Category Archives: fear

a steadfast heart. and unwelcome news.

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this morning I was praying and thinking of Psalm 57 “My heart is steadfast O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music.”

I wrote the poem below as I was thinking through that passage and the fact that my heart is  steadfast because of the nature of my God, not my circumstances.  I had a moment last night where I thought “what did i just do!!??… i just quit my job and walked away from it all.” and immediately my mind went to this verse.  My heart has felt such peace since Ted and I made the decision to quit my job.

We know that this is what God is calling us to do.  My last day will officially be September 10th.  So, right after lunch, I got a phone call.  It appears my grandfather had a heart attack last night.  I don’t know the details but it seems it wasn’t a major one (whatever that means) though he was crying and begging God to just take him home at one point because he was in so much pain.  So, I call my husband to give him the news and where is he but stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire on his lunch break.  Great, just great.  Instantly I feel the freak-out-ometer rising…

And then my mind goes back to this morning… steadfast because of God, not circumstances.  Steadfast because the God who changed my life controls my days as well.  steadfast because I have example after example of how trustworthy He has been.  So, I trust.  God loves my Pop-pop.  He knows what will happen.  I will choose to be steadfast there…

Steadfast is my heart o God
As I fix my eyes on you
Through every test and trial, Lord,
To me, you have been true.
You’ve guided through confusion
You’ve led me every step
With patience, care and tenderness
You brought me from the depths.
So I sing with joy, for you’ve redeemed
This sinner from the grave.
You’ve change my nature, changed my name
No longer to death a slave
With joy I serve you Lord, my King,
My Master and my Guide
I trust you hand to keep me safe
From the trials on every side.
Guard my heart, keep my thoughts fast
As I fix my gaze on you
With confidence and trust may I
Trust what you plan to do.
My heart is steadfast, Lord, it is
Steadfast with trust for my King.
The One who redeemed, the One who gave life
The One who caused my heart to sing.

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from whence this fear and unbelief?

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From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men
Condemn me for that debt of sin
Which, Lord, was charged on thee?

Complete atonement thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate’er thy people owed;
How then can wrath on me take place
If sheltered in thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with thy blood?

If thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine,
Payment God cannot twice demand—
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine.

Turn then, my soul, unto thy rest!
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty;
Trust in his efficacious blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

Augustus Toplady

He never will leave

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I have been greatly comforted lately by the promise and hope that my God will never leave, never forsake, never dissapoint and never abandon me. 

Several months ago, I began dating a wonderful man of God and have been greatly blessed and encouraged by his deep love for God and his tender care for me.  But there have been times already where we’ve disagreed.  There have been moments where i’ve done something sinfully to make him angry and I’m sure he could have found it easier to simply walk away.  and vice versa. 

we were talking last night and I was crying and my heart was struggling with being full of fear… i am so grateful for the gift he is to me and am scared of the thought of losing him.  i’m very aware that God knows the end result and though we plan our steps that His plan may not be for the two of us to be together… or that if we end up together that one of us could die and that life may not end up looking like what we hope and plan at this point.  I hope and pray that is not the case.  well, last night, I was really struggling with trusting God and was fearing that God would maliciously or vindictively take Ted away from me to simply teach me a lesson or punish me somehow. 

Ted graciously reminded me that our God is not vindictive or harsh.  He does not hold our sins over us and his desire is for good for His children.  And as His child, that means His desire is for good for me. 

But sometimes that’s hard to believe because life doesn’t feel that way.  Yesterday was one of those days… I spent most of the day with a heavy cloud over my head and with a fear of God’s judgment or vengence.  I was yet again, more aware of my sin than of God’s grace as displayed through the cross of Christ. 

I’m grateful for the reminders God gives us in our weakness.  Yesterday, He reminded me that He is good, His mercy is everlasting and His goodness and truth endure through all generations. 

I don’t need to fear the unknown future.  I don’t need to worry about “what-ifs”.  My God has promised never to leave.  Even if all around gives way, He is the confident Rock on which I stand.  And I know that even if He were to take me down another undesired path, just like He upheld me through every path I’ve faced thus far, He will do so again.

