Archives For Fear

Me and Cauri

My daughter recently went with me to a speaking engagement where I shared the journey of my pregnancy with her (you can read about it here). It was one of the most distraught times of my life. Although Cauri had heard the story many times, she had never heard the feelings I experienced during that time. It moved her to tears to know I loved her so much.

And that broke my heart.

I realized although I sometimes share reasons for my teaching or discipline with her, many times I don’t share what I’m feeling.

So my dear, darling, challenging daughter, I want to share with you what I feel almost on a daily basis raising you.

I wake in the mornings and feel worried.

Worried that your heart will be hurt by unkind peers or impatient teachers.

Unfortunately, as the morning continues, I feel angry.

After fighting to get you out of bed, we argue about running late, lost homework, complaints about nothing to take for lunch, and leaving a huge mess in the kitchen for mom to clean since you “don’t have time.”

When you leave for school, I feel relieved.

Relieved we have time to get over ourselves and come back together in the evening for a fresh start.

Relief quickly turns to sadness.

Sadness that I am the one who caused you hurt before the day even had a chance to begin.

The day is then spent feeling helpless.

Helpless as I wonder about your day. How the test is going for which you spent so much time studying, if your friend is still upset with you and turning mutual friends against you, if the bully who sits behind you in two classes is calling you “stupid,” again, about your decisions and if they are wise or made out of emotion. And knowing you’re dealing with all of it away from me and beyond my help or rescue.

By the time you waltz in from school and you look content and happy, I feel reassured.

Reassured all went well during the day.

Reassurance quickly turns to feeling irritable.

Irritable from the complaints over what I’m making for supper, from all the arguing between you and your siblings, from all the things I’m trying to remember: which kids have activities, who is driving what carpool, everything on my to-do list that did not get finished earlier in the day, how much homework each of you has for the evening, calls or emails I need to return before the evening is over. I’m irritable and don’t listen well. I’m short with my words and yell.

As the evening progresses, I feel tired.

Tired from not knowing how to help with homework, from not knowing how to give you direction with your life question, from the sibling arguments, from disrespectful talk toward your dad and me, from feeling unappreciated after having worked at my job and on the house and taking care of all your needs throughout the day, tired from my brain working in overdrive, and tired from all those feelings I’ve been experiencing.

When the evening is over and we all go to bed, I feel guilt.

Guilt over not handling your questions well, not listening when you were trying to tell me something important, saying things to you I shouldn’t have, not having all the answers to your needs.

And guilt for feeling worried, angry, relieved, helpless, irritable, and tired. All of which reminds me of my shortcomings as a mom.

I leave my bed to check on you sleeping kids and I feel thankful.

Thankful God gave me such wonderful kids, thankful all of you are tucked safely in your beds in our warm house, thankful you made a decision to accept Christ’s sacrifice and are guaranteed eternal life, thankful you are mine.

I feel thankful and I kiss you on the forehead as you sleep.

And then I pray! I give all of my feelings and all those things out of my control to God.

Through it all, I feel indescribable love for you.

But know love is MORE than a feeling. While feelings change, my love for you never does! And that love, dear child, will never be compromised!

Pearl Buck quote

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© 2015 Connie Davis Johnson

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Can I Get a Witness?

July 9, 2013 — 3 Comments

Today, I’m excited to welcome my guest writer, Valerie Welsh.  A great mom many of us can relate to in following the strong parental instincts to keep her children safe at all costs.  She agreed to share her inspiring story of overcoming fear and stepping out in faith.

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The scene was sad and getting even sadder by the minute.  Our 17-year-old daughter, Sami, was sitting before us at the dining room table with reasons she should be allowed to join her youth group on their mission trip in just a few short months.

Sami had neatly outlined on paper the ways she had already served the Lord in her own neighborhood, her own peer group and her own country. This was a last-ditch effort on her part. This trip was so important to Sami that my husband Andy and I promised her that we would pray for two weeks about a decision whether or not to let her go. The final decision had been made. The deadline was that day, and she wouldn’t like our answer.

Here Sami was, making the case to serve in Ecuador and giving us evidence of the ways her faith had grown from the time she had given her life to Christ at age 7. I was distracted, thinking that she might make a good lawyer one day and felt both a twinge of pride at her maturity and a touch of shame that I knew our answer would be “no”.

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My husband and I purposely let the date for the informational meeting come and go. Mission trips were for other families, and they were certainly not for teenagers with severe asthma and allergies. Our reasons for not allowing her to go had everything to do with comfort – both hers and ours – and fear, which was a feeling I owned completely.

Sami took our answer with some maturity and lots of tears as she got ready for church that day. Andy and I reassured each other with slightly ashamed half smiles as she sobbed quietly in the back seat on the drive to church. All that mattered to me was that she would be staying right here at home, in my arms and totally safe from all the ways I could see her being ill or uncomfortable in Ecuador and out of my reach.

