Faith, Fear, Mothering, Trusting God

Faith: When We Must Choose Between Fear and Faith

A young man standing at the edge of a rock cliff with arms outstretched looking at a wide open space

@JeanneTakenaka

Sometimes, I’m a poser.

Oh sure, I tell people to pray for their children, their husbands, and the heart needs they each have. I tell them God hears, and He answers each and every prayer. Sometimes, it’s with a “Yes.” Other times, the answer is, “No.” And then there’s the “Not yet,” answer.

I believe these truths with all my heart. I know that I know I am a daughter of the King . . . that He loves me completely, passionately, and perfectly. I know we must choose faith.

And still . . . 

Curved wooden stairs leading up and around an incline

A few weeks ago, as our pastor shared his message, God convicted me. We had just discovered a character issue in one of the boys, and my heart was broken. I was fearful that, if we didn’t help him get it under control, he could end up in prison one day. Yes, I know. That could be a reach, but it’s conceivable. 

Fear rolled over my thoughts. My heart. 

A young man hanging from and holding onto rocks

It tried to tell me I had to do all these things and wring my hands in despair and . . . remain helpless while this boy I love walks on his merry little way living in this character issue. 

As I mulled over these thoughts, God challenged me. He showed me how I pray for others’ children and health scares and life issues. But do I pray in faith?

And, when it comes to my husband and our boys where’s my faith?

It must be in myself, otherwise, fear wouldn’t have the upper hand in my thoughts.

Outdoor cement stairs in a city leading down to a walkway

Oh, I was convicted. I’ve prayed for the boys’ hearts since they were small. But, they’re teens. They’re trying out belief systems, pushing boundaries to see which ones stand firm. They’re growing into men before my eyes . . . and sometimes I’m terrified. 

What if—? 

That’s the question fear asks. 

A young man hanging from rocks and holding one hand up for help

God showed me I wasn’t trusting Him to be God in their lives. My desire for them to walk with Him is so strong. But they have to want it too. And what if they don’t? 

See? There it is again. What. If.

In these seasons, we have a choice. We can let fear dictate our thoughts, which will direct our hearts and lead us to depression and discouragement. 

Meme with the words, "We can choose to trust that God is holding us an dour loved one in the palm off His hand" set on a backdrop with a butterfly on a flowered bush

Or we can turn to the Lord in faith. We can choose to trust that He’s holding us and our loved ones in the palm of His hand. He already knows our first day to our last, and He’s orchestrating His plans—His good plans—in our lives. 

Will choosing to put our faith in God over ourselves guarantee that everything goes smoothly? Not in this life!

A paved pathway leading between autumn-colored trees

Knowing He’s in control makes all the difference. If this boy does continue on a path that leads to bad places, God will still be watching over Him. I have to trust Him. 

I wish I could say that everything got sorted out after that morning and that the boy made an about-face and is now walking tight with Jesus. But I try not to lie. 

A few days later, I learned some very difficult things that, again, had me terrified. But this time, when I recognized fear’s whispers, I asked God to help me choose faith. As we walk through some uncertain times, I’m getting better at remembering God’s got this. He’s in control, and He’s watching over our boys. 

A sunrise with hames and trees in silhouette

“Choose faith over fear” is on repeat in my mind these days. I choose to trust God that, if one or both of our sons walk away from Him for a time, He’ll never leave them. He knows the plans He has for them too. They are His sons even more than they’re mine. He loves them more than Hubs and I do. 

And I have faith that my Father is in control of our sons’ lives. Whether or not they know it. 

What about you? When have you had to choose faith over fear? What helps you to walk in faith consistently?

Click to Tweet: We can let fear dictate our thoughts, which will direct our hearts and lead us to depression and discouragement.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup

39 thoughts on “Faith: When We Must Choose Between Fear and Faith”

  1. Please pardon the mild off-colour word in the last line. Nothing else would fit the meaning and meter.

    It’s like I’m tied unto the track
    and there’s a train a-comin’.
    I wish he would be turning back,
    but I feel the rails a-hummin’.
    It ain’t that I am very scared,
    but this ain’t a place I like,
    but here’s my inner feelings aired:
    why don’t the engineer go on strike?
    It ain’t too likely, that I know,
    but ‘twixt me and the wheels
    there’s minutes to breathe and live and so
    I’ll enjoy how life still feels.
    And when he gets here and I’m nailed
    I hope the bastard gets derailed.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree, it’s easy to say that we’re trusting God, and to know that we can trust him, but actually to continue trying to hold onto control and fix it ourselves. There is definitely much more peace when we can let it go and hand it to God. Praying for you and your son.

    Like

    1. Lesley, wow, you know me. 😉 Yup, I’ve been the one who says I trust God but holds tightly to the reins of my life. Learning to be still and let God be God in my life is a many-faceted learning process. But you’re right, there’s a lot more peace when we let go and trust God with the circumstances in our lives. Thanks for the prayers. They are much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so hard to trust God with my kids. I somehow think that I have a better handle on things. But the truth is they are not really mine. They were His first. And they will be His in the end.

