I told a story in my last post about overcoming fear. But it was only part of the story. The rest of the story I’ve found myself repeating in conversations ever since. A phone conversation with my son who writes music, and he tells me he’s written a song. About fear. Over coffee with a friend, she points to her arm, says she should make it her tattoo. God, I trust you. I hear their stories, and I tell mine, no coincidence, and I know it.
I was a terribly fearful child. I suppose my mom could tell this story best. I remember in snippets, the scary things. Swim lessons. Amusement park rides. Adventure of pretty much any kind. What I remember best is the way I prayed. Alone in bed. I’d bring my list to God, making it long as my imagination could muster. Thinking—if I thought it, and then prayed it, it couldn’t happen. God, protect me from fires and snakes and bears and bad guys. Protect me from tornadoes and car accidents and spiders and wars... It must have worked. Looking now at this list, and seeing how He certainly kept me from nearly all of these childhood terrors.
I kept myself from doing anything too frightening throughout my teenage years. I was, in a word, BORING. I read books, studied hard, played music. I did not go skinny dipping, drink beer, or ski black diamonds. I was careful with boys. Most of these things worked to my advantage. I stayed, safely, on the straight-and-narrow. I remember a time in the winter, visiting a friend who had an outdoor hot tub. My girlfriends thought it would be exciting to jump back and forth between snow and warm water. I was sure the experience would make me sick. Which it did. Proving my own wisdom of my play-it-safe life.
And then I met Kyle. Proof of the old adage, opposites attract. Kyle jumped off cliffs, barefoot water-skied, enjoyed in general all things adventure. He may or may not have been a fan of skinny-dipping. (He was careful with girls, and did not drink beer. These adventures were strictly off the list for a good Christian boy.) Kyle, to this day, likes that racing-heart-feeling I work so hard to avoid. I once said how it will be wonderful in Heaven to climb mountains with no fear, whatsoever, of falling. To which my husband responded, “What would be the joy in that?!”
As you might imagine, this approach to life made me a fabulous Mom. For real. I mean, can you imagine the consequences of raising BOYS with two adventure-seeking parents? Clearly this whole opposites-attract thing was God’s brilliance from the get-go. Someone has to keep the children ALIVE. (Perhaps Kyle and I tend toward the norm when it comes to the roles of moms and dads. But there are exceptions, to be sure. My friends, Scott and Angie, recently brought their four children to our lake, and I was surprised to see it was mostly Daddy keeping the littles safe from firepit and water danger.)
You might assume a mom like me would have spent most of her childrearing years in full-alert, awake-at-night, constant worry. And this, I can only imagine, would have been a very realistic assumption, if it hadn’t been for an honest-to-goodness miracle I experienced when my children were young. God, in His amazing mercy, through a pretty intense experience of His utter grace, miraculously made me a mostly fearless mom. I’m not even sure I can fully explain this, and maybe my boys, or my husband, would tell a different story. I was, to be sure, still cautious. The guys could make a long list of all the things they’ve never seen Mom do, a list matching the descriptions, above. And yet. Rarely, if ever, did I forbid them from living on the razor’s edge of adventure. (See every post I’ve ever written about Luke.) And. Shockingly, mostly to me, I did NOT live in a constant state of mom-worry. I was, to a large extent, actually fearless.
Which is why. Over the past few months. I knew. Something. Was up.
Something, called Fear.
Fear, in the pit of my stomach. Fear in my Mom-thoughts. Fear in my out-of-control reflex instincts. Fear in a most insidious and annoying way, had somehow snuck its way in, taken up residence, and set up shop. And I knew it.
Mostly I knew it, because this wasn’t me! Cautious, yes, but fearful. NO. I tell you this with humble honestly. I had not, for decades, been a fearful mama. But here I was, a jaw-clenching, heart pounding, often sleepless, fearful wreck. Goodness-gracious. What in the world?!
And I knew. It was time to go back. To be THAT MOM. Again. Time to say NO MORE to this fear.
It happened first at church. A sermon, and a song, and genuine surrender. A picture of GOD—there—with me—in all the worst possible bad things. I imagined myself, releasing this fear, letting it go. Letting THEM go. My people. And trusting HIM. With them. My old faithful prayer, repeated. Again and again and again. God, I trust you. I trust you. I trust you.
Until. It was over.
This old enemy fear. Defeated. Again.