February 1, 2017

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Mark 6:49-50(NKJV)
49 And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Joshua 1:9(NKJV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Deuteronomy 31:8 (NET Bible)
The Lord is indeed going before you—he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!”ed.”
Psalm 23:4 (NLT)
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff  protect and comfort me.

Several years ago one of my nephews married a really sweet young lady from New York. When we heard that her family would be coming for theJuly 4th weekend, my entire family got excited to finally get to meet her side of the family, and to have the joy of celebrating the July 4th weekend together.Everyone was on board with this.
My daughter came home from out of state for the celebration as well as my two brothers and their wives  traveled from several hours away.  My parents even drove in from our home town. The merging of these two families was something that we all were excited about.  I think it was because we have loved our new niece from day one, and from the very beginning she just fit right in. So the three days of festivities are in full swing. The children are playing and having a blast with their little cousins and doing all of the things that children do.

My nephews cranked up their grills and my niece and others pitched in to make fabulous meals for us. At one point I looked over and my brothers who both are great cooks had jumped in and were helping to prepare meals as well.  I brought my World’s Famous Pound Cake and the fun began. Three days of pure fun and laughter.

Everything was going absolutely great, until they started talking about going out on the lake for a boat ride.  It seemed that everyone was fully ready to participate, while I on the other hand, was thinking, am I the only one here with sense. Being on the lake in a boat is a very scary thing to me. All I could think and see was danger. Satan was working on me Big time and I knew it.

Maybe I should explain my position here. I absolutely don’t mind being in the very shallow end of a swimming pool, (the kiddie section) where I can stand and know that my feet are on the bottom of the pool and I can see way above the water’s surface. I love vacations by the ocean and I enjoy hearing the waves crash at night. I also enjoy a nice long walk along the shore lines. I am at total peace when I am near the ocean.  For me, the ocean just has “there is a God” written all over it.  

I actually have even thought it would be great to own a waterfront property, however it’s a different story when we start talking about being in a small boat on the lake or on the ocean.  At this point as far as I am concerned, we have turned a corner, things have taken a twist and I am literally gripped and paralyzed with fear at the very thought of being in a  boat on the water.

My daughter on the other hand has never had a fear of the water, and that could be because when she was three years old I put her in swim classes. I didn’t want her to live with the same fears I have of the water. She went back each year for more advanced training until she was in the eight or ninth grade.

As I look back, I think my fear of water started when I was a young girl. I went to a Summer Camp and lots kids were in the pool, actually being taught to swim, when a child some kind of way came very close to drowning. As we all stood there watching them work on this little kid, I think something must have shouted “danger” in my psyche. By the way this child was ok after an ambulance ride and a day or so in the hospital.

I saw water very differently from that point on. Shortly after that scary experience a family that was friends with our family lost their son who was approximately 16 years old to a drowning accident in a river near our home. I feel in some way all of this contributed to my fear of water or as I told my husband and my daughter, my very healthy respect of the water.

On the day my nephews decided to take everyone out for the boat ride, my daughter could not wait to to get there, however by the time we got to the lake everyone had already been on the water for a while.  After a few minutes my daughter was finally able to get her much awaited boat ride.

While everyone else was enjoying their boat ride, my husband and I decided to drive around and check out the area to kill some time while we waited for everyone to return.  Well we didn’t ride around long before my husband got board and got the bright idea that it would be a lot more fun to join the others in the excitement on the water.  He asked me, if he got on the boat would I join him, just having the conversation made fear well up inside of me and start its ugly attack.

I have been on the Delta Queen and other larger river boats and did just fine, but for some reason Satan was really working on me this day. As we saw the boat approaching in the distance I mentioned to my husband that I could feel the anxiety welling up in my chest, my heart started to race and all I could think was, I don’t want to do this. Not now, not ever, but in a quick instant I was reminded that I must face my fears. Not reminded by my husband but by the Holy Spirit. You see I knew that fear was not of God, but the enemy.  I truly had a lot of self talk and praying going on.

My siblings laughed and teased me as siblings do, (especially brothers) about my fear, but they really had no idea what all was going on inside of me.

After telling myself over and over that I could do this, I looked my fear straight in the face gave up a silent prayer and stepped onto the boat. I don’t know that I have ever prayed so much in such a short amount of time, as when I took that boat ride. I was a nervous wreck, but I was in the boat, and with God’s help I was facing one of my greatest fears. Needless to say I can’t even imagine how Peter got out of the boat and walked on water, when I was having this much trouble just getting into the boat.

When we got back to land I absolutely made sure I was the first one off that boat.  As far as I was concerned I had taken one for the team.  As we walked to our cars I told my family that I was definitely checking this one off my Bucket List. I faced that fear and God showed me that with His help I can face any fear.
That does not mean however, that I plan on riding in a boat again any time soon, but I am so very thankful for all that this experience taught me.

Through this experience I realized that my anxiety was suffocating any possibility of fun or enjoyment. Isn’t it amazing how much our fears rob us of? We get so caught up in looking inward and believing the lies that Satan feeds us, that we miss out on enjoying all of the beautiful opportunities that surround us. Everyone else was relaxed and taking in every joyful moment, but because of my fear I was having a very stressful and different experience.  Because of our fears and our inability to be in control we allow ourselves to become paralyzed by this monster called fear, by the way we are never in control anyway.   In some cases, we risk missing out on the very purpose that we were created for, a purpose that could be fulfilled with prayer, a little courage, and faith in God to protect us through the process and to complete that which He has called us to do.

I don’t know what your fears are, you may be fearful of loosing a spouse or not ever finding a spouse. You may be fearful of loosing your job or loosing a child to something tragic. Some people have a fear of public speaking or a fear of not having the financial means to make ends meet, or flying on a plane. Whatever your fear is, it is real to you.

One of the other things that I realized is that we are not called to always live in our safe little comfort zones, though safe, these zones can actually be very debilitating. Their are times when God will desire to stretch us past the borders of what feels good into real faith living, to mature us and grow us up in certain areas, so that we are fully prepared to fulfill His plans for our lives and so that our lives can be the witness it needs to be for others.

Well, the weekend ended with all of us attending Church together, and I can tell you that I could certainly use a good Worship Service after being on that boat.

Going forward there are two words from God himself, that I will say any time that I am afraid and they are “Fear Not”. May I ask, what is your greatest fear? Whatever it is, entrust it to God. Be willing to face your fear head on. Look it straight in the eye and with God’s help, you will have the strength to overcome it.
Have a wonderfully blessed and fearless day!

Psalm 3:5-6(NIV)
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.
 Zephaniah 3:17(NIV)
17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,    but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Psalm 46:1-3
1God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.


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