Today’s article is part of our summer series, “Be of Good Courage.”
Nobody can fully prepare you for life as a parent until you become one. You might think you have a general idea, but there’s absolutely no way you can predict the things that will occur over the course of your child’s life. You’re walking into a great unknown … but thankfully, not alone.
It probably seems egotistical to be writing about courage as a mother. Daniel walked into a lion’s den. David fought a giant named Goliath. Shad, Rach and Benny (thanks, Brother Doug for that Sunday School lesson years ago) spent time in a fiery furnace. My day-to-day isn’t really on the level of any of those brave Biblicals.
But, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about courage because of my day-to-day. Actually, here are three:
Nothing is impossible
Let’s be honest: life is completely upside-down during the first few months and years as a new parent. You catnap during the day and are lucky to squeeze in a few winks at night. Everything seems to take 10 extra steps to accomplish—or maybe it’s just 10 extra loads of laundry. Trying to determine what your baby wants (milk? dry diaper? swaddled?) can feel insurmountable. You’ve tried all the things and are on the verge of wailing along with your infant or terrible-two toddler.
But then something happens. After you’ve exhausted yourself of every possible solution of your own devising, Someone steps in.
Last week was like any other. I picked up our son from preschool and pulled into our garage. As I was reaching to unbuckle him from his car seat, he gasped.
“Look, Mommy!” A tiny piece of glitter from a craft at school managed to stay stuck to his thumb. “It’s a miracle!”
“What’s a miracle?”
“It’s when something amazing happens.”
When the baby finally drifts off to sleep? It’s a miracle. When your toddler’s fever drops from 103 degrees to standard 98.6? Another miracle. When the broken arm cast comes off? Just one more miracle.
In our darkest moments, when everything feels like it’s collapsing around us, He sprinkles some glitter and reminds us that no midnight feeding, swim lesson, or school project is too small for His hands. They’re all amazing … not impossible.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
Bugs show up
In life, bad days happen. Frequently. Hopefully not too frequently, but they happen. Children get sick, have tantrums, and miss the bus. And, sometimes, the scariest-ever insect finds its way into your kitchen while your 3-year-old is in the next room coloring. You have a choice: let said bug fly at your beautiful child and scare him (and you) in the process … or squash the bug. The latter isn’t always easy, but it sometimes has to be done.
When the challenging moments of life (or parenthood) appear, take heart. In our weakest moments, He gives us the courage to overcome … and squash whatever is bringing us down or causing fear. Maybe it comes in the form of discipline or a hug. Either way, the bug never stays around forever.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. (2 Chronicles 15:7)
Shadows can be scary in the dark
Doors creak. Air conditioning units boom. And all manner of nighttime sounds are heard when the sun goes down. As a child, your imagination runs wild. (Ours has recently been wondering about aliens after one shook his class space shuttle on its ways back from Mars.)
Sometimes things aren’t always what they appear to be. Our minds go to the deepest, darkest place and fear takes over. We end up being scared of the shadow. A fire-breathing dragon? A monster? A werewolf?
It’s easy to spiral. But before jumping to conclusions or letting yourself choose the scariest path, why not try to find where the shadow is coming from in the first place? Identifying the fear is half the battle sometimes. God often gives us clarity and understanding when we’re in the midst of a fearful moment. It may just turn out to be the toy dinosaur on your nightstand.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Matthew 14:27)
Having courage looks different for everyone. My grandfathers fought in a war; my dad was in the navy. But for many of us, it’s walking into the delivery room for the birth of our daughter or waving goodbye to our son as he gets onto the bus for the first time. Courage is in the big moments and the small. It’s choosing the Bravest of All, who gives us that blessed assurance.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.