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As I write this I am asking God for wisdom as to what story to tell. There are so many stories I could write about fear – my fear. What story best tells of God’s magnificent love and grace? I could tell of five distinct things God called me to do to confront my biggest fears. I could tell of my journey through this season of Lent or I could you how I finally came to live in God’s presence even in the midst of the storm.
How do I choose which story to highlight the awesome love God has for me and for you too? Each story is a different spot on the same large canvas God is painting of my life. They are the steps that I have learned to walk in faith and in trust. In learning that God is my ROCK.
Before these steps I was the biggest scaredy cat ever, even at the young age of five. Terrified of the dark, would not go outside after dark, I would not ever stay alone at night. Petrified of heights – I have never climbed a tree, never played on the monkey bars and never jumped out of an airplane, even though this has been a dream I have had forever.
So how did I lose my fear and find a faith that is stronger? Well, I believe it started with God’s sense of humor.
My husband has always traveled a lot for his jobs, usually it was one or two nights here and there but when three hurricanes made landfall in Florida my husband was gone for 2 ½ years. When my children were small (7-8 years old) I would bring them to sleep with me. I would keep all the lights in the house on. I would wake up to every noise and never really sleep. By the time of the hurricanes in Florida my daughter was 12 years old, she came to me one night and said “mom it’s time for you to learn to sleep alone – I promised nothing will happen. Listen to music or something will you sleep.” Wow! What a wake-up call. It so happens that Joel Osteen would be on when I would go to bed so I listened to that and slowly night by night I would turn off one light after another. A month later I was sleeping with no lights on at all.
In 2005 we went on vacation to Seven Fall in Colorado. Beautiful area that has the most gorgeous scenery and great hiking trails. I was so excited to experience this with my husband and daughter. However, standing between me and that dream were 750 steps straight up and down. My husband and daughter said “we won’t make you climb them; you can sit here and wait for us.” I thought for a second and then said “NO WAY!” I waited until there were very few people on the stairs and up I went. No stopping, no thinking just praying the Hail Mary and Our Father for each and every step. My daughter laughed and said “I have never heard someone pray so fast and with so much heart.”
When I reached the top it was the best feeling in the world. I was so glad I didn’t let fear steal that from me. We hiked for hours, found a great place to sit and look down at the awesome view of Colorado Springs. Afterwards – oh yeah, here is where I tell you my absolute biggest fear has never been climbing up something, it’s always been GOING BACK DOWN – yep 750 steps back down. Guess what? That day I have climbed those steps three more times!!!
God wasn’t finished yet. Although I was now sleeping alone in peace when hubby was gone, I wouldn’t go anywhere if it risked coming home at dark. God placed on my heart to take on an Adoration hour at church. I gladly signed up. My mouth dropped when I learned the two hours available: 1:00 am and 3:00 am. I took a huge gulp and picked 3:00-4:00 am. I won’t lie the first six months I ran from my car to church and back. Then one night I realized I was no longer running. Instantly a Scripture came to me:
Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man and he saw. And behold, the mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha protecting him. ~ 2 Kings 6:17
Five years later, my favorite time of the week is 4:00 am on Thursday mornings.
God wasn’t finished with me yet. This Lent He had a plan for me. I fought it. He was asking me to give up my control for good, not taking it back no matter what! I will come back to this, just keep this in mind.
My family has been living in the middle of a massive storm for over 18 months – a storm that we have lived through long ago but now it was a stronger, more intense storm. Our options were running out, satan was stalking and gaining on us. I wish I could say I knew exactly what to do and that I ran to God immediately, but I didn’t. I fell back to relying on myself, to taking the control and feeling like I had to be the one doing something.
As I look back at the past 18 months I can see that the storm was made worse by thinking I had the control and that I knew the best things to do. I have learned some hard lessons, have had my heart broken and cried a thousand tears.
It wasn’t until three days into Lent that I gave in to God and said “fine, okay LORD I am giving up all my cares, worries and this storm to YOU – they belong to YOU. I can’t do this anymore.” I felt a peace come over me that I have never felt and a whisper from God saying “I have been waiting for you to give it to Me and to rest in Me.” It was then I learned His grace IS sufficient for me!
And when this storm ends, as it will in His time, it will be evident to all that only God and His love calmed our turbulent sea.