There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. ~1 John 4:18
There’s something about the prospect of becoming a parent that taps into a well of previously-unknown fear deep down inside of you.
For me, especially since our path to parenthood has been somewhat unconventional, fear didn’t actually raise it’s ugly face blatantly. It was a little more subtle. It attempted to sneak in the back door with whispers that sounded something like this:
“You don’t actually have what it takes to be a mom. Loving and mothering and raising a child other than one that came from your womb isn’t going to come naturally for you.”
And I realize, if you are someone who has already walked the road of adoption, those words could almost be offensive to you. Because with that whisper comes the tiniest implication that adoption is somehow less-than having children biologically. I get that. Because that offensive thought is the exact one I wrestled with. Even now, I cringe a little, typing it out in black and white. It’s not pretty. And it’s most certainly not true.
But the more I’ve walked this process, and the more I’ve haltingly given voice to the thoughts and fears that would love to stay in the dark, the more I realize that bringing them to the light robs them of power. And sometimes, God knows that we need the slightest of nudges to bring that fear, that crippling thought, into the light.
He nudged me in the gentlest way regarding these fears one Sunday at church. I was standing there, singing “Oh How He Loves” along with everyone else, when I suddenly sensed Him highlighting each word, each phrase, with the unrelenting power of His love for me. It was as though He was saying:
“THIS is how much I love you, Lauren. Rest in that. Learn what it means to simply be loved as My daughter. Because that is EXACTLY what you need to love and raise your children.”
It’s pretty safe to say that my mascara was all in a puddle after that. But that simple revelation was enough to shine the light on my fear of not being enough, not loving enough. I love how the Message states it:
Well-formed love banishes fear.
As humans, our love is often not very well-formed. It’s messy; it’s conditional. But God’s love…it’s perfection. Full and wholly formed. And He offers it to us, banishing our fears of never being enough, and enabling us to love others with that same well-formed love. We won’t always do it perfectly, at least not this side of heaven. But when we mess up, He is there with His well-formed love.
When we say words to our spouse that we wish we could take back, He is there…with His well-formed love.
When we lose our temper with our children, He is there…with His well-formed love.
And His well-formed love is fierce enough to shine a light on all those little fears that whisper in the dark corners of our minds.
Fear that we won’t be a good parent.
Fear of what other’s will think if we take the next step bravely.
Fear that we will be left.
Fear that we’ve failed one too many times.
Fear that things will never change.
He shines His fierce love all over those fears…and He banishes them. His truth shouts:
Trust Me to help you parent this child well.
I will hold your hand as you take the next step.
I will never leave you.
You can never outrun My love.
I am the One Who will never change.
So I’m learning, slowly, to rest in His well-formed love. And that is enough for now.