Sunday, October 26, 2014

When Fear Is Your Default Mode & Update on Makeya Brown

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee,
because he trusteth in Thee."
Isaiah 26:3
(KJV)

I awoke in sheer panic, as I looked over and didn't see Kevin.
Bless his heart, no matter how quiet he tries to be, my over-active, uber-hyper, super-charged worry instincts usually provide me with an uncanny ability to feel his slightest move
or the gentlest tug of the covers. 
After 26 years of marriage, I usually hear him and am instantly wide awake when he slips out of bed, 
but this time I slept right through it.
So, when I woke up and saw he wasn't there, 
I immediately made the assumption that there was something wrong.
He struggles with multiple chronic health issues,
and through the years, we have had more than our share of middle-of-the-night
and early-morning scary times.
I can't count the times, nor do I even remember them all,
that I have fallen to my knees, pleading with God to stop the pain and give him relief.
And just as I can't count the times I've asked, 
I can't count the times God has answered.
Every, single time.
He has been there, 100% true to His Word and promises.

God has proven Himself faithful to us in so many countless scenarios,
He has answered while we were yet speaking, (Isaiah 65:24)
and even before we breathed a prayer.
So, why do I instantly and automatically revert to being consumed with gripping fear?
And why can't I just be calm and think the best, until proven otherwise?
Why does my heart start to race, as that sinking feeling washes over me,
the minute any situation even remotely holds the potential of something being wrong?

I will tell you why, even though I am ashamed to do so.
Fear is my default mode.
I know it probably shouldn't be.
Nevertheless, more times than not, it is, I confess.

As my panic level elevated, and my pulse raced,
God spoke.
"There is nothing wrong, child.  He is okay"

I felt a peaceful calm ease in and replace the panic,
and soon, the door opened, and there he was...
my husband....
safe, sound, healthy, and his normal, happy, smiling self.

I'd like to blame this terror-prone, automatically-assuming-the-absolute-worst 
problem I have on someone else.
Mom and Dad both struggled with fear their whole lives.
Bless Mom's dear heart, if anyone she loved was later than they said they would be,
or if she couldn't get a hold of them,
she would automatically assume that they had been abducted,
that they had been involved in a serious car wreck,
or that they had come to some other horrible end,
and she would have them dead and buried in the cemetery
before she could finally reach them and hear that they were fine.

There was good reason for Mom's fears.

When my four siblings were still children,
their Daddy, Eddie, (Mom's first husband), died instantly in a horrifying car wreck,
just one block from their house.
Mom and my brother and 3 sisters were at church when it happened,
and when they came home that night,
they saw the wreck and recognized the car as being the one that belonged to Eddie's friend, Rick.
The sickening reality washed over them that Eddie had gone out with Rick that night,
and he had more than likely been in that car.
Soon, their fears were confirmed when they reached their house and went inside.
The phone was ringing.
It was the hospital, asking Mom to come right away.
When she arrived, she was told her husband was killed instantly in the wreck.

Mom was left a widow and a single mother of 4 children.
Needless to say, her life was forever changed that awful night,
and that experience, along with many others,
affected the way she viewed situations.
More than likely, the trauma and overwhelming terror of it all
caused her to almost always over-react and automatically assume the worst-imaginable.

So, I could truthfully say that growing up and living in a fearful environment 
instilled this fear-drenched default mode into me.
I could excuse it away and say it is an inherent part of my nature 
that I will just have to learn to live with and accept.
I could pretend it is normal to go into a full-blown panic
at the sound of the least whimper, sneeze, or nose sniff coming from Zachary's room.

But, in reality, I know that living in fear is not the optimal, abundant life Jesus came to give.
And even if there are justifiable reasons for my excessive, obsessive fear-filled tendencies,
in my heart, I know that there is a way to trust God on a deeper level.

Living life fear-saturated is not a healthy way to live.
It wreaks havoc on the mind, the nerves, the emotions, 
and yes, the spiritual part of us.

Fear is a giant.
It is intimidating, daunting, a Goliath-like monster
that looms and is ever-present...
shouting out its taunts and threats morning and evening like Goliath, (I Samuel 17:8-16)
and every moment in between.

