January 21, 2016

When Fear Crushed Me

A few months ago I was getting my hair did and catching up on world news (People) when I came across an article about a well-known man and the accusations against him of child pornography and abuse. (I hate, hate, hate even having that phrase on my blog). I was totally shocked to see it about this person, though really it shouldn't shock us about anybody. Depravity extends to us all.

(I am also refusing to post this person's name because I don't want anyone Googling information about him and becoming scarred the way I was. Just because it's been made public doesn't mean we need to know the details. That's called voyeurism and it's anti-Biblical.)

Anyways. I know myself well enough to know I am tormented by details about things like this but I wanted to see if he had been convicted and if he would be going to prison. Every single news article included WAY too many details of what he had done and said (which, HOT BURNING RAGE, what is wrong with our culture that this is acceptable??).

Immediately my heart was seared with grief and terror and rage.

Deep, deep fear overcame me. I can't explain it except to say it felt like a physical, crushing weight had been laid on me. (Another reason that we are not meant to know these things and have them in our minds.)

(Sorry for all the parenthetical statements.)

(I'll try to rein it in.)

(But no promises.)

Anyways. It ruined the rest of my hair experience. All I could think about were my kids and somebody harming them. I could hardly contain my grief. When I finally got in the car a tidal wave of images and terror overtook me and I literally burst into tears and felt like I could hardly catch a break from wave after wave of oppressive fear.

It was absolutely an assault from the Enemy (Ephesians 6:16), capitalizing on the foolishness of my reading the details of something that I should never have allowed into my mind.

I began to pray out loud against the Enemy, for my children, against the evil of this age, anything and everything that I could think to smother it with prayer. But all day I felt buried underneath its weight. Finally that night I told Matt that I needed his undivided attention and I told him what had happened and that I felt under full demonic attack and I needed him to pray over me.

He did and for the first time all day I began to feel the darkness dissipate. The light and power of God's truth broke through and I began to feel freedom again. Freedom from the fear and darkness.

I'm sharing this because I don't want my last post to in any way communicate that freedom from walking in fear is easy. It ain't easy. I don't just lah-di-dah decide I'm not afraid and then I'm not afraid.

I have to be so intentional or fear creeps in and overtakes without even trying. I've found that in addition to having faith and living by faith, I need to just plain be wise about what I allow in.

Here are some things that foster fear:

- Excessive watching of the news, or looking up information online, particularly about those things we fear most.

- Creating worst-case scenarios in our mind and/or entertaining all the things that could go wrong. These sorts of thoughts will usually come unbidden to our mind anyways; we don't have to invite them in for crumpets and let them tell us every last sordid, colorful potential what-if of our lives.

- Live in the secrecy of our own thoughts. I'm telling you, secrets have to be the most formidable opponent to walking in freedom and light as anything else in our lives. Nothing makes the darkness stronger in our hearts as much as keeping it a secret does.

Here are some intentional things I've learned I have to do or I fall to fear time after time:

- Get in the Bible every day. Lies and distorted truth (more lies) have a hard time standing up against the living, breathing Word of God.

- Tell someone. Someone that you know will pray for you right then and there. Ephesians 6 makes clear this is a spiritual battle so we have to fight it with spiritual weapons: the Holy Spirit and prayer. Incidentally, the Holy Spirit is called the spirit of truth. Truth sets us free. So tell someone the truth about what's taking place in your life.

- Make the effort and put in the hard work to develop friendships with other people who love Jesus and his Word and prayer.

This summer I was leaving a friend's house and another friend texted to say that she had been praying for Eden Hope and me while she was vacuuming. She reached down to pick up an object and it was a little card that said "Hope" on it. How cool is that? But the even cooler thing is that the night before I'd had a terrible nightmare that Eden had some cord issues and had passed away in my belly, and even though I had been praying all day against the fear squeezing my heart, I just couldn't shake it. God worked through my discerning friend and used her to pray for me. I was immediately encouraged and was finally able to let it go. God reminded me in such an unmistakable way that he sees, he hears, he responds, he's working on my behalf, and more than anything, he loves me.

There are many other things we can do but these are the ones I've found to be the most powerful and effective.

