When Fear Comes, We Have a Choice

And they will come.  Fear will always find a way into our brains, our lives, our hearts.  How could it not?  We were not made for this world.  We were made for so much more, and fear is a direct result of the fact that we know this world is unpredictable and mean.  That people will let us down sometimes, crappy things will come into nice days, and (at some point) we will lose the people we love the most.  Of course we will fear.

But…when the fears come…whether they sneak in slowly or hit us like a tidal wave, we have a choice as to whether or not we will let the fear grip us.  We don’t have control over the things that creep into our minds, but we do have a choice over what we will do with them once we are there.

So, what then, do we do?  We know that God asks us to be brave, be strong, and do not be afraid.  But then what?

I constantly sift through the Bible for answers, for stories to show me hints and glimmers into the fuller life God wants for me.  This week I found Saul.  Once the chosen and anointed first king over Israel, Saul soon literally feared his way all the way to death.  Success came upon him, but when failure threatened he feared.  In 1 Samuel 15:24 “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned.  I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions.  I was afraid of the people and so I gave into them.”  Later on in 1 Samuel 18:12 “Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had left Saul.”  Saul became a slave to his fears, acting only in accordance to what he thought could solve the problems his mind came up with.  He committed his life to killing David, running always faster away from God and towards the ever changing, unreliable paths that his own fears created.  As I thought on this more, I wondered…how Saul-like have I been in response to my fears?

Somehow I bought the lie that the only way out of fear is trying to fix it.  Whatever the “it” is, my brain needs to find a way to make it better and so I react.  Hence my extensive research on how to escape from sinking cars, understanding the tell tale signs a shark is around, and obsessively studying parents magazines to learn how not to mess up my children.   And what about learning I would lose Gideon?  Fear led me down roads that literally had me paralyzed with fear and sadness and at every “action” point I tried to take I found myself at a dead end.  My Saul like fear actions finally caught up to me and it was either let the fear eat me alive or…find another way.  There had to be another way.

There is something about night time that makes fear run wild.  It happens for me, it happens for my kids...too many nights I hear "Mommy, I can't fall asleep.  I'm scared."  And what can a Mommy do except pray?  Pray for peace, God's perfect peace to bring calm in all the tired and scared parts of our minds.

There is something about night time that makes fear run wild. It happens for me, it happens for my kids…too many nights I hear “Mommy, I can’t fall asleep. I’m scared.” And what can a Mommy do except pray? Pray for peace, God’s perfect peace to bring calm in all the tired and scared parts of our minds.

David was the man Saul was trying to kill, and yes, David was very afraid too.  In Psalm 55:4-5 David cries out:

My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me.  Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.”  And for some reason I find that this comforts me so!  To see that fear is not associated with weakness and frailty, and that I don’t need to be ashamed when I afraid.  To see that Saul feared, David feared, and yet they both handled it so differently.  Psalm 56 :3-4 David goes on to say “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?”  And so, when I am afraid God I will trust in you.

It takes time and practice and a willingness to fight.  But here are some David inspired steps that help me when fears come:

-Ask God to listen.  Loud and clear, with boldness, let God know you need His full attention.

-Tell Him you are afraid.  You might feel like it goes without saying, but there is power in confessing “I am terrified.”

-Unpack your crazy.  For David this looked like literally asking God to kill Saul dead in his tracks.  For me this looked like telling God, in detail, what I did not want Gideon to be like when he came.  What I didn’t think I could handle and what wanted God to do.

-Acknowledge God’s promises.  The Bible is full of them, here are a few that I love…you might have your own.  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you.” Psalm 55:22 “In all your ways remember Him and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:6  “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

-Claim your trust in God.  Say it.  Mean it.  Psalm 55:23 “But as for me, I trust in you.”

-Give God thanks.  There is always something to be thankful for.

-Leave your fear there.  Tomorrow it might be back, but for today?  Leave. It. There.

Do you have examples in your own life of acting on your fears like Saul or trusting God with your fears like David?

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From Fear to Faith, Week 1

They let me be me in all of my crazy, and I love them for it.  Last Thursday it started, my Fear to Faith class, and as I stared into the faces of the twenty women I have been praying over for months…I was in awe.  I was excited too.  Also a little high strung on coffee, but ya know, that’s part of a woman’s study right?

