Friday, April 15, 2011

Fear Not: Part 8

(If you missed the earlier posts in this series, you can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7.)

Shortly after we had our first child, Tali, I found myself really overwhelmed by fears about her safety.  When she would cry the lies of fear would shout, “Maybe she’s crying because there’s something deathly wrong with her.  Maybe she has some sort of incurable disease and won’t make it through the night.  If I was a better mom I’d know what’s wrong with her.  I should be able to help her and keep her happy!”

The lies were strong but with the help of my husband and friends, I went to God’s Word and searched for truths that would help me fight for faith.  I made a simple little sheet with the lies I was thinking and truths about God that combatted them.  Tali would start crying, I was sometimes crying too, but I’d grab up my sheet of truths and start praying to God and preaching to myself.

I’d pray from Isaiah 41:10; “Lord, I don’t know why she’s crying and I’m scared.  But You promise that You’re with me.  I’m scared that something’s really wrong.  Father, help me  believe that you’re going to help me.  Lord, give me wisdom to help her. Please help me, Lord.  Help me not to fear right now!” 

And then I’d speak to myself.  "Ok, I’m not all-knowing but God is.  He is sovereign over Tali’s life, and only He can keep her alive; I can’t.  I’m not a perfect mom and I never will be.  I'll never know how to perfectly help my daughter no matter how hard I try.  I’m a sinner saved by grace.  But God is perfect and He is able to sustain Tali’s life and to help me."

I’d pray and then I’d talk to myself.  And then about 30 seconds later, I’d have to do it all over again.  It was a long, hard, exhausting fight.  But over time, I began to see peace increasing in my heart and fears when Tali cried stared to weaken.  This practice of talking to God and talking to myself when a variety of fears struck, became a common practice for me.  The Holy Spirit really used those means to bring about true change in my heart.  I became much less characterized by fear and much more characterized by peace in God.

I saw the fruit of this change most clearly over the past year when I faced a pretty scary situation with my health.  After Addie Beth was born I just didn’t feel quite right. At first I just chalked it up to post-baby exhaustion.  I started having pretty bad digestive issues, awful headaches, and trouble regulating my body temperature.  I  was so tired that it was hard to even change a diaper and I’d have to sit down and rest after I walked up the stairs.  I couldn’t think clearly, everything seemed like too much to handle.  I was eating a full sized meal every two hours but dropping weight.  I felt overwhelmed, angry, and depressed all at the same time.  And then I started having serious heart palpitations, even in the middle of the night.

The fears started screaming, “What if I die? What if I can’t take care of my kids?  What if I have an incurable disease?”  And then, I ended up in the emergency room with a resting heart-rate of 140.  That was a scary situation.  I found out that I have a thyroid condition that may plague me for life, yet when I heard that, I was much less afraid than I anticipated. Instead of being consumed with fears like I have been most of my life, there was help for me in that moment and in the weeks to come to trust God. I wasn’t able to pray anything lengthy in those moments, but I kept asking, "Lord help me.  I know You’re good.  Help me believe it.” I tried to speak the truth to myself, “He’s promised He’ll be with me and help me.  Even if I don't see how, He is going to help me.”  

I didn’t know what His plan was or what the outcome would be.  I didn’t know then and I still don’t know now how this autoimmune disorder with my thyroid will affect every element of my future in this life.  But I do know that the outcome is in the hands of the One who promises to uphold me with His righteous right hand.  And believing that He is with me is making a difference even as my health continues to go up and down.

I’m not saying it’s been easy-it’s been a fight.  The lies of fear continue to whisper or even shout in my ears on a regular basis.  But when I hear those lies in my heart, with the Spirit’s powerful help, I’ve been crying out to God.  I’ve been speaking the truth about God to myself.   And when I’m finding it hard to do those things, I’m going to great books, great family, and great friends and asking them to help me believe what is true.  And I’m finding that overall, I’m experiencing a lot of peace in what really is a frightening situation.

You heard a bit of my story so you and I both know that for me to not fear something genuinely frighting is a huge change!  God really does weaken the fears in our hearts as we fight for faith in Him.

(2 more posts to come!)

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2 Responses to “Fear Not: Part 8”

  1. I like your plan: Speaking truth to yourself.....God's truth, specifically that He is Almighty, Able, and in control combined with remembering His infinite love has helped me to face fears about the future....about job performance...even about the upcoming birth of our grandson...

  2. "Fight the good fight!"

    I am praising God for training His children in the way they should go.
    Love you!