Fear…the death grip and how to wring free from it.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart….and  your paths will be straight”  

Proverbs 3:5-6

There’s nothing that makes my paths more crooked than pregnancy, and the hormones, fatigue and sickness it brings.

I plan a course of action, a schedule and an agenda…..and then I don’t have the energy to carry it out.

I want to love my children well…..but patience levels plummet to nil and I find myself bursting out in anger and frustration.

I want to stay fit and trim…..and my body balloons out as it prepares for a growing child. (WHY does this virtual vegetarian crave hamburgers and french fries for a baby that is only two inches long right now?!?)

I want to cling to the Lord and trust on His promises.…but hormones do crazy things to my mind and I can’t find my bearing in the waves of vacillating emotion.

I have a book to finish writing, ONE thing in my life that seems like an attainable goal (when everything else I do is so easily undone )….. and the fatigue and exhaustion dwindles discipline and drive and motivation.

I have a mind brimming with ideas for blog posts, people I want to write letters to, individuals I want to reach out to……and all those ideas are just trapped-trapped in a mind that doesn’t have the time or an able body in which to find fruition.

And we are called to trust the Lord with all our hearts in each of those circumstances.

And I wonder why it is so hard, why I can’t seem to muster up the trust, for on many a day I am crying out to the Lord and He feels far off (you mean, Lord, you’re not just going to send a nanny to my doorstep when I”m struggling through the dinner hour?).  But the only way for trust to take root, is to find what is standing in its way.

And I find that the Giant called Fear takes up residency in a place I long for trust to grow.

Fear?

No, it couldn’t be that. Most of us wouldn’t openly declare, “Hi, I’m ______, and I am filled with fear”

But when levels and layers are uncovered, we find that at the root of our desire and desperate attempts to be in control, fear is the demon driver behind it all. 

We want to be in control, and get things done, and have a schedule. Fear of losing control and God not handling it all, drives the desperate grasping after the schedule. I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to love our children well. Isn’t that the key to them growing to walk with Jesus and become responsible adults. Isn’t that the caliber by which we judge our devotion to God? Fear, that I might ruin my kids, disappoint God, and be exposed as the selfish, sinful person I am is what unsettles ones’ spirit over personal failures. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to have a certain image, fit into our culture’s declaration of what beauty is. We want to feel in control of our bodies. It is fear of disapproval, of being looked down upon and judged, fear of spinning out of control of our little kingdom of self found in body building and toning. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of even this.

We want to be “strong in our faith” and stand on promises of God’s word, but fear of not being strong enough to weather the storms of suffering, propels us into guilt and condemnation for not having more faith. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to accomplish our goals and finish what we start, and fear of never finishing, fear of God never bringing to fruition this faith walk He has led us upon, causes panic, “This will never get done!” (which leads to frustration at little people whose diapers and snotty noses and never-ending appetites are the “VERY” reason why it will never get done).  And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

We want to be used to bless people, to help people, and we can’t do that if we don’t follow through with the promptings to reach out, can we? It is fear that God is not big enough for that person thought of, that they need ME to be the one to reach out to them and serve them, that leads to a disappointment with self  over not following through. And I’m afraid God is not able to take care of this.

But I am not the only one who struggles with fear.

A million people who had just seen the mighty hand of God  deliver them from slavery, from Egypt along with all the wealth of Egypt, were overcome by fear, despite God’s recent acts of faithfulness and powerful displays of deliverance. Little did they know that the very thing that terrified them (Pharoh’s army pursuing them right up to the Red Sea (Exodus 14:5-9), was the thing God was moving into place to display his glory all the more.

The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen. Exodus 14:18 

God was sending the unsurmountable Egyptian army to pursue his people (after they had just been released from their slavery), not to defeat their hope, their spirits, but to build their hope and the faith in His Might and His Love .

And the promise, the hope, the great fear combatant that God declares through Moses to those fearful people watching the Egyptian army pursue them, is one that rings through the centuries, right into this fearful mother pursued by an army of emotional, spiritual, physical and mental oppressors.

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13-14

And since I think in lists, formulas and simplified terms, scribbled in my journal are the bullet points:

1. FEAR NOT.

2. Stand firm

3. See the salvation of the Lord

4. He will work for you

5. The Lord will fight for you

6. You have only to be silent.

If God is in charge. I need not fear. If I let him be in charge, my only need is to stand firm. If I believe He’s always moving even when this tired mother can’t, I can simply watch.  Watch him work for me. Watch Him fight for me.

I need only be silent and still.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,
    but you would have none of it.