To be honest they have no idea what to expect, we all know we are studying what God says about Fear and we all know our end game is Faith…but the in between I have left a mystery.  Mostly because I don’t think words do justice to what God has in store.  Secondly because I don’t want pre-determined fears to stop us from being there, really there, open to whatever God has in store each week.  I promised them I have an outline, 10 weeks that I have prayerfully toiled over, studied, and lived through myself.  But I am floored with their trust, and thankful that these women (who don’t know me) will come each week to be with me.

I wanted to share some with you too!  Maybe, if you can’t be with us in person, you would like to study alongside of us and pray along with us.  Here are a few challenges we established from the get go:

A Prayer Journal

For 10 weeks we are going to take the prayer journal challenge.  All of our prayers, thoughts, struggles, tears, and learnings are to be written down in one place.  Keeping record, hard ink record, of what is going on in our hearts over these weeks.  Some of us do this all the time, others have never done it before…but we are going into the business of fear redemption and we don’t want to miss a beat.  We want to be able to scroll back to the beginning, we want to be able to write down every answered prayer, we want to be able to confess every deep dark fear and SEE with our eyes what God does.

 

Active Listening

In order to be able to have a shot at fighting our loud, boisterous, and often all consuming fears we have to learn how to listen and hone in on the quiet still voice of the Holy Spirit…through which God wants to help us.  We have to believe in Him first, we have to strive to know Him second, and we then have to listen for Him.  So many days I sat on my bed crying, weeping because I felt all alone in my pain and sorrow.  Google came up short again, kind words couldn’t help pain so deep, and no one knows your own pain and fear except…well…except you and God.  Listening was my only prayer.  Listening, hearing, and writing.  I pray that over these next 10 weeks you might try too.

I joked in class about how at first I felt funny writing down what I heard God telling me.  Like I was being blasphemous for putting God speak down in my journal or self conscious that someone would call me crazy.  But those nudges?  Those little heart prompts that you aren’t really sure what they are but they grab your attention?  Write first, and test later.  You can always scribble out or erase…but its a good practice to get into.  This was a big way God used to encourage my heart and love on me in my darkest moments.

 

Day to Day Trust

I didn’t pass out a syllabus.  What the heck kind of a teacher am I?   I know its crazy, and I know I maybe should have…but we don’t…always…need…to…know right?  I mean if you are me you need to know everything!  Whats happening for breakfast?  Whats happening after that?  What’s happening tonight?  Tomorrow too, I want to know what the plan is for tomorrow.  Also next week, next month, Christmas time, and we had better start planning that summer vacation before the calendar fills up!!  And its this exact need to know where so much fear can come from.  We can’t know all the time.  In fact most times even when we think we know, we don’t really.  And so there is value, even in the small things, practicing day to day trust.  That sure I will pencil in the fact that I will go to class, or commit to following from afar…but the details are God’s to fill in.  Sure I will pencil in the commitment to get up in the morning, take my kids to school, and keep my coffee appointment with a friend…but the details are God’s to fill in.  How about for 10 weeks, give a practice to not…needing…to know.

My penciled in plans said I was going to Connecticut to help my friend with her newborn baby.  The details?  God had plans for those I never could have imagined and I am so thankful.  Here I was expecting to go be the helper, but holding Naomi and being with sweet friends blessed me more than I ever could have imagined.

My penciled in plans said I was going to Connecticut to help my friend with her newborn baby. The details? God had plans for I never could have imagined and I am so thankful. Here I was expecting to go be the helper, but holding Naomi and being with sweet friends blessed me more than I ever could have imagined.

Another unexpected detail...would you believe we have been friends since we were 5 years old?  It was like we never left Kindergarten.

Another unexpected detail…would you believe we have been friends since we were 5 years old? It was like we never left Kindergarten.

 

Those are some of the nitty gritty’s.  I would love for you to journey with us too!  As I told one of my good friends who is in the class…I really think God has something up His sleeve.

“Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled” John 14:1

Do you trust Jesus?  That really is the question.  It is the question upon which everything in our lives, in the Bible, in our fears, and in our faith stands upon.  Can we trust Him?  I mean do we even believe He is trustworthy?

If the answer is “Yes,” if the answer for you is yes…I mean really yes, then it carries certain implications.  It means that you believe Him when He says to you “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God.  Trust also in me.”  John 14:1

When Jesus said these words He was speaking to His disciples.  The same disciples that, with just one sentence, Jesus trampled their expectations, hopes, dreams, and security.  You see when Jesus told the disciples that He was going to die it meant He was NOT staying to establish the earthly kingdom they were hoping in.  It meant that immense grief and sorrow was about to be theirs as they would watch their best friend and teacher be murdered.  It meant that they too could be hanging on a cross to die in the name of Jesus.  All these things were very true and very real circumstances for the disciples and has there ever been a better circumstance for fear to be an acceptable reaction?  And what does Christ say?  He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Jesus knew the world, He knew the pain, He knew the torment He himself was about to experience yet because He knew the power available to us through God, He could actually ask us to not…be…afraid.