Sami sat at the end of the row next to her two siblings, head in her hands and praying deeply as the sermon began. We had been attending another church recently, different from the church we had attended for all of her life and in which Sami still remained active in youth group.

As our pastor began the sermon, I could hardly believe my ears! The title of the sermon that day was plastered on the front screen in front of the church:

“CAN I GET A WITNESS?  Acts 1:8 – ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.’”

He explained how we should be ready witnesses for Christ in the comfort of our own home as well as to the ends of the earth.

Andy and I continued to exchange surprised glances throughout the sermon as Sami continued to pray silently at the end of the row. God’s voice was so clear to me during that sermon. It was convicting and gentle and saying, “Do you have faith enough to trust me to lead My own daughter?”

God changed our minds that very day. I was ashamed that I had called myself a follower of Jesus Christ, and yet couldn’t trust Him to know what was best for His children. I was basing my decisions on fear and comfort and not on His will. My fears had drowned out His voice as I prayed for guidance. I already “knew” the answer to be “no” and had really been praying for my own agenda.

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Sami seemed introspective for days after her return from a successful trip, and she soon sat us both down to tell us her heart. I wasn’t surprised at all as she explained how she felt a calling to become a missionary during her time in Ecuador.

When she asked what I thought of her praying and researching this path for her life, I quieted my heart for just a minute before I answered. Doubts and fears came in again, but they soon were drowned out by the gentle voice of the Lord, reminding me that He would have Sami in the palm of His hand for all of her days.

Every morning while I pray, I remind myself that my three teenagers are all His and always have been. In my mind, I am letting go as a parent just a little more each day as they grow older.

I don’t know if God will lead Sami to the mission field again. I do know that everywhere we look, we can find a mission field in which to serve. It may be in our own homes and not across the globe, but listening for God’s voice is the first step.

I pray that we will have faith enough to hear and to obey, whatever we are called to do.

You may also like:

A Scary Yet Amazing Trip

God’s Going to Fail Me

And We’re Waiting…..And Waiting……And Waiting…..

©2013 Connie Davis Johnson

 

News of another massacre fills the airwaves.  Stories of the horrid depravity of the killer.  Stories of heroism in the face of terror.  Stories of families who lost loved ones.  Listening, we become filled with emotion.  Anger, sadness, vengefulness, fear, terror, shock, numbness, empathy, pride, rage, passion begin to war within ourselves.  We try to make sense of the senseless.  We try to understand something that can never be explained.

144807890Tragedies garner action.  Some will get involved in politics to enact change in gun laws, either for or against.  Others will call for mental health reform.  Many will write to the families and stand behind them in their time of need.  We each want to change the world for the better to make sure something like the Newtown, CT tragedy never occurs again.

I’ve been asking myself, “What will I do in the face of this horrible situation?”  I may not be able to change the world but I can change me.  So this is what I plan to do in my own little corner of the universe:

I will pray – Prayer has been my mainstay for many years.  God has always proven faithful to me even in my darkest days.  I will pray for Him to provide strength and comfort for the families.  I will pray for wisdom for the leaders of our country as they talk about changes needing to be made to ensure safety.  And I will pray for peace among people as we work through our emotions in very different and sometimes conflicting ways.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  ~ Romans 15:13

I will live my priorities – I will look at my calendar and decide if I’m living my priorities of God first, husband second, my children third, and then my friends and ministry.  If I see any contradictions, I will take action to say “no” where needed and free up time to devote to what is important.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  ~ Luke 12:34

I will not live in fear – The definition of terrorism is, “the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.”  If I fear, I let the enemy win.  God’s most repeated command in the bible is, “do not fear.”  Each act of terror brings the temptation to say no to my children when they want to go to the mall, hang out with friends in a public venue, or even to go on a ministry trip.  However, God created them for a purpose and I can’t steal away the experiences, growth, blessings, and value God has planned for them.  I must trust that God is with them wherever they go and in every circumstance.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  ~ Joshua 1:9

I will listen with an open mind – Many debates rage as you read this blog.  Gun laws, mental health reform, school safety initiatives, etc.  Although I have opinions, I’m not an expert in any of these matters and don’t have all the answers.  So I will listen with an open mind and respond respectfully.  This does not mean I have to agree with the position presented.  I’m simply giving each person the respect they deserve as a living human being with emotions.  We may disagree but there can be a mutual respect.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”  ~  Philippians 2:3-4

I will trust God – God hates evil even more than we do.  He promises to fight for us.  He promises to right all wrongs.

“Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:  eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent, a heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track, a mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.”  ~ Proverbs 6:16-19

These changes may not spark a movement and may not even inspire one person, but they will reap a benefit in my own household and hopefully with those I interact with daily.  I may not be able to change the world but I can change me.

You may also like:

Don’t Shut the Shades on Life

Grieving Through the Holidays?

Stop and Smell the Christmas Tree

©2012 Connie Davis Johnson