Trading Fear for Adventure

God's majestic Grand Canyon

I woke up, stretched, and then reached for my phone. Out of habit, I opened my Instagram account. This picture stared back at me. The sleepy Saturday morning brain fog instantly swept away as I sprang up in bed thinking, “Wow! There’s a reason I have gray hair,” and I grinned from ear to ear. My next thought was coated with a little envy, “Will that ever be me?”

That picture? It’s my daughter Meredith, my only child, standing on a precipice gazing over the Grand Canyon during her most recent adventure to Arizona. As I scour every layer of color, every shadow, and every peak in the picture, I sense courage and confidence oozing from it. I wonder, “How does it feel to hike that trail, climb that precipice, and gaze out over the majestic canyon created by our Maker?”

Then I thank God for Meredith’s confidence and courage that feeds her sense of adventure.

Sadly, I’ve spent a great deal of my life living with fear and worry. I worried about putting myself through college, paying off my student loans, paying monthly bills, paying medical bills after my lengthy illness, and being a good mom. I worried about letting other people down, not living up to other’s expectations. As life events piled up, fear and worry strangled my sense of adventure.

When I became a mom, I had a choice. Strangle my precious daughter with those same fears or purposefully work to encourage her confidence to live fearlessly and courageously. I chose the latter, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

As Meredith approached those difficult middle school years, I fell to my knees begging God to help me raise her to become a strong, courageous, faithful child of God. The morning I woke to that picture of her peering out over the Grand Canyon, I thanked God for answering my prayers.

But, will I ever have that courage, that confidence?

Day by day God is strengthening me for His purpose, for His call on my life. When I stepped on a plane bound for Haiti last year, I experienced a freedom as never before. I learned, and experienced, courage and confidence in Christ that gives you freedom. Freedom from that choking noose of worry and fear. Freedom that can’t be bought with money and material things. When I gave up the comforts of hot showers and my air-conditioned home to love those four-year old little girls crawling into my lap, hugging my neck, looking up at me with their soulful, haunting dark eyes, I experienced that freedom.

And that noose of fear and worry lost its grip.

I’m a work in process, but studying God’s word calms my fears and subdues my worries on a daily basis. The rebirth of an adventurous spirit challenges my heart and mind these days. And I love it.

I took a second look at this picture that morning and I knew the answer, “Yes!” God is molding and creating a new me, a woman choosing adventure instead of fear and worry. A woman standing confident in Christ experiencing a freedom that can only be found in Christ. One day at a time.

Does that same noose of fear and worry have a stronghold on your life? Is your sense of adventure strangled?

When that noose tightens its grip around our neck, God reminds us–

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:10

And our loving Savior, the One who carried our sins to the cross reminds us, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

With God on our side, let’s trade fear for adventure.

#LIVEFREETHURSDAY

 

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Together we are better in Christ

Her son caught my daughter’s eye and my daughter caught his. As the courtship began and my daughter spent time in her home, she came to know my daughter. And me. As her son dated my daughter, I got to know him. And her.

High school football, volleyball, basketball, FCA, swimming, prom and graduation…our childrens’ high school romance gave insight to the inner thoughts and beliefs of our families. I quickly loved her son, but in those two years, I also realized I loved her and the family she loved. We were two mothers whose love for our children forged a bond that became inseparable friendship.

Jackie soon became the best friend I’d never had—the one I trust with everything, my innermost thoughts, my deepest fears, the one who is compassionate, understanding, and always loving, no matter the situation. She is a devout believer in Jesus Christ who cares for me despite my faults, who loves me in my weaknesses and, most of all, inspires me to live out my faith publicly. Her friendship allows me to reveal my vulnerabilities; her model of faith gives me the courage to overcome them.

The high school romance between our children ended after two years. Though it was emotional, and sometimes awkward, Jackie loves my daughter and I love her son. Our friendship was bound by a deep commitment to parent our children through the experience as Christ would. Instead of bitterness and hate, we encouraged forgiveness and love. Instead of talking about each other; we talked with each other. Believing that nothing is impossible with God, we crossed the bridge from hurt to healing through communication, compassion and genuine love for each other and each other’s family. Our families, and our friendship, are woven together and founded on the strength of God.

Together Jackie and I dig deeper into God’s Word and affirm our trust that God does provide. God does protect. Through the trials of college years, the triumph of college graduations, first jobs, new love, marital difficulties, job promotions, death, and so much more, God is the glue to our friendship. As our children move onward, pursuing their faith, independence, and finding their calls to serve God, we support them and pray over them together. We share highs, we share lows. When one ebbs, the other lifts. When one weeps, the other consoles.

Jackie and I realize this about the past seven years–together we are better.

A year ago, she encouraged me to answer God’s call, say yes to something I thought only a dream. Together we prepped and prayed, then stepped onto a plane. Jackie and I, my daughter and a friend headed for Haiti. For eight glorious days, we served the people of Haiti and shared God’s love with His children. Together, we shed the comforts of home to feed, to serve, to paint, to plant. Together, we experienced God’s lavish love, His miraculous beauty, and reveled in the freedom found living a life solely for Christ.

This year we celebrate another milestone…the marriage of Jackie’s son to his beloved bride, a beautiful young woman filled with God’s love and committed to Christ. My family watched this love blossom. We’re honored to witness their vows before God, celebrate, and support them in their Christian life together as husband and wife.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Matthew 19:5

Jackie and I steadfastly believe our role as mothers take the back seat in priority when our children begin the road trip of marriage. Is it God’s word? Yes. Is it easy? Not always. And that’s where friends come in. As Jackie maneuvers through this year of firsts, I’ll be there ready to listen in those moments when this new seating arrangement leaves her heart melancholy, longing for those precious childhood times. And when it’s time for me to take the back seat, Jackie will do the same for me. That’s what BFF’s do. That’s what Christ calls us to do.

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I honestly never prayed for a BFF, but God knew I needed one. With Jackie’s friendship, there’s road trips, cruises, football games, challenging Biblical discussions, laughter, tears, and prayer. My life is full and adventurous, my heart is joyful, and I fully understand the importance, the need for community in Christ.

Jackie and I acknowledge this…God brought our children together for a season, He brought our families together for a reason, and He brought us together for a lifetime. God already knew what we know now…

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Together we are better in Christ.

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