This week I'm giving away Max Lucado's Fearless. In it, he addresses issues that many of us struggle with:
• fear of not mattering
• fear of disappointing God
• fear of not protecting our children
• fear of worst cast scenarios
• fear of violence
• fear of life's final moments
• fear that God is not real
• fear of global calamity
It was a good, inspirational read. Comment on this post to enter the drawing by Friday, February 19.
Here's a little something anecdotal from my life in regards to fear.
When I was 14, my Saturday nights generally consisted of babysitting my cousins Becky and Bethanie while my aunt and uncle bowled. After the girls would go to bed, I'd settle in for episodes of that old Nickelodeon show and scare myself half out of my mind. And the show wasn't even really that scary.
(I have an extremely overactive imagination and still tend to freak myself out from time to time because I still like to watch weird, sci-fi, supernatural, mystery type stuff.)
However, for the most part, as an adult I don't struggle with overwhelming worry and fear, like many people do. But that wasn't always the case - its a pretty recent development that transpired a little over a year ago.
During the days and hours leading up to my mother's death, I was gripped with a nearly debilitating fear of being at her bedside at the moment of her departure.
Anxiety attacks wracked my chest as I recalled conversations I'd had with her years before when she would recount the moment of her own mother's death and the emotions of doubt and fear that plagued her in the days, weeks and months afterward.
I was terrified of being there when my mom died. And the guilt that consumed me because of that fear was nearly as crippling as the fear itself.
On January 5, 2009 I faced this fear head on while at her home helping care for her during her last days. At one point, she took a very long pause between between her labored gasps for air and I was instantly paralyzed with panic because I thought she had died right then. And then she began breathing again. It was at that moment that I realized I needed to come to grips with this.
When I returned home that evening, after my "shift" ended, I had two Facebook messages from people who had no idea the details of the situation or what I was going through emotionally since I hadn't even told Aaron at that point. Here are excerpts from those messages:
"...I'm actually writing to let you know that I woke up this morning and you were on my mind... I started praying for you even before I got out of bed. And I"m still praying for you, your family & your Mom.
Gen. 15:1b 'God said to Abram, 'Do not be afraid, Abram,
I am your shield, your very great reward.' "
"...my prayer for 2009 is that we all experience peace amidst the circumstances of our lives...whether it be the loss of a loved one, financial stress, health, etc... Daily I find myself praying for a PEACE-filled year. Anyhow...just sending love and concern your way."
God had officially blown my mind. People who had no idea what I was going through encouraged me with laser precision. The fear was gone. I'm not going to lie and say that the hours leading up to her "home-going" were filled with angelic choir songs, because they were anything but that. But the moment that she finally did give up the fight, I was the only one awake in the room and it was peaceful. I was not afraid.
Each day, I am faced with many thoughts and potential worries. They taunt me. They try to make me afraid. But I refuse to give in because I know the God who holds my hand is bigger.
I am fearless.