    Like

    1. Rebecca, I’ve been in that place too—where I think I have a “good-enough” handle on them to take care of things. But, as they grow older, I’m realizing more and more the necessity of letting God handle things. I’m still definitely involved in their lives. But, when they stop listening to their parents, I have to trust God to speak to them, and teach them the lessons and skills they need for the life He’s planned for them. They are His first and last!

      Like

  4. It’s hard to let go and trust God to care for our children. My children were raised in religion, but religion is not what they needed; they needed a relationship with the Father. Now while I am a work in progress with my faith, I strive to know Him more. I only pray Father God would bring my children back to his feet to worship Him in truth and grace.

    Like

    1. Debbie, it’s such a balance to look at how we raise our children and see the things we could have done differently. I firmly believe that God fills in the gaps left by our parenting. I trust that the Lord will draw your children into authentic relationship in His way and His time. I so appreciate your transparency here. May He be your encourager this week.

      Like

  5. I hear your heart, Jeanne, and I’ve been there as well, wanting to trust God with the sons I’ve put in to his hands ten thousand times, but fearful that his plans for those boys will take us all through the wringer. He does that sometimes…
    Praying for you right this minute: peace and trust for your mothering days.

    Like

    1. Yes, Michele. Sometimes I fear the pain of the possible outcomes from our sons’ choices. But, even in that, we must trust rather than avoid, right? That’s what He’s reminding me about right now. Thank you for those prayers. They are much appreciated. Hugs, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel all your feels, my friend! I have to constantly remind myself that my children haven’t had the same journey with Jesus that I’ve had—and that’s ok. My job is to model my relationship and to lift them up in prayer. Fretting and worst-case scenarios don’t solve any problems (although it’s easy to indulge :/)

    Like

    1. Anita, I know you’ve been through some hard stuff with your kids. I like the reminder that we each have our unique journeys with Jesus. It’s so important to remember that and not be discouraged by what we see. Rather, I need to be encouraged by the truth that God will lead them on their unique journey with Him. And yes, I pray A LOT more now for my kids than when they were younger. 😉 I appreciate your wisdom, friend!

      Like

  7. Jeanne, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Mine may be grown and yet, I still pray all the harder for their hearts and the hearts of my granddaughters. This is what I will be reminding myself of today >>> “And I have faith that my Father is in control of our sons’ {children’s} lives. Whether or not they know it.” Praying for both of us this morning 🙂

    Like

    1. Joanne, I’ve got friends whose kids are grown and out of the house, and they’ve shared with me that this isn’t an easier stage on a mama’s heart. I find myself praying a lot more for their hearts to be completely His. I’m grateful that He holds our children (and grand-children) in the palm of His hand. Thanks for those prayers. I’m shooting some up for you too.

      Like

  8. Jeanne, I am afraid a lot. There are so many things I don’t have control over. This year I’m learning to let go and to let Him work in His own way. I’m a controller by nature and a “fixer,” so that’s hard. Which is probably why He gives me things I can’t control.
    My children still break my heart.
    Nice to meet you last week, and love the picture of the Riverwalk.

    Like

    1. Kathy, when God helped me to see I really have control over very little in my life it both helped and terrified me. I still try to wrench control from God at times. But, He’s helping me to be quicker to remember that His plans are always better, always higher, than mine. And, I grinned at your thought that God gives us things beyond our control so that we learn to trust Him . . . I’ve sooo been there, friend. Children do have a way of breaking our hearts, even in adulthood (from what friends have told me). I’m sorry this is also the case for you.

      I LOVED meeting you last week!

      Like

  9. Thanks for sharing from your vulnerability, Jeanne. I am currently reading (and studying) a book by Paul E. Miller “A Praying Life”. It has been such a blessing. I wish I was better at trusting and praying, but have such a long way to go. I don’t have to pretend when I get flung around by my fears. “Perfect love casts out fear” … The Father is faithful to teach me how to be more and more like Jesus and love a little more each day. I want to love more than I fear. I have a funny feeling that when I finally do, fear will disappear. Thanks for this beautiful reminder today!

    Like

    1. Heidi, God has been calling me to prayer more often lately. And, my sons have given me many reasons to pray. 🙂 But, it’s such a good discipline and way to grow closer with the Lord. I think God allows prayer to bridge the trust gap between our thoughts of we-know-best and God’s gracious sovereignty in our lives. I love your thoughts about love and fear, friend. Thanks for sharing your insights!

      Like

  10. Life and family can be messy regardless of our best intentions, can’t it? Over and over I’m learning to let go, and trust God’s guiding me to do my best in those tough situations where outcomes may be opposite of what I hoped. May you feel His peace within you as you walk through this season with teens, Jeanne!

    Like

  11. Jeanne,
    You are walking that difficult tightrope called “Mothering teenage boys.” No easy task I might add! I found this to be true: Me trying to be in control = FEAR!! Trusting God to be in control = FREEDOM! Easier said than done. It’s hard to watch your kids learn lessons the hard way. No parent wants to watch their child fall flat on their face. If it’s any help…I went through a really prodigal period with my son. It forced me to turn him over to God, but I finally see a young man blossoming from lessons he just had to learn the hard way. God IS their good, good Father. Keep clinging to trust! Great post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Like

    1. Bev, your words are encouraging. And yes to your equation about control and fear. I’ve lived both sides of that one. Trusting God is always the better option. I so appreciate your story about your son and how God is drawing him to Himself. Thank you for your words my friend!

