There are weeks, like this one, that feel like they just fly past before I even realize what has happened. It always surprises me because in those speedy weeks, there are hours or even days that seem to move at a snail’s pace. This happened a few days ago, but not for the reasons one would expect.
We have all seen the scenes in movies where everything happens in slow motion and the person involved has the opportunity to move at an exponentially higher speed. For me, that happened twice in the last week. I spent several hours feeling helpless. Not in a cute, little ol’ me kind of way. No, in a paralyzed with fear, there is nothing I can do about this kind of helpless.
I sat in the comfort and security of my home watching the news report about local schools being on lockdown or about arrests being made because of threats of violence. This was not just a heartache for the overall state of the world, this was an ever so personal heartache because one of the seven- yes, SEVEN- schools that were in the news housed one of my very own flesh and blood along with hundreds of other souls I have had the privilege of watching grow and mature in to young adults.
I watched as the information poured in at what seemed a painstakingly slow rate while my mind moved quickly from every horrible scenario to the next.
The untended mind of a creative soul can go to a dark and scary place quickly if not given some guidance.
To experience that fear, the panic of reading second or third hand about an event that had the potential to steal the very light from one of my own external heartbeats… it is a soul wrenching, bring you to your knees, face to the floor moment.
How could I sit in the safety of my home and send my children out in to this world that is so fraught with evil that even the most innocent of places, their school, was a lion’s den? How, when I was gripped with a level of fear that even in the face of my own potential death that I had not experienced, was I to pick myself up and stand strong for my children?
Before I could help my children navigate this in a healthy and productive manner, I had to personally grapple with and get a handle on my own terror.
Stepping back and gripping the hands of fear that were strangling me, I folded them in prayer and managed to make at least some sense of the senseless. The only way to overcome this fear is to connect with the One who overcame the thing we tend to fear most in the flesh- death. I needed to connect with the One who is the author and perfecter of my faith, the one who orders and ordains my steps and the steps of those amazing children that I sent out my front door and my bubble of protection just this morning. Because that is where we all went, is it not? That if I could just keep them close, that I could protect them. But then how can they grow? How will they learn and experience all the beauty this world has to offer?
No, it is not our job to teach them to cower in fear and remain in our protection.
It is our job to teach them that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 18).
Let them spread their wings and let them move from your arms, just like when they were learning to walk, because that perfect love is in Jesus. And let me tell you friend, as they push for that freedom that we so long to hang on to and not give willingly, they are walking out in faith and right in to the receiving hands of our loving Father.
As we learn to let go and let them walk, we are allowing them to be drawn in to a place of protection and power unlike anything we are capable of providing.
He is the one who can move mountains- mountains of pain, of neglect, of abuse and brokenness that someone must feel to cause broken places in children… to make them fear a place that should be building a common good. He is the one who can heal the broken. He is the one who allows us to walk confidently from a place of love. We must step out. More importantly, we must teach our children to step out in a manner that places faith over fear. When we allow the only perfect one to fill our hearts there is no room for the fear that gripped me and sent me to my knees.
Instead, the control that we are so desperately seeking and failing to find on our own is found in that same place between my nose and the carpet- in the very breath I exhale to let that fear out and the breath I inhale to let the faith fill me to my very core.
I am a failure and that is a wonderful thing because it gives my Savior the opportunity to work bodly in me. It allows me to stand up and say that we need to work for solutions so that these moments of failing come in a way that is transformative to us and to the world around us.
Things have got to change, for the better. Death has a way of bringing life into focus and friends, our focus needs to be in loving these kids. All of them. It takes a village- not just to reprimand or to discipline, but also to love and encourage. My sphere of influence is small, so I am starting the change with me.
I choose to step out today in faith. I choose to spend today knowing that the energy I was using for fear is better placed in working for peace and in teaching my children that the power of their protector is so much greater than what I can provide because God is POWERFUL friends. Selah.
Hi. I'm Jen-
a small town, Oklahoma girl married to a superhero. Together, we are raising a family on second chances, shiplap, and a shoestring.
I am a firm believer in grace, organization, and efficiency. I find great satisfaction in taking broken items and giving them new life, likely because that is exactly what God did for me.
I over use the word shine, exclamation points, and emojis. I cheer too loud in the stands of my kids’ activities and hug more than is socially acceptable. A natural born encourager and armchair warrior, I am learning to redefine my mission field and make the most of each day I am given.
I am chronically ill and chronically positive- not necessarily in that order. I am learning to practice perseverance over perfection and long for the day I get to see my grandparents and Jesus’ face.
Until then, I am just looking for Grace in the Grind.
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