Fear’s Threats and God’s Voice

Fear’s Threats and God’s Voice

She is physically and emotionally tired. She knows you don’t give us a spirit of fear, Lord, but fear is something she often experiences. She feels like a slave, a person being tortured in her own body. Reasoning, where did you go? Mind, why have you forsaken me? Body, why have you rejected me? What remains is a woman bruised and beaten, oppressed by fear. Let her live! She hates this feeling and wants this madness that always is her to end. She takes a breath, but not for too long …

Oh Darling, don’t get too comfortable with peace because you remember what I’ve told you about peace. Peace is nothing but an illusion, a dirty trick for the gut-wrenching tragedy that is to come. Don’t worry, I have you safe wrapped in a warm blanket of anxiety. Let me properly introduce myself … my name is Fear. We first met many years ago when you were a wee little girl. You were easy to get to know but I was still cautious. People don’t often take to me kindly, they think I’m a little aggressive and come on too strong, so I’ve learned to take it slow (I wouldn’t want you running away from me, now would I?). As you grew into a young woman, you often couldn’t stop thinking about me and visiting me. I must have made quite an impression on you. Oh, but don’t be embarrassed, most people are the same … they just can’t get enough of me. I became your addiction. You love me, you desire me, you need me. I’ve always been here for you too, haven’t I? I have never left or forsaken you. You can always come running and I’ll always have open arms for you. You’re too far in it with me now, aren’t you? Well, Honey, I got you years ago. I tricked you into believing I was safe and you actually believed it, you believed and trusted me. Me!? ha Years of our subtle dating and WHAM a devastating tragedy and I knew I had you good. It was cute how you called out to God and let Him comfort you during that time. You tried, you really did but you just couldn’t forget me, could you? I warned you, most people can’t get enough of me. You began to crave me again and all it took was a little hint of doubt … “what if”. Honey, you are too easy. A devastating tragedy, how much easier could it get to make you doubt the goodness of God? I stole your logic and reasoning, don’t you see? You are mine, Love, and I’m not letting you go. It’s cute how you try but when will you learn that you are mine? We are too intertwined. You can’t escape me unless …

“YOU’RE MINE!”, he calls out. A disruption from the torment. She recognizes this voice but has little familiarity with it. He reminds her, have I not told you I bestow on you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3)? Have I not also told you – you will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; you will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations (Isaiah 61:4)? Child, you are mine and you are living in a ruined city named Fear. You don’t belong there. You are out of place because I’ve come to give you life and give it to the full (John 10:10b). Fear has gripped you for far too long and fear wants you to believe there is no way out but there is and it’s through me (John 10:10). You don’t feel that is true right now, but you will. I just need you to hear me more so I can teach you a new way. I need you to start taking your thoughts captive and calling them for what they are, fear, (2 Corinthians 10:5) and then trust me to see you through. Did the bleeding woman not get full healing from just a touch of my robe (Mark 5)? Child, then trust me to heal your mind. My robe is my word and my Holy Spirit living in you (Mark 1:7) and you have it, come touch. Freedom from fear does not come by fixating on more fear or trying to solve fears problems. Rather, freedom from fear comes from me. I need you to lean into me. Don’t fall into the trap that you can do anything to fix this … you are in a bit of a mess that is entangled with fear. I want you to sit and let me untangle you and I will lead you out to freedom. All I want you to do is breathe, rest and “touch my robe”(Matthew 11:28). Remember, my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). You have confused my truth with fear and have forgotten that I do not give the spirit of fear (1 Timothy 1:7). Fear will silence if you are willing to do different and leave this ruined city. I love you, Child. You are mine and you most definitely are not alone. I’ve already walked this journey before you and I’ll also walk behind you (Deuteronomy 31:8, Psalm 59:10). You are protected by me, even in the pain of walking out of the ruined city. There are no measures I wouldn’t take to protect you, my sweet Child. My nail scarred hands are proof that I’ve already gone the distance for YOU and I would do it again (John 15:13). I desire you to know just how deep my love is for you, Child. Come, touch my robe, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

Micah 7:8

Offering of Thanks

Offering of Thanks

Heavenly Father,

I spend a lot of time in fear and pain. Today I’m actively choosing to thank you for your faithfulness (as fearful and unnatural as it may feel). Here is my offering back to you … just a warm up list of all the ways you provided for me personally during a grievous loss. Please keep opening my eyes to more of your faithfulness. Help me to let go of pride and arrogance in thinking the “little things” aren’t really from you or that they don’t really matter. Instead I ask you to open my eyes to see them as personal, intimate ways you are seeing and loving me, your daughter (Psalm 139). I ask that you keep opening my eyes up to thankfulness in everything. You say you can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

