Recently I had a conversation with one of our YearOut students about fear. Through reading one of our assigned books, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, this particular student was realizing that fears play a far more prominent role in her life than she had realized. As we discussed some of her fears, I realized anew how fear can play such a powerful role in my life as well.
I have battled fear about my identity, fear in relationship, fear of taking risks, the list could go on and on. Through God’s grace, I feel as if many of those fears have been met at the cross. Christ sheds light on how these fears cripple and burden me, and then, if I choose in faith to hand over my fears, he shoulders that burden for me.
Over the past couple of months the fear that has reared its ugly head in my face over and over is that of concern and care for my children. This fear has particularly been brought to the forefront as we have dealt with illness. Before Owen came around, Eliana had experienced some sickness, but not to the extent that both of them have experienced recently. In their illness I had to come to grips with the fact that, though I am their mother and in charge of their care, I am not in fact in control of anything. I can do my best, but I must daily acknowledge that my children are gifts that do not fully belong to me. Even as I write these words, I know I have a long way to go as far as allowing the truth of this admission to become heart and not just head knowledge.
Confession time: our family has been practically existing in the realm of stress overload in the last couple of months. The factors that played into this stress are many, not the least of which is extreme lack of sleep (definitely different than the regular newborn variety). However, I am realizing more and more that by allowing myself to live in fear regarding my children’s health rather than choosing faith the panorama of our family life might have looked different. I must ask myself, what lessons am I teaching my children through my actions? Because, after all, all parents know that actions speak louder than words!
Our God has not promised to save us from the difficulties of life. The truth is that our fears can become reality. The question is, are we going to allow the threat of that fear, or even that realized fear, to control us? Or will we allow God to shoulder our burden and walk alongside us? God has not promised us deliverance in the short run, but he has promised his presence. I want my kids to know that I trust God even through the most difficult times of life, that this isn't something I simply say, but something I live.