What Are You Afraid Of?

She saunters out of her bedroom and it’s nearly 9 PM. She mumbles down the hall, her lowest low voice, still high and sweet as a song bird. The pony tail I twisted atop her head hours before now droops down at the nape of her neck and she whispers quiet:

Something’s waking me up.

You’re waking you up, I think to myself, say out loud. I’m certain she hasn’t fallen asleep yet, but she wants me to bring her back to her room and she wants a fresh diaper and she asks me to sing her a song: Can you sing me a song about me?

This girl who’s a mess of long strands that curl at the ends, this girl who ties strings around our hearts, she’s three years old. And sometimes there’s something, just something, that keeps her from trusting it’s okay to let go, and go to sleep.




I was standing at the sink scrubbing one scuffed old pan with wearing edges a few weeks ago when the eldest came into the kitchen with a statement that grabbed my heart’s attention: “Mama, I need to go to the bathroom.” (That wasn’t the startling part.) “And I need to tell you something.” (That was.)

I’m all ears and eyes as I lift his seven-year-old frame onto the counter, hoping to catch a good, deep glimpse into his eyes to see what his heart really wants to say. “You know that movie we watched last week?”

I nod, certain he’s speaking about a PG animated film he saw at the theater.

“It had some scary parts and I don’t want to go to sleep because I’m afraid I’ll have nightmares and my dreams are so real.”

Tears begin to stream from his eyes, and then mine, and my husband and I offer comfort, encouragement, hugs, compassion. Hero Hubs reiterates two words again and again: “You’re safe.”

He saunters slowly back to bed and I silently pray that he’ll sleep with heavenly peace.

There’s something these kids are telling me, on the edge of my heart and the tip of my tongue, and I’m trying to put my finger on it.

There are always dark places we are afraid of.

There are always reasons we would rather just ask someone to hold us like a baby and stay near a little longer.

Maybe it takes a lot of bravery to admit what we’re really afraid of.

And why did Jesus say Perfect love casts out fear?

Is it knowing we’re loved that solves the problem?

I wonder, if in the grand scheme of things the Father doesn’t look down and wish He could just “fix” the problems — but He knows better. Knows what we need and what we want are different things.


I can’t make the bad dreams go away, but I can tell the kid I love him and I’m here for him.

No one can make the fear of what people think, the fear of messing up, the fear that everyone is really just tolerating your presence, the fear that you don’t measure up… all those unspoken deep whispers in the dark that say “you are less than enough” … no one can make them magically disappear.

The Name of Jesus is incredibly powerful, but it’s not a lucky charm from a cereal box.

The message isn’t “Come to Me and I will fix it all better for you” — it’s “Come to Me because I’ll be with you in it — I already came for you, I am still coming for you, and I will come for you again.”

It’s “In this world, you will have tribulation but be of good cheer… I’ve overcome the world.”

I recently said yes to something I was afraid of doing. I thought it would be hard. I thought it would take up lots of time, lots of effort, and it could even not work out at all. Flop.

But I remembered: it’s not really about things all working out, life being easy, things going smoothly, never putting your hand to anything that might fail.

It’s about saying “You’re my Lord, and if You want me to do it, I’ll do it.” 

Those are the words that brought me to villages in Mexico where I tasted Jesus like never before. Those are the words that brought me to orphanages in Zambia — to places where I got to see poverty, and at the same time, true wealth. Those are the words that carried me over the ocean where I met the man, not just of my dreams, but also of my destiny.

And perhaps it’s knowing the Father’s love — being so sure of that love — that’s the thing that casts out the fear. That speaks brave to the heart: You can because He is…

You CAN because He IS.


YOU can because HE is.

What are you afraid of? Do you believe in a God that’s bigger? A God that doesn’t promise it’ll all be perfect, but does promise He’ll always be there?

The greatest moments I’ve lived so far started with me saying yes to God saying come.

But every time I walked on water, I first had to get out of the boat.


Trust Me.

How often have you heard that statement? A few times too many? Enough to get you in trouble? Sometimes I hear it from people who I feel pretty certain I shouldn’t trust. Sometimes it comes from the guy on your doorstep trying to sell you some miracle cleaning solution or oceanfront property in Kansas.

More often than not, it’s not a serious statement — and it can almost be an indication that you ought to take lightly whatever the person you’re speaking with is about to say next. I always picture Aladdin saying it to Princess Jasmine just before they jump off a building and land in a sand pile, and I guess he was trustworthy. I digress.

Do you trust me?What if God says “Trust Me?”  Is that a different kettle of fish for you? For the past wee while, Mark and I have been praying about some decisions regarding our next steps here in South Africa — about perhaps getting part time employment to make ends meet, or trying to raise more support or — whatever other direction the Lord might lead us in.

Can you guess what the Lord’s response has been as I’ve brought this before Him in prayer? Yup. Trust Me. No booming thou shalts, no other thoughts or directions, just a still, small Trust Me.

I have found hearing a Trust Me from the Lord really encouraging. It has given me an expectation that He is going to do something great…that He’s going to come through for us in some unexpected way…or at least that something is going to happen. But today as I was spending time in the Word and in prayer, I noticed a heaviness on my heart.

The first thing that came to mind was “my thoughts are a mess.” As I went over what I’ve been thinking about and dwelling on. You know those random thoughts you find swirling in your head while you’re shampooing your hair or waiting for the baby to finish his bottle or driving along or absent-mindedly stirring a pot on the stove? Those are the meditations of your heart. They’re a good indication of what’s really going on in there.

And what’s been going on in there ain’t none too purty. I’m full of fear and worry, and mis-trust. Un-trust. Non-trust. Well whatever it is, it ain’t trust! It is really remarkable that Trust Me was God’s Word for me, before I even knew I needed it.

The Bible has a really simple solution to this issue. Would you like to hear a few thoughts on it, dear one? Great! Today I returned to II Corinthians 10 which talks about, among a lot of other really good things, “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” What I understand from this is that I should consider the thoughts in my head in the light of God’s truth. If they don’t line up with what His Word says, I need to get to a place in my heart and mind where they do line up.

What does that look like? Well, let’s say I’m worrying… be reminded, dear ones, worry is actually a sin…we are specifically instructed not to worry or be anxious about anything! Nevertheless, I am in process and working on this, so let’s say I am worrying about provision for the future. I’m worried about our finances and how all the ends are gonna meet. What does the truth have to say to this concern?

Therefore, do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

That’s a great answer, hey? It’s a good idea at this point for me to ask the Lord to forgive me for not trusting Him and for giving so much of my heart over to worry and to fear. Then it’s a good idea for me to begin thinking about that promise from God’s Word, and exchanging my yucky meditations for meditations on God’s Word…His truth and His promises. Think about it until you’re convinced! I think it is good to think about what you’re thinking about…don’t you think?

I look forward to telling you how the Lord brings things about in the days ahead, but in the meantime, perhaps we can all learn and grow and be a little more conformed to His image thanks to the opportunity we’ve all been given to simply trust the Lord, and believe what He says.

The Sermon in a Nutshell: Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. (Corrie Ten Boom) And take some time to do some thinking about what you’re thinking about! (Me)