Pray, hope, and don’t worry

Written by Kari Kampakis
Published on June 24, 2022

You probably have many sources of stress and anxiety as a mother. 

One, family life is hard. From managing schedules to stress levels, you juggle more balls and demands than the moms who walked before you. 

Two, there is never enough of you to go around. There is one of you caring for multiple people. Even on your best days, you are short-handed. 

Three, you care. It would be easier to not care, but as it stands, you worry about the big and little heartaches, challenges, and battles that your children face. You know their life details, which leads to more concerns. 

Four, our culture expects perfection—and nothing less. 

Five, you get bombarded with images of every mom on the planet. Comparisons or guilt about what you “should do” or “could do” can make your mothering feel inadequate. 

Six, you are intuitive. You pick up on changes in moods and behavior that suggest your loved one has an issue. This is a gift, yet it also adds to your plate. 

Seven, you constantly make decisions based on limited information, and you worry that a bad decision will ruin your child’s future. 

And eight, your worry lingers. You can’t compartmentalize it or turn it off. My friend and I just laughed about the difference between her and her husband. After she expressed a concern about their son, they had a serious conversation. They agreed this needed attention. Two minutes later, she heard her husband whistling around their house. He had moved on, yet she was still worried. Maybe you can relate, as I certainly do! 

It’s not about us

A counselor once told me that if we don’t put our anxiety into something higher than ourselves, then we’ll try to micromanage it. Here, I believe, is where we get sidetracked. 

Anxiety comes when we envision a future without Jesus.

It comes when we wrongly assume it all depends on us, so we panic and try to control things, so our nightmares don’t come true. In the process, we focus on our limitations rather than God’s power. We make it about us, not him. We narrow our gaze to an unhealthy extreme. 

Anxiety and stress are real and, as moms, we must learn to handle them for our health and the sake of our children. 

Reducing stress

In a famous study based on decades of research, Dr. Robert Epstein named the most important qualities of good parenting, the skills most vital to bringing up healthy, happy, and successful kids. 

Predictably, giving love and affection was number one on the list. The big surprise was number two on the list: handling stress as a parent. 

Both number two and number three (relationship skills, having a good relationship with your spouse/significant other/co-parent and other people) are more helpful to your parenting than some child-focused behaviors. 

Dr. Epstein defined stress management as taking steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practicing relaxation techniques, and promoting positive interpretations of events.

Trust the bigger truths

Like my friend in the opening story, we help our children by reframing a situation with truth and logic. If my friend didn’t have the skills to manage her own moments of panic, she might have panicked with her daughter and prompted a different (and less favorable) outcome. 

As mothers, our stress and anxiety spill over to our family. I say this not to guilt-trip anyone but to remind us why mental health deserves attention. 

Personally, I’m easily rattled. Anxiety creeps up on me, and I doubt I’ll be cured on this side of heaven. While I wish I didn’t feel anxious, I also see this as a desirable difficulty. 

Anxiety has forced me to grow a deeper faith. It propels me toward God, because after years of searching for peace, nothing soothes my heart like trusting and resting in him. 

When you feel stressed or anxious, trust the bigger truths. Remember how God has equipped you and chosen you to be your child’s mom. 

Regardless of what your inner critic or the “malls” around you say, you can do hard things. You can rise to the challenge before you. You can: 

• Stay strong for your family

• Survive a season of hell

• Recover from a failure or rejection

• Face heartache and pain

• Sit with unpleasant thoughts and emotions

• Have dreaded conversations

• Make amends

• Help your child face adversity

• Handle hate or criticism

• Love yourself

• See some trials as desirable difficulties

• Turn over a new leaf

• Make guilt-free decisions

• Do your part today, and trust God to take care of tomorrow

Saint Padre Pio said, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” These simple words replace doubt and fear with trust and obedience. They remind us to give the burden of worry, stress, and anxiety to our loving Father, who accepts it all. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done” Philippians 4:6 (NLT).

Taken from “More than a Mom” by Kari Kampakis. Copyright 2022 by Kari Kampakis. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson.

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Kari Kampakis

Kari Kampakis is a bestselling author, blogger, and national speaker from Birmingham, Alabama. Her bestselling books for moms, More Than a Mom: How Prioritizing Your Wellness Helps You (and Your Family) Thrive and Love Her Well: 10 Ways to Find Joy and Connection with Your Teenage Daughter, and books for teen girls, Liked and 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know and Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For, have been used widely across the country for small groups studies. Kari’s work has been featured on Focus on the Family, the Today show, Today Parents, Yahoo! News, Grown & Flown, Thrive Global, Your Teen, For Every Mom, Motherly, FaithGateway, EWTN, Jesus Calling, Ann Voskamp’s blog, The Huffington Post, and other national outlets. She also hosts the Girl Mom podcast. Kari and her husband, Harry, have four daughters and a dog named Lola. Learn more by visiting or finding Kari on Instagram and Facebook.

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