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 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 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.
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!
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