Five years ago, I helped put together a devotional, specifically for fostering/adopting moms. Never would I have imagined that five years later, I’d be re-reading the book as part of its target audience. This week I’m sharing the thoughts of my friend Tonja. She and her family lived with us during a portion of their fostering process in Nicaragua. Tonja is a talented artist, a devoted mom and wife, and a faithful Christ-follower. In talking about fear, she tackles a serious issue so many parents struggle with, both in the adoption process and while raising kids.
Fear (Day 4)
As you begin to rejoice in the Lord, give your cares to him and experience his peace, your mind will begin to fight with you. Thoughts come at you, often like a machine gun, trying to force you back into fear, trying to force you to leave the promises of God. This is why the passage in Philippians warns us to think about good things.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NKJV)
How do I stop myself from thinking on the bad things, the bad report? I can hear you now saying, “I can’t help what I think about!” If the bible tells us that we can, we can! Everyone needs to discover what it takes to stop her own mind. Here are some ways I discovered I could control my thoughts.
First, make yourself talk about the promise of God. Tell your kids what God has promised. Tell a friend. You can’t think about something different than what you are talking about.
Second, ignore people who want to tell you “worst case scenarios” or their terrible experiences that resulted in terrible results. Yes we need to beware of dangers around us, and not be blind to situations that can harm us, but when we are fighting fear, our enemy will “conveniently” surround us with people who enjoy telling their war stories without talking about how they were able to overcome. Christ always overcomes!
Finally, do something for someone else. This will get your mind off of yourself and your problem. I found if I kept myself busy, I could distract my thoughts.
Our focus always needs to be on the promises of God. Joseph had a dream that God gave to him. God did not tell Joseph his brothers would betray him and he would end up in prison before his dream would come to pass. But God gave Joseph that promise to focus on.
When things get tough, when situations seem to delay our dream, we must focus on the promise. Do not allow yourself to dive into the fear. Stay in faith and do not quit.
Father God, you know my fears. You know my worst case scenarios. Help me focus instead of your promises and that you have already won!