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Fearless Motherhood

Hannah asked for a son, and in the next breath promised to give him up to God's service if her prayer was granted. Hannah's story in 1 Samuel is the springboard for Janet Parshall's discussion of motherhood in the fifth chapter of Voices of the True Woman Movement. Janet says of Hannah "She let go of her own plans. She knew God was in charge, not her. " I became a mother after my own desperate pleas to God for the gift of a child. I am certain my desperation had not reached anything close to the pain Hannah felt. However, it was real to us and as a result we named our child Elnathan to mean "God has given". My husband's prayers were always added to with a second plea: please give us a child who will follow You.

Since becoming a mother, I have thought a lot about the fact that it is easy for family to become an all-absorbing end in itself. I once heard Francis Schaeffer say that our age pursued the two "terrible values" of "personal peace and affluence". If it is wrong to pursue these as the highest goals for ourselves, surely it is equally wrong to pursue them on behalf of our children? There is nothing wrong with living in peace, or enjoying prosperity. However, these must not be our primary goals for ourselves or our children. The purpose of the family is to further God's kingdom. We must exist for more than ourselves, and our family must exist for more than itself. If our primary goal is pursue God together, our love for family and our commitment to God's kingdom need never be in conflict. I must be open, however, to that working itself out in ways that may challenge my ideas about the "good life". If our family or my child is called to live in a place that is not as safe, or give up financial security, I must never stand in the way. My child is called, just as I am, to prioritise God's kingdom over personal peace and affluence.

The primary barrier to this type of living is fear. It is fitting, then, that the following chapter of Voices of the True Woman Movement is dedicated to exhorting women to overcome fear! Karen Loritts shares her struggles with fear and how she developed strategies to overcome. She wrote, "I put fear on notice that it could not make me its slave, forcing me to do whatever it demanded of me." For those of us prone to fear, motherhood is a minefield of them! I face mine daily as I am tempted to be anxious about birth, breastfeeding, back pain, and whether I'll conquer my one-year-old's tantrums. I agree with Karen that one way we can overcome fear is to talk to ourselves. What she means is that we need to choose God's truth over the lies that swarm in our minds. The key is surrender to God's truth and His choices for us. I cannot say it any better than Janet Parshall does: "motherhood is actually one of God's refining fires. The reality of motherhood is that it's a place to learn surrender, letting go, trusting and believing that God is God." I anticipate that the rest of my life will be full of opportunities to learn this lesson of fearless motherhood.

Anna  – (August 14, 2010 at 2:31 AM)  

Very true. Fear is a plague. Your husband's prayer is my biggest prayer and relates to my deepest fear: That my child will not grow up to follow Christ. Sometimes I lean back and thank God that I am not in control because so often God does such amazing things beyond my understanding. My brother has fallen away from the Lord (something that feeds my fear for my own son), but I know that God can take even that and bring it around for good, possibly making him a stronger believer because of his years of wandering. I love your son's name and it's meaning! :) Thanks for your post!

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