Fear has been like a constant shadow in my life. It seems to disappear at times, and reappear in a new guise–kind of like Alfred Hitchcock. Viewers used to make a sport of “catching” him in cameo roles in nearly all his movies. “There he is boarding a bus!” (Or walking a dog, or sitting at a table in a photograph, or standing in a crowd.) And sometimes, you could only see him by his signature shadow or dark silhouette.
That is how fear has been in my life. Subtly (or not so subtly) appearing in moments of my childhood, teenage years, adulthood, and now motherhood.
For all the joy I felt when I discovered I was pregnant, a greater amount of fear came crashing in with it. For a while, I woke up every morning terrified my baby would die. I thought to truly rejoice would make me vulnerable. Vulnerable to pain. And I feared the more excited I got about this child within, the more devastating the pain would be if something happened to her.
I hate this; how fear is always sneaking into the picture. Always showing up somewhere new to make me a slave again. There’s no other way to describe it. Fear paralyzes me, making me more like a Kohl’s mannequin than a living person. (See how when I was at last physically pregnant, fear was turning me “barren” again?)
Fear Causes Barrenness
Can fear (really) make you barren?
Well, no. Not in a physiological way. (Though people will keep telling you if you “just relax,” you will get pregnant. I wholeheartedly disagree.) A medical study linking especially “fearful” people to being “unable to conceive” has never been proven or even done to my knowledge. Every day, both fearless and fearful women discover they are pregnant. Faithful and faithless. If fear prevented pregnancy, no market would exist for the myriad of contraceptives on every shelf, at every pharmacy across the nation. The majority of people are fearful; so if that were true, nearly no one would be having babies! We may even go extinct.
But fear does cause barrenness—in another form. Fear causes a barrenness of the soul, which is far worse, because no doctor can give you treatment for it.
Fear is like those little suckers that grow on your tomato plants. They look like growth, but any gardener will tell you to pluck them off immediately(!) because all they do is steal the nutrients from the plant—making it fruitless. And, like fear, they keep popping up in new locations. So you must keep pinching them off, or you plant will never bear fruit.
Jesus said, “… I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” John 15:16a
Of course he is not talking about tomatoes. Nor is he talking about having a bunch of kids either. What makes you “fruitful” is abiding in the Vine, remaining connected with Jesus. He says, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” So when you disconnect from Christ, and let fear be your new master, it doesn’t matter if you can garden like Martha Stewart, or give birth to the Brady Bunch clan—you will be barren. The fear takes over and make you like a dry bush. You will not be able to see the good, even when it comes. (See Jeremiah 17:6)
Fear always does the same thing: robs you. Depletes you of all your energy. Fills you with constant dread. That dark shadow creeps up again. Maybe it changes from dread about finances, to worry about your parents, to distrust with your spouse, to anxiety over your kids (or not having kids), to being consumed with fear about your health, or being paralyzed about something God is calling you to do. Fear is crippling. And consuming.
Dismissing the Shadow
It seems like fear is always sneaking onto the set wearing some new costume. But we are not fools. We can see the shadow, and know who is casting it. Let me make this plain: Fear does not come from God; fear comes from Satan. In fact, the enemy of our soul delights in making us fearful. But is this how we should live?
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy: 1:7
I remember a phone conversation with a pregnant friend during my pregnancy-fear battle when she said, “I had no idea how much Satan would bombard me with fear once I got pregnant!” She explained how older mom’s say it’s no easier as your child gets older. There is always something to be afraid of. SIDS. Kidnapping. School-shootings. Car wrecks. Every new phase brings on new fear. But then she said something so freeing I will never forget, “That’s why my husband and I decided we have to say ‘No,’ to fear now. Right now. While our child is still in the womb, we are deciding not to let fear rule us. We don’t have any guarantees about our child. We only know he is from God, so we give him back to God and say, “God, he is yours. We offer him to You.”
It was true. Like her, I had no guarantees from God about my child’s life. I have none now. But I have a God who is bigger than my fears. Stronger than my weakness. Aware of all my needs. Faithful in all His promises. And who tells me not to fear. Ever.
Dear brothers and sisters, let today be the day you dismiss the shadow by crying out:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me…” Psalm 23:4
The True Light
We can spend today afraid of what may lurk in the shadows. Or we can invite the Light of the world, and watch the darkness flee away. For, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (1 John 1 :5) We have to choose. If fear makes us barren–then faith in a loving, light-bearing God surely makes us fruitful, alive, even powerful! Let’s abide in His words today, for they are truth and they are light when fear’s dark shadow falls on us:
He says, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27) “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9b And, in [My] presence, “sorrow and sighing will flee away.” (Isaiah 51:11) So, “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.” (Isaiah 40:25)
So we say in confidence, “Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psalm 46:2) For, “In Your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9)
And He says, “Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)
So do not be afraid, for “the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” (1 John 2:8)
This is such an amazing and needed post! I now have a 2 and 1 year old but had to fight so much fear during both pregnancies. Even now, as a mother, thoughts try to overtake me. What if we crash, what if they run out into the road before I can stop them, what if. . . I have to force my mind to stop and instead reflect on God’s love and mercy, knowing He alone can keep us safe from harm! Keep standing strong!