So I say to you as I say to the beautiful, lovely, admirable, already inspiring women God put in my path.  Can you really trust Jesus?  Do His words mean anything to you?  Think on it.  Pray on it.  Journal on it.  And dig through the entire chapter of John 14.

Until next week know I thank God for you everyday.  I know He has placed you here with me, together, a group that has cried together, prayed together, and admired God’s workmanship together.  Together let’s see what He has in store next.

 

Raising up the Broken to Life

It has started happening again, and I promised myself I wouldn’t let it.  All the old stresses and lies creeping back in.  The stresses of my house is not clean, my kids are not clean, my schedule is a packed mess and so is my brain type stresses!  I knew this would happen.  Its why I wrote this post: I Never Want to Forget…  But now, being in it again, its not as easy as I thought it would be to turn off all the crazy and hone in on what is most important.

Today I found myself in my kitchen, frantically cleaning and packing lunches in between the 9:00 am dropoff, the 11:30 am Gymboree Class, and the 1:00 pm pickup (seriously, like already??) and I just…had…to…stop.  My brain has been whirling lately and 90% of it has been downcast thinking.  The wah wah wah’s of all that is bad about me, my days, and my current state of crazy.  Its a mindset I am familiar with, but honestly it hasn’t flared up again since Gideon.  Gideon changed things, and now here I am changing back??  No.  I can’t.  I won’t.  But what can I do.

For me its praying and singing praises.  When my mind gets full of lies and my days gets full of scheduling, its easy to get into the routine of giving into the first thought that pops in my mind, whether its good, bad, or ugly.  Sometimes I need to just stop.  Stop.  And while stopping not filling that space either.  Not even running to my journal, or writing, or reading, or studying…not even those very good things.  Just stopping and letting words escape my mouth on an over to over basis.

This morning it was these:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

that saved a wretch like me

I once was lost, but now I’m found

Was blind but now I see

I can see you now

I can see the love in your eyes

Laying yourself down

Raising up the broken to life

Bringing up the broken to life.  Bringing me up, from broken to life.  That is what He did in me before and I know He can do it again.  Yes even the mundane small issue of my today.

My husband said something very wise in response to my blog post last week.  He said, “You know what is really awesome?  Is that God meets you in the exact moment and in the exact way that you need it.  And it won’t be the same for us as it is for someone else.  God meets us each according to what is going on in our own lives.  He knows us.”  Dave is so right.

At one point I used to hesitate in writing, in blogging, in sharing because I was afraid of people either criticizing or praising me.  I was afraid of the criticism for obvious reasons, but I was afraid of the praise because I know if I do anything at all that is praiseworthy it is not mine to take credit for.  And if God has done something amazing in us, in our family, in our lives, and in our loss it is not something to copy and paste…its something to bring attention to how amazingly strong, powerful and good God is.

And so today, it was me in my kitchen, dropped bread at my heels that I was about to put away, my cute 2 year old looking at me like I was a mad woman, and singing at the top of my lungs because that is what I needed to get the junk out of my head.  It might look different for you.  In fact I pray that it does.  But I believe God wants to meet you in your kitchen too.  Or bedroom, or office, or the horrific carpool line, or classroom, or dorm room and give you too a stop dead in your tracks think on the God of this universe moment.

This weekend I went to a Mother Daughter retreat with my very good friend Greta and her daughter Joyner.  I was out of my skin excited to spend such time with my daughter Faith and to go to a place where she too could have a meeting with God moment.  She was a joyful ball of contagious excitement and I wanted to live in every moment with her for forever.  At one point she even looked at me and said “this is great!”  And it was, it was a memory with her I will treasure forever.

But I hadn’t tackled my brain crazy before I left for it, and at times I found that my mind was simply going through the motions.  See that’s the thing, I’m not sure if its both men and women…you can holla at me and let me know what you think about that…but I somehow have the ability to be both entirely present in mind and body in one place and totally still off in lala land burdened by something at the very same time.  I was there with my daughter, with my friends, having a blast and so thankful for that time but the lies of life were still swirling and they needed more attention then just me keep pushing them aside.  Pretending they weren’t there at all.

ricecrispie

Thank God that even sometimes, though our brains are distracted, He still blesses us with amazing memories and learnings.

