When it comes to making plans, I am second to . . . well, just One. Planning is in my DNA. I am a list maker and a lover of all things calendar-related. Just give me an idea and a deadline, and I’ll make it happen—that is, if only the universe would cooperate! I shudder to think of the thousands of my perfectly laid plans that have been completely derailed by everything from forgetting to plug in the slow cooker to getting in a fender bender on the way to the store.
The truth is, we can’t plan for everything. And perhaps more to the point, no one ever plans for a crisis. We don’t pencil-in “crisis” on the third Monday of the month. And yet, without fail, with the bases loaded and two minutes left, the phone rings, and voilà—you have a sick kid, someone has lost their job, a friend has devastating news.
This is where courage needs to step up to the plate.
The Bible says that we can make our plans, but ultimately the Lord determines our steps (see Proverbs 16:9). And some of those steps can be pretty painful to take. In my twenty-six years of mothering, I have lost a baby to miscarriage and wept beside the casket of a dear friend’s stillborn daughter. We don’t always get to choose what happens to the babies we carry so carefully inside us. We can’t always predict what a day will bring. But we are guaranteed of this: God will never leave us or forsake us. Ever.
And oh, how we need Him! God is the one who brings courage from the chaos and peace to the broken places in our hearts. Without the courage that comes from God, the spirit of fear can settle into the unseen places of a mother’s soul. So stay close to Him, precious mom! Get to know His Word. Memorize His promises. Don’t let that fear take root.
Every mom can identify with fear, but every mom can also identify with the antidote to fear we’ve been given. From the moment we know we’re bringing a new life into the world, something miraculous—even sacred—awakens in the heart of a mother: courage.
It takes courage to be a mother. Unplanned C-sections, unexpected diagnoses, illnesses, sibling rivalry, bad attitudes, and strong-willed children test the courage and resolve of every mother. But God uses all of these circumstances to help make us into the mothers He wants us to be.
I know it’s true, because this business of shaping little hearts is also shaping mine. Motherhood has exposed weaknesses in me I never knew I had, it has driven me to the limits of what I thought I could do, and it has filled my heart with hopes and dreams I never imagined for a future I can only entrust to God. There’s no doubt about it: becoming a mother changes everything. And even twenty-six years in, I’m finding I need fresh courage on a daily basis.
Let’s face it: this isn’t our grandparents’ generation. Choosing a Christ-centered life in a culture that rejects Christ is challenging the courage of many believers today. We are parenting in a generation in which fear is a driving force in our decisions. Standing for what the Bible says about marriage and human sexuality is growing increasingly unpopular as our culture moves away from the truth and toward moral relativism. As a result, Christian mothers today have to do something the previous three generations haven’t had to worry about: we’re preparing our kids to face rejection.
It takes courage to stand for the Lord in the face of rejection, but stand we must. The next time your children tell you they have been mocked or labeled for their faith or beliefs, remember that at the moment of our salvation, God Himself gave us an even more powerful label. We wear the label redeemed, and no one can relabel us! We are forever accepted by God.
If you’re struggling to find courage in the face of being rejected, look up—and point your children’s gaze to Jesus as you do. Courage is found where acceptance abounds: in Christ. MomStrong moms know who they are in Christ, and they refuse to allow the devil to lie to them. They rise to the challenge of the culture and, in the process, shape the hearts and minds of their children for the glory of God.
Yes, we are living in challenging times, but like Joshua, we have been called to “be strong and courageous.” This is an exciting time to be a Christian, because when faith finds its feet in this generation of parents and their children, we are going to see amazing things happen in the lives of God’s people.
Adapted from Becoming MomStrong: How to Fight with All That’s in You for Your Family and Your Faith by Heidi St. John.