Dear Mama, There is No Room for Fear


“There are 365 times in the Bible where it says to not fear, once for each day of the year,” so they say.  Do we realize that this is not merely a phrase meant to make us feel better?  Do we understand that “Fear not.” is a command?

This new life of motherhood changes the dimensions of our existence, particularly our weaknesses. As mothers, new fears assail us, stronger than we could have imagined before. Struggles we were unaware of now fill our minds. Then the fears work us over. 

“Fear not” is a strict command, especially for those of us in charge of other souls, because fear is a strong weapon that effectively prevents us from accomplishing The Master’s will.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear holds punishment, and he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

‭‭Yoḥanan Aleph (1 John)‬ ‭4:18

The fears of motherhood are few, yet strong in the beginning. Then fear breeds upon fear in the false guise of love. Eventually, we find that we are constantly yelling at loved ones, and lashing out over little things. The unloving behavior towards our families is not rooted in hate. We may be frustrated, but hate? No, the root is fear. Once we identify the fear the Enemy is using against us, the tide of the battle has turned. From there we can fight with the Word, prayer, love, taking captive every thought.

When you find yourself enraged, ask, “What am I afraid of?” 

  • Being a bad mom?
  • Not being enough?
  • Going unnoticed?
  • Doing the wrong thing that propels your children into self-destruction?
  • Angering your community with your parenting choices?
  • Inability to get on the same page with your husband about your concerns?
  • Judgement from your family?
  • No one caring about your efforts?
  • Disaster taking your children from you?
  • Alienating your kids from you, yourself?
  • Causing unnecessary grief to your family?
  • Cursing them with your mistakes or evil past?
  • Burning up your life for nothing?
  • Exposing your children to family battle crossfire?
  • That if things don’t go your way, they can never come out right?
  • Never getting anything perfect?

 We mothers do have a responsibility for our children’s safety. Go set the boundaries. Teach the rules. Encourage good connections. Discourage bad company. Take precautions around that person who gives you a bad gut feeling. Become the repetitive voice of good sense that your kids will hear wherever they go. 

Beyond the practical action, though, our concerns turn into fear and have no benefit for our families nor ourselves. Ruminating on fears winds us up tightly, makes us irritable (fruit of the Spirit is patience) and causes us to make stupid decisions. Our words cut. Our tempers flare. Our impulses inflict chaos. Our families hide.

Fear destroys.

The above bullet points of fears may seem to come from a place of love, but they don’t. It is a distrust of the One Who is Love. The King of the Universe came up with the idea of our children. He created them and knows their every detail, down to each hair on their heads. Jehovah loves them, more than even a mother. He gave up his only perfect child to secure our babies’ eternal lives. Our children may get hurt, we may fail them, they may choose their destruction, or tragedy may take them from us; but The One Who created all things is doing everything, even delaying the Kingdom of Heaven, to ensure that these precious children will have every opportunity to choose an eternity of His goodness. We must assist Him and drop the fears that have held us back from being the mothers God intended us to be.

Seek Him out, and let YHWH flood you with His love. Keep your eyes on the eternal. Let yourself love God first, and He will guide your every step in His grace.

We are women, mothers, warriors, guardians and caretakers of the weak, servants of the Most High. The battle is on. There is no room for fear. 

This post is one of a series titled, “Dear Mama.”

Dear Mama, Who Thinks I Don’t See

You stride over in the midst of a public event to get a peek. My twin car seats and cute toddler dancing around command a lot of attention like that. You ooh and ah, asking about age, gender, giving a compliment or two. As we talk, you learn that all my children were premature but turned out fine. I am blessed, they grow so fast, enjoy it while I can, you advise me. 

You think I don’t see the quiet pain under your smile. There’s a sad soreness on your shoulders, like your arms ache for someone. Horrific memories flash over your eyes. Your ears still strain to hear a voice that never was. This sort of grief feels isolated from the rest of reality, but I see. It’s the same for me.

As full as my arms are now, they still ache for the one I couldn’t keep. I still fight the flashbacks when I smell the sterile odor of a hospital. It is now easier to cope with the shrieking silence of cries that should have been there, now I have three other voices in my house. Still, there are moments when I struggle to breathe. Then there are the questions when I see that another baby with the same condition, same weight, or same gestation was able to survive. Why not mine?

I wish I could hug you, tell my story, listen to yours, and cry a while. What was his name? How old? Did he look like you? What do you treasure most of his memory? I want to know. 

Time and place do not permit such interaction. I go on tending to my blessings. You dab your eyes in a corner across the room and move on. We may never meet again. 

All I can do is pray for you and hope for the days when our grief ends. You may believe that I don’t know how good I’ve got it.

But I see.

This post is one of a series titled, “Dear Mama.”

Dear Mama, Who is Going on a Trip

Panic! Anger! Frustration!

And you STILL forgot something important!

Yelling! Whining? Moping.

Does this sound like the morning of your departure when you pack up the family to go on a trip? The chaos tends to make the whole house dread going anywhere. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can keep your cool and settle into the front seat with a smile as you begin your adventure. Since I’m not sure precisely how to best adapt my preparation methods to your needs, I’ll just give you the rundown. You can figure out what works for you.