So, I was able to sleep last night, resting in that promise.  Resting in knowing that my God will always be by my side as my friend, underneath as my support, ahead as my guide and behind as my protection.  And how grateful I am that those are truths that will never ever change.

i won’t be afraid

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My coworker and I were driving somewhere the other day and she had a CD by Ashmont Hill in her car. What was especially encouraging was the song “I won’t be afraid”. One of the lead singers wrote this song for his young son who was afraid of the dark. It is a sweet song, based on Psalm 23… that the Lord comforts and guides me and I don’t need to be afraid.

I often fear what I don’t understand. Or what I can’t see. There are times when it paralyzes me to the point where I can’t sleep because I’m afraid of what might happen… I’m afraid to turn my light off because then I won’t be able to see. Yup, I’m 28 and there are days when I’m afraid of the dark. :)

Its at those times when I need to practically remind myself that God is all-powerful, that nothing exists outside of His sovereign loving control and that there is no need to fear.

There’s no need to fear when I can’t sleep. There’s no need to fear when my health seems to fail. There’s no need to fear as I see myself and my friends getting older and we’re still single. There’s no need to fear when God seems to be silent… He is leading and guiding me. Always. He is true. He won’t lead me astray. So, I won’t be afraid.

Listen Here: />I Wont Be Afraid – Ashmont Hill

fear not

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My child, do not be afraid. Every day of your life was ordered before you were even born. I was faithful then, to call you to me before you desired me, before you knew me, before you lived for me. I loved you first. There is no need now for you to be afraid in this storm.

What is the worst that could happen to you? Death? I am the God who is faithful to old age, even to death. A lack of answers of clarity? I am the God who knows all. No answer is hidden from me. Darkness? No direction visible to you? I am the God who leads the blind along unknown paths. Loneliness? I am the God who will never leave you. Pain beyond your ability to handle? I am the God who gives strength to the youth who are weak and faint. I am He who provides grace to the weary and help to the tired.

What is it you fear that I in my power am unable to provide? You could bring care after care to me until you have no more and still every care will find a balm in my healing and help. Every need is provided in me. I love you.

Do not doubt my care because my hand is pruning. Do not doubt my love as you feel the winter’s cold wind blow. You are precious to me and I will protect and care for you through every storm. Rejoice, sweet chosen, adopted and dearly loved child of mine, for through this trial and pain, you are seeing the benefit of years of plenty. Now, when it seems there is no fruit on your tree, you are learning that your roots do indeed go deep and this faith I called you to only a few short years ago, that faith is real. It is being tested even now and it is standing firm. Be encouraged, my child, I am producing growth. This trial is bringing endurance and the more you see my hand at work through the unknown, you will grow in faith and hope.

My Son, Jesus, who died to bring you to me, is praying for you right now. He is standing here saying “Father, forgive her weakness, forgive her lack of faith. Be satisfied in her struggle. Look to my payment and be satisfied.” And you know, child, I am fully and completely satisfied with that payment on your behalf.

So come to me, in your weakness, nakedness and need, confident in my affection and care for you. Even now, when you don’t know what to say, my Spirit is also praying for you. He is interceeding on your behalf, interpreting your tears and pain and carrying your woes before my throne of grace. So, child, cry. Cry out to me.

I loved David and I loved to see his dependence on my power as expressed so often through his tears. Cry, even when there seem to be no words. The Spirit of God is carrying those cries directly to me. They are not lost. I am listening and my arm has never been too short to save. Be confident, in the midst of this trial, of my unchanging faithful love to you.

The steadfast love I showed to your fathers, the guidance to Abraham, the protection to David, the redemption for Jonah, the transformation for Rahab, the love that did not forsake Naomi, that provided for Ruth, and that blessed Hannah…sweet child, I am that same God. And I offer those same things to you. I would delight and joy in you coming to me in hope and faith, not cowering in fear. Judgment is paid. Freedom is yours. Live there. Rejoice there. I will never forsake.

But when you feel forsaken, remember my promises. When you feel tempted beyond your strength to endure, remember I will empower you to stand firm against every attack of the evil one. Even Satan is under my control; there is no need to fear his attacks.

Rest. Rest in the storms, for I hold you safe. I never slumber and darkness does not blind me, as it does you. Don’t you see? I want you to be free, not bound by fear. This trial is producing sweet freedom as you are learning of my sovereign care and provision. Like I said to the shepherds the day I sent my son “do not fear.”. Like I told the disciples the day my Son left them and returned to Me… “do not fear.”