Thank God that even sometimes, though our brains are distracted, He still blesses us with amazing memories and learnings.

I needed to stop.  To stop fully and wholly and hone in.  And I don’t know about you but for me I need to battle bad thinking out of my mind until it finally leaves.  This was the verse I kept reminding myself of, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Divine power, is right.  Strongholds, is right.  Having to literally weapon away thoughts that crumble my spirit, that…is…right.  For clarification purposes I will confess that in the midst of the stress my brain decided to convince me that I am a pretty crappy person, that my decisions are horrific, and that every large to small regular life hiccup that our family experiences was somehow traceable back to me.  I shouldn’t write, I shouldn’t teach, I shouldn’t do anything but sit on my couch and feel bad for the people who have to know me.  Please I’m not telling you this to feel bad, not at all.  I am being honest with you in hopes that maybe, just maybe, you might think like this too sometimes and realize that you are not alone.

Do you need to stop dead in your tracks for a minute today too?  If you do, I am praying for you.  That God will meet you in the perfect time, place, and way to show you that He is there and that he wants to bring your broken to life.

If you haven’t been able to tell already, I’m mildly/very obsessed with Hillsong United and they sing the Amazing Grace version I was embarrassingly belting in my kitchen called Broken Vessels.  Here it is, its another good one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are You Fixated On?

Driving off of a bridge into water with my kids in the car.

Intruders coming into my house at night to hurt us.

Miscarriages.

Spinal taps.

Tsunamis (this is due to recurring tsunami nightmares I have)

Sharks, definitely getting eaten by one.

Cancer.

Jesus coming back again (just being honest, the idea of the end of the world used to freak me out).

Car accidents.

Plane crashes.

Tornadoes.

Shootings.

Being too fat.

Being too skinny.

Being a terrible, mom, wife, person, friend, family member.

People being mad at me.

Baby Loss.

Child Loss.

Losing a baby far into pregnancy.

Loss, crisis, tragedy…death…

When Faith and David were little little I remember laying in bed each night so plagued by the fact that my immense love for them seemed to have created in me a heightened sense of fear.  I couldn't sleep thinking of all the terrible things, out of my control, that I feared could happen to them.  I wondered how I could survive with fear weighing heavily on me all the time.

When Faith and David were little little I remember laying in bed each night so plagued by the fact that my immense love for them seemed to have created in me a heightened sense of fear. I couldn’t sleep thinking of all the terrible things, out of my control, that I feared could happen to them. I wondered how I could survive with fear weighing heavily on me all the time.

These are all things I used to fear on a regular basis.  You might have a list like this too.  I wonder what yours looks like?  I am sure it looks a little different than mine., but if we are honest, the list can get pretty long.  Too long.

I got the privilege close after Gideon passed away to speak to a group of women about all that God had taught me through carrying and losing a child.  I shared similar things with them, about all the things I used to be afraid of.  When I was finished talking one of the women looked at me and asked, “You mean you really don’t fear those things anymore?”  This question took me a little off guard.  I found myself pausing and asking myself, “Wait, DO I REALLY mean it? Do I really not fear them anymore?”  What happened in me next is why I am so excited about teaching a class on fear.  What happened in me next is why I was so confident that my answer was truly YES.  Yes I really mean it, I don’t fear them anymore.

What happened in me next was a fast rewind and fast forward sequence in my mind of all that has happened and what could happened.  I pictured the ultrasound, the crying, the kisses, the casket, and more crying.  I saw the Gideon tattoos, Gideon Blue, Gideon Bear, and the peace of Christ transcending all understanding.  Then my mind wandered through my fears.  I pictured losing another child, car accidents, drownings, even plane crashes.  All in a whirl my brain went to all the scaries of the past and future.  All the places we don’t want our mind to go because it ups our heart rate and prompts anxious living.  When I went “there” what I found was that my heart was still…well…at peace.  God’s work in me stood strong.  His surgical removal of fear was successful and that is why I cannot wait to sit hand in hand with my friends and sisters in Christ and show them what He showed me.  