 

 

Offering

  1. birds chirping
  2. kids screaming, arguing and laughing … life in my home!
  3. the smell of fresh flowers on my kitchen table
  4. a blanket of green, from all of the trees, in my backyard
  5. fresh brewed coffee
  6. sunshine beaming in my kitchen window
  7. the stillness outside after a thunderous storm
  8. kids playing quietly while I write my thanks to you
  9. a loving, tender husband & partner
  10. my children, new life
  11. intimacy (verse loss of relationship) with God through (to date) the most terrible time of my life
  12. surrounded by women who loved the Lord and continued to help lift my head when I no longer had the strength (Philippians 4:13-14)
  13. the life of my siblings still here
  14. restored relationships
  15. ability to not have to work during that time to free up more time to be with Brother
  16. not having to worry about finances on top of grieving my parents
  17. Austin and Brady surviving the plane crash, the life that shot through our veins to remind us you are still here
  18. you never left us (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  19. you are restoring devastation, even still (Isaiah 61:4)
  20. sunshine to remind me of your presence
  21. a quiet place to be with you while Austin was in rehab
  22. girlfriends to fellowship with that know the pain of losing a good mom who was a good friend
  23. peace knowing mom and dad are in Paradise and it is well with their souls (Luke 23:43)
  24. because of their dwelling, it can be well with my soul. I can grieve them in a good way.
  25. my grief comes from a place of deep love & I’m forever grateful
  26. I get to grieve a dad! I got to have an earthly father … something I gave up on as a child but you didn’t. Your gift giving is rich!
  27. training from my parents for this very day (without them even realizing it). Thank you for lighting a fire in them to be so laser-focused on training up their kids in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6)
  28. a marriage that has depth … depth of love as he’s seen me at my worst and loved me through it, stuck with me through it and still, to this day, would choose me again. Thank you for his life and keeping it here with me.
  29. a passion for your word that was ignited during all of this
  30. a passion and drive to know you fully…
  31. and a brand new awareness that I didn’t fully know you yet (Psalm 119:18)
  32. their death brought me new life with you … any doubt or question is removed and I know where I’ll be when I die (Revelation 7).
  33. you ancient words that are still true and relevant and continue to bring life to my dry bones (Proverbs 30:5)
  34. consistency in you in a time that was full of chaos, change, fear, pain (Hebrews 13:8)
  35. when fear overwhelmed & doubt flooded my mind & questions of the future, I could rest because I know your promises are true. My God is sovereign and works all things out for the good of those who love him … regardless of how I feel about that (Romans 8:28, Isaiah 55:9)
  36. I have a rich heritage in you and, because of this, I can look forward with hope (Isaiah 61, Revelation)

 

 

 

 

 

