Monday, July 8, 2013

You Wanna See Grace at Work?

I grew up living in fear. Between threats of harm, guns being held to my mother's head right before my very eyes, beatings that left me black and blue and the screams of my mother and siblings, fear was a constant companion of mine from as far back as I remember. My dad ruled with alcohol and terror, losing control so quickly that I would never see it coming.

So, I knew fear. Fear was my friend. It helped me, protected me, made me aware of impending harm and was as natural to me as my hands. I wouldn't think of going without my fear any more than I would think of cutting off my hands.

Then, when I was 18 years old, I heard about this man, Jesus, Who died for my sin....and I heard that he rose up from the dead.....and I was enraptured with that very idea. How could it be? How could it not be? I became a believer.

My fear remained.

I got married - to a Baptist preacher no less.

My fear remained.

I started having kids.

My fear remained.

By age 26, I had two kids.

My fear remained.

What did I fear? You name it. I feared everything.

I feared being home alone because I knew a gunman would know I was home alone and would strike at that time.

I feared going places because I knew a car accident could happen at any moment, killing me and leaving my children motherless.

I feared medicine because someone could have tampered with it and it would kill me.

I feared. Everything.

One day, I heard a news story about a couple who was killed by their disgruntled repairman. He left their 7-month-old daughter to fend for herself until her parents' bodies were discovered two days later. A horrid story, I took it personally. In my irrationally fearful state, I thought sure that same man could do the same to us. I had a 7-month-old daughter at the time. I grew increasingly fearful to the point where fear completely took over my life. I could barely function for fear.

It never one time occurred to me to pray about my fear. It didn't enter my mind that my fear could be wrong, irrational, unnecessary or "unChristian-like." It just was. My fear was there as much as my hair was on my head; it was part of me. I didn't even feel the need or desire to rid myself of it.

Enter grace.

One night, my husband was sick and could not get up and check the house for whatever noise I'd heard. While I hid most of my fear from him, nightly rounds through the house because I'd heard a noise were common. This one night, he was too sick to wake up. It was left to me to check the house. It took me an hour to check on the kids in their rooms then make my way downstairs. I started this trek down the stairs at 2:00 AM and ended up in the kitchen at 3:00 AM. I checked every door, every lock, every window, turning on all the lights as I passed them by.

Then, it was 3:15 AM, I was wide awake and scared out of my mind. I had no choice but to sit up all night for fear that my dreaded gunman would come because my husband was too sick to defend us. I sat up on the couch till 5:00 AM, totally alert and rigid, ready to protect my children from this awful gunman who would kill parents of babies and leave the babies alone for days.

At 5:00 AM, I thought it was finally safe to go to bed. After all, gunmen do their bloody work in the night. 5:00 AM is a safe hour.  I crawled back into bed, expecting to get three hours of sleep before the kids would wake up.

But, sleep would not come. Instead, I had an extremely startling thought. "What if a gunman killed you; you'd be in Heaven with Jesus; what's so bad about that?"

Ack! No, no! I thought aloud, "I can't leave my children motherless!!"

My next thought, "What? God cannot care for your children? He is God, after all; they are His children."

My thought-conversation continued with, "But we are just human! How could my children endure this?"

Then this:

"I will now lay me down in peace and sleep, for, Thou, Lord, only makes me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

"Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither the desolation of the wicked, when it comes." Proverbs 3:25

My next thought, "I don't need my fear! This is totally unnecessary! Whoa!"


I have never felt the fear since.

If someone had suggested to me that I needed to rid myself of that fear, I would not have listened nor taken them seriously.

If someone has told me that my fear was sin, I would have thought they were out of their mind.

If someone had told me I needed to pray about my fear, I would not have listened but would have thought they didn't know what they were talking about.

Only God can change a human heart.

No amount of persuasion would have taken my fear like grace did. In one fell swoop, with no fanfare, God, in His unthinkable, unstoppable grace, took my fear and I have lived free from it ever since.

This, my friends, is the living God we serve.

This, my friends, is what our God can do in your life, no matter what you are struggling against......or as it was with me, not struggling against anything at all. I didn't struggle with my fear. I just accepted it as part of me and had planned to live with it for the rest of my life.

God had better plans.

I had nothing whatsoever to do with it..

"It is God Who works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure."  Philippians 2:13.

Trust His grace.
No appointment necessary.
Read my full story here.
Praise be.

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