This past summer I woke up to find a squirrel crawling on me. Not just your run-of-the-mill squirrel—a flying squirrel. It got into the cabin we were staying in through the fireplace and decided to explore. When it climbed up and then jumped off our two-year-old’s head, we had to take drastic measures. Our older boys thought it was hilarious. I did not share in their joy.

As we were driving home the next day, I told Daniel, my husband, that of all the things I worry about and fear in life, a squirrel climbing on me while I’m asleep was not one of them—but now I’ve added it to the list. I’m sure most of you would agree. Maybe some of you can even relate to a heightened sense of fear and anxiety. 

I am that mom.

The one who stresses over everything, who fears the worst and who does everything in her power to make sure none of those stresses, fears or anxieties come to life. I’ve been known to sleep with paper close by so I can write down the thoughts that keep me up at night. As a child, I distinctly remember asking my big sister almost every night if our house was going to burn down.

Fear has always been part of my story and parenting with fear has always been my struggle.

That’s why, at this time of year, my heart often aches to sit down and chat with Mary. Just to ask her one simple question: “How did you fear not?” In Luke 1, we read the story of an angel appearing to Mary and telling her that she was to be the mother of Jesus. “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid’ ” (Luke 1:29-30).

My squirrel encounter looks tame next to an angel appearing and turning Mary’s life upside down. Can you imagine? She has no idea what’s happening, but the angel says, “Do not be afraid.”

I think it’s safe to say that many of us would have been afraid. Many of us would have been stressed out. Many of us would probably even have said no, offered another way or tried to get ourselves out of the situation. 

I am that mom. The one who stresses over everything, who fears the worst.

How do we trust? How do we combat our fears? How do we live and work and exist in the world and then release our kids to be in this world? How do we ultimately and fully trust an unseen God with our real and seen fears? Welcome to 2 a.m. thoughts with Bhreagh.

I’m no expert and if you’re anything like I used to be, you’re going to hate this response, but here’s what I know. Prayer and submission are the foundation we all need.

Mary was afraid. She had questions. I’m sure she had a million things running through her mind. But after her fear and questions, she replied: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). 

Even though she was afraid, Mary submitted to the will and way of God and then, after going to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, offered a prayer of praise: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant” (Luke 1:46-48).

We’re all going to come across fear in our lives. It’s going to happen. We’re all going to be jumped on by a squirrel or called to do something scary by our Saviour. But one of the best ways we can learn to combat the scary things in life is to cry out to God and humbly submit to his will and his way. 

I can try to protect my kids and shield them from the fears and anxieties of life, or I can give them a greater gift—to let them see me entrust them to God. Even when flying squirrels catch you by surprise.

Trust God in your fears, submit to his way and know that “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!” (Luke 1:45).

Captain Bhreagh Rowe is the community ministries officer, St. Albert Church and Community Centre, Alta.

Photo: Peter/

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