thank you,

your daughter

Dear Fatherless Friend

Open Letter to my Mom

Open Letter to my Mom

Mom,

When you and Dad died, I wanted to die myself. I mean to die in the most literal sense of the word. I didn’t want to live life without you. I knew things would get better, and I would laugh again, but the time it would take to get to that place sounded painful and exhausting. Instead, I preferred the “just take me home now, Lord” mindset.You always parented me with a heavenly perspective, challenging me to think, act, and behave in a way that aligns with the Word of God. When you died I had to decide if what you taught me was how I wanted to live. I chose Jesus because you made it so perfectly clear that Jesus is the only way, truth, and life (John 14:6). What a gift to have a mom that makes truth clear for her children. Thank you.I went on to experience healing from the pain of your absence. Jesus showed himself so tender and personal. He healed the brokenness and hurt in me that existed long before you died. He walked with me through the painful, ugly, skin crawling things I had done. As I began to confess, I quickly learned that he loves me. I’m not talking about in the trivial way I used to say it but not really believe it. Now when His word tells me that in spite of my sin, he offers me a double portion instead of shame, I believe it (Isaiah 61:7). I’ve learned that He hurts when I hurt. He knows every detail of the pain your absence causes me, and it hurts him because he loves me.This was just the beginning of the healing road. Recently I studied the entire book of Revelation. I went into the study excited to hear about Heaven, and what I can look forward to with you someday. As I studied about Heaven, I started getting excited and hopeful to be there, with you, someday. Then I felt God interrupted with the question, “Am I enough?” I couldn’t stop thinking about this question and what my answer may be. Is God alone enough to make Heaven worth it for me? I wanted to say, “I don’t know”, and move on, but He wanted more. He wanted me to be honest, raw, and truthful. The truth was that at that time, I didn’t love him enough for Heaven to be worth it for me.What I really wanted was to be with you Mom, more than anything in the world, more than I wanted Jesus. I wanted to be with you in a place with no more death, pain or suffering (Revelation 21:4). This is what I truly wanted, to be with you in perfection. You are what made Heaven a desire for me. Though I was religious for many years, I knew that I needed to want Heaven because of Jesus too. I know that Heaven is supposed to be great because of Jesus, because of God. I need Him to be the bigger reason I want Heaven. Studying the book of Revelation made me realize I didn’t think He was enough for me. I wanted Him to be, I knew He should be, but He wasn’t. It felt like a betrayal to you Mom, if I wanted Him more than you. You’re my mom, my person. I was afraid it would hurt you if I wanted Him more. I was afraid it would hurt me if I wanted Him more. I wondered if it was even possible to want Him more. I wanted to tuck these thoughts away, ignore them, and go on believing that it would all work out when I get to Heaven, but I couldn’t. He is showing me there is more to know about Him. He wants all of me, every part of me … the good, bad, ugly, and fearful parts of Maria. With great uncertainty and fear, I once again chose to trust and allow Him to show my heart that He is enough.Taking this vulnerable step in my relationship with Him was one of the most painful steps I’ve ever taken. In a way, it felt like I was losing you all over again. I knew I had to completely let you go in yet another way, in order to walk deeper with Him. I couldn’t do it, it felt wrong. Everything about taking this step felt painful, terrifying like my heart was being torn in two.God has remained faithful through some pretty terrible stuff thus far, so I am choosing to stay willing … He meets me there. He is patient with me. He didn’t rush me out of my broken beliefs about Him. He let me be where I was, broken hearted in my broken belief. I’m learning to love Him more than even you Mom. I feel naked in this new way of thinking. It feels weird to work at wanting Him more and loving Him more. He is turning out to be so different than the God that I had created in my mind. He’s not a religious tyrant, but a loving Savior. He’s not an angry captain, but a faithful King. He’s not a judgmental juror, but a just Judge. He isn’t an arrogant winner, but a kind Protector. He is Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11). It turns out that He is nothing I thought, and everything I never knew I wanted and desperately needed.I used to say that your death brought me life, but I was wrong. Your death allowed me to see more clearly the One that died to give me life, Jesus. I once chose Jesus because you did, but now I want Jesus because of Jesus. I miss you, Mom. In honor of Mother’s Day, I give you the gift you always wanted most for your children: I’m learning to want Jesus more than I want you.
Thank you for teaching me to move toward Jesus. Your mothering is impacting the generations behind you. Well done good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:23). I love being your daughter,
Maria

 

 

Somethings Not Right Here

My parents died in a plane crash [almost] 5 years ago. Every year, on the anniversary of their death, it’s hard, really hard to allow myself to accept the end of their life, the reality that they are not coming back. I always take time out of my day to stop, reflect and remember them and memories we have together. I want to remember. I want to remember the good but I also want to remember the pain of that phone call that first informed me of their death, the nightmare of the days and months following. I want to remember. I need to remember because it’s the depth of my pain [over their loss] that reminds me just how deep my love for them truly was. I want to remember. I want to feel the pain so I run to it and not away from it. It’s a bond that on those who have grieved can understand …

I hang onto truths of who Jesus is during these times of pain. Truths that are rooted deep are: Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus saved me from hell. I can be with Jesus in eternity forever. I can have hope because of Jesus.

As a Christian, I ramble these truths off like I’m reading a magazine article with the latest celebrity gossip & it wasn’t until this year that I was really broken over that. It wasn’t until this year that I realized something is not right here. My parents die & my grief naturally takes me and draws me to a place wanting to miss them, even wanting to fully feel the pain of their absence. Jesus dies to save my sins and instead of grief, I feel…well, nothing. His death has always made me want to remember and reflect but in a distant, trivial kind of way. His death has never, until this year, made me want to grieve [my sin and his death] to the core. It’s not right. It just can’t be right because if it is, I’ve made idols out of my parents . I have to love him more. I have to.