Saturday, 2 June 2012
Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #9 (Part One)
Confession #9: Fear really got a hold on me.
Part One: Control
I beat fear down with a stick on a daily basis. I shouldn't, but I do. There use to be times when I would let fear sink it's talons into me and drag me down, reducing me to a quivering mass or, I would give it a sissy slap and hope for the best. I've come a long way.
I still remember my very first nightmare. I was probably five when I had it the first of many times. I would have it over and over again. As the years past, different nightmares paid their visits and I tried everything to get rid of them: praying, listening to worship music, sleeping with the covers over my head, crawling into my parents bed (I still did this when I was 17 - very embarrassing). Nothing seemed to work. Fear had moved into my heart and we had a nice, cozy relationship.
But all that was nothing compared to the fear that overtook me when I became a parent.
I spent the first two years of my daughter's life living in complete fear. It was everywhere; in every moment and every thought. I would put my daughter in the car and I would think, "what if we get into an accident?" I would give her a bath and while she would be laughing and splashing, I would be thinking, "what if she slipped and hit her head and somehow, even though I am right here, I'm not quick enough to save her and she drowns?"
I didn't have post-partum depression (PPD), I wasn't sad or depressed, I was just trapped in fear.
I understood this fear. I love my kids. If anything happened to them it would be my worst nightmare.
I begged and pleaded with God about this fear in my life. "Take it away!" I would cry over and over again. But sometimes God likes to work long and slow on some things. The thing God has chosen to work long and slow on with me is: Control
I discovered, through a lot of prayer and listening to what God was trying to say to me, that my fear regarding my children was about wanting control.
I remember standing over my daughter's crib when she was a newborn and hearing God say to me, "Now give her back to me." That's when this particular fear came. It gripped my heart and all I could think was, "God, if I do that, if I give her back to you, then I am giving you permission to take her whenever you want. What if you take her from me when I'm not ready? What if you take her from me PERIOD?" I couldn't handle that. But then God said this, "I can do that anyway but I want you to trust me. I want you to trust that I love her more than you do. And if I love her more than you then I am going to take care of her, even if you don't understand the ways in which I do so."
After three days of wrestling through that I said "okay" to God and in my heart, I gave my daughter back to Him. Every day since, I have made it a point to give my children back to God. For a long time part of me waited for the shoe to drop, waited for the test to come, waited for the Job moment...you know...the one where everything is ripped away from you to see if you would still praise God? Well, I lived there, in anticipation of that Job moment. Sometimes I still do. Sometimes it's still there. But the more I keep giving the control back to God the better it gets. Some days it comes fairly easy but most days it's still hard and I find myself beating the fear back with a stick before remembering to shove the stick into God's hands saying, "Sorry. I tried to take control again. Take it back, please."
So, we're working on the control thing, long and slow, me and God. But what about my other fears...the ones that aren't tied up in my children? Click here for Part Two: Obedience.