The Bible has a lot to say about fear.
One of the more notable passages is this...

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
I John 4:18

"Fear hath torment."

Ahem....can I get an amen??

Can anyone else vouch for the tormenting power of fear?

The thing about fear is this....
it is a liar.
A BIG one.
Most of the things we fear never even come to pass.
Most of the scenarios fear plays out like a moving picture in our minds
never even remotely happen in real life.
They are nothing more than figments of our own imaginations,
and we all know that imagination is the biggest nation in the world.

The battle is in the mind.
If satan can get us to focus on the "what ifs?",
he will successfully rob us of the 
beautiful "what ares" right in front of us.
I am ashamed to admit to all of the successful attempts he has made in pulling a black shadow
over otherwise wonderful moments of my life.
I can be enjoying something to the fullest, when he sneaks his conniving self into the situation
and causes me to start fearing something that is not even real.

I have had to distance myself....far away....from taking in much of the news these days.
As I have talked about before, I am pretty much on a media black-out.
Do you ever remember living through a time when there was more bad news?
Because of my propensity for fear, I take in VERY little news.
If there is something I absolutely have to know, Kevin keeps me informed.
And I subscribe to a few selective email updates that provide headlines.
It is rare that I actually click on any one of these headlines,
because I usually don't want to take in the details.
While I know we can't (or shouldn't) take an ostrich-like stance and bury our heads in the sand,
I have learned that I simply cannot fill my head with it all.
It is terrifying to me.
Understandably so.

We are living in the perilous times Paul prophesied about in 2 Timothy 3:1,
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come."
and 
the ones Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24:6-8,
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of war:
see that ye be not troubled:
for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows."

Not to speak gloom and doom, but truth isn't always cheery.
We are there, my friend.
Could times be much more perilous?
The word pestilence means,
"any virulent (meaning violent and rapid in its course, highly malignant,
able to overcome the natural defenses of the host, highly infectious)
or fatal, contagious disease,
esp. one of epidemic proportions."

No wonder Jesus said,
"Men's hearts failing them for fear, 
and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth..."
Luke 21:26

Hearts are failing because of fear.
It is happening right before our very eyes.
We are absolutely living in and witnessing first-hand the days Jesus and Paul were talking about.
I'm convinced of it.
Honestly, I don't think it will be long until we see our Savior coming in the clouds,
with power and great glory, as He promised to do in the next verse (Luke 21:27).
I realize that every generation since Jesus made that promise have felt He would come back
during their lifetime, but I just don't think it has ever before been more likely.

You don't have to look very far to see the signs,
and those signs can surely stoke the spirit of fear in a person who is prone to being consumed by it.
There is plenty of discouraging ammunition to keep the cannon of fear firing non-stop.

Lately, in our family worship time,
Kevin, Zachary, and I have been studying about David.
The thing that has impacted me most in our recent studies is the time he spent
bewildered and fear-ridden in the cave at Adullam.
He was literally running for his very life,
chased by a man (King Saul) who was consumed with overwhelming rage...
all for no reason.
David had done nothing wrong.
There was no justification for Saul's irrational behavior.
I don't know for sure how many Psalms David wrote while hiding out in that cave,
but we can know for certain that the 57th chapter was one of them.
"To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David,
when he fled from Saul in the cave.
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me:
for my soul trusteth in Thee:
yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast."
Psalm 57:1

David was full of fear.
Can you blame him?
The most powerful man in the land had made him
the target of a massive, jealousy-obsessed manhunt.
He came after David like he had committed the most heinous of crimes,
when in fact, David couldn't have been more innocent.

But, in his overwhelming, overpowering fear, David knew where to turn.
He knew what to do.
He had found a Refuge, stronger, higher, and more fortified than the Cave of Adullam.
The perfect love of God, his Refuge, was the very antidote for his deep-seated fear.
He practiced seeking this antidote and wrote about it.
I am so glad he did.

