Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fear and Faith

As I sat down to write this post, Jayci called me into her room (as she does most nights lately). She told me she was scared because her "Clifford the big red dog" stuffed animal had turned brown. Glad she couldn't see my grin in the dark, I flipped on the light to show her how he was, in fact, still red, and only looked brown in the dark.

After a few more trips to her room to alleviate a few more imagined fears, I've been sitting here thinking about how it seems as though fearfulness is hard-wired into us somehow. Jayci has no reason to be afraid, she just is. And sometimes I think it only gets harder the older you get, the more things you realize can go wrong, the more you understand of our broken world. I am realizing that for most of us, fear is one of the driving factors in our lives. Satan does a bang-up job of pinpointing our deepest fears, and whispering lies in our ears that only deepen them.

Since I've been home from the hospital, I've been having a really hard time not living in constant fear. They might not be the gut-wrenching, overwhelming fears I felt when we first found out about his defect, or while he was in surgery, or in the CICU when his blood pressure dropped . . . but they are persistent and nagging nonetheless. Fear of what else might be wrong with him. Fear he will have complications that emerge down the road from his surgery or medications. Fear that his heart will stop. Fear that I'll actually have to use the life-saving measures they taught us at the hospital. Fear that I will never get the hang of parenting two kids. And in reality, while my fears may be a different sort now, they were no less persistent before Caden was born. I feared not being a good enough mom. Not having things all together. Losing Adam or Jayci.. .

The intense feelings I experienced during Caden's hospital stay: completely helpless, with everything 100% out of my control; in some ways they have driven me to obsessively try to control things around me now. To double and triple check his breathing, his heart rate. To keep Jayci close by, lest some freak accident befall her in the other room. . . Unfortunately, trying to control things so carefully only reminds me how little I can actually control. Which only scares me more. And the funny thing is that the most at peace I have felt was when Caden lay in a hospital bed with his chest wide open. Why? Because I had no choice but to surrender control to the One who has been in control all along.

And the key to overcoming our fears lies right there, I think: in surrender. Because it cannot be simply about NOT fearing anything ever. That's just not going to happen. Why do you think God tells us over and over again: "do not fear." It must be because, over and over again, we DO fear. We lose sight of the one who is carrying us, and we begin to sink in the crashing waves. We forget that although we WILL have trouble in this world, there is One who has overcome the world.

I know women, and especially moms, tend to be worriers. About how we look, what we wear, what we eat. About how we appear to others, how much the men in our lives love us, about how much we are doing, how well we are performing. About how we mother, how our children behave . . . I could keep going and going. And for me, the list of worries seems never-ending.

I'm realizing that I can either choose to trust or to fear. Not both. And that choosing to trust does not necessarily mean nothing bad will happen. It doesn't mean we wont have our house broken into, or that Jayci wont fall and break her leg at some point. It doesn't mean we wont have a child born with a major heart defect, or that that he wont have more medical issues down the road. But it DOES mean that we can have peace even when things do go wrong. That we can still rely on the goodness of a God who loves us, even through our day-to-day fears and anxieties.

I'm also realizing something else. Fears seem a lot worse in the dark. Darkness causes our eyes to play tricks, to make big red dogs "turn brown." It is only by walking in the Light, walking with The Light, that we will be reminded of the truth. That red is still red. That God is still in control. That we are still who God says we are, and He is still who He says He is. Even when things are dark.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6


  1. You are such an encouragement. I felt like this post really spoke to me! Thank you :)

  2. I know both sides of these very well. Have almost paralyzing fear of bad things that could happen to the those in my wonderful little family. (As odd as it sounds my biggest fear is the littles falling or being inadvertantly pushed when playing with friends, off a playground, all the big high openings.) But I/we have also been in the completely rely on God (especially w BabyBoy's pregnancy, surgery after he was born, and his Nicu stay), I definitely try to stay on the complete trust side ;) but it is hard sometimes and always good and need to have reminders :) hugs friend!

  3. Oh, Becca! Once again you have beautifully put into words what I have been turning over and over in my head. Becoming a mom brings a whole new level of worry to your life. Becoming a mom of a sick baby magnifies it! It occured to me the other day that I can't walk in fear and faith at the same time - it just isn't possible. I'm choosing to walk in faith, but some days that is a harder choice to make than others, don't you think?

