Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

This post helped me win first-place in Kelly Balarie’s Fear Fighting Writing Contest in March 2017. I won a meeting with a literary agent. Thank you to the over 350 people who cast votes for me in the contest!

I used to be haunted by a recurring dream.  Running and stumbling in a desert valley at dusk, alone and weary.  Desperate to find a hiding place before night settled, but not knowing where to turn.  Someone or something was hunting me.  Something fierce and deadly.   I knew it, but I couldn’t see it.  My faceless enemy pursued me and I had to keep running as fast as I could, panting and whimpering all the way.

Fear was my hunter.  The fear of abandonment, in particular.  Fear gripped me the day my daddy left when I was four, huddled on my bed and crying, laying the first bricks of protection for the walls in my heart.  That fear held on tight for thirty-three more Aprils.

Fear gripped me when my daddy married the woman who broke up the marriage.  I thought, What will happen now, since Daddy and Mommy would never get back together?

Fear gripped me when my mommy got involved in work and ministries and I felt lonelier than ever.  I thought, What if I am forgettable?

Fear gripped me when I asked my daddy to take us back home one night when we stayed at his house.  I thought, What if he hates me for who I am?

Fear gripped me when my sister and I stayed home in the summers.  I thought, What if I can’t defend myself against an intruder? 

Fear gripped me when my daddy tried to teach me a lesson and it horribly backfired, pushing me further into fear’s grip.  I thought, What if I’m left alone in an unfamiliar place?

Fear gripped me when my mommy remarried and my parents’ marriage had to be annulled.  I thought, What if I am worthless?

Fear gripped me when boys began showing interest, and I couldn’t handle their advances.  I thought, What if they hurt me and I never heal?

Fear gripped me as I considered throwing everything away in the darkest nights of my teenage years.  I thought, What if no one will miss me?

Fear still gripped me as a wife and mother of three, during fifteen rocky years of marriage.  What if he doesn’t come home one night?  What if he cheats?  What if he shatters my heart?  What if he abandons us, just like my father?

In April 2015 my worst fear came to life in front of my eyes.  My husband packed his bags and told our children goodbye, telling me he was moving out.  I was that little four-year-old girl again, huddled on my bed and crying.

But in the middle of the night, a peace stole over me like I had never known.  In my darkest valley, when I finally saw the face of my haunting fear, I also saw the face of perfect Love.

Perfect love casts out fear.  1 John 4:18 NRSV

Love Himself sat with me in that April bedroom in 1982, collecting my tears.

Love Himself held me in the palm of his hand at both of my parents’ remarriages.

Love Himself stood guard at the door when I was home alone.

Love Himself whispered truth to me when I faced rejection, loneliness, and despair.

Love Himself held me close when I faced an uncertain future in April 2015.

Love Himself gave me the strength to stand up to fear and stand up for my marriage.  I set boundary stones and said, “This far and no further.”  Prayer was my food.  Tears were my drink.  I was standing in the valley of the shadow of death on our marriage, yet I felt empowered.  Uplifted.  Unafraid.

Love Himself restored our marriage at the end of May.  Love Himself captured my tears in little blue bottles and set them on a special windowsill in heaven, just like the one in my kitchen. Psalm 56:8

Love Himself gave me newness of life.  He planted seeds in those bottles, and new life is growing from those tears.  New life which will help others trapped in the fear of abandonment.  New life to set free those who grieve and mourn.  New life to strengthen the hearts of those who seek Him.

That fearful dream no longer haunts me.  I am free because Love Himself walked through the valley with me.  He reached for me with his nail-pierced hands and lifted me up to a high place, where the shadow of death no longer falls.

In her new book Fear Fighting, Kelly Balarie shares these wonderful truths which apply to my story and yours:

The truth is, God is ready to hit us with unfathomable new perspectives—ones that redefine our past, present, and problems if we will only stop, receive, and consider.

God often lets us go through pain so we will press in to His love.

I want to run back to me, that seven-year-old girl, grab hold of her shoulders, look into her sullen and scared eyes, and tell her, “Sweet one, please know:  you are seen, so seen.  Put on your cape again; keep hope.  Super God is giving you power.  Just believe, grab hold, and fly where He flies.  By His might, you’re bound to end up okay.”

Her book is a powerful, rich, bold story about how God wants to help you overcome your fears.  The Holy Spirit is your helper who will break the chains which bind you.  Kelly’s prayers and helpful insights will speak straight to your fearful heart and set you free from anxiety.

Order your copy of Fear Fighting today.  Visit for more info, and check out Kelly’s blog at

If you are looking for newness of life in 2017, please check out my book Newness of Life: Trusting God in Times of Transition.  This book is a study of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and you will gain perspective on God’s timing in your current life season.

Please share on social media, using the buttons below and this hashtag: #fearfightingbook.  Thank you in advance!

This post will be linked up at #mommymoments, #smallwonder, #soulsurvival, #mondaymusings, #inspirememonday, #glimpsesofhisbeauty, #momentsofhope, #tellhisstory, #testimonytuesday, #raralinkup, #tuestalk, #coffeeforyourheart, #wisewomanlinkup, #livefreethursday, #heartencouragement, #thoughtprovokingthursday, #chasingcommunity, #dancewithjesus, #faithnfriends, #freshmarketfriday, #graceandtruth, and #fridayfive. Visit my linkups page to find links to these wonderful blogs.

