Mar 3, 2013

Come Hell or High Water


Before we knew Annika needed glasses, we thought she had a brain tumor.

Extreme - I know.

But we had noticed her left eye was occasionally doing a weird drift-thing sometimes. It would point inwards and make her look like she was crossing her eyes.  At first we thought she was just being funny but we eventually realized it was happening all on it's own. So I did the worst thing any concerned parent can do with a random symptom: I Googled it.  I searched "sudden onset lazy eye" and read through forums of other mothers noticing the thing.  

Best case scenario: She would need glasses.
Worst case scenario: There was something in the brain causing pressure that was forcing the eye to turn inwards. Like a tumor.

And, there it was.  That unwelcome but familiar stranger standing on my doorstep with no face. Again.  

Fear.  

Awful, ugly, toxic fear suddenly entered in like he owned the place. 

I tried to be logical; it's usually never the worst case scenario....  but, oh God, sometimes it is.  For some people, it is. My imagination was spinning out of control, telling me that I had no right to assume we'd be the lucky ones that get off easy.

"You know things have been way too peaceful lately," Fear said. 

"You think you're so much safer than anyone else?"

"Weren't you just talking about trusting God through suffering?"

I called my husband and spilled it all out in a hushed voice while Annika was marrying her dinosaurs in the other room.  

There wasn't much to be done immediately besides making an appointment with an optometrist.  We scheduled the quickest visit we could, but that was still a few days away.  A few days of excitedly talking to Annika about the possibility of glasses and a few days of wondering quietly between ourselves: what if maybe, just maybe, that wasn't the outcome of our appointment.

The question seemed to hang like a quiet knife over all of our beautiful moments. So much so that after tucking her in at night, I would shut the door and fight the urge to cry.  

What if things were about to get really, really hard?

I finally stood outside her door one night and remembered the scripture about how there is a time for everything.  A time for mourning and a time for rejoicing.  Everything in it's season.

I took a deep breath.  There was no point in crying tonight over what might happen tomorrow.  I decided I wasn't going to mourn until I had something to mourn about.

And then came the appointment.

It went quickly.  Yep, she's farsighted.  Yep, she needs glasses.  And yep, everything else looks just fine.  I never thought the sentence "those optic nerves look magnificent" could sound as lovely as it did that afternoon.

We drove away with nothing but a prescription for her lenses and I had nothing but a happy blog post and adorable pictures of trendy new tiger-striped glasses.

But for some reason, that knife has still lingered.  

The "What if" still whispers into all things good and makes them suddenly sad and bittersweet.  It reminds me of the ones who don't get good news.  It makes the good things feel almost wrong and dangerous to embrace.

Knock, knock, knock.

I don't invite Fear in, but I can still hear him. 

"You know this can't last forever," he says through the locked door. 
"Why are you the lucky one who's kid doesn't have a brain tumor?"

And I just can't help but hear it because- honestly? This world is a scary and unfair place to live.  It's tough to tell the devil to shut-up when sometimes he's making some really good points.

Not only do I fear a drunk driver running off the road into our yard, or a tree branch falling, or hidden brain tumors in Annika's head, now I know it's possible for a sinkhole to literally swallow up a person just lying in their bed. (If you hadn't seen that yet, crap. I'm sorry.  Don't Google it.)

It's just frightening to live off of the fruits of this poisoned, earthly soil. 

It feels so dangerous to be fed and filled up with whats around me in a moment because it's all so fragile, so fleeting, so unable to sustain me. There are no guarantees that any of it will last.

And yet, God offers so much joy in this life, on this earth, and he gives it freely and with love. When we accept that all good things come from him and take it all in as a gifts from a loving Dad, it becomes more than just enjoying earthly fruit, it becomes worship.

And if seasons change and the fruit is gone and we find ourselves lacking or hungry or broken, we will somehow finding ourselves still worshipping.

The seasons, they never last.

But the worship does.

So when I hear Fear lately reminding me that maybe, just maybe, this season isn't going to last, I tell him he's probably right.

But I don't know what's next and neither does he.

Maybe the next season will be something even more wonderful and beautiful than it is now?

Maybe it wont. Maybe it will really suck.

But there is a time for everything and what can we do besides walk through these seasons in their time?  Fearing the ugly possibilities of the future will not make me stronger or more able to handle them, so its only a lie that says I must focus my attention on them.

Sinking deeper and deeper into the love and peace of God, that's what makes me stronger.  Slowly building my home, brick by brick, on the rock instead of the sand: that's what makes me ready for a storm.

So I'm going to drink deeply of the good, beautiful things available to me right now and I'll fight the fear that says I'll lose them if I love them too much. I'm going to drink deeply of the good because it's all from God and it's all given so that it might be received. 

I'm going to worship him in everything, even the good things, and know that tomorrow doesn't belong to me.

Then, as my preacher laughed through his old, worn smile this morning, "His grace is sufficient for me.  Come hell or high water, his grace is sufficient."



5 comments:

  1. Wow thank you for this post.I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes because you so perfectly articulated what I feel so much in my life and I really needed to read this today. I am so guilty of letting fear creep in and rob me of my peace and I have such a hard time with my faith and just trusting God and with feeling guilty if I let myself be too happy. I'm always waiting for the proverbial "other shoe to drop" when things seem to be going too well. It surely can't last if I enjoy it too much. Thank you so much for giving me a new perspective on it all.

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    1. Thanks for your comment and honesty, Kim! It's so true that fear creeps. Sometimes it hits us in a big way but oh-so-often it starts small and just slithers in and makes a home. I think the guilt thing is one of those small ways it gets in and gets so big without us realizing! And then, before we know it, we're afraid to love. But how unlike God is that?!? It is for freedom that he's set us free and God is love and perfect love casts out fear, so we are free to love so fully!!

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  2. I have someone I know in my life that lives constantly in a state of fear. I cannot count the number of times she has said, "I can't..." to me. "I can't deal with/handle/do (fill in the blank here." It can be anything. She in turn has passed on to her son, a friend, this trend only his fears look and sound like, "What if..." He may call it preventive planning but it's just fear disguised as wisdom - worldly wisdom. We are not of the world and should not think like the world. I have always been confident in my fearlessness and a little ungracious with those who struggle in a place of fear. Recently, I have had to face my own fears and it's hard - very hard. The verse that is pulling me through and forward is, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind." Fear disrupts the soundness of your mind - make one irrational, immobilized, stuck. We all must stand on the word instead of the lies in our heads.

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    1. Thanks for your honesty here, friend. It's such a picture of Christ-likeness in us, how in growing UP to be more like him, we are always being pulled down into a place of vulnerability and humility and graciousness.

      And I love the verse you quoted because I LOVE anything the Bible says about a sound mind. (http://baretribe.blogspot.com/2012/06/that-time-i-smoked-weed.html)

      Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. This kind of fear creeped in to my mind and heart when Russell had his seizure. In those few moments, I had the deepest fear. When he was having his seizure and I had to figure out what to do, my first fear was his death, but when I figured out that it was a seizure and he was sent to the hospital to recover, my drive following his ambulance was a whole mess of other fears. I was thinking "what if this continues to happen and this is something I have to live with from now on?" Sudden random seizures are so scary in the moment. Then, when it was all over and we were safely back at home, fear would linger with its awful voice "This may be over but life is so fragil, anything could happen and you could lose him. What would you do then?"
    It's a hard balance to discern the voice of the devil and fight it off, while still maintaining the reality that these things do happen to people and we must be spiritually at peace with it, but never afraid.

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