I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to hear those words from you. I had such a struggle writing this post…and actually took it down last night because I didn’t know if it would even make sense to readers. Perhaps I will re-post it now though;) I am looking forward to checking out your blog, I already love the title. It’s refreshing to know there are other moms who are learning this too! I hope we can stand in God’s strength together. –Bekah:)
Yes, you should definitely keep it up! It is something which needs to be heard! Have you thought of speaking at women’s conferences? If you can handle the public speaking part I think you would be great at it!
Thank you for your kind words Sasha! It means a lot coming from a talented writer like yourself. I have been enjoying your blog today (a lot!) I never really considered speaking, but that would be an honor if there ever happened to be an opportunity for it. 🙂
Thank you!! That means a lot to me coming from you! Keep writing, you have a message that needs to be heard!
Wow, this is exactly the struggle I am facing right now. I just learned I am pregnant after 3 years of trying. Of course I should be celebrating and praising The Lord, but instead I was living in fear that I might miscarry as I had before or some other random condition that I foolishly researched on the web. Honestly, the fear began every month during the two-week-wait. Like, what if drinking that soda with caffeine causes an early miscarriage. Or when I find I wasn’t pregnant, I assume it was something I did wrong. I slowly learned that I am still dependent on God’s timing, and when He wants me to have a baby, nothing will stop that. So now that I am about 7 weeks along and have a shadow of fear over me at times, I am going to keep going back to the promise that God is always with me and my baby. I am going to rejoice and thank God for even giving me the chance to have this baby. You are right that we don’t know anything about the future, but we know that this baby belongs to God and so do we! So comforting! Really great post!!!!!!
I just discovered your blog and this is another great post. I feel like I could have written this post and others. Even my husband’s name is Brandon 🙂 Fear has always been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I get these thoughts that turn into visions of scenarios where loved ones are lost or some other tragic scenario. They seem so real that I feel those emotions and become momentarily depressed and sad. the fear comes and goes during certain seasons of my life, like you described. Since becoming a mother, however, I feel it is more of a constant in my life. Shortly after my 2 year old daughter was born, my brother was killed in a car accident at the age of 21. My worst fear had come to pass. In fact, those were some of the first words out of my mouth when I heard what happened. Since then, I find that I have to constantly fight the fear of something tragic happening to my own daughters. But thankfully God is with me and speaks to me of his goodness and sovereignty. I know that my daughters belong to Him and he will watch over them even when I can’t. Its so comforting to know that I can trust in HIm and I don’t have to fear. I love the verses you shared about fear. They will be helpful in times of trying to fight those thoughts of fear. Thanks again for sharing your heart!
Rebekah, thank you so much for your post. It’s comforting to know that I am not the only one who has been (temporarily) invaded by this nasty thing called fear..at times I feel pretty alienated due to this crippling thing. I had kept thinking last week that by letting fear and negative thoughts wreck me, I am siding with the devil..something I would never want. I chose to put a stop to this fear and to love, have faith, and embrace the uncertainty of life but to always know God has a plan for our lives.. all we need to do is trust him.
I have just begun to feel this freeness from fear and it feels so darn good :). I have a long ways to go, but I know that with my trust in God, He and I will persevere.
Side note: I randomly subscribed to your blog posts and can say I am grateful I did so. This post is exactly what I needed in my life at this moment.. Crazy how God works.
Thanks again and God bless you and yours.
I just want to say thank you. I to have been struggling with pregnancy fears over the last several months. Long story short, we were trying for several months when I stumbled across an article on a baby website talking about the complications of pregnancy. ….that was all it took to give me a strong anxiety and now for the past few months the fear along with negative voices in my head (Satan’s attacks) I have been avoiding trying and been paralyzed by fear. I have been so down and worried it has just been emotionally wearing me out. Last night after praying to God and asking for help to know what to do and for him to reveal his voice leading me….. I stumbled across this article from pinterest. I just wanted to say thank you! I feel as long God answered me through your article. Thank you so much for this article and follows God’a will to write it.
Praise God! I am so glad that He answered your cries through this post. It is true: fear is so paralyzing. May God strengthen your heart as you put your trust in Him. He is the only one who can set us free from the fears that hold us down. I am so glad that you commented and shared your heart with me, it is so beautiful to hear. I am excited about how God will continue to lead you! 🙂 Blessings,
I’ve read almost every single blog in your trying to conceive section. I found the first one through a web search on God and ttc. Every single one of them has blessed me and every single one was full of wisdom and advice that I thought I’d never find. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 13 months now. Were young, I’m 21 and he is 24 so people just assume we don’t want kids or tell us that we need to wait until we are older. But If anything I know God made the both of us to be parents. I’ve been dreaming of being a mother since I was 2 years old. But I let myself be a victim of fear the moment we started our journey. I let my hope die and I let myself walk away from the Lord because I felt like he wrote my worst nightmare into my story. But finding these blogs has given me hope again. It’s reminded me of how good God is even when it feels like he is being cruel. It’s reminded me that he sees me and knows me and made me for a reason. Even if I don’t understand the reason for the pain and suffering. Thank you for sharing your story.
I am deeply touched by your comment. Thank you for letting me know how the Lord has been ministering to your heart. I am so glad to know that He is taking your barrenness away–even if that’s just a barrenness of your spirit right now. May He continue to unfold His beauty into your life, and the life of your husband, more and more. So much love,