“Historians will probably call our era “the age of anxiety.” Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centered in anything short of God and His will for us.” (Billy Graham)
FEAR. What immediately comes to mind when you hear that word? I’m confident that most of us can call to mind at least one thing that causes us to feel uneasy and undone. We live in uncertain times. Our newsfeeds and newspapers are inundated with news of natural disasters, wars, threats of terrorism, violence in our schools, human trafficking, widespread diseases and a whole cacophony of additional evils.
The fallen world we live in is scary, but we do not have to live in fear.
We can have fears that run the gamut of significance and intensity and they begin at a very early age, in many cases. If we are not careful, our “innocent” fears can quickly morph into a very unhealthy, corruptive way of living that can hijack our joy and cause us to exist in a life consumed by fear.
The Devil loves fear. It is one of his most prized and powerful weapons he uses to beat our souls into submission. Fear and anxiety are paralyzing, all-consuming emotions in our lives and they are detrimental to our health, our relationships, and our connection to God.
Can I be brutally honest with you?
The Ugly Truth
I have history with both fear and anxiety. We were actually pretty tight for quite some time until we had a vicious break up about 5 years ago. I’m not proud of these relationships. However, God used them to change my life and draw me into a more intimate relationship with him.
For that, I am eternally grateful.
The past had some ugly, uncomfortable, unsettling and downright HARD moments. I don’t wish to go back to some of those early days; however, I never want to forget them either. I want them to serve as a constant reminder of what life felt like before I fully submitted my life to the Lord and it is my prayer that He will use my testimony to reach others in a way that no one else can unless you have walked a similar road.
How God Paved the Way
I have always known God, believed in His existence, prayed and attended church regularly. I spoke of Him often and never doubted his power and authority but truly having a personal, intimate relationship with Him did not come until much later in my adult life.
Growing up, I was no stranger to fear and anxiety but I always felt like I had hid it and managed it well. It was a part of my life but not terribly intrusive or disruptive.
The last ten years have been peppered by a series of back to back life altering, health related events for myself and those closest to me. In 2008, just 5 months before the arrival of our first- born little girl, I experienced fear and anxiety like I never had before. It wasn’t first pregnancy jitters either. What began as a very normal pregnancy was now complicated and threatened by cysts in the brain of our unborn child.
My spirit felt like it was on the merry go round from hell. My thoughts went round and round the hamster wheel with no signs of getting off. I lived in the dark valley and wasteland of “what ifs” and worst case scenarios.
We did pray. I begged and bargained. At the time, I was not very familiar with using God’s word to pray or how to study it and apply it to my life. So, I sought comfort in all the wrong things, coming up empty every time.
Life wasn’t supposed to feel this way but I didn’t know what was missing.
Life Continued Misbehaving
In 2010, my second pregnancy was complicated by the threat of thyroid cancer, followed by an unexpected, emergent open- heart surgery for my otherwise healthy, 35-year-old husband, later that same year.
For two years, we held on as tightly as we could, but looking back, my spirit was barely hanging on.
Fear and anxiety had reared their ugly heads throughout those circumstances and tried holding me captive. Fear gripped my thought life and threatened to arrest my heart. Joy was being snuffed out in silence.
However, we survived two complicated pregnancies, open heart surgery and a total thyroidectomy! We thought God had a great sense of humor throughout these circumstances as it seemed like one hard season spilled over into an even harder season, with no time in between to catch our breath. He must have thought we were stronger than we felt.
We prayed for a reprieve, a return to “normal.”
Turning Over Control
We were incredibly grateful for the numerous miracles that we had been given. We vowed to live in a way that would be honoring to God and worthy of those miracles.
God was working in and through our lives. He was placing stepping stones in our path drawing us closer and closer to himself.
Little did we know that just a few short years later, our faith would be put to the test again. This is what He had been preparing us for all along. This time, we were ready to fight in a way that we never had before.
In January 2014, my 57- year- old Mom was diagnosed with the most lethal form of brain cancers, Glioblastoma.
This fight replaced fear with faith and worry was exchanged for God’s Word.
In the words of Philippians 4:8-9:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)
As a wife, mom and cancer caregiver, I have felt FEAR deeply and have experienced the crippling effects of it first hand when not dealing with it in tandem with Jesus Christ. The last ten years have been one giant growing season for our family; with many growing aches and pains. Learning to put FEAR and anxiety in their proper place has not been easy. However, necessary.
Has it been worth it? Absolutely!
Do I have it mastered?
Never. I am still very human.
Take Fear Captive With Scripture
Today, I am better equipped to handle the threat when life misbehaves and the unwanted house guest (FEAR) shows up on my doorstep. Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord over my life and adding the Word of God to my arsenal to fight every battle that comes my way has changed everything.
God’s Word is salve for our weary souls and life for our dry bones. His Word has power.
We must choose to turn away from fear and toward our heavenly Father.
We have to fight with His Word instead of our own worry.
When we allow the Lord to sit on the throne of our lives and pedal through our circumstances in tandem with Him at the helm, we can be afraid but we will not live in the suffocating grip of FEAR.
In the wise words of Corrie Tenboom,
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
It is my prayer that you will turn to the Lord first and allow Him to fight for you. Fear will threaten to take your soul captive but use God’s Word to anchor your heart to His and stay in tandem with Him as life circumstances come your way.
20 Scriptures to Fight Caregiver Fear
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)
“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
John 14: 26-27
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (NIV)
“Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.” (NIV)
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” (NIV)
“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (NIV)
“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” (NIV)
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (NIV)
“say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (NIV)
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV)
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (NIV)
“You who fear him, trust in the Lord—he is their help and shield.”
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (NIV)
“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (NIV)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (NIV)
Read these truths. Meditate on them. Write them down and carry them with you.
Allow the peace of Christ to wash over you and give you rest!