Fear has pretty much always been just below the surface of my personality.
If I’m having a great day, it doesn’t take much to roll my stomach into the familiar knots of anxiety. Sometimes I feel the physical symptoms of that fear before I can even pinpoint its source.
I’ve mentioned it here before, maybe even joked about it out loud.
But it’s no joke.
I don’t mean to suggest that my anxiety is somehow more valid than anyone else’s. Or that I feel things more than the next person. Because, in the throes of my own anxious thoughts, it Is very easy to make myself the victim.
But the truth of the matter is, fear is a sin. Plain and simple.
It’s a lack of faith in my Father.
It’s my desire to control when I have none.
It distracts me from seeing God’s good provision all around me.
Recently, one of my biggest fears came to pass: the loss of a child. I miscarried very early in my third pregnancy. I quickly found myself in the exact place I feared the most: the valley of the shadow of death.
The atmosphere during our little one’s passing has threatened to suffocate at times. Loud voices tell me that I wasn’t really in THAT valley. I must just be in another, sorta sad, but very common valley and it wasn’t really life yet, anyway. But what we have walked through is a death in our family. Just because this happens to so many hopeful mamas doesn’t make the loss any lighter. Just because I never saw our sweet baby’s face doesn’t mean he didn’t matter. The deep ache in my soul tells me everything I need to know about the legitimacy of this little life.
Just when I think I’ve scaled the walls a little bit on my own, fear and grief slam me right back to the valley’s cold, dark floor. What in the hell am I supposed to do?
Nothing. I can’t do a thing unless Jesus shows up.
And He has.
Because of Him, I have not been alone. His rod and His staff have tangibly comforted me. He has been with me in ways that are nothing short of miraculous and precious. This has not been a season I can self-talk or B-complex vitamin my way out of. This is me saying I’m broken. I can’t fix myself. I have to face the fear that this could happen again. This world is a fallen one, after all.
He knew about this precious life before He flung the stars out into the black. And He chose to create me even though He knew I’d really screw up trusting Him as Abba Father. He paid the highest price for my lack of faith. For my prideful attempts to say “It’s cool, I got this, Jesus” only to realize that my broken body couldn’t keep this child safe.
There are certainly days and weeks when He seems far. And maybe it’s because I’m up to my old tricks: staying busy to numb the sadness in my heart and pretending like I’ve got all of it dangling on my own strings. Or maybe I’ve been listening to the critical voices too long. I can only pray that grace floods in and shows me where I am so very forgiven. His voice is always the sweet, confident one. Oh, how I want to know what it means to walk around in that grace. Kinda like when a breeze picks up the dead leaves and dances with them for a moment.
He tells me things like:
He is a he.
He is happy and whole.
He has a name.
You will meet him one day, but I get to hug you first.
If your heart is crushed in this way, ask Jesus to show up. He wants to carry you through the valley.
Though He brings grief, He will show compassion. -Lamentations 3:32