Isaiah 30:15

(I am slightly addicted to this song right now….my heart’s faith-cry through the trials)

Moving Up in order to Move Down: The role of a personal quiet time in a mother’s life

Achy, tired pregnant body…groggy mind…the alarm is blaring in my ear, but the whispers blur reason away…

“You need your rest- you are pregnant”

“If you get up now, you won’t make it through the morning”

“Its waaay to early…the kids woke you up alot last night”

And that carved out time, the very time when thirsty soul can drink from the Stream of Living Water, where hungry heart can feast at the Table, where Life can be breathed in and strength can fill a too-weak-for-the-job mamma of five six, it gets blurred away by those whispers.

No wonder everything has been so topsy turvey.  Every blurred thought, every outburst of anger, every running after comforts and crutches that can never truly uphold.  It is all traced back to this lack of feasting.

Trying to run a day with many young children without having feasted on the Word of God and the Presence of His Son, is like trying to run a marathon (at top speed) without having eaten anything for the past week.

And I wonder why I’m running on fumes…the fumes of my anger and frustration.

So, this snow day, with all children homebound ALL day long, warrants a movie watching, and while they watch the film I watch God’s Word awaken deaden heart.

As I persever in my commitment to read through the whole Bible in a year, I find myself at Exodus 34. Yawn. “Lord, your Word is Living and Active. Make it alive to me today” was the initial heart cry.

The Lord said to Moses, Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.” Exodus 34:1

Stone.Writing laws. And verses penned several centuries later rings through my mind and becomes my heart cry. May it be so, Lord: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26) and “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

And then, the words of Exodus 34 unfold how one moves into a place where this can happen.

“The Lord said to Moses,…..’Be read by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.

And Moses doesn’t roll over and hit the snooze button and tell the Lord he’s too tired from leading all these people (Moses had over a million….I have a mere five).

No.

And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” 

And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. And he said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” 

…When Moses came down from Mount Sinai…the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.” Exodus 34: 2-9, 29

Moses, he was called to be ready by the morning. Like there was preparation to be made for the intent purpose of getting up to go meet with God.  And if we value that meeting time with God, we too will make preparations to be there. I will get dinner made on time. I will get kids in bed on time. I will not wander through facebook or blogs or instagram pictures when I should be going to bed so that I can get up, to go up…..in order to come back down with God-brilliant face for my family.

So Moses’ early morning meeting with God teaches me a thing or two on how I can meet with God.

1.He made preparations to be ready in the morning (Ex.34:4)

2. He rose early (Ex.34:4)

3. He went up to meet with God (Ex.34:4)

4. He presented himself  (Ex. 34:2)

and he did it all so that he could be dozing through the “meeting with God” and  miserably tired the rest of the day, and grumpy with the people because of his lack of sleep.

No.

The rewards of rising early, moving up the mountain, and simply showing up were beyond comprehension.

For in Moses’ moving up, God came down.

The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him.

And the Lord filled Moses with hope, for He filled him with His Very Promises.

And Moses was given the opportunity to invite the Lord into every messy component of his task at hand…

O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people…” (Ex.34:9)

{ if you could hear the bickering of some stiff-knecked children and mama that goes on at our house, you would realize why I need to extend the same invitation every.single.morning}

And Moses went up, not to stay there and shirk his responsibility, but he went up, to be so awed by the Presence of God, that He could faithfully go down.

Go down into the sin ridden mess of a people he was to lead.

Go down into carrying a responsibility far to big for one person.

Go down into the nitty gritty of real life and struggle and problems.

But, once down there, he was never the same,

for “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God”. Exodus 34:29

And this family of mine, it needs some God shine in it. And this wayward heart of mine, it needs some Holy God filling it. And this easily discouraged mind, it needs steadfast Promises of a Steadfast God to cling to, when the circumstances seem too overwhelming stacked against me.  This day of mine, needs some God going in the midst of it.

And the place to find all that, the power to go down into the many mundane tasks and demands, is in the going up…the getting up, and going up into the presence of the Promises and the Presence of the Promiser.

Will you join me?

Need some help in how to enter in? How to move up the mountain into the Presence of the Promises and the Promiser?

This is the app I have downloaded on my phone. It sends the One Year Bible Reading Plan’s daily reading right to my email inbox. You can even switch the dates around if you are getting a late start.  And get this. It will even READ IT TO YOU. That means God’s word while we fold laundry, do dishes,  get ready in the morning, or drive to work . (although nothing can replace sitting still before the Lord to hear Him speak….the read aloud is simply supplemental)

Is that too daunting?

Try:

A Two Week Guided Tour of the Bible

Thirty days with Jesus

Thirty days for When You’re New to the Bible

Sixty days for the whole New Testament

Custom build your reading plan!