By Alli Bauck
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1b (ESV)
For the past seven months I’ve been carrying around an extra weight of worry, all because a white plastic stick revealed some unexpected news: I was pregnant. Normally, this result would have been met with excitement; however, “my plan” for 2022 did not include welcoming a third child into the world.
In different circumstances, I have received that news as a joyful gift. But this time around, it felt more like a burden I reluctantly accepted. And that’s how fear became an unnecessary yet unshakable presence in my life.
My fear has taken on many forms: being stressed about an “unplanned” pregnancy, feeling afraid of miscarrying, fearing the loss of friendships due to my prenatal successes and others’ fertility failures, uncertainty of how I will manage being a mother of three little boys, and an irrational anxiety that this baby could come earlier than expected.
In my brokenness, I’ve felt guilt and shame, numbness and denial. I’ve faked smiles and prayed for peace. I try daily to delight in the precious life growing inside of me, but the devil discerns my doubts and constantly calls my name, luring me away from following God’s will. That old snake, in his pride, still thinks that I could belong to him.
But many years ago, a bloody cruciform revealed some unexpected news: I am redeemed. Regardless of all my weaknesses and fears, God chose me and called me by name. The Father bought me back with the precious life of the Beloved Son. The Spirit now equips me for all my vocations, including the calling of a mother.
I know this. I believe this. Yet fear still sneaks in.
I think being apprehensive about admitting we are struggling can be part of the snare the devil sets for us, especially since there’s always someone we know who is walking through a worse season. So the temptation is to keep quiet about my fears; afraid of confessing how I am feeling at the risk of being judged by others.
But each occasion I’ve opened up to a family member or friend, their reactions were not ones of criticism. When I admitted my anxieties, they offered reassurance and reminders of my blessings.
I also find hope and encouragement when I turn to God’s Word or to prayer. There are countless instances in the Bible that God reminds us to “fear not.” In prayerful conversation, Jesus affirms who I am as the Father’s beloved child. This brings to mind the words from the Prophet Isaiah—which also happen to be the verse I chose when I was confirmed: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine (Isaiah 43:1b, ESV).
During times of uncertainty, I have people in whom I can confide, and faith resources that reaffirm essential truths. Another outlet that improves my mental health is writing. Sometimes this practice benefits my spiritual health, as well. On the most recent occasion, I exercised some creativity while trying to express my conflicting feelings as my son’s due date draws nearer.
I meditated on Isaiah 43 as I thought about how fleeting my fears are when viewed through the lens of God’s masterful design. Even though I can’t see beyond my belly (literally: I can’t see my feet) I can trust the Father’s plan more than my own.
The following poem came from my creative process:
I am anxious
to know you
to call you by name
and fall in love with
someone so small
when I first saw
the test result
I was not positive there was
a place in my plans
on a screen I’ve seen
a black and white blur
with a strong heart
beating in the same body
with each kick and “hic”
you inform me that
you will need more
than a warm womb
my hands know
how to hold you but
will my head and my heart
“I am not ready…”
is a silly thing to think because
before the Beginning