iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “Fear”

Skipping Steps


Stairway

When I was a little girl, the basement in the house where I grew up was probably one of the scariest places I had to go alone.

The basement was a large unfinished room with a heavy dark curtain dividing the space.  I believed the curtain was in place to hide monsters that waited around for me when my mom or dad asked me to retrieve a canned good or roll of paper towel.

I proceeding with caution, each step down the stairs was made with as little noise as possible so the monsters would not wake up.  I gently pulled the curtain aside and headed straight to the back storage room.  To limit my time down there, I memorized what was on each shelf so I could be in and out like a race car driver making a pit stop.

Once the item I needed was in my clutch, I ran as fast as I could through the curtain and up the stairs, taking them two-at-a-time.  Throughout my sprint I prayed silently over and over, “Please God, help me not to be scared”.  Monsters know when kids are in their space and they know what a delicacy they are.  Like veal, the young have such a juicy tenderness about them.  I was in the monster’s space and they wanted to catch me and eat me. 

This sprint and silent prayer for protection continued throughout my chilhood, even after the curtain came down when my parents finished the basement.  I was certain the monsters were still living in the closets and rooms with newly installed doors.

My life was spared each time I had to go to the basement.  I learned the importance of taking stairs two-at-a-time while praying the same prayer for protection.  I was not eaten by monsters.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Daily Prompt: What Is My Worst Quality


Finding just one aspect of myself that I consider to be my worst quality is hard because I am human; I am flawed in many ways. I will become top-shelf quality when I die as my soul will reunite with my creator. However, while in my physical body, I must be honest and admit that I am a wasteful person.

I am wasting precious time on this earth hoarding my skills and talents because I let fear keep me in its grip. God has given me a nurturing and caring personality, but I find myself being cold and careless with His creation. God has given me a creative mind, but I remain in a career that does not recognize or fertilize this gift. I waste time sitting on my hands calling it writer’s block even though my dream is to write a book. I make more excuses than I do plans; I waste precious time with family and friends.

It is not easy to admit that waste is my worst quality. I am ashamed to call this to the forefront of all my flaws. The good thing is, now that I have this out in the open, I can evaluate what is going on and start to make changes.

Can you be honest with yourself today and call out your worst quality?

Psalm 23:4 New International Version (NIV)
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Daily Post

My Plan


Courage is the shovel that I am  using to exhume my desires that have been buried under mountains of fear.

Luke 11:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.

Exiting the Closet


On November 9, 2010 I came out of the closet on this blog. Not the typical closet that most are accustomed to hearing about; I came out of an even more secret closet…the childless closet. This is the blog Blessing in Disguise, if you have not read it before.

It was a very vulnerable move on my part as only select people were privy to this information in the past. So why did I do it? I did it because I made peace with this part of my life.

I am a charter member of ChildlessNotByChoice, a childless website begun in 2002. I owe so much to Diane and Kimberly who founded the site out of their own need for a childless community. I thank the members there for their virtual hand-holding and understanding of the pain, fears, and frustrations of being childless not by choice. With all of their support, I have been able to make peace with my surgically removed dreams of motherhood.

For years I focused on the fact that children are a gift from God, and I wasn’t given this gift. I felt left out and I allowed this to block my view of all of the other blessings that God has given me. I realized this week that even though I am a parent to none, God’s children are everywhere and every age. I am able to share His word and love with God’s children I never bore.

I made my exit from the childless closet to let you know that while I was in there, I struggled with what I thought should have been my blessing. In my humanness, I was angry and confused with God.

Today, I am walking in faith, by the grace of God, knowing that I am right where I should be. I extend to you my virtual hand to hold, along with my virtual shoulder to lean on, from this day forward. I am willing to listen to you without judging, walk along side you without running away, and pray for you unceasingly. Whatever burden you carry, I want you to know the love of God.

This is a confidential invitation. I will only share your burdens in prayer with God.

Ephesians 3:14-19(NIV)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Hang On, Jesus is in Control


August 12, 2011, 2:30 a.m.
I just woke up from some rather odd airplane dreams and I cannot get back to sleep. In one part of the dream, I could hear the sound of an airplane, but when I looked at it, I saw one man lying on his back, flying in the air feet first, with another person hanging on and they were coming in for a landing.

