Tag Archives: Fear

Parenting Through Fear

16 Oct

I used to be fearless. Well, maybe not completely fearless, worries and doubts still plagued me, but overall my philosophy on life was:

You can’t let your fear paralyze you.

You have to move forward and choose your own adventure.

And so I did. Throughout my early to mid-twenties I threw aside normal ideas of what life should look like, such as college and a career, and went on some crazy adventures. I lived a day at a time, trusting God for what I needed and that still small voice to guide me to the next step. And He did. I lived on a bus traveling all over the U.S. and later to ten different countries. It was never easy, but it was always worth it.

Adventure Girl.

I remember waking up to voices shouting in Spanish, which I could barely understand. They were angry. I looked out the bus window. It was dark, the sun barely beginning to rise. We were in the middle of thick, uninhabitable jungle, driving through the edge of Costa Rica to make our way to the Panama border.  A man had got on the bus and was arguing loudly with the bus driver.

Oh my God. Are we being hijacked?

The thought entered my mind and left it immediately, peace washing over me.

Whatever happens, I will be ok. I am exactly where I need to be.

It turned out it wasn’t a bus-jacking, but rather an accident miles ahead that had left traffic halted on both sides. A Semi-truck had tried to cross this dilapidated bridge and broken it, getting its tires and front end wedged into the few slats that held the whole poorly designed structure together.

Vehicles stopped in the middle of the jungle

It was about 4 am and we were told to get off the bus, get our backpacks from below and hike through the jungle, across this broken bridge. We then climbed a rickety ladder to the shore on the other side, where another bus would be waiting to take us to the border.

I was thrilled. Honestly. I couldn’t hide my grin.

Danger! Excitement! Who gets to do this?!

Fast-forward 7 years later, I am pushing 30, married with a kid. I haven’t left Texas in two years. Now I see news stories about ISIS beheadings and Ebola and I am gripped with fear.

It is a foreign feeling, icy and paralyzing in the pit of my stomach.

Something happened 4 months ago when I went through labor and held my precious daughter in my arms for the first time.

Suddenly, fear and worry and anxiety took on a whole new level because I am have been given the beautiful burden of parenthood.

Nightmares come, usually where I am somewhere adventurous and my daughter is in danger.

All at once the carefree girl I was came crashing head-to-head with this grown-up woman who loves her child more than life itself.

Love that is fierce and crushing and overwhelming and full of all the best and the worst possibilities.

I’ve always been someone who has always believed the best about people, always given them the benefit of doubt. Suddenly every stranger who looks at me the wrong was is a potential criminal or terrorist or psycho that could hurt my baby.

I’ve always been very nonchalant about my health, never had any major medical issues, or worried about sickness and injury. Now, I lay in bed at night fearful of going on a plane or even to the grocery store because this horrible disease is spreading and so close to home.

I know nothing I am saying is new, it is a deep God-given instinct for the survival of our species.

I must protect my young.

But I don’t want to project my fears on her. I don’t want her to grow up assuming the worst or being overly cautious.

After all, life is a risk.

We never know what we could face when we chose to walk out our door into the sunlight.

Pain and loss is inevitable, you can’t escape it.

Maybe I shouldn’t try so hard to escape my fear, but rather push through it to the other side and choose to live life anyways.

Maybe that is true bravery.

Now that I am a mom, there is always going to be something to worry about. No matter the situation, or what the news blares loudly.  Whether they find the cure for Ebola tomorrow or it turns into this century’s black plague. Whether or not we defeat terrorism far away, or it rears its evil head within our borders.

Perfect love drives out all fear.

I don’t think this means fear goes away completely, it just means it’s pushed out of the spotlight in your heart because Love takes over and there isn’t room for both.

When love is in center stages, the light it radiates shines into every dark corner, illuminating the bad things as smaller than we thought they were.

And then I can say with confidence once again,

Whatever happens, we will be ok. We are exactly where we need to be.

