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Copyright 2013


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Turning fear into faith

I am a type-A, anal control freak…and I’m not afraid to admit it. But what do these attributes of my personality really say about me? I’m just plain afraid! I’m afraid of letting go of any control that I think I have. Afraid that if I do my world will come crashing down. As a believer, though, my confidence should be in the Lord, not myself. Where is my faith in Him? Did I just forget that God–the maker of heaven and earth–is much bigger than I am? Where can I find faith?

There are so many instances in the Bible where God showed the people His glory in the midst of impossible situations. He brought Jesus back from the dead!

A book that I’ve been reading takes a look at the issue of turning fear into faith. The author took the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-32) as an instance when Jesus’ disciples let their faith override their fear. Several lessons can be learned from this story.

  • Obey fully– sometimes we don’t know why we feel God is calling us to do something, especially when it’s something that we might not feel compelled to do. We need to obey Him and trust that He has a plan and that we will be taken care of no matter what.
  • Accept God’s comfort– just because we’re obeying God doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel scarey…going into unknown territory isn’t comfortable for many people. Remember what it feels like to have a parent hug you and comfort you after a nightmare? This is what our Father is doing for us.
  • Keep a childlike faith– how many little kids are completely logical in their everyday thinking? Mine still think the bathtub drain will swallow them up if they get too close! As adults we take logic a step too far when it comes to obeying God…we rationalize why it’s not a good idea, why there’s no way that we can live the way God is asking us to live. God asks us to step out of our comfort zones in seemingly illogical ways but having that childlike faith in Him, that he will take care of us, can help us step out of those zones into the unknown.
  • Listen for God’s invitation– “Stepping out in faith outside God’s will is foolishness” (Savage, 2009). Listen to God, have a conversation with Him and hear His invitation.
  • Get out of the boat– Just as Peter took that first step out of the boat to walk on water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29) we too need to get out of the proverbial boat and walk toward Jesus trusting that He won’t let us drown.
  • Keep focused on Jesus– When Peter took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink…this can very easily happen to us. Our doubts begin to surface and fear wells up in every crevice of our bodies when our eyes aren’t on our Savior.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ~Psalm 16:8

  • Grab God’s hand– you may not feel His hand necessarily in the most expected ways…He might be reaching out via other followers or situations. He has amazing ways of sending us encouragement at just the right times.
  • Recognize the value of storms in our lives– It’s not easy for some to reach out in our darkest hours and it’s definitely not easy to recognize that there is value to these times. But these are the times when our faith has the potential to grow exponentially as does our intimacy with the Lord.
  • Respond with worship– Give credit where credit is deserved. Praise Him, thank Him, tell others of His works in you!

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” ~Matthew 14:33

Resource: Savage, Jill. Real Moms…Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009).

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What was life like before?

Before the babies, the all-night feeding sessions, the dirty diapers. Before the time when taking a shower every 3-4 days was something I only did when I was camping.

What was life like? Sometimes I have a hard time remembering. I didn’t have to pre-plan when I was going to use the bathroom. I didn’t have to feel rushed to make a meal because I just need the whining and screaming to stop! I didn’t have to sneak upstairs to fold the laundry and hope that I could get five minutes of peace and quiet.

And from what I remember I never really had a problem taking care of myself…at least not the previous couple of years before the babies. I remember sleeping in, taking a hot shower just about every day, eating a meal while sitting down at the table, taking quiet walks, feeling the sweat roll down my back while doing Bikram yoga, stretching my body. All this seemed pretty instinctive before the babies. Now that I’m in the thick of raising these little dependent people I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around what I need to do to take care of myself. I’ve tried to make lists of what I thought were the essentials…getting all the beds made, doing 1-2 loads of laundry a day, planning meals at least a week in advance, organizing all the incoming mail/paperwork/clutter into neat little cubbies with color-coordinated labels. When I reread these lists, however, I began to realize that none of these things are essential to taking care of myself! Rocket science, right?

The problem is, I honestly don’t know if I can tell you! At one point I went to a therapist and she actually had to tell me what I needed to do…eat, drink water, sleep, move. You would think this would be pretty instinctual! But now, I see that list and I think, sure of course I need to eat but there has to be more…what am I missing? What is the key ingredient that will all of a sudden make things run smoothly again? Do I really need to pay someone again to tell me what to do? No, I know I can figure this out myself…but how?

I’ve been called an extremist by my husband. I’m all-or-nothing. If I can’t eat well all the time, I won’t eat at all. If I can’t exercise all the time, I won’t exercise at all. If I can’t sleep all the time, I won’t sleep at all. And the list goes on. I get so angry that I can’t do these things 100% perfect, 100% of the time. It seems that I might be “type A,” a perfectionist…doesn’t it? Sometimes that’s funny to joke about, other times I see these tendencies in my 5-year-old and my 3-year-old and it really worries me. I don’t want them to go through life feeling like if they can’t be perfect they aren’t worthy. I don’t want them to give up easily because they can’t do things right the first time. I don’t want them refrain from making goals or starting projects because they aren’t sure they can see them through in their entirety. I don’t want them to sacrifice their health and well-being. But if they see a role model do all these things how will they learn otherwise?


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Nightmares

As a child I can remember a few prominent themes that seemed to pop up in my nightmares. The death of my grandparents, who I would consider to have been my primary caretakers during my childhood. Being stuck in a dark basement (usually my grandparents’) surrounded by closed doors that would sometimes mysteriously open and shut. Being caught in a maze of sorts that at points would lead into the water always leaving me to fear that I would drown. I can almost see each of those nightmares as vividly as I could when I was young. They left me breathless and in tears then.

I’m not really into dream interpretation. I’m sure there is something to be said for the role the subconscious plays.

Was I afraid of not being taken care of? Was I repressing negative emotions? Was I feeling overwhelmed? The answer to all of these could be yes. And I can tell you right now, the answer to all these questions in the present day is a resounding “YES!”

So many parts of me want to rewind my life and have a do-over. I might not be able to change other people but if I could just change my response to them maybe things would have been better then and would be better now.

Would I be a different person today? Does it matter? God didn’t give me the life I wish I would have had. He didn’t make me the person I wish I would have been. And while I might not feel worthy and unconditionally loved in the eyes and hearts of people in my life, I’m beginning to realize that it doesn’t matter because I am worthy and unconditionally loved by my Father.

I am human, though…I struggle with valuing what other people think of me. I still feel extreme amounts of hurt disappointment in myself when I don’t measure up to expectations. Sometimes I let this hurt show but most of the time I shove that hurt into the basement behind a closed door. The only one that can see this hurt at all times is God and He still loves me. Only He has the power to open those doors.

Father, help me to trust that you are taking care of me even when the nightmares say otherwise. Keep working in me, open those doors that need to be opened and shut those that serve no purpose. Give me peace, calm my mind, give me clarity and focus. Let your will be done. Amen.