I'm glad God chooses to use fallen, imperfect people who have checkered pasts and fearful hearts.
I'm thankful His Word is chock full of their examples,
lessons learned, and written accounts that reveal that they were human.
The book of Psalms contains some of the most comforting words in all of Scripture,
most all of them written by a man who experienced the full gamut of humanity,
including fear....
just like you and me.
David wrote from the heart...he wrote what he knew....what he experienced...what he lived.

In Psalm 56:3, he wrote,
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."

We all have moments of fear.
Some of us are more driven by it than others.
Some of us, like me, have an automatic fear default mode,
in spite of all God has done to prove that we have nothing to be afraid of while
dwelling "in the secret place of the Most High"
and abiding  "under the shadow of the Almighty".  (Psalm 91:1)

Fear is a very effective tool in the hands of the enemy.
If he can instill fear to the point that it becomes a stronghold,
he has achieved an advantage over us and has the upper hand.

2 Timothy 1:7 says,
"God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

It is impossible to keep a sound mind, when we are so consumed by fear.

Therefore, it is in our best interest to guard our minds and steer clear from fear-mongers.
You know who they are.
You know what feeds your fear.
There are enough battles to fight with fear without listening to,
watching, and reading things that fuel the flame and add more things to worry about.
Do we really have to know every bad thing that is happening in the world?

Philippians 4:8 gives us a list of these six recommended subjects to think upon:
Things that are TRUE
Things that are HONEST
Things that are JUST
Things that are PURE
Things that are LOVELY
Things that are of GOOD REPORT

When fearful thoughts weigh heavy on our minds,
we must put forth the necessary effort to...
"Cast down imaginations and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."
2 Corinthians 10:5

Once we have cast down the imaginations
and brought the wayward, fearful thoughts into captivity,
we must replace them with a thought that is God-honoring...
a thought that is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and/or of good report.

Isaiah 26:3 says,
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee,
because he trusteth in Thee."

Other people may be able to do it,
but, I have found that I cannot keep my mind stayed upon the dear Lord,
when I am filling my head with everything BUT Him.
There are so many things vying for His place in our minds,
it takes a real conscious, concentrated effort to keep our minds fixed on Him.
And keeping our focus on Him and His perfect love for us
will keep us in perfect peace.
It will still our anxious hearts.
It will remind us that He loves us with an unconditional, unending love,
and that, truly, in reality, we have nothing in the world to fear.

He is coming back for us, dear friend.
He will take us away...out of this awful, evil, fallen world to a place where we will never have to fight another battle with fear, because in that perfect place, fear does not exist.

He said,
"And when these things begin to come to pass,
then look up, and lift up your heads;
for your redemption draweth nigh."
Luke 21:28

Our precious Redemption is close at hand.
"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near,
even at the doors."
Matthew 24:33

Hold on, and don't be afraid.

He is coming back for us, and it will be soon.

************************************************************************

Now for something to PRAISE HIM for.....
BIG, EXCITING, MIRACLE NEWS!!!!!

Little 6 year old Makeya Brown was released from the hospital on October 23rd!!!!

This is the update from her mommy, Shyla....
"Keya loves it over at the McDonald house. 
She says she would rather go home, but she says she can wait until Max comes home, too. 
She told me that she did not want to go without him. 
She starts her temporary school up here on Monday, and I think I am more nervous then she is. Max is doing really good and loves it up here on rehab. 
They actually get him out of bed and out of the room. 
For those who have asked, as of right now, (which could change),
 Max's discharge date is December 18th. "

Looking back, it is absolutely amazing to think how far God has brought these precious little ones.
So many bumps in the road.
So many scary moments.
But, at the end of the day, God has had it all under control.

Here is a picture of Makeya "graduating" from Rehab.


To all of you who have prayed 
for this day to come,
please pause with me for a moment to praise  our Almighty, awesome GOD!!!

If  anyone would like to send the Brown family a card of encouragement,
please contact me, and I will provide the mailing address to you, individually.

If anyone would like to make a monetary donation to this family,
there are two ways to donate.
1.  An account has been set up for this purpose at a local bank.

Please mail donations to:

Citizen's Deposit Bank & Trust
P. O. Box 9
Vanceburg, KY  41179
Please write "For Brown Family" on the memo line of check.
OR
2.  You may donate online by clicking HERE.

