He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4)
While pregnant with my first child, I read an article that explained that during pregnancy and the first few years of motherhood there is a heightened sense of alertness that occurs in a mother’s body. Hormones are reprogrammed to be hyper alert in order to protect the life of a new child. Reading this on paper (or screen rather!) was one thing, but I got to experience this first-hand during the next few years. Towards the end of my pregnancy, the political situation where we were living started to change, becoming increasingly intense. Shortly after giving birth to my first child, our country entered a season of troubles, marked by terror attacks throughout the country (and in our city) over the next few years. As a new mother, I began to experience this hormonal rush of protection and alertness in a very literal and challenging way. Not only was I trying to figure out how to babyproof my home effectively at every stage of development, but I had the added stress of the threat of terror attacks.
As someone who is more anxiety-prone, how all of these dynamics came together in my world was a lot to manage. I wrestled with my desires to want to control everything and know how everything would turn out. Many aspects of child-rearing as well as the political dynamics were completely beyond the scope of my control. In grappling with this tension, I was serving on a team and in a church with no other mothers of small children. I became aware of my need for input and support from others in a similar situation. Wrestling with my thoughts and fears alone simply was not enough, so I decided to reach out to other Believing expat moms I was acquainted with. We began gathering together to socialize, share devotionals, and have our children play together.
In that unique season of motherhood and political turmoil we found ourselves in, our bi-weekly gatherings over coffee and prayer were a balm for our weary souls. (Let’s face it – all moms of babies and toddlers have weary souls on some level, even if it’s merely due to sleeplessness!) In our togetherness, we shared our challenges. We also encouraged each other with the things we were learning about ourselves, our children and ultimately about our loving, Heavenly Father. In this shared fellowship, I was encouraged to embrace the lack of control, grow in faith and trust, and ultimately grow in confidence that God truly loved my child even more than I ever could.
Years have passed since we gathered and most of those dear friends no longer live here. The things we face in our country of residence and in parenting look different too. Yet, in each stage of change and adjustment, the Lord continues to do His beautiful work of renewal in me. He is continuing to teach me that there is no perfect mother, so I do not have to worry about being one. I can look to Him and He will fill me with energy, wisdom and discernment for each task that comes my way. I cannot control the circumstances of the city where I reside, or the troubles facing the whole world. I also cannot control my child’s development and behavior (this can be harder to accept). Embracing these realities brings freedom. I have a Heavenly Father who is over all of these things and He is guiding me as I mother. He is providing wisdom and protection every day and in every stage. As I lean into His feathers of peace and comfort, I am more able to be that safe place for my child, too.