And now you join their ranks…the ranks of the weak and helpless of this world whom I have chosen and loved. “Do not fear.” “This trial was given to you as a gift from a hand of love. Though you do not understand the purpose of the gift you do know the hand. You have seen my care and love proved time and time again to you.

And now, sweet child though you do not understand why, take this gift of pain, suffering and confusion and accept it as a good thing given by a Father who loves you. At this time in your life, what you desire is not a good gift. That is why I have chosen this. Won’t you rest in my arms? I can see tomorrow.

This “mistake” will make sense one day. And even if I never choose to show you the reason why, don’t forget I am using this to bring glory to myself and draw others to see my power displayed in you! Is that not enough? My power at work in you? That is why I don’t wnat you to fear. I know what will come tomorrow. And it is good. Rest. Rejoice. Lean on me. I will never ever let you go.”

er visit

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So I spent about 4 hours tonight in the er…being poked, prodded and tested. I went in with severe pain in the right side of my abdomen. I left 4 hours later with the same pain, despite 2 morphene shots. Once again, I heard those gut-wrenching words “we don’t know what’s wrong with you…can’t explain why you are in pain. But here’s a prescription for narcotic pain meds…”. That’s the point where I stop listening. I’ve heard all this before. I’ve heard this at just about every doctors visit I’ve been to for the past two years. I don’t understand why God is choosing to allow me to suffer and yet giving neither me nor the doctors the wisdom to know what to do. It is so frustrating. I am so weak and yet at the same time so angry. I’m 28…is this what I have to look forward to the rest of my life? Why won’t God answer the thousands of prayers that have been prayed for healing of my body? Why do we have to keep going through this? And in the middle of all this God just calmly says “look to me. I am faithful.”. Honestly right now that doesn’t seem enough. I don’t want faithful. I want answers. And yet at the same time I know like Job, I cannot demand from this all-powerful God. He does as he pleases. He does not have to explain his ways to me. But then I come back to the Psalms “do the dead rise up to praise you, God? Where is the faithfulness you showed to our fathers? Has it ceased?”. And yet I know those spats hold no bearing. Of course his faithfulness continues. I know it in the fact that I’ve been given the right to call Him my Father. Its been shown through every breath He’s given me…even the ones where it hurts to breathe. How much more did Paul understand of this Jesus than do I. He rejoiced in the prison. I bring my feeble and weak complaints to an almighty God who has the power to strike me dead. Yet he doesn’t. Even that is mercy. Do I want healing for this body? Absolutely! I’m tired of living life in pain day after day just doing what you can to get by. But then what I wrote this morning comes back into mind…bless the Lord. My soul that is so prone to despair, bless His holy name. Sigh. Exhausted and weary, I pray for grace to fall asleep resting there…

whirlwind

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wow! the past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind for me. i’m glad to be back home. i’m hoping things calm down back to some degree of normal…

I left Greenville on June 20th for vacation in Washington DC and haven’t really stopped since.  I got back from DC on the 28th, spent 4 days working, unpacking, cleaning, etc, and spent the last 4 days in NC visiting a friend.   

Though the past few weeks have been great, I am exhausted.  Lately God has been reminding me that rest and peace don’t mean that life is not in chaos – it means remembering that He is faithful through all the changes and confusion.

Emotionally I feel worn pretty thin… like I really haven’t had any time to think, process, pray, recuperate, etc. And I really have been missing my church… its been 3 weeks since I’ve been there and in many ways I feel very alone.  Physically, my body has been thrown through the ringer due to eating out so much and that doesn’t agree so well with my food allergies.  And I haven’t slept well in about 2 weeks as a result of it all.  Today starts a 2 week detox diet so hopefully things will start to get back to normal soon.

Yesterday at my friend’s church in NC, the sermon was on Philippians 4:6-7 (do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.)

What a helpful truth to be reminded of.  I’m so prone to anxiousness and worry.  I am glad that my God is in control of everything… even the changes that make no sense to me.  And I’m glad that though He is aware of my weakness and failure, that He grants me the gift of peace, that He guards my heart and mind, and that I am secure in Christ Jesus.