By the time I was 21 years old, I had suffered a lifetime of disappointments. Both of my parents were dead, and all my grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles. I had seen more death than most do in a lifetime. I was pregnant multiple times outside of marriage, which carries its own shame and embarrassment. I had been homeless, lived on government assistance, and struggled to put food on the table as a single mom. I had already parented alone for several years. I had no way of knowing that I would go on to parent even more years alone. And all of those things shaped me and molded me with fear.
The journey I embarked upon a few years back was far worse than I could have even imagined. Eight years ago, I decided to walk away from Corporate America and accept this call on my life to minister to single moms nationally. I was scared and felt ill-equipped, but I did it anyway. The ministry quickly grew. Before long, our ministry was ministering to thousands worldwide; for every success, I experienced in ministry, there was an even greater attack personally. First, my husband lost his job, and there was no money. Then, my children were plagued with countless unforeseen surgeries, and there was even less money. Eight surgeries later, our family was pressed from every side financially. Then there were the difficult teen years, where I failed miserably in parenting. And the times I secretly wanted to quit ministry altogether because I did not feel I measured up. It was during this difficult time that I actually declined every invitation I received from churches to speak. The enemy had accomplished exactly what he wanted. He had taken my voice.
Fear had beaten me down and strangled the life from me. It was gradual, and I usually masked it well. But most days, I spent my time crying uncontrollably. That is what fear does. It strangles, immobilizes, subtracts, withers, crushes, and shatters. It grips our soul and snatches every dream. What was once the joy of the Lord, somehow, became replaced with anger and hopelessness. Fear encourages us to give up and accept the misery of existence versus the excitement of a God-led pursuit.
Many Christians struggle with fear and allow it to take our voice and strangle us – secretly and slowly. Yet, our Father in Heaven paid for us to have an abundant life, free from fear, worry, and anxiety. We can do three things that will allow us to master fear and move into the freedom Christ paid for us to have.
Acknowledge what fear is. If fear did not come from the Lord, then who gave it to us? As Christians, we must understand that fear was given to us by Satan as a mere tactic to keep us distracted and off-course from the plans the Lord has for us. We must understand it for what is, then realize we have the authority to dispel fear with the power of Christ’s shed blood.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and sound mind." 1 Timothy 1:7
Seek God until He takes away our fears. Keep pursuing freedom from fear, even when everything around you seems scary and hopeless, and endless. Keep asking God to deliver you from the fear that is being forced upon you.
"Keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will open." Matthew 7:7-8
Speak truth. Speak truth over your fear, even when you do not feel like it, even when it seems impossible, and even when it is the hardest thing you have ever done. When Moses died, I am sure that Joshua was afraid of what God was now calling him to do in the book of Joshua. I am sure he had no idea of how he would lead the Israelites. He never expected to be in that situation. Do you find yourself in an unexpected situation today? Are you fearful of your future? Your kid’s choices? Your finances? Your marriage? Your singleness? God’s Word promises you victory, authority, and strength. No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. "For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you." Joshua 1:5
Do not clamor in a corner like one with no hope. You are a daughter of the King of Kings. You are more than a conqueror in Christ. That challenge, that thing you are facing, is not bigger than your God. He will never leave you. When fear comes for you, do not retreat and allow it to strangle you. Get ready for war. Wage war against the evil one who has attempted to lie to you and steal the joy God has paid for you to have. Take authority and stand against it.
Photo Credit: © Photo by Alex Green from Pexels
Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and currently serves more than 1,500 churches.
The Life of a Single Mom has served 406,000 single mothers over the last decade and counting. Maggio is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.
** Article first appeared on iBelieve.com.