by sarahmfry, September 24, 2010
Why these fears?

I have learned to know myself, and I suspect several practical reasons, but as usual the presence of fear within me feeds fear itself.

I don’t like the nagging of fear. I much prefer the sigh of rest and trust and have learned to nurture it. But as a child and even beyond I spent countless nights fearing things eternal and temporal and specific and vague and realistic and imaginary.....and always fearing fear itself. It has paralyzed me, at times. Made me stare wide-eyed into darkness and double lock doors and dive behind beds. Made me picture God wrongly and turned heaven into a place of unknown dread for me.

I have remarkable awe and respect for my mother’s unending patience in talking me and walking me and praying me through night after night of fear. Spiritual fear, physical fear, mental & emotional fear.

God has worked Himself in me patiently and powerfully.... and my heart now is so sure and still and quiet compared to the dark muddle that haunted me for many years.

But lately, the edges of my spirit are burned with the dark hint of fear again.

Even tonight, just minutes ago, as I typed the first part of this journal in the quiet night of the kitchen a yellow toy car rolled off the table and clattered to the ground, scaring me out of my skin and sending my heartbeat and imagination racing. I grabbed my Bible (which I immediately wanted to hold close) and devotional book and scurried to our bed, leaving on with purpose the light beside my desk.

What is it about darkness that ignites fear? Sends it crawling and choking and swirling? As I read in my beloved Book the words of life, needing its stillness and strongness, I realize that the Living Words send light into my silly spirit. Light brings such comfort. And I know – again – that the fear of darkness is nothing other than the unknown. It is why I fear even now.

Not knowing why the car fell off the table. Not knowing what is in a room to trip me as I walk through in darkness. Not knowing what causes the noises of basements. Not knowing if this body will ever know disease or if my children will always be safe and well. Not knowing what God will allow into my life past his great sweeping hedge of protection. But wait....don’t I know?

One thing that makes fear powerful is the horrid, living knowledge that bad things DO happen. And they sometimes keep happening. Everything doesn’t always turn out good if you just trust God. Sometimes 3-year-old cousins drown and 24-year-old cousins die in car wrecks and strong, beloved black-haired grandpas die of cancer and uncles fall from roofs and cousins are in car crashes on the way to burying a son and vivacious grandmas are stopped in their lovely, dancing tracks by disease. And none of our days are guaranteed. It is a vapor. This, we know.

But....only in those deep waters of grief and question - when the rug of confidence unstained by tears is dissolved into reality - can true assurance be found.

One whose footing has been tested can be utterly sure
that his Rock will stand.

We’ve all heard it questioned....why do bad things happen to good people? Some would answer...why not? It rains on the just and the unjust. If you break certain laws of nature, there are natural consequences. But lately that has not been enough for me. I am holding – clinging - to a God who has built a strong and mighty hedge of protection around myself and my family. And if ANY evil or sadness finds its way past his great and loving arms it will be only because He sees fit in His eternal wisdom to prove His goodness in our lives.

God answers our questions, you know, in very individualized language. Usually, for me, He answers them with Himself. I did not know where my jumbled fears would take my searching fingers tonight. But He has brought them around, once again, to the words printed above our front entry.

Be still.

And know.

That I am.


He is good. All the time. This, we have proven together in the fire and darkness and years of waves of grief and the laughter that soothes us and the faith that holds together our pieces.

Right now, in my tears, I want to go wake up all 4 of my babies and hold them and kiss them and guarantee their utter safety. What mother's heart doesn't long to hold them forever-sure?  But I have to trust in arms that are bigger than mine. I have to trust His goodness. I have to trust His love.

And the sigh of that love returns to my spirit so that once again I can pillow my head in sweet sleep.

And His arms hold us still.
                                                          And all is well.

Psalm 4:8
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety

 PHOTOS:  Light-filled moments at the cabin this summer.

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