The bags under my eyes were as dark as the evening sky the night I saw those two pink lines appear on the white stick. I was pregnant — again. Mixed with the undeniable joy for the gift of new life growing inside me was a rising current of anxiety. I was already exhausted and stretched thin by caring for my one-year-old and two-year-old. How was I going to handle another baby? How could I possibly be a good mother to three kids, three and under?
I felt uncertain about the future and inadequate in my ability to handle it.
As the weeks went on and my belly began to swell, so did the constant swirl of worries and questions. How would our growing family fit in our little rental house that already felt too squeezed? How would we afford a car that could fit three car seats? What would I do when my husband was traveling and all three children needed something and there wasn’t enough of me to give?
The joy of this new season of motherhood was dimming under the darkness of my anxious thoughts. It felt impossible that I’d be able to do enough or be enough to make my looming circumstances turn out okay.
One morning while my two little boys played, I pulled out my Jesus Calling devotional, desperate for a lifeline of hope. I turned to the current date and read the opening line, written from the perspective of Jesus talking to us:
Anxiety is a result of envisioning the future without Me.
Noah crashed his toy cars. Elias swatted at the plush elephants on his mobile. And Jesus reached into my ordinary day and reminded me that He was with me. The devotion went on with this encouragement, “Remember the promise of My continual Presence; include Me in any imagery that comes to mind.”
In that moment, I realized that all the pictures in my head about what my future as a mama of three littles would look like didn’t include Jesus. Of course I was destined to feel overwhelmed on my own! But I wasn’t on my own — God was with me. In the thick of diaper explosions and toddler meltdowns, in the middle of vegetable revolts and teething woes, at the park and pediatrician’s office, when I had extra support and when I was parenting solo, Jesus would be beside me.
Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “The Lord is the one who will go before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”
In Colossians, Paul reminds us that Jesus “is before all things, and by him all things hold together.”
I can’t find a Scripture that says, “You (child of God) have to hold all things together.”
It doesn’t exist! So why do we sometimes live like it?
Friend, what areas of your life are uncertain right now? Do you imagine all the hard things that the next season of singleness, marriage, or parenthood, of your career or education or retirement will hold and wonder how you’re going to possibly hold it all? Are you struggling to enjoy the blessings of the season you’re in because you’re weighed down by feelings of inadequacy or anxiety about the future?
It’s time to put Jesus in the picture!
Fretting about my life as it would be down the road based on my limited perspective and ability was not drawing me closer to Jesus. Rather, my worry was creating an unintentional wedge between me and God. The more you worry, the bigger the gap between God’s presence and your awareness of it.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us, “We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Pride says, I have to handle this all on my own. Fear says, I will be unequipped and alone. But the knowledge of God says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Taking every thought captive means putting God rightly at the forefront of every thought and picture in our mind. Whether it’s a new baby, a big move, job loss, illness, or family crisis, there will be things that make the future feel scary and uncertain. But when anxiety about tomorrow’s uncertainties creeps in, you can make an intentional choice to include Jesus in everything you envision.
That unexpected blessing of a baby who made me freak out is now eight years old. Jude’s life has taught me how to hear Jesus calling, to see Him with me now, and to trust that He will be with me through every future unknown.
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