It grieves my heart so much when I see people enslaved to fear, constantly entertaining the what-if thoughts, robbed of the peace and life they could have. I don't ever want to convey that living by faith and walking in freedom in Christ is easy. It just ain't, dang it.

But you can still be free. 

You can. But it takes being intentional, on guard, using wisdom, filling our minds with the Godly wisdom from above, not the earthly wisdom from below (James 3), inviting others into our battle, walking in the light (1st John 1:7), filling our minds with God's Word, and quite frankly, sometimes just getting off the Internet and turning off the news.

How about you? What are ways you've found freedom from living in fear?

And just a few photos from recent days because I can't not post pictures of my lovies. I just can't. I can't not. I can't.

Luke was SUCH a helper while I was taking Eden's pictures. ;)


Aunt Stacy shocked us with a surprise visit! We love Aunt Stacy.

Smooshy-faced selfies with mom.

Micah lost his first tooth!

Montana babywearing.

Right??? :)

Getting dressed for outings with friends.

Good day, my friends, love you lots!


6 comments:

  1. Hi Sara, I love your post. Our pastor Levi Lusko at Fresh Life preached on this the past two Sundays. It is all such great advice and honesty.

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    1. Thank you so much, Brooke! It seems like I keep hearing about fear; God must really want us to get this! ;)

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  2. Dear Sara, I hope you can see this. I have never written on a blog and not sure if it will work.....I have just read your post of 2013 about grief. A year and five months ago our beautiful 28 year son died. The pain has been more than I thought possible. I always thought losing a child would be the hardest thing on earth, but I thought God would help one through. Yet it's not so simple. It is as if a huge chunk was ripped out of myself and I have no way to get it back. There are so many layers of pain and grief and questions and feelings. All the cliches, advice and platitudes mean nothing when you are bent double with sadness and longing. I have cried a lake. We prayed, we fought, we repented- there was not a thing we did not do, and most of all we believed God's Word about healing. Our son loved the Lord- he had kept himself for God's special wife and couldn't wait for his own children. He was not only the dearest person but my especial friend too. We could talk about anything. We were so sure he was recovering and suddenly he was just gone. To top it all one of my best friends in the church (we are in a small town) said God told her it was my fault and He 'killed' our darling. I knew the Lord is Love and does not operate like that, but still this has caused such pain and division. The church has been too immature to resolve it and we have just had to adapt. We have forgiven but our family has suffered. We just can't talk about it to each other. And we can't stand any violin music because that was his other love and he played like an angel. I am so grateful that you wrote that honest piece- makes me feel I'm not crazy or abnormal. Many times I have thought, If there was just a way to wail it all out with someone else until some kind of relief came! But we are all so controlled and there is so little taught about how to help someone else that it's a keep the-pose-and-don't-show- excessive-emotion" with the people around us. Today I am comforted. Thank you so much. Much love in the Lord.

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    1. Oh Elma, this hurt my heart so deeply to read. I am so, so sorry about the loss of your son. Please, please know that Jesus grieves deeply with you. When it says in John 11 that jesus wept for Lazarus, it used a Greek word that means deep, heaving sobbing from the gut. He is well acquainted with deep sorrow and if you allow him to, he will draw nearer to you than you can even fathom as you walk through grief and suffering. I am so sorry to hear about your "friend's" response (doesn't sound like a true friend, more like a Job friend). We are sadly ill-equipped to deal with suffering in the American church but don't let that stop you from grieving how you need, as you cling closely to Jesus and His Word. So much love to you, I'll pray especially for your broken heart. Love, Sara

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  3. Thank you so much Sara- I want my heart healed and not so full of longing.Yesterday I really felt your piece was an answer to my prayers- especially the part about faith not because it is going well, but because God is always good. Ihad fallen into the trap of waiting for feelings to fully trust the Lord.
    I live in South Africa, but we tend to follow after America and not always in the best ways.... This lesson of continuous acceptance and love until a hurting person is restored is the biggest lesson I am learning from our hard experience.
    Heartfelt blessings and Jesus-love to you and your dear family. Have a wonderful day.

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    1. I'm so glad to hear that, Elma. I'll continue praying! Much love to you. :)

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