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When I am afraid


 “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4, HCSB). 

I sat down on Thursday evening, realizing I hadn’t really felt the baby move much that day. I’d had a crazy day, busier than normal.  By the end of the day I was exhausted, unsure of myself, and fearful that I’d missed something. Was our little guy ok? Was he just tired like his mama was? How do I determine if this fear is justified, or if doubts are just invading my brain? That evening was unsettling. I finally felt a few kicks from my little guy, but nothing like the usual gymnastics routine that he usually gives me in the evenings. My mind when to all the books I read, all the horror stories I’d read online. What we read definitely affects our thoughts, doesn't it?  I was truly filled with unsettling worry and doubt. My husband and I prayed for discernment and peace, and then finally, late in the night, I fell asleep. In the morning I was still a bit unsure of myself. Life doesn’t always have easy answers. I prayed that I was doing the right thing in giving little guy a little time to wake up and start his day. After my morning coffee, I was greeted with a gymnastics routine that continued on and off throughout the day. I took that as a cue that my life had been a little to busy. With only 5 weeks to go til this little one arrives, I needed to slow down a bit, listen to my body, and make sure I was in tune with it. Hopefully, next time fear invades, I’ll have a better idea on whether or not to be worried. 
Fear can be God-given. It can tell us when something is wrong. But it's not supposed to stop us from living.  It’s not meant to keep us awake at night, shaking in our boots. Thursday night truly shook me (and my husband) up. Did we do the right thing in not acting, not rushing off the emergency room? I think so. I hope so. We gave the whole situation to God, and felt that we should just wait. Just watch. Just give things a little bit of time.
Oh, the worries of a parent. They start when the child is in the womb and never really let up after that. Isn't it so? The worries and fears just change. Just evolve. What was once a worry about fetal kick counts turns into worries about sickness, separation, how they’ll be treated by others, safety driving, if they’ll find a good job, a good mate, be able to make it on their own. 
I had never thought much about fear being a good thing. Cathy Dickinson pointed it out in our Bible Study on Wednesday (See Taming the Giants, Fight Your Fear). She said that God uses fear to tune us into things, to keep us from doing dangerous this (like walking in front of a moving car during rush hour). It’s what we do with that fear that makes the difference. This, I can definitely relate to. 
When I was fearful on Thursday night, my husband and I took those fears before Jesus. We prayed again first thing in the morning for continued guidance (and some reassuring kicks from our little one!). Sometimes relief from fear is immediate, other times, it takes time for God to answer. I felt extra blessed on Friday when my little guy was sooo active. I truly believe it was God settling my heart. Why wouldn’t He? He knows me, how I tick, and knows how to best comfort my fearful heart.
The safety of loved ones seems to be a big issue for me. While my husband was deployed, I was often concerned for his safety. It was hard knowing he was so far away, in a foreign land, and I could do little to protect him. He was truly in the hands of God. Sometimes I would catch a news story, once again, I was letting my brain and heart be filled with lies and doubts instead of truths, and my heart would clench up in fear. I would wonder if he was ok. Spotty communication didn’t help with these fears much. I truly had to trust that God, the author and creator of life, had my husband’s life in his hands. Those fears were especially real in the evening, after our little girl was tucked in bed, fast asleep. It was in those quiet, dark hours of the evening, before I fell asleep, that the worries would start. I honestly believe that Satan knows when we’re at our most vulnerable. Interesting, in light of my fear story this week, which also took place in the evening! Evening was that time, for me. It was during that time in my life that my dear husband emailed a Bible verse, a portion of scripture that had been on his heart. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how dear these words have become to me: 
"Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you" (Philippians 4:8-9, HCSB).
It’s all about what we let in. What we dwell on. What we chose to think about. The brain can be such a tricky place, and such a tool of the devil. While my husband was deployed, I had to consciously think about everything good, true and right in our lives. All the ways God had provided in the past, and would continue to provide. I had to consciously replace the fears with God’s truths. For example: Our all powerful God truly knows the numbers of our days (Psalm 139:16). He is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1-3). He could handle my worries and fears then, just as He can now (1 Peter 5:7). He can handle my fears about my loved ones and give me the comfort and wisdom I need to make the the proper decisions. His Spirit can tell me when to act, and when to wait on Him for guidance.
My goal is to always live less in worry and more in His strength. What about you? What do you fear? What happens when you give those worries and fears over to Jesus? Are the answers always immediate? 

“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began” (Psalm 139:16, HCSB).
“God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with its turmoil” (Psalm 46:1-3, HCSB).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:6-7, HCSB).