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  • So many things to fear in this life. I’ve dealt with fear in many different ways as well. 🙁 I love how you personify Love Himself as coming to your rescue, again and again. He has for me as well. Looking forward to the ways we’ll see him anew in 2017 as he continues to quell our fears.

    • Sarah

      Hi Lisa! Glad you stopped by today. I hope you will check out my new book and vote for my post, if you feel so led. Kelly’s book goes on sale today, and I recommend it highly. Blessings to you!

  • This is beautiful and powerful, Sarah! I love that no matter how strong our fear is, God’s love can cast it out. Thanks for sharing your story of how God has done that in your life. I’m looking forward to reading Kelly’s book.

    • Sarah

      Thanks Lesley! I hope you will read my book as well, and vote for my post if you feel so led. Blessings to you in the new year!

  • I’ve had many instances of having to overcome fear in my life. I am thankful that God has always been with me, even through the darkest of times. Thank you for sharing at Glimpses this week.

    • Sarah

      Thanks Barbie! Blessings to you, and I pray you will vote for my post if you feel led to do so.

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  • You remind me of the trials in my own life that followed me to adulthood, and how Christ set’s us free! I want to say I’m sad for all the abandonment you went through, but I see how God uses you for good! Love Kelly’s new book, we all need help reminding us God is our strength and delight..and we can master fears with God as our hope!!!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Kathy! I appreciate your visit, and your kind words. God has led me through those hard seasons, and I want to encourage others now who struggle with the same fears I had. So glad you stopped by today!

  • I found your site through the link-up #TellHisStory. I’m glad I stopped in. Sorry to hear of all the fears you encountered so early in life, I appreciate how real you were in your post. Loss is hard but God’s love and His peace are so amazing though. I will share this information to my Facebook page. Both the book and your Ebook look like good reads. Thank you for sharing. Happy New Year

    • Sarah

      Thanks so much Tammy. I deeply appreciate the fact you voted for me! Thanks for the shares too. I am humbled and grateful for your support. Blessings on your writing ministry in 2017!

  • I really enjoyed this post so I looked for the way to vote for you, but I couldn’t find it. If you give me a direct link to where to vote, I’ll be happy to do that for you. In the meantime, thank you for sharing so many of your personal stories with your readers in this post.

    • Sarah

      OK, Lauren, the place to vote is Sorry you had problems finding it, but I deeply appreciate your support and your kind words!

    • Sarah

      Lauren, I posted the link in our FB group, hope you see it now, thank you so much!

    • Sarah

      Thanks Lauren, I sent instructions on the group we’re in. Your vote means a lot to me!

  • Sarah, this is beautifully written. Thank you for testifying to Love Himself and how He is with us, working on our behalf, protecting us, renewing us, and so much more. A little extra-awed by our Savior at the moment : ) Thanks for sharing!!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Bethany, your kind words bless me today! Glad you liked this!

  • It is beautiful to see how similar we all are. Our fears may be from different experiences, but fear is a chameleon. The only thing that doesn’t change is God. So grateful for His steadfastness in the middle of all our fears.

    • Sarah

      So true, Rebecca. Fear will haunt you in many different shades, and remaining steadfast in God will drive it away. Thanks for visiting!

  • Sarah, I voted for your beautiful post. I lived way too much of my wife with fear, too. I could so relate to many of your words. Especially about the healing grace of Love Himself. Blessings and Happy New Year!!

    • Sarah

      Deb, I saw your vote, and I am deeply appreciative. Glad you could relate. I take such comfort in knowing God walks with me no matter what.
      Blessings to you as well!

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  • Tammy Lueders

    Sarah I voted and shared!

    • Sarah

      Thank you Tammy! It means so much to me!

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  • Sarah, this is so beautiful, so raw and so redemptive. I voted for you, and I’m adding you as a resource to the article I just wrote on letting God heal the Daddy wound. Thank-you for sharing your story and allowing it to bring others closer to Love Himself.

    • Sarah

      Thank you so much Brooke! I deeply appreciate your support 🙂

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    • Sarah

      Thanks for linking to my site!

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  • Rebecca Lynn

    I have a feeling so many of us can relate to this — the suffocating grip of fear. But I pray more of us begin to relate to the truths that set us free from those fears – that we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS! I’m so glad you are finding God’s love and restoration – and that you are becoming a fear fighter! We will always be fighting – in this life anyway. But “the one who endures will be saved.” We’ve already been saved eternally — we only need to endure — and we have God Almighty and His heavenly host ready to battle for us! I’d say the odds are in our favor. 🙂

    • Sarah

      Thank you Rebecca! What a thoughtful comment, and I also deeply appreciate your vote! Blessings to you.

  • Desiree Montalvo-Holt

    Wow! Goosebumps filled my body as I felt your words and pain in my heart. My children have had to go through both me and their dad being remarried. They are older now ,but I remember seeing those fears and covering them with His word. it is only in His word that we find the strength to come out of the darkness. So grateful He see us and in the pain builds us up with His JOY!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Thank you, Desiree. I am glad you are on the other side of the darkness now. And so am I. Yes, Jesus gives us joy despite our pain. Blessings to you now and in the new year too!