This week my sister-in-law received news no woman wants to hear.
After going in for a mammogram to address some changes she’d been experiencing the last few months, she was referred for a 3D ultrasound and then for a biopsy later in the week.
She called me, thanking me for encouraging her to follow up on the unusual symptoms that prompted the initial visit to her GYN doctor. She also asked me to pray for her. The uncertainty evident in her voice, we both knew the results of this test could indicate a serious health concern, one no one wants to talk about at the young age of 36.
As a single mom of three kids ages 16, 13, and 11, the “what if’s” whirled. At the same time though, everything in her fought to trust the God who she knew had gotten her through a plethora of arduous situations the last few years.
The fear was there, yes. But she determined in her heart to not let the fear rule. Instead, she chose faith. And choosing faith in the middle of a trial requires action.
She chose to reach out to other believers to request prayer for specific needs and to focus her mind on God’s truths.
She asked for peace to replace the fear threatening to take over her thoughts.
She asked for patience as she awaited biopsy results.
She asked for favorable test results.
She asked for strength to walk whatever path was ahead.
In the middle of her trial, when it might have felt easier to try to attempt to control the situation and Google her way to the answers of looming questions, she chose to lean on faith instead of giving into the fear of the unknown.
Whether it’s a medical scare, a period of financial uncertainty, or a broken relationship, it only takes one trying situation for fear to take over our thoughts and wreak havoc on the peace in our heart.
Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us…
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
God’s word reminds us that we’re NOT going to understand everything that happens in this life. But you know, I don’t think we’re supposed to understand everything.
Trusting God is an integral part of growing in faith.
Learning to acknowledge Him in the middle of our trials squelches the fear that is human nature and replaces it with a growing measure of faith.
Our confidence in His provision for our lives grows as we walk through trials. We seek Him, pushing away fear, and embracing an active faith in the One who created us and loves us unconditionally.
I’m not going to pretend this is easy!
In my life, this looks like daily submission to God’s ways, remembering He is in control, not me. However sometimes I really struggle to remember!
I’ve found that constant visual reminders really help. Scripture on my shower curtain and pillows on the couch and in my office chair bring God’s truth to my mind during the day and help to quiet my overly anxious heart. Scripture on the walls helps too.
For me, the process of pushing away fear and instead embracing a growing faith has been just that, a process. I’m learning the importance of trusting God to make good on His promises to make all things work for good in my life (Romans 8:28).
What about you? What helps you combat fear in your life and instead trust God as you grow in faith?
Mary Geisen says
Oh sweet friend, how your heart must have dropped when your sister contacted you. Please let your sister know there is one more prayer warrior on her side-me! Please let me know if you can how things turn out. You and your family mean the world to me. Hugs and love!
LeeAnn G. Taylor says
Thank you! It’s actually Chuck’s sister although both of Chuck’s sisters are like extra sisters to me too. Family is such a blessing…and so are prayer warriors and friends like you! 🙂
Kate Motaung says
Such a timely post for me to read. Thank you for writing these reminders and truths! May we cling to the gift of faith and flee from the temptation to fear. Hugs to you!
Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says
LeeAnn, first…my prayers are with your sister-in-law, her family, and with you.
Since the nature of my terminal diagnosis was forcibly brought home to me in the past few days – and they were ugly – I guess I can comment on how I deal with fear.
To start, for me there’s no real conquering fear, or replacing it. I’ll freely admit that these are scary days – mainly that I don’t know how much more pain I’m going to have to face. The body can take only so much before shock sets in, and I’m flirting with that regularly.
The operative paradigm here is dealing with fear, and continuing to function effectively. I can no longer work outside the home, and my activities are severely curtailed by the pain involved in movement – a car ride is nearly intolerable, and something that happens only when it’s vital.
But there are still things to be done – we have a sanctuary for abused and abandoned Pit Bulls, and while the care I can give them is limited, I can let them out to play, and spend quiet time with them inside. Well, perhaps quiet is a relative term, when you’re inundated by double-digit numbers of happy Pits.
And there is writing – my blog has a long-running series aimed at the caregivers for a dying spouse, and I have a couple of completed novels for which I’d like to find a home.
But there’s a lot of rest required between any of that, and it is there where fear can creep in. At this point, I deal with it with a metaphorical shoulder-shrug, and let it be there. I don’t subscribe to the ‘cling to your loved one and share the emotion’ line of behaviour. Perhaps I should, but having worked as a security contractor in some of the world’s less pleasant places, I became inured to the banality of death, and the tedious quality pain can bring.
It’s scary, but there’s nothing I can DO about it, except to let it be what it is. Like a village whose inhabitants have been killed to serve as an object lesson – it’s unfortunate. One pays meet respect to the pain, the fear, the sorrow – and then one has to move on. Paralysis or extensively emotive displays serve no purpose.
I do believe in God, and having violent death as an ever-present companion for so long I have no doubt in His ultimate mercy – that one day we’ll go Home. I’ve been vouchsafed this by those who have gone before, and have been granted the ability to reach back to give a measure of comfort. The evil of this world can only be balanced by a goodness so vast that it beggars even an angelic imagination.
And it IS balanced, in the end, by hope and grace. The hope that tomorrow might bring a better dawn, and by the grace that allows hard and ruthless men – my friends – to willingly give their lives in exchange for those of the young and the aged, the weak and the frightened and the innocent.
Their hardness was a rock that broke a wave that would have otherwise swept away parents and children together. Their ruthlessness was transcended by their turning it inward, to embrace their own doom to allow safe passage for another.
If that’s not balance, if that’s not God in action, I don’t know what is.
And that’s where fear ultimately ends…in the pyres of the righteous dead, the smoke wafting their souls into the Holy Presence.
He’s got our back.
(Please pardon the length of this comment; the subject’s kind of important to me, in the present moment.)
I know those medical fears all to well, and we all know those personally in some way.
I love your pillows and shower curtain! I’m like you…I like the visual reminders for me and others that walk through our home to see. We have a family rule of “Love One Another”…bought a painted block from Etsy.com with that on it for our family room. Buying things from Dayspring and making things with my own script of God’s Truth help me see His Word and encouraging verbs like you shared!
Love to you,
p.s. Going to take another temp check per my patient!
We all deal with trials here on earth, but Praise God that when we are called home to heaven, there will be no more sadness, no more sickness…only love!! I cannot wait!! Sending hugs to your family! 🙂