There. I said it. If it can be worried about, rest assured, I've worried about it.
Whether it's the safety of my family, a health concern, being liked and accepted, wondering if I'm being a good enough wife and mother, whether or not I hurt someones feelings, panicking because I felt I wasn't knowledgeable enough to be teaching a particular class, playing the piano in public, letting my nerves get the best of me during high school sports, worrying if I said the right thing in a counseling session, etc. I've worried. I've even thought up any 100 possible scenarios of me, my kids, Mark, and family and friends being hurt and injured and how I would respond. You know. Just in case. You can't be too prepared. Right? And let's not even talk about flying. I can work myself up into such a frenzy that I'm in the airport bathroom with my head in the toilet. Ahem.
You name it. I've worried.
Much to my dismay and regret, I've spent a lot of my life living in fear. After losing our sweet #3 in May of 2010, this only increased. Just quiz the kids on stranger safety..... They know answers to questions like "What's the strongest point on your body?" It's your elbow, in case you were wondering. And they know to use it if ever an instance should occur.
Living in fear requires a lot of energy. Hmm, perhaps that's why I'm tired all the time. I digress.... Fear utilizes energy that could better be put to use elsewhere. The irony of this is that I counsel people all the time about living in fear. No, counselors aren't exempt from problems and struggles. They're actually part of what makes me good at what I do. The thing that makes the difference is not settling.
Hear me out.
I will not settle for living in fear.
It's why when we found out that I was pregnant with #4 a few weeks ago that we decided to go ahead and tell the kids. Don't get me wrong. I was fearful of something happening and then having to explain it to the kids. But I deliberately chose not to settle. So we literally had a conversation where I said I didn't want to not tell them because I was afraid of losing this one too. Why?
Because I refuse to continue living in fear.
So we told them. And they were beside themselves with excitement. It's all they talked about. They asked questions like "Why's the baby naked?" "How's the baby eat what you eat?" "How can he eat chicken if he doesn't have any teeth?". Anna drew pictures and shared every possible update with all her classmates. For two weeks, I witnessed pure joy in their eyes.
Which is what made it so much harder when 2 weeks later we got the news that not only had our baby died but it was lodged inside my right tube. There's something surreal about laying there in total anticipation of seeing your baby and hearing its heart beat and within a matter of 10-15 seconds realizing something is terribly wrong. It's a horrible feeling. One in which I don't think I could ever adequately explain. It's somewhat like being suspended between reality and reality in slow-motion. Everyone was carrying on in normal fashion and there I sat, my world closing in on me.... again.
The questions immediately began flooding my mind. Oh God, what if the baby is still alive lodged inside my tube? Because we initially didn't know that answer and had to wait for the results of the blood work to return. What are we going to tell the kids? Did I do something wrong, Father? And of course, the ever so recited question: Why, Lord?
Satan is never far behind in these circumstances. He's always there, lurking around the corner, filling your mind with half-truths and lies. And for someone who battles living in fear and worry.... well, he just has a heyday. Because the reality of the matter is that worry and fear are really trust issues. Do I trust God? Do I take Him at His Word that what He says is true and that He'll never go back on His promises? Because if I answer yes to those (which I do) ...... then what would be the point of worrying?
But alas, as I sat there struggling to keep my composure, the enemy was there whispering lies and a battle ensued.
I told you He couldn't be trusted. He said "Ask and it shall be given you." Didn't you ask? Haven't you prayed to Him for the health and safety of this baby? He's not to be trusted.
Father, help me! I know You're trustworthy (Ps. 145:13) and righteous (Ps. 4:1) and that Your every word is true (Ps. 19:7-10). Help me believe (Mark 9:24).
Phoebe, I'm here. I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)
Ha! Plans to prosper you, not to harm you??? How is this not harming you? You seriously believe that? He's abandoned you.
I will never leave you or forsake you (Deut. 31:6). I'm always here. Trust me. Remember the verses you've committed to memory.
Yes! The verses. Of course. And all that came to mind was the one that every worrier should have committed to memory:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything.
Yeah.... Uh, He really knows me quite well.
And so through all the back and forth of 2 ultrasounds, multiple visits with the doctor, and all within the time frame of 2 hrs., I just mentally kept repeating this verse, over and over and over.
...and the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
And it did.
Don't get me wrong. I'm devastated. I've been sad, sometimes thinking I'm okay, one minute questioning God, the next angry, and everything in between. Yet I've had peace.
One thing that I want you to understand is that you need to have Scripture committed to memory. You are unarmed against the enemy otherwise. There's nothing better to refute him with than God's Word. And one more thing. If he can get you not to trust in God's goodness and faithfulness, he will ruin you. Everything else will fall into his plan to destroy and de-rail you.
I choose to trust.
Might trusting in the Father sometimes make me look like an idiot?
I recall telling my friend that I feel stupid. Stupid that I believed everything would be okay, stupid that I trusted Him enough to tell our kids about the baby, stupid that I now feel like an open book to a lot of people (what's another blog post going to matter?) thus feeling vulnerable, stupid that I believed that when He says "Ask and it shall be given you" that it really applied to an insignificant person amidst billions of others.... one by the name of Phoebe.
Might I look stupid? Yeah. But God never called His followers to an easy life without risks, pain, and trials. He simply called us to obedience. To following the Master. To trusting Him.
And although I indeed feel stupid. I know that He is trustworthy. And if trusting the Father makes me look stupid to some and inwardly feel naive at times, so be it.
I choose to not live in fear. I will trust the Father.
And though I'm in the valley, I pray that my heart will always say:
"Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him." Job 13:15
Because trusting the Father slowing means relinquishing all my fears.
And I choose to live beyond the fear!