There are moments as a mother when you feel like you are doing nothing right. I remember one particular time with my daughter when she was about four. She was racing through the Target aisle and slipped out of my sight for a brief moment. I searched through the next aisle, but she was nowhere to be found. Then, suddenly, she reappeared, dancing and laughing.
It took everything within me to gather myself up and speak to her calmly.
The truth was, I wasn’t angry at her because she was being bad. I was angry at her for striking the chord of fear. I was mad because I was scared. The stakes feel so very high when you have kids that fear can feel too strong.
If you’re like me, you may experience fear as a swelling in your stomach, a rise in your heartbeat, and a feeling like you are gripping on the edge of a rollercoaster handle with no guarantee that there is a buckle restraining you. You may even find it difficult to breathe.
Without Christ and the incarnation, we might as well be wheeling through life without anything to hold onto. If we lack an understanding of why bad things happen, we can find ourselves adrift in a sea of constant change and tumult. Without a loving Father, we go from ‘fear’ to ‘fear.’
But with Christ, we can experience calm, and Jesus’ quiet voice asking that we surrender to his presence. This presence may even be compared to the ‘physical’ presence we can find in our imagination. Sometimes when I am having a particularly bad day, I just need to meditate on being held. Every so often, I will crawl in bed and wrap myself in a soft blanket. Here, I imagine the Jesus in the form of a blanket wrapped around me. I imagine being held in the palm of his hand, safe and secure, and I feel calmed by his compassion and gentleness. This meditation on Jesus ‘holding us’ can curtail fear.
In our fear, we may relate very much to Mary who was told that she would carry a baby, the son of God. And yet, her entire village and many others would misunderstand her. At moments, Mary must have felt trapped by fear, but she also had the comfort of the angel whom God had sent, and the warm kicks of a baby – Jesus! – in her belly. The angel said to Mary, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.’ And to us, God whispers You don’t have to be afraid, through the birth and resurrection of that same son.
Similarly, just as Mary trusted God for the life of her baby and her future, we can also seek comfort that God has gifted us with our own children to raise and to love.
Sometimes we might feel that we have to get his attention – “Look! Do you even see what is happening?” We may note the rush of adrenaline filling our hearts and minds, making it difficult to even pray. But Jesus is not confined by emotions or hormones, nor difficult scenarios. Jesus calmly and lovingly surveys our worries and our fears – he attentively meets our needs in the midst of our anxieties.
Perhaps you can join me in meditating on this: Jesus, the incarnational being of God, is present in these weaknesses of our own bodies and spirits. Jesus, the son of our Father God, is compassionate to the lowly, the tired, and the anxious. Thank goodness for this, a baby in the manger, who would come to understand our deepest concerns and our greatest emotional frailties, and love us still.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION / REFLECTION:
- What sort of fears cycle through your mind as a mama? What scary thoughts make your heart rate rise or creep into your dreams or prevent you from being able to rest?
- How does the birth and resurrection of Jesus whisper "do not fear" to any and all of the things we could possibly be afraid of finally and forever?
- Brianna mentions her mental exercise of imagining the presence of Christ tangibly. What is a practical way for you to guard your heart and mind with the truth that Christ coming to earth shatters your fears?
Briana Meade is a writer and contributor for Off the Page ministries, an online magazine for twenty and thirty-somethings. She has two children: Zoe (5) and Kaiden (3). She is a voracious non-fiction book reader and decent cook.