I remember that day so clearly. I was working outside in the greenhouse while my two year old napped inside. It was hot, the birds were chirping and the wind hummed a peaceful tune.
I have a special place in my heart for summer days like this one. There’s just something about being outside with your hands in the dirt that makes you feel fully alive. Top it off with a toddler sleeping safely in the house and a new baby nestled inside my belly and all felt right in the world.
We lived on a half acre lot on a busy highway right next to a bean field. My daughter loves being outside as much as I do but we always felt a certain amount of anxiety in our yard because of the traffic constantly zooming past our house. We had a porch swing and a fire pit along the West border of our yard right beside the bean field. Though I never let our daughter out of my sight, I had grown comfortable with letting her play around the swing while I worked in the greenhouse. Occasionally however, she’d let curiosity get the best of her and wander over to check out the beans. We had firm rules against this but she simply couldn’t stay away.
I don’t remember exactly what I was working on in the greenhouse that day, I just remember that I was very focused and blissfully unaware of the world around me. The air felt quiet, safe and peaceful when all of a sudden my attention was turned to a huge crop sprayer tractor tearing through the field right past our swing and exactly to where my toddler often snuck off to.
Instantly, I was filled with anxiety. Visions of what could have happened consumed me. What if my daughter had been awake? What if she had been playing over there? Would the farmer have seen her? Would I have been more aware of our surroundings and seen the danger coming? Would I have been able to react and save her soon enough?
Along with those questions, a stubborn resolve quickly set in. I would no longer let her play far away from me. I would keep her close and safe and I would not let my guard down. The world is a scary place so I would need to be more careful.
But almost as quickly as those fears consumed me, a still small voice breathed peace down in my soul. The Holy Spirit whispered,
“I perfectly orchestrated these events this afternoon. I planned for the farmer to work in the field while your daughter was asleep inside. I am in control and I am watching out for you.”
With that, anxiety dripped out of me and comfort settled in. In the past, close calls such as this one had always been perceived as a WARNING sign flashing neon red lights.
But things completely changed for me that day. Now, whenever I’m frightened by the “what ifs” of parenting, I am immediately comforted by God’s protection. Every time there is a close call it is simply a reminder of His grace and His perfectly orchestrated plan. When something bad almost happens, it no longer has the power to fill me with anxiety if I don’t let it. Instead, I can let it build my faith in the God who has complete control. He knows. He’s watching. We don’t have to be afraid.
In John 14 verse 27 Jesus tells us,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
In Isaiah 40:11 we learn that
“God tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart.”
Just like the Psalmist in chapter 23 verse 4, we can proclaim that
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”
And finally, let Psalm 91:4-5 speak to you.
“You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”
Everywhere we look in Scripture we are reminded that we do not have to be afraid. Like little lambs, God holds our children close to His heart. Even though they will walk on scary paths and inevitably face danger, God will be with them everywhere they go. He is ready to protect them with His rod and His staff at any moment. Consequently, we do not have to fear any of the things our culture tells us to fear.
I told my husband what happened during nap time and we did decide together that we needed to be more careful about where our daughter goes in our yard. We learned a practical lesson that day in addition to the spiritual lesson.
I will always be a believer in keeping a close, watchful eye on my kids. That is my mothering style at my core. But the difference is this: I know now that God is the only one who can fully protect my children and He makes it part of His full time job.
I could be the most protective helicopter mom on the planet and still my humanity could fail them. Scary things can and probably will happen to my kids. We will have close calls and I will be attacked by “what ifs”. But each and every time they happen now I will choose to let that event remind me that God coordinated it perfectly. Because of that, anxiety has no place and peace can settle in. What a huge weight taken off of me!
So if you’re reading this, I pray that those words the Holy Spirit spoke to me will permeate your heart as well. I pray that His peace will consume you. I pray against any anxiety that might try to imprison you. I thank God that He is coordinating every step you and your loved ones take. His kingdom come and His will be done, on Earth, just as it is in Heaven.