act in love.
Sometimes God gives us solid words, other times He stirs our hearts in the direction of what is breaking His.
Where is my heart stirring out of love for others?
What can I do about it?
What does love require of me?
These questions weighed on me as I completed this past week’s reading. I am not currently being called to anything that would risk my life. But what about my comfort? Security? Status? Schedule? Pride?
Love required my daughter to sacrifice for her friend. My sister in Christ, what does love require from you?
Prayerfully consider over the next few days if you will allow God to stir your heart for what is breaking His. Ask Him to give you strength, fueled by love for all those made in His image, so you will be willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to be able to do the next right thing.
I was scared for her life and, to be honest, for my own. Even in that moment I remember thinking, perhaps I was brought into this position for such a time as this.
Esther was encouraged by this same notion. As a young, secretly-Jewish queen of an anti-Semitic Kingdom, she found herself in a position none of us would ever want to be in.
Her cousin Mordecai overheard a plan being carried out by the King’s right-hand man (Hamaan), to annihilate the Jewish people. He approaches Esther with a dangerous 3-part request:
Esther had a lot to lose: the King’s favor, her position as queen, and her very life. Mordecai both comforts and challenges her with these words, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Every piece of creation moves as God commands it. Mordecai acknowledges this when he says “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place…” God was going to rescue his people regardless of Esther’s obedience. The fulfillment of God’s plan to deliver His people was not dependent on her; however, God had given her the opportunity.
God places desires on our hearts and moves us into positions that will bring Him glory. He gives us the freedom to choose whether we will be a part of a greater story. Obedience will cost us our comfort, our desires, and, sometimes, our own lives. God doesn’t promise a pain-free life, but He promises us His presence.
God’s plan for my daughter, and the great glory he will bring through her life and diagnosis, is not dependent on me. Even so, He graciously and lovingly equipped me to play an integral role. It is going to hurt. It will not be easy. But I know I do not want to miss it.
Whether we are struck by tragedy, challenged by adversity, or find ourselves in a place we never expected to be, may we see God’s hand at work in our lives, consider our purpose, and respond in obedience, trusting that God will be faithful to complete His good work in us.