Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fear, Fearlessness, And All That's In Between

Lately I found that I couldn't "snap out of it". The constant news stream of impasse for the budget at the state level struck fear in me. Brenna turns 15 in March. What is going to be available for her as far as a day program/work opportunity  when she ages out of the school system? What if the funding isn't there? An informational meeting for parents about PUNS selection and funding made me feel ill.

Over coffee, a good friend asked "What is your quiet time looking like these days?" I began to make excuses: Sam gets up really early, I've been working a lot lately, I haven't plugged back into a Bible study group and need to do that and finally it wound back around to the truth. I don't want to. I don't want to ready my Bible. I don't want to read promises that feel like they don't apply to me right now. I don't want to pray and hope for the best when deep down, I am scared beyond belief about what her future could look like if the state government drives these fragile opportunities of future hope into the ground. Should I go back for my Master's and attempt to find a higher paying job in the future? What am I supposed to DO? I just need to know how to fix it and to know what to do. Tears fell openly at Starbucks as I told her that honestly, God felt far away right now. The coffee date ended with a small nugget of advice. Perhaps, I only needed to take a small step forward. Instead of trying to figure out so many different things, maybe I just needed to read my Bible and pray for 15 minutes in the morning and go on from there.

I dug around in the bathroom closet and found a study from several years ago, "Living Fearlessly: A Study in the Book of Joshua". It was crammed in between Angela's Ashes and a photo scrapbook and was the only Bible study book in sight. I opened the pages and was instantly transported back to that study group of ladies gathered around a large table. There in the margin was 2 Corinthians 2:14 "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place." I needed this. I needed to be reminded of triumph. I needed to stop emitting the odor of fear like a dreaded deodorant fail and instead diffuse the fragrance of His knowledge and rest secure in that.  My time in Joshua and the study book hit a reset button for me that had desperately needed punched.

That afternoon, Brenna accompanied me to the grocery store. She loves to go when it's just her-- and today was her day. Near the dairy cooler, a young lady made eye contact with Brenna, smiled and began to make small talk with her. This isn't our norm. Assuming it was a past classmate, I asked if she attended school in Charleston. "No, I go to school in Arcola, but live her now. What group home does she live in?" My heart stopped. "She doesn't live in a group home; she's still at home with us right now. Do you live in one?" Before even weighing out if it was appropriate, I blurted out, "Are you happy?"

We stood and visited several minutes as the teenager told about her group home, that she had moved there last summer, loved it and didn't want to move back home. I had so desperately needed reassurance that no matter what, Brenna was going to be okay. I needed to throw off the weight and fear that her happiness hinges on my ability to care for her decades from now and Let. It. Go. This young lady who locked eyes on Brenna and persisted in having a conversation with her was nothing short of "His knowledge in every place"... even at the grocery store.  Had my quiet time brought about a magical encounter? No. Had it maybe made me more perceptive and aware going through my day, looking for God's goodness instead of focusing on a corrupt and stubborn state government? Yes.

I don't pretend to think this is a fear that I will never deal with again. I know better. But I also know He has the power to reassure and remind me of promises through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And that is a beautiful thing.

"For I know whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day."

Daniel Whittle