With three 3×5 cards, I have learned to avoid the travel frenzy. We may still be 25 minutes behind our plans, because I’m still learning how long it takes to load three little ones. However, we still have everything we need when we stay overnight six hours from home. Best of all, I can avoid that out-of-control frustration that can bring a cranky mama to a full, roiling boil.

Like most simple techniques that make my life easier, this is a method taken from the FlyLady. I have a notebook with addresses, basic routines, encouraging words, and a few recipes slapped together. In the midst of my book, there are my Travel Prep cards. The cards are basically my packing checklists. One is for arrangements, one is for my husband and me, and one is for the babies.

On the first card I have written:

  • Clothes cleaned and put away
  • House in order
  • Groceries to take along (to save a little money and health usually blown on gas station snacks and fast food.)
  • Maps printed
  • Hotel confirmation number
  • Check vehicle tires, filters, oil, fuel, wash, wipe interior
  • Polish/brush shoes
  • Wash sheets/fresh linens on the bed
  • Wash dishes

Having things in order helps make our “landing” at our destination and our “landing” back home much smoother! Obviously, I don’t always get it all down pat. I do, however, consider each chore and choose what I will leave undone. That way, things are not neglected from forgetfulness, but the least necessary tasks for this particular trip will be moved to the bottom of my “triage” on purpose. Already been to this destination? Skip printing the map. One basket of towels on the couch needs folded but there’s little time to do it? Okay. A formal event calls for nice shoes? Polish them. Really want clean sheets to collapse into when you get back home? Strip and make that bed to have it ready for you!

On the next card are the items that we need to pack for my husband and myself. These are items we usually need when we stay someplace overnight. For me, I have listed:

  • Pajamas
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Number X of complete outfits
  • Stockings
  • Dress shoes
  • Swim suit
  • Phone
  • Wallet
  • Charger
  • Earbuds
  • Lip balm
  • Oils
  • Brush & Paste
  • Hairbrush
  • Pins/hair bands
  • Deodorant

Again, I read through and decide what is necessary. No pool? Skip the suit. Going to church with the friends you’re visiting? Grab the dress shoes and stockings.

Extra things to be sure my husband remembers to take include:

  • Deck of Cards
  • Dress hat
  • Dress boots
  • Radios

Now for the babies. This list I made when the eldest was a year old. For now, this works for all three kids. As they mature, I’ll make a new card.

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Formula
  • Bottles
  • Bottle warmer (Rabbit Trail: I thought this thing was ridiculous before we had twins and were spoiled with the $2,000 Medela bottle warmers at the hospital. Our own $20 warmer makes feeding two babies within one hour an attainable goal wherever we go.)
  • Sippy cup
  • Bowl/spoon
  • Cereal/food cartons
  • Bibs/burp cloths
  • Number X of outfits
  • Sleepers
  • Blankets
  • Socks
  • Dress shoes
  • Diaper cream
  • Oils!
  • Jerky (No Man’s Land Beef Jerky is a teething lifesaver!)
  • Toys
  • Jacket & Hat
  • Pack ‘N Play or portable bassinet
  • Car seat (This can be forgotten if we’re rushing next door to borrow a vehicle. Then it is wasted time running back to our house for the car seat!)
  • Stroller
  • Wrap/carrier

Again, these are things I need to consider every time we leave overnight. These cards help me make decisions about what is left undone or left at home, instead of running crazy and forgetting to grab something vital for our trip.

About three days out from departure, I begin skimming the Travel Prep cards. I consider who will wear what and when. We make reservations. When I make my usual grocery run, I get the extras we will need. Between regular chores and feedings those three days, I can get everything packed and ready by the night before we leave.

Another thing I love to do for travel is to pack small. I grew up watching Rick Steves’ travel shows and enjoyed the easy mobility of his simplicstic  approach. Some like to take the kitchen sink for security, but I like the security of being able to move swiftly. Now we are a family of five, compact travel makes an even greater difference!

For a weekend venture, I can fit my husband’s things, my stuff, and the babies’ outfits into one duffle bag. We all have clothes for each day and an emergency outfit in case of a horrendous spill. I keep a toiletry bag packed at all times, so I can throw it in the duffle and be done with it – no time wondering where to fit the toothpaste. The babies’ essentials are in their diaper bag, as usual. The toddler’s clothes fill the empty spot in her diaper bag. Then I have my catch-all bag for my purse, books, electronics, or whatever I’ll need while riding shotgun. This comes out to four bags, four big things we need to remember to grab in the morning. There is very little scrambling for odds and ends.

Most importantly, I must pray. It is easy to center these lists on myself, my plans, my perfectionism, and my pride. Despite the best travel methods, focus on the flesh like this can still destroy peace for the whole family and cause unnecessary grief. Instead, I must focus on using these tools to facilitate my service to the rest of the family. I must pray and remain in the presence of  The Perfect One, who extends grace to the tarnished. From there, He can empower me to extend His grace to my family, regardless of how well they “get with the program.”

Well, fellow Traveling Mama, I hope this spiel can provide you with some handy ideas. If the details are overwhelming, just pick five to-dos for your next trip and see how that works. With some forethought and attitude adjustment, packing up the family can be a peaceful affair, after all!

This post is one of a series titled, “Dear Mama.”