Divine Unknowns

2 Sep

In the stillness of the morning
I close my eyes
and feel covered by a peace
that warms the sensitive
skin of my soul
fragile and yearning for comfort
a warm cup of obsoletes
in a room of shivering uncertainties

I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of unknowns
it’s wild and open and free

I’d rather be here then the bleak, cold bus station
thinking I know my destination
riding in circles to fake conclusions
living half-awake with no anticipation
drifting into a monotonous drive
where everything looks the same
all is safe and colorless

I’ve forgotten how to be alive:

be here
where I don’t have a clue
inside the mystery
the land of unknowns
where it’s wild and open and free

I’ve been down this road before
a clear map in my imagination
pale faces line the highways
and I don’t turn to see
I am too focused on my destination
I forget the point of the journey

there’s no time for ignoring humanity
no room to fall for the same old spiel
lies to fake what’s inside of me
fear is a traffic jam in my head
and the noise is unprecedented

but love is the driving force
love makes room
for the swirling apprehensions
and the deafening doubts
love doesn’t fear them
love resists forcing a hand
or controlling a plan
loves steers off the wide road
and brings me home

so right now
I don’t have a clue
but I’ll stay inside the mystery
this land of divine unknowns
where It’s open and wild and free

Crossing The Sea

19 Mar

The page feels extra blank today, and I think maybe I have nothing to say.

But that is a lie, because the thoughts don’t stop rolling.

I try to live in the present, but my mind takes me far in the future.


To the smell of salt on skin, and tiny hands pressed into mine.

To walking by a paperback, my heart printed and on sale for $9.99.

To a place a young girl can rest her head, now only haunted by nightmares not reality.

To bad days and good days, love growing and an aching missing.

To emotions I can’t anticipate, or I will be overwhelmed now.

To all the things I’ve wanted so bad finally coming to pass, only to want more.


To wondering at the woman I have become, and I who will continue to be.

Hopefully stronger.

Hopefully less afraid.

Hopefully less prone to believe the bullshit and the lies,

or to put up with them.


Hopefully more myself than ever before.

In love and content.

Creating and thriving.

A peacemaker and a fighter.


Today, this is as vulnerable as I am going to be.

Hinting and scratching the surface of tension that floats upon the great wide sea within me.

But the question remains: How do I cross this ocean, that separates my dreams and my reality?


The only thing preventing me is a a few hours of time, and a few miles of fear.  

When You Come To The Edge

30 Aug


“Is it safe?”

I asked, nerves coming out. I had tried to act all cool and adventurous, like I used to be, like I didn’t have a care in the world. But all of a sudden that pretense was falling down, like I imagined my body falling into a herd of Longhorns grazing below, as I went down the 1500 foot zip line,  the skies of a Texas summer storm darkening in the distance.

“Well, it is metal, and lightening is attracted to it,” The skinny collage guy guide said with a slight smirk.

“Thanks. That’s reassuring,” I quipped.

I gulped. Jean-Thomas was waiting on the other side. It looked miles away.

It’s not that I am afraid of heights. I’ve always prided myself of loving them, adoring the adrenaline rush, the feeling of flying.

No, I wasn’t afraid so much of falling.

By the time we reached this last zip line, this grand finale, the wind was blowing fiercely, against us. I watched Jean-Thomas go down the zip line and come to a stop before the platform, hanging like a shirt on a clothes line, only to grab onto the line and pull himself in.

That is what I was afraid of. That I would get stuck.

That I would have to pull myself into the other side, that I wasn’t strong enough to do it.

And while I was stuck, the rain would pour down and the thunder boom, and there I would be, a human lightening rod, dangling in the thin air like a skewered piece of meat over a barbecue, ready to be zapped and fried.

Fear used to control my life. I spent time worrying about dying, about having no one to love me, about being alone.

When I was set free, I began to live like I never thought possible. My inward reality reflected on my outward decisions.

I decided to live.

I sold everything I had. I quit my job. I trekked across foreign unknown lands. I shared my heart with strangers.

I lived with abandonment and uncertainty, always moving forward.

Always choosing adventure.

There were plenty moments of terror, but plenty moments of joy.

But faith and risk needs to be exercised, or you become weak again.



“You’ve got to go now,” I heard the guide telling me, “The storm is getting closer.”

I gulped. Closed my eyes for just a moment. I could feel the wind on my face, cool and inviting.

On the other side, my love was waiting. Waiting for me to jump. Waiting to help pull me in if I got stuck.

The guide reassured me, “It’s ok. If you get stuck they can throw you a rope.”

I realized then, even if I was too weak, it didn’t matter.

I wasn’t alone.

“1…2… 3!”

I jumped. And flew, free, into the storm.

“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know, and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:

There will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”

-Patrick Overton

How To Remember Well- Thoughts on 9-11 & Fear Vs. Hope

11 Sep

Ten years ago I sat in Junior English class and heard that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. To be honest, I vaguely knew what the World Trade Center was. At sixteen, I wasn’t really into New York architecture. I knew about the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, but that was about it.  My world was all about the here and now, the drama of every day life. I lived in fear, but that fear was that I wasn’t as pretty as the girls in my new school, that I would never be good enough, that I was still too awkward and shy. I didn’t fear terrorists, I feared I would end up alone, that I would never accomplish my dream of being a writer.

