Having 34-week gestational twins had been fairly smooth sailing for us. The first two weeks had been spent in the NICU, but we were so thankful we had healthy little boys to take home and love. Life continued to move forward with the similar struggles we all face with multiples: schedules, bottle brigades, sleepless nights, trying to leave the house for any reason... but overall life was moving right along. We were keeping these active little guys healthy and happy, and I felt confident in their growth.
We had reached the boys’ 3-year-old well child checkup and all seemed normal, ya know... Preventing the exam room from being torn to shreds, keeping the medical supplies from being destroyed, eating through all the snacks in our bag to pass the time -- just a normal day with two toddlers! There I was in the pediatrician's office, smiling at the two wonders sitting on the exam table together with their dinosaurs, when a few simple words invoked unexpected fear. “I can clearly hear some speech delays,” our doctor said.
Fear. My confidence soon melted away as a thousand thoughts ran through my head at once. What? Wasn’t it normal for them to mispronounce words at barely 3? Why? Why hadn’t I picked up on “delays?” How? How had I missed something so important to the development of my babies? Was I still adequate as a mother and had I let them down somehow? Fear.
Worry. Anxiety. Dread. Confusion. The emotions piled on all at once as I kept the smile plastered on my face and listened intently for direction, insight, anything that would help me process and create a plan. For those who know me well, planning, being on top of things, and ahead of the game is where I like to live. This unexpected news pulled me back, back into a place of fear and the unknown, without a plan on how to move forward.
This experience is common to almost all moms. Not the speech issues, but fear. Fear is sneaky, it comes upon us when we least expect it. It comes in many forms... some which we can clearly identify like the fear of spiders, the dark, and others not as obvious like worries about the future of our kids' well-being.
What I want to unpack in our series of a Fearless Lifestyle is how we overcome fear, for good. Not just manage it, tolerate it, or control it, but truly obliterate it!
It is possible to live a life in which fear does not dominate you. Fear is a thief and a liar. Fear places a cloud over your eyes, so the future is hazy and difficult to navigate. Fear comes to steal your confidence, to take you off course, to lead you to make irrational decisions. Fear compromises your ability to think clearly, and causes missteps that can produce fateful consequences in your life, and the life of your family. There is an answer, a powerful one, and it is LOVE.
The opposite of fear is love. When we choose to place our trust in the God who loves us unconditionally, fear flees. You see my friends, God is Love, He doesn’t just have love to give, or display the attribute of love, HE IS LOVE. Psalms 23 reminds us of this truth. Verse 2 says, “He offers a resting place for me in His luxurious love...” which leads to verse 4: “Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of the deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you (LOVE) already have!” There is no fear in love, so when I feel fear creep up and fill my mind, I know it’s not coming from my God... who is Love.
When the sting of the doctor’s insight had settled, and nap time had commenced, I began searching for answers and created a plan of attack for speech therapy. I didn’t get very far because I was distracted by my own thoughts. Would my twins ever talk right? Would they develop a speech impediment? Would low self-esteem grow, and would they ever be able to get a good job? Did we have the money to pay for speech therapy…? My mind raced. I began to pray, which I admit I should have done at first, and once I did this scripture dropped into my heart: 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of the doors and expels every trace of terror!”
I had my answer, perhaps not for what my next action was for my boys, but my next move was towards Love... and the fear melted away.
As our year continues in Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples, we will take time at each meeting to unpack what this truly means and discover together how to overcome fear every single time. I promise, my friends, that you can live a fearless lifestyle, overflowing with a love so powerful that fear stands no chance. I am looking forward to walking out this journey with you!
Author: Tonya Flowers is the mother of 3 boys: Lucas who’s a 3rd grader, and 3 year old twin boys, Wyatt and Timothy. She is a nurse part time, a minister at her church, and serves FWMOM as our Chaplain.