    I LOVE Caden's wrinkles in the last post. Davis looked the same way before he started gaining weight...they'll be gone before you know it!

    Still lifting your sweet family up in prayer!

  4. Yes, yes, yes, yes a million times over! Yes. Every word in HIS Word is intentional; the fact that "do not fear" (or do not be anxious, or however else it's translated) shows up SO much was not a casual coincidence. And Peter, and the water and waves, and keeping his eyes on Jesus so he wouldn't sink? BIGGEST life lesson that a Christian can learn. WWJD is great, but WDPD (what did Peter do?) is really more of a litmus test. And you? Girl, I really haven't see you take your eyes off of Him yet. And those waves will NEVER be bigger than He is ...

  5. Oh becca, this truly hit home over here. Right now I have a hard time too naming those fears,to surrender and not just fearing.
    As far as I catched as a mom-to-be, nothing is the same once you carry a child.
    Bless you and your family!

  6. I love this, Becca. I've done a little walking in the darkness and walking in the Light myself and there is a BIG diffrerence in my level of fear. Thanks for the reminder to completely surrender ALL my fears to Him.

  7. This post is beautiful. It is so hard to be free from worry, especially after what you've been through. We are in the process of adopting our (first adopted) fourth child. The worry is something we cope with, too. I was double checking breathing multiple times and really driving myself crazy. I looked into the Angel Care monitor, which is a pad that goes under the crib mattress that sets off an alarm if it detects no movement (breathing) for 20 seconds. It has given me extreme peace of mind, and in all the time we have had it only one time has it gone off inaccurately (thankfully) due to a shift in the pad. It starts at 100 dollars and goes up to almost 300 if you want multiple receivers/video capability. It was so worth the peace of mind. I highly recommend it. Good luck with your beautiful family.

  8. I can not thank you enough for sharing this today. I absolutely needed this, as it penetrated deep into my heart. Fear is something that I have to daily lay at the feet of Jesus. Thank you for opening your heart.

  9. Dear Becca,

    I was checking in to see how Caden was doing and to see how you all were doing as well. I am happy to see how great Caden looks, and besides the crazy feeding schedule (so sorry!), it sounds like you are all adjusting well too. I'm so glad.

    I had to comment though on this post, because it was just a beautiful illustration. You have a way with words and such an uplifting spirit. Thank you for sharing this important message.

    I was just expecting to read an update on Caden, but I think God wanted to me to read a little more! : ) Thank you!

    Katie Gibson

  10. Love this post! Our pastor recently went through a series about the 4 "G"s of God's character - He is great, good, glorious, and gracious. By far, the one that spoke to me the most was "God is great - so we don't have to be in control". If you have some time, you should listen to it! ... thanks for sharing your heart on this!

  11. It's the unknown that makes this heart journey (and life for that matter) scary. Olivia was diagnosed before birth and didn't have to have a surgery until last week and I spent 9 months worrying until this surgery happened. For me, the anticipation was so much worse than the actual act of surgery. I had been given promptings from the Lord that indicated Olivia would be okay. The hart part for me is that I did not know what it would take to make Olivia "okay". Does that make sense? It's easy to trust in the Lord when I know the plan, but when I have to be patient and wait for the plan, then fear sets in. But I know that fear comes from the advisary. The very one who doesn't want us to trust in our very loving Heavenly Father. It's hard when our natural man comes out and struggles with the disciple that we want to be. And I feel that the test is that much greater when you are worrying about the health and well being of your children. It's easier to be patient and not fear when I'm the one hurting. But when it's my child? That's a whole different story. The anguish is greater but it's also when I should trust in him to provide the very things that I cannot provide for my child. As mother's of children with health problems, we can drive ourselves crazy with worry. But the worry doesn't change anything. I can only say that now that I'm beyond the heart surgery and I see my little one doing so well. I was just telling my heart mamas on facebook that "I wish my current self could go back to my 9 month ago self and tell her that everything won't be as bad as you think" Anyway, this is a ramble but my heart goes out to you and your little man. Your eloquence in this journey is impressive. Caden is very lucky to have you as his mama.


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