Isn’t that like Jesus, carrying us through difficulties? He is there from take-off to landing and the solution is one that does not make sense to us until we’ve gone through the difficulty. We need no other protection from the “elements” that we pass through in life; we need only to hang on.

Isaiah 40:31(NIV)
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

Airport Security


I just returned from a business trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is what I noticed as I traveled alone in the airport.

Her giggles caught my attention as I ate my lunch in the food court. A metal railing corralled patrons systematically through the food ordering process, but to a 4-year-old girl, the railing was a jungle gym. I watched as her older brother joined in the fun and tried to teach her some new daring moves. They were having so much fun being kids while their father stood nearby waiting for their food order.

At one point, someone behind the counter turned on a blender and the noise startled the little girl. She covered her delicate ears and ran behind her father for protection.

Sitting on a tiny plane for the last leg of my journey, the woman sitting next to me was traveling home with her husband and their 17-year-old son. The airline made an error in ticketing this family and the son was on a different flight heading to their hometown while the parents were on my flight and planned to drive 45 miles to get home.

The son sent a text to his father alerting him that the airport changed the departure gate for his flight. He became lost in the large airport and feared that he’d miss the flight that was nearing take-off; just as our plane was about to shut the door for take-off. The father rushed off the plane to find his lost son.

When life turns on “the blender” and we get scared, we can stand behind Jesus anytime and He will protect us. Jesus told a parable about the shepherd who was missing one sheep. The shepherd left the flock to rescue the lost one.

Being a witness to two Bible stories in real-time made my trip a complete success.

John 14:27 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Luke 15:4(NIV)
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

The Chameleon, The Girl, and Jesus


One of my favorite Looney Tunes cartoons was developed as a sort of documentary about animals and their habitats. A memorable part showed the chameleon standing in front of a slide show of color and he comfortably blended in with each color. One color slide, in particular, had him upset and stepping away in tears pounding on the ground in frustration and screaming, “I just can’t do it!” The color slide was a plaid.

I comfortably wear the colors black and brown in my wardrobe. When I was in high-school in the 80s, I had the coolest yellow pants and a bright orange t-shirt. A matching belt married the two into a super-cute outfit. I stood in front of my mirror on a number of occasions admiring the look, but ending up telling myself that “I just can’t do it” and never left my bedroom with that outfit on. It was too bright.

Jesus comfortably wore tunics and sandals. On the night He was betrayed, He went, with His tired disciples, into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While deeply troubled about having to be stripped of His garments and die a horrible death, Jesus sweated blood. He even prayed for this cup to pass Him by. He never said, “I just can’t do it.” Instead He said to His Father, “It is your will and not my own”.

The chameleon and I could not see past ourselves, but Jesus could.

Perhaps you are being challenged today to go beyond yourself. Are you going to react negatively by saying, “I just can’t do it” or are you going to go to God in prayer and say, “If it is your will, Lord, I will follow”?

Mark 14:36(NIV)
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

April – Child Abuse Awareness Month


I was present at the birth of my great-niece almost eight years ago.  I was standing next to the crib where she was placed within seconds of entering the world.  I watched wide-eyed in amazement at how the nurse cleaned her up, cleared out her nostrils, mouth and eyes.  She was so little and dependent on everyone around her.  This precious child of God will need food, clothing and shelter, I thought, and I knew her needs would be met by the loving family who waited for her arrival. 

Under the veil of protection, some children do not receive the proper food, clothing and shelter they deserve.  Some families do not realize children are a gift from God and so the children are mistreated as objects instead of humans. 

My first encounter with child abuse was by reading the book A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive, written by Dave Pelzer about his own experience.  Dave’s mother was mentally disturbed and an alcoholic.  She mentally and physically abused him with tortuous games only she thought were amusing.  Child abuse is often cyclical.  Once abused, that person will abuse and that person will abuse, and so the ripple effect moves on.  Dave was able to overcome and broke this chain of destruction in his family.

Some children are sexually abused.  Usually the abused knows the abuser.  Sexually abused children are threatened to remain silent and this silence may bring about behavioral changes.  The following is taken from http://www.stopitnow.org/warning_signs_child_behavior   April 9, 2011. 

