Driving off of a bridge into water with my kids in the car.
Intruders coming into my house at night to hurt us.
Tsunamis (this is due to recurring tsunami nightmares I have)
Sharks, definitely getting eaten by one.
Jesus coming back again (just being honest, the idea of the end of the world used to freak me out).
Being too fat.
Being too skinny.
Being a terrible, mom, wife, person, friend, family member.
People being mad at me.
Losing a baby far into pregnancy.
Loss, crisis, tragedy…death…
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.”
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!