Most of all, please continue to lift them to our Heavenly Father in prayer.
(To read previous posts about the Brown Family,
click ORIGINAL POST,
and 1ST UPDATE,
and 2ND UPDATE,
 and 3RD UPDATE,
and 4TH UPDATE,
and 5TH UPDATE,
and 6TH UPDATE,
and 7TH UPDATE,
and 8TH UPDATE,
and 9TH UPDATE.
and 15TH UPDATE,
and 16TH UPDATE,
and 17TH UPDATE
and 18TH UPDATE,
and 19TH UPDATE,
and 20TH UPDATE.)

18 comments:

  1. Wow...so many comments...I hope you don't mind.

    First off, I have been waiting for a report...or 2 or 3...on these people we all took a time-out and prayed for on those 2 days, especially. I am so thankful that you posted this and for this little girl's miracle! Praise God!

    Second, how funny that you posted some of the same things I posted yesterday! I do believe God IS calling us to speak about the end of times, because I agree with you...we are dealing with a lot of it. I also wrote about pestilences and such. :) And yes, the news is so horrible that I don't watch it either. Everything on it was already written in the Bible. Which was my point yesterday and goes hand-in-hand with yours--we don't need to be afraid. We shouldn't be surprised. We were TOLD what would happen!

    Third, I understand irrational fear. Mine is also car accidents. (Well, that and fire. And elevators. ha, ha!) Just after we had our first son (6 weeks to be exact), my husband was in a Harley accident. He was life flown to Buffalo, NY with a punctured lung, 5 broken ribs, a broken foot, etc. The nurses tried to make me choose between my son and husband because they said my son would probably get sick at that hospital, which I couldn't do because I was nursing him. Anyways, I had to take him and he ended up getting strep throat at just 6 weeks old while we were there. It was a scary mess, but my husband eventually recovered. Then last year (maybe you've seen on my blog), he was in a tractor-trailer accident. On my birthday, no less, lol. Again, he was okay, and actually called a hero in our town because he didn't cause the accident and he avoided killing several people by putting the truck into a rock bank. BUT...these things have cause a fear in me about riding in vehicles. It's awful. And the only peace I can ever find is comfort in the Lord's words. I think it's a real thing for all of us. So these reminders are great to have. Thank you!

    Okay, I'm sorry to steal your post. I really do love to write, a little too much. :) Thank you for this post, my friend. Have a great day!

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    1. Thanks you so much! I will be posting more updates in a later post, Lord willing, reminding everyone to pray and fast on the 2nd day of fasting, Wednesday, October 29th. I will have to hop over to your place to read your post on fear. That is something how God worked in leading us both along the same thought process. :) I am so thankful God had mercy on your husband both times he was involved in accidents. Surely, He is a merciful and loving GOD Who always has His eye on us. God bless you and your sweet family. I am praying often for you.

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  2. Thank you for this post! I relate to practically EVERYTHING you said about being driven by fear. I am exactly the same way. Glad to know others struggle with the same thing. God has taught me over the years to trust Him more and more, and to enjoy the blessings of each day, knowing that "underneath are the everlasting arms." But the nagging fears still grip me at times & so I thank you for your honesty & what you have shared. GodBless You Cheryl!

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    1. Thank you so much for your visit and your dear, kind words, Jennifer! May God bless you. By the way, that verse (Deuteronomy 33:27) is one of my all-time favorites. So happy you shared that today.

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  3. Cheryl, my dearest friend, I first read this post late last night when I (yet again) could not sleep. I couldn't really comment, because it touched me so deeply. Though I would not wish the battle with fear/anxiety on anyone, let alone you, I am greatly comforted to know that I am not alone in this battle. Fear is also my default mode - and lately, it operates on a very quick trigger. You so perfectly captured what goes on in my head and my heart. Especially the instant trip to the "worst-case scenario." I still do this with my all grown-up sons. You got me thinking about possible reasons. My mom was fearful, too. But, I can see where it came from. She was an only child, sheltered and perhaps overprotected. When she was about 9, her cousin came to live with her family. He was the perfect big brother, and they were very close. Well, after high school he worked on a train in the engine room. Just short of his 21st birthday, he was killed in a head-on collision with another train. We'll see him again, but it devastated my mom to no end. My brother lost a good friend in high school, and that affected me deeply. And then, my youngest son's very good friend, who called me Mom because of how close he was to our family, was also killed in a tragic car accident when he was 16. Yes, these two were also believers, so we are comforted in our hope. But, I wonder - these traumas do indeed affect the way we think.