Behavior you may see in a child or adolescent

       Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation

       Seems distracted or distant at odd times

       Has a sudden change in eating habits

       Refuses to eat

       Loses or drastically increases appetite

       Has trouble swallowing

       Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity or withdrawal

       Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues

       Writes, draws, plays or dreams of sexual or frightening images

       Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places

       Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child

       Talks about a new older friend

       Suddenly has money, toys or other gifts without reason

       Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty or bad

       Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language and knowledge

Signs more typical of younger children

       An older child behaving like a younger child (such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking)

       Has new words for private body parts

       Resists removing clothes when appropriate times (bath, bed, toileting, diapering)

       Asks other children to behave sexually or play sexual games

       Mimics adult-like sexual behaviors with toys or stuffed animal

       Wetting and soiling accidents unrelated to toilet training

Signs more typical in adolescents

       Self-injury (cutting, burning)

       Inadequate personal hygiene

       Drug and alcohol abuse

       Sexual promiscuity

       Running away from home

       Depression, anxiety

       Suicide attempts

       Fear of intimacy or closeness

       Compulsive eating or dieting

You cannot pick a child abuser out of a crowd, but you can pick up on the warning signs listed above.  Reach out to a child or adolescent, they need you to be their silent voice.  

I witnessed my beautiful great-niece coming into the world and I know she is a gift from God.  I would do everything in my power to protect her and her siblings. 

 2 Thessalonians 3:2-3 (New International Version, ©2011)

And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

 

Blessing in Disguise


Yesterday, I had a doctor appointment. I was guided by the medical assistant to my cold room where I waited for the doctor to make her visits to other patients. Through the thin office walls, I could hear the conversation with my neighbor. A celebration was going on because she just found out that she was pregnant. I visualized the balloons flying and confetti falling and the hug of joy shared between the mother-to-be and the doctor who confirmed the blessed news.

The doctor left the party next door and entered my cold room. My diagnosis was not party-worthy. “You have severe endometriosis” she announced. “We can remove the endometriosis and try to salvage your ovaries; however, although the blood tests do not indicate cancer, we cannot rule that out until we cut you open because of the masses in your stomach are rather large. If we do not find cancer, would you like me to attempt to salvage your ovaries?” Knowing that my marriage was heading in divorce I could not imagine bringing a blessing into the world of a broken relationship. “Take it all if you need to” was my heart-wrenching reply.

This really wasn’t yesterday, but it sure feels like it. This happened 18 years ago today. This was absolutely a life-changing decision.

God creates a life path as unique as he creates his children. I was newly divorced and barren; two things I never imagined would occur on my path. I know I would have made a great mom to a little human that shared my DNA; however, that is not my path.

The pain of childlessness is the thorn in my side. After 18 years I realize that I can be a mentor to newly diagnosed barren women. I can utilize my spiritual gift of helper because I can leave at the drop of a hat to help anyone who needs an extra hand or a shoulder to lean on. The thorn in my side has turned into the biggest blessing I have in my life because it created an awesome relationship with my Lord and Savior.

Galatians 4:27 (NIV)
27 For it is written:
“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

Just Need a Hand to Hold


In church this morning, I watched as the children were invited by the Pastor to join him on the steps of the altar so he could lead them in a children’s sermon. Some children run, some children walk alone and some children hold hands with others as they make their way to the altar. Some children seem too afraid to approach on their own, so a parent will lead them by the hand and sit with them, or near them, so they can participate with the other children.

As a child, I feared going forward on my own. I needed the support of a trusted adult to lead me where I was invited…at least the first time. I have not out-grown this fear because as an adult, I fret over the unfamiliar.

Isaiah 41:10, 13
10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

13For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Imagine verse 10. God takes my left hand and leads me with His righteous right hand each and every time I am scared to take a step forward on my own.

Imagine verse 13. In the previous verse, God is known to have a righteous right hand. Now, the most common way for two people to hold onto right hands is to face each other. As God and I reach for each other, I see Him looking gently into my fearful eyes while taking hold of my right hand in his righteous right hand. God says, “Do not fear, I will help you.”

God will lead me where He needs me. I am able to run if I want to, walk if I want to, or just hold the hand of another. With the promises in Isaiah 41:10, 13, I have no room in either hand to keep holding onto fear.

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