destroy utterly; wipe out.
While I've shared this news on my social media platforms, I have yet to officially announce on this space that we are expecting our 4th child...another boy! I am now entering my 5th month of pregnancy and we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our final member of Team Schrader!
If you've followed this blog for some time, you know I have been very open about my previous miscarriages and how God has carried me through those trials (you can read about that here). While this is our 4th baby that will, Lord willing, be arriving in late October, this is actually my 6th time being pregnant. For those of you who have suffered the loss of an infant or a miscarriage, you know the fear and anxiety that automatically comes with additional pregnancies after these losses.
The "what if's" and memories sneak into the mind of a woman who has previously experienced loss and tempt us to follow them into a long dark spiral downward into an abyss of fear and anxiety. What's worse is that there is an element of allowance that we can tend to give ourselves, or give one another, when we admit that we are struggling against fear and anxiety in pregnancy after a loss. Even a mom of older children may be tempted with fear and anxiety with each new stage of development - sending your baby to Kindergarten for the first time, sending them on their first over-night camp, driving permits, college tours, and the list goes on and on. At any stage in motherhood there are a myriad of reasons to be fearful and anxious. And again, we can allow ourselves, and one another, to stay stuck in these places of worry all in the name of, "being a good mom."
While fear and anxiety may seem more "respectable" than other ways we can disobey God, the Christian must be committed to calling fear and anxiety for what they are: sin. Over and over again God commands us (not suggests, but commands) to not fear and to not be anxious. 66 times throughout the Bible, God commands his people, "do not fear." Jesus himself tells us 3 times in Matthew 6:25-31 "do not be anxious" and Luke records this same command in Luke 12:22-31. Again, the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6, "do not be anxious about anything." So, just like any other sin that so easily clings to us, we need to work hard to cast off fear and anxiety and run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2). We need to be committed to obliterate (destroy utterly; wipe out) fear and anxiety in our lives.
Here are 3 important and effective practices that can aid us in our fight against fear and anxiety.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Both Paul and Peter, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instruct Christians to pray in the midst of anxiety. What a kind, loving, and patient God we serve that bears with us in our weaknesses and wants us to lay our fear and anxiety at his feet. Through prayer, Christians can hand over these burdens of fear and anxiety to the only One who is powerful and sovereign over all our circumstances.
2) GET ACCOUNTABILITY
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
If you find that you're struggling against fear and anxiety, find yourself an accountability partner to talk with, pray with, and one who will be faithful to check in with you. Find a godly friend who will stand on the battle field with you in prayer and encouragement as you take this fight against sin seriously.
3) MEDITATE ON THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
Meditating (think deeply about, or focus on) on the attributes of God gets our eyes off of the "what ifs" that fear and anxiety stir up and onto the real, incredible, magnificent nature of our great God. The next time fear or anxiety start to creep in to your heart and mind, find a chapter or verse about the nature of God and meditate on it, think about it, and use God's own words to repeat back praise to him for who he is. Psalm 103 is one of my personal favorites to consider just some of God's perfections.
So whether you're pregnant after a loss, or are a mom at any other stage of life, or are just a woman that is prone to be fearful and anxious, I hope and pray that you will see these things for what they are: sin. Dear sisters, let us roll up our sleeves and get in the trenches to obliterate fear and anxiety in our lives out of love and obedience to the One who loved us first and gave himself up for us.