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

The pages of my Bible are tear stained.  On my darkest days, when I could barely get out of bed, if I mustered up anything it was just to open up the Bible.  If even for a second to grasp at a truth to get me through the next moment.  What I found is that that the options are limitless.  When it comes to the human heart and our feeble attempts to grasp control of our life,  the Bible is full of help.  Because I believe that more than anything, throughout history, fear grips hearts.  I mean there were days and still are places where war lives outside of front doors.  Outside the very beds where babes sleep there is death and destruction.  The mother, the parents of those children, they are just like you and me.  Fear potentially taking hostage every second of everyday.  What about The  Roman Coliseum?  I cannot explain to you why, but I have thought about those families a lot.  What did it feel like to be staring at the gate, your precious children in your arms, knowing that once its raised you will be brutally murdered in front of a crowd.  How??  How…how…How as a world, as a race, as human kind are we even still functioning knowing that such evil exists?

When I was suffering from morning sickness while pregnant with Gideon I was reading a book called Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper.  The book chronicles women of faith throughout history and what they sacrificed and went through.  It was the perfect medicine for my whinings about simply being nauseous.  One in particular stood out to me.  Her name was Ahn Ei Sook, a Korean woman who stood strong and bold in her faith during a time in the 1930’s when the Japanese were occupying Korea and requiring all people to bow before a shrine of the Japanese sun goddess.  Shrines were built in every city and village and one day, as a teacher, Ei Sook was required to take all of her students and bow to the shrine in front of Japanese officials waiting to arrest anyone who didn’t.  Ei Sook said this, “I could honestly say I was not afraid of dying, but I feared being tortured without dying.  How long could this body endure?  What if I gave up my faith under the relentless torture?  Just thinking of it made me so faint I could hardly see where I was walking…’Let not your heart be troubled,’ Jesus was saying to me. ‘Believe in God, believe also in me…I will not leave you desolate…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.’  A light was turned on in the darkness of my heart…My fear of suffering was transformed into the thrill of starting some splendid adventure.  My mind was calm.”

It is a quick and easy read that really shows what the power of God can do in a life dedicated fully to Him. http://www.amazon.com/Faithful-Women-Their-Extraordinary-God/dp/1581346735

It is a quick and easy read that really shows what the power of God can do in a life dedicated fully to Him.
Its on Amazon here.

Its a beautiful thing to be able to think of such horrors and somehow find peace.  To be faced with mental, physical and/or emotional torture and find calm,  Its what I pray God continues to accomplish, not only in my heart, but in the heart of many.  You see we FIX our eyes, with an obsessed life gripping fixation, on what is unseen.  We do not lose heart.  Though the days are evil and life can be scary, we do not lose heart.

My daughter prayed for me the other day.  It was a moment I will cherish in my heart for all days.  She has not always been the “prayer” of the family.  Her brothers like to chime in and even fight over who gets to pray first!  Any opportunity for sibling rivalry in our house.  I guess prayer is as noble of a cause as you will find! But, this particular night Faith offered to pray for me.  Daddy sweetly shared that I was leaving to go share with the women’s ministry about my class and it would be good for them to pray for me.  Faith spoke up and uttered the most precious words, “God I pray you would be with Mommy tonight.  I pray you would help her to not be worried and I pray that Mommy would know that you are with her every single moment.  Amen.”  Has there ever been a more perfect prayer?

Today I pray for you too, in the words of sweet Faith,  may you not worry and may you always know that God is with you every single moment.  Amen!

Be Strong and Take Heart

Sunday was just one of those days.  The hard, but good, sad, but a woman made new type of crying days.  I did have a warning that it would be like this when my friend Greta texted me before church, “Bring your tissues, you are going to need them.”  It felt good to be known, to be thought of and loved and so I went to church as prepared as I could be.  Off I went with a little faster heartrate, my three kids, and my sweet sister in law Rachel.

As soon as the sermon began I knew why  it was going to be one of those mornings.  Besides the fact that it was the 31st (Gideon’s 5 month anniversary), besides the fact that Mitch was preaching (our pastor who literally walked hand in hand with us from the day of diagnosis until the day we had to say goodbye), and even if it was only for those two things I might have been weepy…but to top it off Mitch was preaching on what we should do in times of crisis.  “And you will have crisis,” he said, “if you aren’t in crisis right now you probably will be soon and you need to know what to do when it happens.”

The first time I sat in Mitch's office, I couldn't even say Gideon's name.  It hurt too much.  I couldn't imagine what was to come and everything felt like it was spinning out of control.  Months later Mitch stood as a pillar of strength for our family.        This was a precious moment, as Pastor Mitch got to give kisses to the very baby he watched change our lives forever.  Mitch is a big reason why Gideon's name is so precious, sweet and easy for me to say today.

