Dealing with Fear

Published on 6 August 2023 at 10:45

I was raised to be afraid. Yet to be strong enough to keep on going regardless of the fear. 

Momma had a fear of water, so I was not allowed to swim, or even play in the water (lake type) until I learned to swim. Yeah, no sense there, lol. 

Momma had a fear of vehicles, so I was not allowed to drive, until I learned to drive. I know, lol. 

Momma had a fear of storms. So any time of the day or night when a bad storm was brewing, she would make me change my underwear and sit in the living room with her until the storm was over. Still do not understand the whole "change your underwear" thing. lol 

Momma had so many fears. And just as many ways of dealing with those fears. I asked her at times why we did this or that, and her answer invariably was: "It's better to do something, than to do nothing. It's a way to fight the fear." 

When Rick and I got married, he had no idea just how fearful his new wife was - but he got a quick lesson. God Bless that man! 

Rick had a patience and tolerance that still amazes me when I think back to all my fears in those early months, and even years, of being a new wife. Talk about being a slave to fear! Oh, how much I was just that! 

Being in church all those years, and with Rick as pastor too - the 365 times the Bible says "be not afraid" or "do not fear" were pounded into my being. And yet, I never was able to rise above all the fears.

Afraid that we would not have the money to pay the bills. Afraid there would be no milk or bread in the house for the kids to eat. Afraid that the spider I saw in the corner and could no longer find would find me! Afraid that someone would break into the house. Afraid that an injury or illness would take the life, or the health, of our kids. Afraid that the thunder and lightening meant nothing less than an F-5 tornado headed straight towards us. Afraid that Rick would lose his job. Afraid that we would be homeless, or without a vehicle. Afraid that cancer would ravage my body. Afraid . . . of so much, for so long. 

Not fear that would come and go at times. No, this was a crippling fear. A fear that never went away - no matter how much I prayed, no matter how much I read the Bible and claimed the Promises, no matter the counseling I got, no matter the reasonings. Fear. Crippling, paralyzing fear. Fear that kept me awake. Fear that haunted and tormented. Fear that took away laughter. Fear that brought gallons of tears. Fear. 

Then, cancer invaded my body. Radical surgery at a major oncology hospital - MD Anderson in Houston, TX. My oncologist was one of the world's leading oncologists for uterine cancer. Hearing, then reading, the path report that showed it was the worst kind of uterine cancer. "Most aggressive" with less than "6 months probability of life" - had it not been caught early on. Which catching it early was a miracle of God! Oncologist told us that 99% of this type of cancer is caught when there are only weeks left to live, and all that can be hoped for is a slight management of the excruciating pain.

Hearing that Rick had "Acute Kidney Disease with Renal Failure". All the doctors, the tests, the procedures. Living with him on home dialysis. Watching his body betray him time after time. Seeing the hope fade from his eyes. Hearing the fear in my strong and fearless husband's voice. 

After Rick died, I experienced fears I never even knew existed. Fears so great, so many, that I only thought the fears of our early years were overwhelming, controlling, paralyzing. 

All these fears had me in a state of guilt and condemnation for being afraid. How could I be a Christian and be so very afraid? 

And then - one night about 2 years ago, a massive hailstorm came thru, tornado sirens going off, warnings and alerts making my phone shake.

I was terrified.

I grabbed my phone, and my Bible - went into the smallest closet, cowering as far back in the closet as I could. Literally screaming "Jesus, help me!" at the top of my lungs, but the hailstorm was so loud that my screams sounded like whispers.

I cried out, "God, I am sorry to be so afraid, but I am absolutely terrified!"

All of a sudden, there was a warmth in the closet and I heard this verse - Psalm 56:3.

When I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord.

The years of self-condemnation and guilt were gone.

That one word - WHEN.

God understood my humanity.

He didn't demand that I not be afraid.

He didn't ask me to be anything more than what I was - a very terrified woman-child.

He simply said, "Trust Me."

As a child, afraid of the storms, who would crawl into my lap, or into our bed. 

As a child, afraid of the monsters under the bed. 

As a child - "Trust Me."


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