      Like

  12. Oh Jeanne, it can be heartrending when we see our children not in a close relationship with Jesus. Even when they’re grown up. I have thought sometimes that I pray, but do I believe God has the power to change them? I so need more trust in Him instead of striving to “fix” things. This is so important – “We can choose to trust that He’s holding us and our loved ones in the palm of His hand.” I have less anxiety concerning my kids and grandkids when I intentionally say “Ok, God, here they are. I put them into Your hands. I know You can take care of them far better than I can. Please help!” Easier said than done though, isn’t it? As always, I love your photos, especially the butterfly. 🙂 Love and blessings of grace and strength to you and your husband and your precious sons!

    Like

    1. Trudy, it’s such an interesting, convicting thing to realize that we don’t always pray with the faith we should. God’s been speaking with me about this. There may be a future blog post on this too. 😉 It really does come down to trusting our Father, doesn’t it? Thank you for your sweet words and encouraging friendship. I so appreciate you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read at Linda’s blog that your husband’s dad unexpectedly passed away. I’m so very sorry for your loss of a father and grandfather. Big hugs to you! May God give each of you strength and comfort for each day!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Ugh, Jeanne … I know what you mean about the what-ifs. They are so unproductive, so anxiety inducing, so … human. I guess maybe this is why God is always telling people, “Don’t be afraid,” throughout the Bible. There’s some comfort in that, but still. It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, practice to release those fears to Him, isn’t it? You’ve shared so many good truths here, my friend. I’m praying for you and your family. (And I don’t think you’re a poser.) 🙂

    Like

    1. Lois, I know we’re walking this road together. I love your take on why God tells people not to be afraid throughout the Bible. It’s such a human tendency, isn’t it?! And, yes, it is a daily, sometimes hourly, choosing to release our fears to our good Father. Thank you for your prayers, my friend.

      Like

  14. Sometimes choosing between fear and faith is day by day. Or hour by hour. Or minute by minute. It’s a battle, this choice. And we have to ignore the “what if” question. It’s great for writing fiction, but it’s lousy when you’re trying to live by faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true, Beth. Sometimes choosing faith is a moment-by-moment decision. I grinned over your “What if” sentiment. I thought the same thing as I wrote that. What If’s are great for stories but horrible for dealing with fear in real life. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your insights!

      Like

  15. This is exactly what I shared in our small group last night about myself and one of our sons. It’s hard, no doubt about it. But like you said, it’s a trust issue. I have been praying daily for God to increase my trust in Him, and decrease my self-reliance and control issues. And again…it ain’t easy. 🙂

    Like

    1. Anne, It’s so hard to watch our kids/sons with some of their character issues. I’m so thankful our Father holds them in the palm of His hand. Now for us to leave them there when their choices scare us, right? Yes, trusting Him is the best thing we can do when it comes to our children. It sounds like we struggle with similar issues. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of your heart here.

      Like

  16. Your are right, Jeanne, about God at work in the bad places. I know several young men, including one close to my heart, who got right with God in prison.

    Like

    1. Shirlee, that’s one thing God reminded me of too. He is even in prisons. I have friends/know of people who minister to inmates. All is not lost if our children’s choices lead them there. It’s just hard on our mama’s heart. Thank you so much for sharing your encouragement. It ministers to my heart.

      Like

  17. “Choosing faith over fear” could be my life’s mantra too. More often than necessary I let fear lead the way in my mind and heart. It does not go well and you would think I would learn. Thank goodness God is a gentle and patient teacher. My faith is stronger than it was and fear is not always my first choice because God is with me and fighting for me. I am praying for you and your sons. Teenage years are hard and messy but as you wrote God will never leave them.

    Like

    1. Mary, fear can be such an insidious thing. I don’t even recognize it right away, sometimes. I only start to realize I’m choosing fear when my thoughts keep circling around a specific circumstance/decision/relationship struggle and I find myself becoming worried. I’m learning that when I begin circling, I need to circle up and bring it all to Jesus. I’m so thankful that the Lord is so patient and gracious toward us. Thank you so much for your prayers. I truly appreciate them, my friend.

      Like

  18. I am a control freak by nature, so I continually struggle with turning the things important to over to anyone. Even God. I’ve been studying his word and praying over this for some time and feel that It making headway! Trusting that he is control, I am finally able to relax and know that everything will be okay. Thanks for this great post!

    Like

    1. Pam, I struggle with control issues too. 🙂 God has been teaching me to recognize when I’m holding on too tightly to something and to hand it over to Him. It’s tough because my thoughts keep coming back to that thing. Thankfully, we have a Father who loves us and is completely trustworthy, right? It is so much easier to relax when we know He’s got us. Thank you so much for stopping by. I truly appreciate you.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.