The first time I sat in Mitch’s office, I couldn’t even say Gideon’s name. It hurt too much. I couldn’t imagine what was to come and everything felt like it was spinning out of control. Months later Mitch stood as a pillar of strength for our family. This was a precious moment, as Pastor Mitch got to give kisses to the very baby he watched change our lives forever. Mitch is a big reason why Gideon’s name is so precious, sweet and easy for me to say today.

Mitch is right.  I wish he wasn’t.  I wish that this life came with some type of “pass.”  Some type of “okay you’ve done your time and now you don’t need to worry about one more bad thing happening to you for as long as you live”type pass.  But no matter who we are, how “good” we think we’ve been, or even how close to God we are there is no such pass.  Its hard to hear, but its true.  And so we should be prepared shouldn’t we?  Not fearful or worrying everyday when it will happen.  But armed and ready and surrounded by people who will love us and care for us when it happens.  Grounded in truth that even in death, there is hope.  We will be redeemed someday.  And in all of this a weird thing happened on Sunday morning.   I listened and I cried and I missed my baby boy, but all the while deeply peaceful because  I know that even if it happens again…God will be there then too.

I heard a scream,” he said, “as my son and I were happily playing legos, in the middle of an ordinary day, the screams of my wife coming from upstairs showed me that something bad was happening.”  Well actually I lied, he didn’t say “my son and I” because Mitch likes to leave you hanging until the very end of the morning.  The whole time you thought Mitch was talking about a couple he knew, but little did we know he was talking about he and his wife.  His own story of crisis and what happened when it hit.  His son was 4 years old and his wife was 30 weeks pregnant.  Blood came, then the screams, then the rushing to the hospital.  Then the plea”God I don’t know what is happening but we need you right now!” Then the phone calls upon phone calls from friends, “Mitch we are praying for you.  We don’t know what is happening and we don’t know what will happen. But we are here for you.  We love you.”  They almost lost their daughter that day.  Now a senior in high school, ready to head to college next year, they don’t know why God chose to save Lindsay that day.  And as Mitch spoke the tears rolled, “We don’t know what happened that day, or why it happened, but we know that God was there.  And for the families upon families who have  sat in my office whose child was not saved, in their time of crisis God was there too.”

I wish I had the words to say when my sister in law held my hand and said, “Maria I don’t know how you do it?”  And so Rachel (since I know you are reading and I couldn’t speak through my tears on Sunday!) I would like to answer now!  I honestly can’t explain how I do it, but I do know that I am.  Somehow, someway I wake up each day and fight away the fears and the whatifs and the crippling sadness and I smile because Gideon was mine.  We are making it, somehow someway because of the outpouring of prayer for us.  Literally from the day we received news of Gideon’s Potter’s Syndrome and still to this day people have been praying for our family.  Praying for us in ways we couldn’t pray through our tears and providing for us in ways our hands did not have strength to do for ourselves.  All of this because we decided to lay our lives bare to the people around us instead of hiding (though in the beginning it was all I wanted to do).  Yes, there are good days and bad days sure, but our family is okay.  Better than we ever have been because life is less scary once God is proved true.  I am doing it, because He gives strength to those who ask for it.  You know it is a little funny, part of me thought the same thing as Mitch was speaking.  “How am I still breathing?”  Because at the end of Mitch’s too close to home cliffhanger story telling, there was truth.  Truth that keeps me going, and truth I knew that other people needed to hear too.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:13-14

In the upcoming weeks I am going to start talking a lot about fear.  This fall I am teaching a class at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville NC called From Fear to Faith.  You can read about it here and sign up to come join me if you are around.  I mention this, because a sermon like Mitch’s used to instill great fear in me.  I had never experienced great loss or crisis before this and the logical part of me felt like it was only a matter of time before the hammer fell.  I would rationalize myself in and out of fearing what could come and I lost a lot of minutes of my life living in fear.  The ironic part of it is, that in the wake of one of my worst fears coming true I realized so clearly the reasons why fear is a sad waste of non-crisis times.  I will unpack this a ton more in the coming weeks, but for now I pray that my words and Mitch’s words, don’t instill fear but instead inspire an action plan.  Afterall, even if crisis never knocks at your door…there is so much love and help to be given to those to whom it has.

If you want to listen to Mitch’s own words, you can listen to it here.  (its second from the top called Reel Community: Gravity).