    But truth be told, I've been a scaredy-cat all my life. Possessed and provoked and paralyzed by fear so often that it's become a familiar companion. But I'm tired of it.

    So, I'm joining you in doing my best, with much prayer, to concentrate on the things of the Lord. Doing my best to FIX my eyes on Him and His Truth. Always learning how to trust Him better. And yes, I also believe that He's coming soon. So, even though what's happening in the world is very scary, and even though I fear the suddenness of life sometimes, I am also looking to the sky. I know He's coming...and He's coming for me.

    That is the hope that counterbalances the lies of the father of fear.

    GOD BLESS!

    (Keya - sigh. So precious).

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    1. Oh, dear friend, first of all, let me tell you that I am praying often for you. And, secondly, how I appreciated your words today! So precious to my heart and so needed. Thank you for sharing your heart....I am SO sorry you have experienced SO many tragedies and sudden-onsets of fear-inducing events. It definitely has a bearing on the way we react and deal with other issues of life. YES, let's make a conscious, focused effort on keeping eyes FIXED on the Author and Finisher of our faith. Nothing in our lives is a surprise to Him! Yes, my precious friend, He IS coming for YOU!!! So very grateful to walk this faith-walk with you by my side and in my corner. God's richest blessings to you and your sweet husband and Mom.

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  4. Too often Fear does appear as a giant & I as a grasshopper in comparison. Thanks for this encouraging reminder to fear not. Love the Scripture you included. I'm stopping by from the Art of Homemaking link-up. Blessings!

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    1. Dear Renee, So very thankful for your visit....it makes me smile whenever you stop by. I am so grateful for your encouraging words and am hopping over to your place now. God bless you!

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  5. Fear has torment tis true and worry is it's companion. It is good to be reminded of all the many scriptures that tell us to "Fear Not," and the comfort that God is with us NO matter what. Thank you for sharing your inspiring post with us here at “Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thank you so much, Hazel. I so appreciate your comments and the beautiful weekly link-up!! God bless you today.

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  6. What wonderful news to hear that Makeya is released!! I have complete faith in the Lord that Max isnt too far behind her so this whole family can go back to the comforts of their own home. Our God is awesome!! Prayers are still being said. Along with prayers of thanksgiving.

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    1. You have been so faithful to help share this burden and to pray for this family!! Now, you can rejoice with them in their victories and answered prayers!! God bless you for being so kind.

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  7. I just realized recently that I was often shamed as a child for acting out of fear. For this reason, instead of feeling fear, I tend to get angry, which can be just as destructive. I feel like this is an invitation to become more aware of when I'm feeling and/or acting out of fear. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your struggles.

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    1. It is amazing the things we discover about ourselves as we get older and look back on things in retrospect. The things people say to us as children have such a profound impact and effect on how we view things and react to them later in life. God is so faithful, and I am so thankful He understands our whole person and everything about us! Thank you for stopping by, Kelly! God bless you. :)

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  8. Great reminder. I, like your mother, tend to think that something terrible has happened as soon as a phone goes to voicemail or someone's ten minutes late. I don't even have a good reason for it. Thank you for the reminders that God is in control, and that fear is nothing but a lie.

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    1. I know what you mean...I tend to automatically do the same thing. Thank you so very much for your kind words and sweet visit. So happy to "meet" you. :)

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  9. Hi Cheryl. I was late getting my link up on this week, but it is up now and I featured your blog and this post. This post was the #3 most read on my last link up. Come on over and link up some more!
    You are a blessing to so many!! Love ya

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    1. Thank you, Chris. I will try to make it over there sometime later today, if I have time. :) Love you, sweet friend!!

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