Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Fear: An Enemy to Keep Fighting

**This post is very much pregnancy related.***

Fear.

Never a friend.

But always sneaking up on you, no matter how many times you say, no thanks. You’re not welcome here.

Recognizing and fighting fear became a big lesson for me as we were going through infertility treatments and prayers and whys and what-ifs. I learned a lot about this enemy and I wanted it out of my life for good. But it somehow keeps sneaking back in.

Yesterday, when the baby wasn’t moving like normal, I let it in a little. I knew it was better not to be afraid, but it was a fight to push fear back. Have you been there?

I know I still have a lot of growing to do in eliminating fear and its control in my life. But I’ve learned a little, and I tried to put what I have learned into practice. I prayed. I worried and feared that something may be terribly wrong with the baby, but I prayed.

“There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18a)

That verse continues: “For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

God doesn’t punish us. Right?

But bad things happen. They do. I’ve seen plenty. I’m sure we all have. I’ve experienced more than enough, but I’m sure I will experience still more. So how do we go from there to trusting that the bad things that happen can be used for good? Or that the terrible things in our lives can be part of God’s perfect will for us?

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21: any wonder why we praise this man’s faith?)

And I thought about it. What if the Lord was taking away this prayed for baby? I know it sounds terrible and gruesome and now, in the light of day and on the other side of this, it’s harder to imagine than it was yesterday morning. But what if? What if the Lord wanted this child to bypass the evils of this world? What if the Lord wanted to postpone our meeting until we might be reunited in heaven? What if he did? Could I face it?

Could I trust that it was to be used for my good?

Could I trust God in the face of that kind of loss?

I prayed that I would be able to. I prayed for trust and faith in him. And I prayed that our baby was okay. And I prayed that if he did in fact call our baby to himself right then that I would keep praying.

I can’t imagine what that would have been like or what that would have looked like. And I thank God that this is not where things are right now. Our baby is fine. Hours at the hospital yesterday hooked up to fetal monitors have determined that the baby is fine. But there was that moment. And in that moment, I let fear sneak in a little more than I should have, but a little less than I would have in the past.

I am growing. But still not completely perfected in love. And still with much to learn.

And I am praising God for the miracle of life that is still alive in me. I am overwhelmed by his mercy toward us and thankful for his grace.

And praying that these next few weeks will go smoothly, that we’ll meet our child soon and on this side of heaven. And that God will continue to grow us in wisdom and to perfect us in love. Because if we let the fear in–it’s too much. There are too many ways this could all go wrong. Yesterday was such a poignant reminder. And a good reminder, also, that this baby is not mine, but the Lord’s. May the Lord use our child for his purposes and to do his perfect will.

I John 4:18

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Evicting Fear

I have an enemy called Fear. We don’t get along well, but I have, off and on,  allowed Fear to be a close companion. And not in the “keep your enemies closer” kind of way.

Fear keeps sneaking up on me and trying to steal my joy. She sneaks into my thoughts and tells me lies. Lies like I’ll never be fulfilled if I don’t have children. Lies like I’m wasting my life waiting around for a baby. Lies like I’d better hurry up and figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life, because I’m clearly not having a child any time soon.

For months I let fear live with me. She came in and made a pleasant little home for herself. When my thoughts would stray toward our infertility, she was right there ready to tell me all the reasons my life looked bleak. When I spent a day at home without a lot of work I needed to do, she taunted me. When I wondered where I was going or what I was going to do, she egged me on. “Worry more,” she’d say. “There’s so much you should be worried about.”

Fear has a few buddies she invited over for regular, noisy parties. Anxiety would come. Low Self-Esteem always showed up. Loneliness was definitely around. But the life of the party was Worry. They all came and they always made a mess.

Anxiety always echoed Fear’s haunting chorus: “You’ve got nothing. You’re going nowhere.” And added, “What are we going to do?”

Low Self-Esteem said, “Without children, who are you? You’re not valuable to future generations. You’re not worthy of your mommy-friends. And you’re really letting yourself go these days.” (Okay, there may be some truth to that last one . . .)

Loneliness tried to make me forget that I am never alone, that God is always with me. She tried to make me forget that  my husband, my best friend,  is here for me. Loneliness tried to tell me my friends, especially the ones who live far away, were too busy with their own, more important, lives to have time to talk to me. Loneliness told me that I didn’t fit in–that I’m too long married to be with the “young marrieds” and too barren to hang with the fertile crowd.

And Worry. She got into everything. Every aspect of my life was under her purview. “What if your husband has a terrible car accident on his way to work? Then you’ll really be alone. What if you get everything in order and still can’t make a baby? What if you can’t have any children? What will you do with yourself then? What if . . .”

A mess indeed. I look back on those months and I remember the company I was keeping–the company I was feeding and allowing to be part of my life–and it’s no wonder that I was depressed. That I was always tired. That I felt Hope slipping away.

And then something changed. Slowly, I began to realize that I was nourishing all of these negative voices instead of the positive voices that were standing at the door and waiting to be let in to influence my life. I was feeding Fear and Worry. I was giving them a free pass. But I didn’t have to do that.

And I found in the Word, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (I John 4: 18).

And I found in the Word, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

I find today that I am not afraid. I’m not afraid that we won’t be able to have children even with help. It may happen, but I’m not afraid of it. I’m not afraid that I will not be a mother. I may never be a mother, but I’m not afraid. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow–I need to live today.

I am choosing Joy instead of Worry and Peace instead of Anxiety. I am choosing Love instead of Fear. And maybe when Love comes in and finds it is at home, Fear is evicted and can’t find a place to lay her head. Love trumps Fear. Love wins.