Thursday, October 25, 2012


There's something I've done for years now. It started when I placed my first baby into her crib at night all those years ago, and I wondered if she'd ever wake up again. I put one hand on her warm, gently-heaving back, and the other up towards God. In the dark, I told Him that He could have her.

She was already His, of course. I didn't think her up. I didn't string together her impossibly complex DNA. I didn't knit together tiny bones, and paint that coffee stain under her left eye. But, somewhere along the way, I took ownership of her in my heart. I suppose I made her mine with every muted kick she gave me deep inside, and later, with every needy cry that only I could quiet.

I let myself forget that I'd been honoured by the mere gift of her. She was given to me for a little while by someone who loved her long before, and far, far better than I ever could. I know it. I believe it. And for that reason, I have "no fear for my household." {Prov. 31}Each child is wrapped in blood-red robes of a promise that has stood, and will stand. Always.

I know. I believe. I am not afraid.
"Ever notice how God gets you on a theme?" A woman asked this the other day, and I caught myself nodding. Yes. He does. He pelts me, just like that big oak in the lane way does in the Fall. It makes such a racket that I just have to look up. Looking up is, in fact, the point. And it so happens that I've been in a hail storm of messages, on a theme, for weeks. It was echoed by sixteen tear-thickened voices at a retreat. Then it seeped out of scriptures through a character I hadn't expected. Yesterday, it was spoken out loudly from a screen I couldn't turn away from, reverberating in my ear drums until I cried; OK, God, I hear you. I hear you. I sat there, fists to mouth, rocking to keep in the tears so no one would know that it's true. I'm afraid. So afraid.

Of what? I know what I am not afraid of. But what nameless thing have I been stepping over and around, like a homeless person I'd rather not look in the eye? Yesterday it's name came to me. It's like we shook hands, it and I. It leered, and I wept.

Fear doesn't paint us all with the same brush. It has a sickening ability to customize. To be tailored to each of us like a Versace dress. And my fear fits me too well. So well, in fact that it is the forgotten garment I wear under my other clothes. It comes along with me, undetected until it's too late and I am gripped, constricted, gasping for air.

My fear is not for my children. It isn't for my home. Or my marriage. Or even for my life. What I fear for is nothing I can hold in my hands. And I have been asked to look it in the face over and over again. It has slunk up to me in the shadows and accompanied me as a vague unease. And at other times it has come roaring out of my core, all ice and sharp-edges, leaving me ragged and numb at the same time.
What I've always known, and what was repeated to me yesterday as I hid in my hands is that "courage comes from a heart that is convinced it is loved." The word courage actually comes from the Latin word 'cor'-- heart. So, clearly, my heart has a reservation about what God's perfect love can offer me when that fear comes calling.

And so I am left with only one real option. I will grapple. I may know it's name, but that doesn't mean it'll lie down and die for me. I've had to sit down with this fear of mine and take a good look at it's newly defined contours. It's a truly ugly thing. And I have told it what I know. That I am loved. But it knows that I don't really stand behind that yet. Not where it's concerned. What's worse it knows that it will have the pleasure of showing up again and again until I do. 

So I will be in conversation with God a lot. I'm going to ask Him to teach me that His love doesn't get shored up at the borders of this fear, but passes right through it to reach me. No thing is big enough and dark enough to stop Him from loving me to fearlessness.