Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Surrender Bravely

I’ve never been able to find certain places on the map. You know, those far away exotic countries like Courage, Bravery, Confidence, or Adventure. It’s all fine and good for the superstars on TV or the great Bible heroes, but I see them and think, “yeah, that will never be me.” Most likely you will find me in a little hidden town called Fearville at 1505 Worry Ln. enjoying a nice big bowl of anxiety for breakfast. This is where I reside. This is where life makes sense. A friend recently said that bravery isn’t the opposite of fear; rather, it is overcoming something you are afraid of despite the fear. Her statement stuck with me. I’ve never considered myself to be brave at all, but I have definitely pushed my way through some moments of uncertainty, so maybe it isn’t so far from home.

Throughout my teen years and on into adulthood, I’ve walked through many seasons of extreme anxiety. As a teen, my fears were a bit more irrational than they are now. I conjured up all sorts of scenarios in my mind of someone breaking in our house and hurting me in some way. Starting at age fourteen I went through two years of severe paranoia crippling my very existence and making life difficult for me and my parents. I could not stay home alone and could not sleep in my own room most nights.  After 2 years of this, I was exhausted. I remember being at church one Sunday night and feeling the Holy Spirit move in my heart telling me I had to let go. I had to put my trust in God. That night I surrendered. I was already a child of God, but this was an important point of spiritual growth for me. I let go of trying to maintain control and began to walk by faith instead of in fear.  I didn’t have a false sense of security that God would protect me from all harm. I had seen enough news to know that there were no guarantees.  I had to accept that whatever danger might be in store for me, I still belong to God and I had to rest in Him no matter what happened to me. 

As an adult, I’ve struggled through several periods of anxiety. Having a family has given me full spectrum of reasons to worry, from the safety and well-being of my husband and children to the burden of financial strain. I know others have experienced much worse, but I feel like I’ve had a sufficient taste.  Recently I went through a season gripped with fear that far surpassed my previous concerns. I felt this heavy burden of the reality that my kids may not all accept Jesus as their savior or will turn away from Him at some point.  I became overwhelmed with the thought of them being deceived by this world or a different belief system. No matter how much I invest in them teaching them the love and grace of God through Jesus, they may still come to reject Him. I know of several people who grew up learning the truth some of which may have even walked an aisle as a child, but they later rejected Him and now believe in something else. Only God knows for sure whether a person belongs to him, but I couldn’t imagine living life without this assurance if a child of mine strays from their faith.  Contemplating this I was caught in an emotional whirlwind of anger and sadness as I considered the possible outcomes of my kids’ future.  How will I handle not knowing where their faith will eventually rest? I love them and do not want them to suffer the consequences of their sin; sin that has already been paid for through Christ’s death on the cross. Not only is it the very best free gift that I so desperately want them all to accept, but it is also the foundation on which I long to see them build their entire lives. I do not want them to just know God and accept Him, but I want them to love Him, live for Him and if necessary, die for Him. It is not because I want my children to follow some family tradition or carry on a legacy, but for the fact that I know it IS the truth. Jesus IS our only hope.

After several weeks of feeling the heavy weight of this unrest, the Lord graciously reminded me of his truth that has given me some peace. God created not just my children but all children; the entire world, knowing and planning to save it through his son Jesus and knowing that only some would accept him. My greatest fear for my child may be the thought of them suffering the consequences for their sin, but by comparison, this means that the thing that I fear the most is the very thing God willingly and purposefully did to his own son so that He might save some. Jesus DID endure the wrath of God for the sins of the entire world and it is available for everyone.  I have had to rest in fact that THIS may be the only thing I can know for sure. I may not have all the answers to my questions, nor am I able to control the future. What I do know is that I have given MY life to Him and he has called me to raise my kids to believe in Him too. As I continue to point them to truth for as long as I live, I will do my best to walk in obedience and trust God with the results.

No matter what challenges or fears I face in this life, as a child of God what choice do I have but to trust Him with EVERYTHING….my success AND my failure… my sin, my pain, my fear- they are ALL His to use for His purposes and glory. As difficult as it may be, I must trust God with all of this for my kids as well… their failure, their success, their sin, and yes even their unbelief.  My kids were God’s before they were mine. They are His creation and their dad and I dedicated each one of them to Him. So as I spend my days guiding them in truth, I will remember what my friend said about the word bravery.  Knowing God doesn’t mean all fears vanish, so I must surrender bravely to Him and his plan even if I don’t know it, don’t understand it, or don’t like it. He is God. I am not. But I am His.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight" Proverbs 3:5

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