In our home we are often dealing with fears. These fears range from totally logical to completely ridiculous. For Wesley being afraid of storms is a big "logical" fear. Last summer, I was pregnant. Wes and I were at home and I laid down for a rest. In the 20 minutes that I was laying down a storm cropped up. Complete with tornado sirens, a dark sky, and strong winds. Wesley was the one that woke me. We went to the basement, the storm blew over and everything was fine. BUT this experience left Wesley terrified of wind, storms and sirens. I guess it's pretty legit. Another fear that I consider slightly less logical is Liam's fear of the bookcase. Yes you read that right. The BOOKCASE... We had a major standoff about 6 months ago over him not wanting to walk by the bookcase that used to face the door to his room. He decided (I later realized) that he wanted to win a ridiculous battle. Anyway the root of it was an unjustified, unfounded, fear.
But who am I to decide what it is a logical versus illogical fear? For one reason or another if someone has a fear they have gotten themselves to a place that tells them that fear makes sense and is worth the cost the fear brings. Wesley's fear of wind kept him from enjoying many fun things. Coach pitch baseball was probably the biggest activity to suffer. Our ballfields are located on the North side of town. The North side of town is known for having stronger winds. Every ball came became a challenge of him refusing to be on the field in fear of the wind. We were slowly able to face this fear together and by the end he seemed much happier. The funny thing is it wasn't any of my counseling resources or tools that I tried, it was the ice cream that I had broke down and bribed him with. Let's just say in the end this helped me gauge just how serious this fear was.
I often find that I am the same way with fear and God. There are so many things that hold me back or capture my thoughts because of some unfounded fear I hold onto. I know God must think how much more I could enjoy certain things if I would let go of my fear and live life in freedom.
Well at Bible study on Tuesday I finally fessed up to a fear that has pulled at my heart since I was a little girl. This is my fear of death. Not my own death. No I jokingly say that my own death would bring the much needed, uninterrupted, sleep I crave. No my fear is of a family member close to me dying and ability or lack of ability to handle it. My biggest fear is what does it mean when something like this happens to someone of Faith. Why does God chose to let things happen to some and chose to protect others. I find myself getting anxious right now just writing about it. Well this fear made its way into our conversation at Bible study. I finally verbalized something that has held me back from being vulnerable in relationships, getting close to others, and loving without the fear of losing. The answer to my fears came in the response from one of my dearest friends. I held on to every word she shared because she walked through the very thing I am the most terrified of, Losing a child.
When J was pregnant with JD, she discovered very early on that there would be complications with little JD's heart. Although she was given the option to terminate the pregnancy she valued the little life that had been created, complications and all. She shared that after giving birth she would have put him through surgery after surgery to save him, knowing that he would go through so much pain to ultimately be healed and have a full life later. There was no expense she would spare no time wasted nothing, all out of love this little child who really didn't even know who she was. The comparison she gave to her love and grief for this child and God's love and grief for his children was so beautiful. As a mom I think about my love for my children, I think about how I would do ANYTHING for them. Sometimes being willing to do anything for them involves discipline that is painful for them and me. This temporary pain now is to grow good character to have a long term benefit. How much more our heavenly father loves us. How often he sees us go through pain, hurting both him and us. He allows this to happen because he knows this pain in this magnitude is temporary and will ultimately bring us the greatest benefit. We often can't see the reward or the ultimate good but God promises us he will work for the good of those who love him. I had to laugh when another friend shared her experience that she had had the previous day with one of her boys. She said the day had been awful, she was in tears by 9 a.m. and the day went down hill from there. She said there was a really tender moment she had with that child right before bed. She was working on her Bible study and her little one was watching a movie. He saw his mom reading, crawled up in her lap and begged to be read to. She said they sat there reading chapter after chapter together. She really treasured that time. I had to laugh because I said it reminded me of why God often works in mysterious ways and often does not give us a glimpse into the future. I asked her if I sat her down and said, "Amy, you are going to have an awful day, awful awful, AWFUL. But at the end of it you will have a little boy on your lap and get to read to him." I said would you do it? The pay off really didn't seem that great. But because you blindly walked through your awful day, the reward of having that snuggle time was actually really great, and felt in hindsight totally worth it. You wouldn't trade that moment for anything. But it was because you were not given the choice.
For me as well as with my kids it boils down to trust. Do I trust that even in the midst of my worst fears, God is big enough to work it to my good? And do I trust that even when that good doesn't feel good it really is to my ultimate benefit. I pray I can!