Tragedy has a way of changing the priorities of our fears.

We gathered in the history room of my small Christian private school and watched in terror as the events unfolded. I remember feeling sorry for my History teacher, a darling woman who was the most patriotic person I knew. I watched tears openly flow down her face, her eyes red with shock. I don’t think I cried, I was too numb. Although New York was less then 300 miles away, it felt like a different planet, and seeing explosions on the TV seemed like good special effects in a summer blockbuster.

Fear has a way of causing us to live in denial and hope to God that reality isn’t what it seems.

Ten years later, and we’ve finally found the man believed to be solely behind these attacks. While it would seem that would alleviate our fear, it just doesn’t seem to have let up any.

Many say our threat of terrorism is just as strong, or worse. Even if the threat was gone, there will always be something else to fear.

Fear has a way of multiplying like a cancer and taking over. It doesn’t matter what form it takes, it is all destructive.

We fear unemployment, the economy crashing, government control, everything we know and love in this country ceasing to be.

We long for some political savior to ride in on his white horse and rescue us from our nightmares.

But this will never be.

As this peculiar group who claims faith in God as their way of life, we have another fear- the devil.

We haven’t met him, necessarily, but we’ve seen his attempt to mess with our “God-fearing” nation.

We fear evil taking over our country more then anything.

We fear our morals being pushed aside and “secularization” becoming the norm.

So we do what any Jesus-loving patriot would do- we fight it.

We picket. We protest. We preach against it. We speak against it. We try to pinpoint what went wrong, to find a source to blame.

And all the while fear breeds, takes over our consciousness, becomes our drug of choice.

Fear leads to more fear. Blame leads to more Blame. Hate leads to more hate.

Whether fear of Al-Qaeda, or conservatives fearing liberals pushing their “godless agenda,” it always leads to bondage and hate.

“There is no fear in love, perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18)


The good news is: we don’t have to live like this.

(Breathe deep sigh of relief)

Whoever you blame for the state of our country, know that blame will always lead to bitterness, and bitterness will always lead to cynicism and the death of joy.

Even as I am writing this, I become face to face with my own hypocrisy because my own blame points to The Church. I get angry at our reputation to instill fear and hopelessness while we should be the last group on the earth to do so, yet I cannot allow this the lead to bitterness.

(I am part of the problem.)

Every fatal word spoken, every anti-people statement, ever finger pointed in blame, is all part of the problem.

Ten years later, I want to remember the sacrifice made by the heroes who responded immediately to the tragedy in New York, those who daily sacrifice in order to keep us safe, I want to honor those 3,000 who died. Yet, I completely miss the point if I let that negate remembering the sacrifice made by Jesus in order that we may walk in peace, freedom, love and LIFE.

The other night I went to a comedy show. My boyfriend made fun of me, because out of all the hilarious things Michael Jr. said, the thing that stuck with was the one serious thing he said. He shared how his goal in comedy used to be to get people to laugh. It is a normal goal to have as a comedian, and you wouldn’t think of it as selfish until you realized that the reason he wanted people to laugh was to validate his career. At a popular club in Los Angeles, he saw a homeless man hanging out outside and something in him shifted.

It was then he realized, God didn’t want him to get people to laugh, but to give them a reason to laugh.

As People of Hope, it is not our job to get people to change, to believe, to try to be like Jesus. It is simply our job to live love and that will give them a reason to laugh. To hope. To love.

I believe that the best way to honor this day is cut out the nay-saying and begin to speak words of hope over our world.

Our country.
Our church.
Our family.
Our neighbors.

In order to speak hope, we must first open our eyes to see it- everywhere, all around us.

Jesus, redeeming the world. We are secure. Our future is certain. The war has been won.
For every judgmental blanket statement of blame made over a particular party, religion, or people group, let us be the ones who point out the loving individuals who break that break the stereotypes.

For every eye wide with fear after turning off the evening news, let us be the ones who soothe bristly souls with words of comfort and hope as Jesus did.

For every finger pointed in blame, every word written that stirs the need for revenge, let us be the ones who peacefully disarm, hand out grace like it’s bread for the starving, and live unconditional love until revenge loses its appeal.

This is how we remember well.

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