Better than Safe: on worry, freedom, and the making of valiant men

plane 5

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121:1-2

I will never be done taking in how good the Lord is.

He heard us and he answered. He gave us a new little life, and even through hyperemesis, chest pain, shortness of breath, tachycardia, weakness, dizziness, hypotension, pallor, cramping, 1 ambulance ride, 3 hospital visits, 7 rounds of IV fluids, 7 nausea medications, 10 weeks of daily losing food and fluid and weight and sometimes hope, he has kept that little life safe. 

hospital beka 2.jpg

He didn’t have to. Even as I closed my eyes Saturday and laid my exhausted, dizzy head back on the hospital bed pleading with Him to help, to protect, I knew this:

He is good no matter what happens here.

I can face loss and heartache, sickness and pain, and He is good. He is all we need. He walks with us. He doesn’t waste what has been hard.

From the beginning it has been a chore to untangle my heart from its desperate bid for control, from its pattern of constant worry over everything. From the beginning, it has been a challenge to hold this little life before the Almighty and acknowledge that it is too precious for me to handle; that the only thing I can do is put it in God’s capable hands because He is able to keep what I commit to Him.

…For I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him…

2 Timothy 1:12

From the beginning I have known that great love comes with risk of great loss. I must let this baby be His, stewarded to me for a time. If I see it as only mine, my heart will strangle and suffocate with stifling fear over how to keep it safe.

And I want more for my son than safe.

sword hilt 2

We are naming him after a warrior for a reason. I want him to plunge into life, fierce and fearless, because he knows the Living God and that none can stand against Him. I want him to face risk and take leaps and find Jehovah on the other side, faithful.

If the kid is anything like me, he’s going to have some scars. May they paint a picture of a life lived in hard pursuit of his Savior because then, they will be worth it.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I read in a pregnancy book, “if you’re worried about miscarriage, welcome to the rest of your life.”

mother worries

It went on to say that when you finally reach the safe window for miscarriage, you’ll worry about birth defects, and then labor injuries, learning disabilities, falls on the playground, bullying at school, kidnapping, car crashes, college…the worry never ends because this baby has your heart now and there will always be some new danger that threatens it. The book said to get used to worrying.

But I say no.

I know I’ll worry and I know it’s normal, but I say no to just accepting that worry will rule from now on. Fear need not rule my heart, even when I cannot ensure that what I love is safe.

Peace guards the heart that brings its fears to Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I can lay my worries before Him and then I am free, free to breathe and to try and to forge ahead into the unknown. He goes with me. And I can teach Abishai who He is, or I can teach him to stay safe at all costs, I can teach him not to make me worry.

But safe is not the best I can do for Abishai.

Knowing Jehovah is. 


Oh Lord-

Help me to show my son who you are. Teach me to let him be a warrior, a leader, a follower, an adventurer. I love that Cody’s first happy thoughts about having a boy were hiking and hunting and playing with sharp sticks. I love that my husband is not afraid of dirt or scrapes or the woods at night; that he scrambles up steep cliffs and gazes at the stars.

cody cliff

Help me to trust you, Lord, so I can let them be men as you intended. Men who face danger and find Jehovah in the mist. Men whose stories tell of giants and lions and dark places; of who they became when they looked to a God mightier than them all.

You do not always promise safe, but you promise close. You invite us to step further, a little further, out onto the water, out of our comfort zone, but always toward you. You promise you are near, even when we feel lonelier than ever. (Psalm 119:151)

Lord, I want my son to walk close with you. Help me to remember who you are when that scares me. For the same Psalm that says “You have shown your people hard things…” also cries out:

“…through God we will do valiantly…”

-Psalm 60:3, 12

Help me, Lord, that I may raise valiant men. Prepare Abishai’s little heart, even now, to know you and to be transformed by it. For you make us more than we are.

cody walking shore

Prepare our hearts for the precious task before us. As Tedd Tripp says in Shepherding a Child’s Heart,

“You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as please Him…Your right to discipline your children is tied to what God has called you to do, not to your own agenda.”

My agenda would be guided by safety, convenience, and the desire for my son to do what I say.

But I can do better for Abishai than my agenda. I can teach him to obey your voice.

I will keep on obeying your instructions
    forever and ever.
I will walk in freedom,
    for I have devoted myself to your commandments

Psalm 119:44-45

For a season, you have given us a son to steward. May we use our time teaching him to obey you, so that when the season of our authority fades away, we have done more than keep him safe, we have taught him where to find freedom.

hand in reeds

So here’s to the making of valiant men.

We will get there only by your grace. Teach our hearts to remember that it is enough, and to keep looking to the hills for our help.


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