11 Feb 2013

For the days you feel afraid

I’m afraid of Zoe’s foot getting stuck between the bars of her crib and afraid of Jackson rolling off the top bunk. I’m afraid that the ancient garbage disposal will hack and heave all that old roast beef back up again. I’m afraid that the new passport won’t make it in time for the trip home again. I’m afraid of the words I want to say and some of the words I’ve already said.

I’m afraid of Micah losing parts of what make him a virulent truth teller and other days I’m afraid he’ll be the reason we all take our first ride in an ambulance. I’m afraid of the news stories that fill my head with nightmares and I’m afraid of my inability to guarantee a pain free future for my children.

I’m afraid of kidnappers and grocery store aisles that tempt Zoe away from me and afraid of the gas light that flickers low on late drives home. I’m afraid of commutes and traffic accidents and reports of storms. I’m afraid we’ll never move out of this house and afraid that if we do we’ll find that we miss it.

I’m afraid of not being home for years and of what my parents miss between Zoe turning two when she was only 2 months old the last time we were home. I’m afraid of missing out on my brothers’ art and my father’s gray hairs. I’m afraid that the Jacaranda tree at the top of that steep, stone driveway won’t remember me anymore.

I’m afraid of vulnerability and even more afraid of losing it.

I’m afraid of mothering blind but blind is sometimes the way motherhood walks forward – one dark and trembling step at a time.

Some days I feel so small and afraid it’s hard to breathe. The world and my tiny place in it crushes down on my chest and just getting up and into my sweat pants feels like courage. The chocolate ice cream helps. And I know that next week or tomorrow I will be less tired and may get a glimpse of glory when one of those boys sits down beside me and lets me hold his hand like when they were little.

I will lean into Micah’s neck and kiss the soft skin behind his ear, all newly naked since his dad buzzed him on Saturday night. I will kiss him and inhale the DNA of courage. I will admit my fears to my friends who love me and skip Sunday school to sit with me when I’m shaking in my new boots about to go up on stage and teach during church.

I will remember that faith has always walked forward blind.

And that the opposite of fear is love.

The opposite of fear is always love.

So we open our hearts and our front doors and our stories. We write with so much love for our readers, our children, our people that our fingers bleed with it. We find the music in the day and dance barefoot in the living room until our kids are all laughing too and dancing with faith and chubby feet.

Until we fall down giddy, beloved, and ready to get back up again.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Beautiful. We need vulnerability to be exposed or we just go back those burdensome masks. :) And for that thing you wrote: when the only t.v. you know is the commercial-LESS kind, we are reminded again of why we stripped those ads plum out of our living room. Sometimes that reminder comes through a little shock therapy, and we are all like “OH yeah! That’s WHY!” :)

  2. 2

    Food for my soul. So much of what you have to say mirrors how I feel. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

  3. 3

    “I’m afraid we’ll never move out of this house and afraid that if we do we’ll find that we miss it.”

    Yes. And yes to everything else.

  4. 4
    Lisa Milman says:

    So right. Some days it’s hard to get out of bed for all the fearing. It easily paralyzes me. Thanks for letting me know it’s not just me friend. Love you.

  5. 6

    You’re going to give us a full report of how your teaching went, right?! And sister, your fingers seem to always bleed love. :)

  6. 7

    Some days your posts are what get me through and of course the chocolate ice cream! Thank you so much for your honesty and love!

  7. 8

    This —> “I will remember that faith has always walked forward blind.” You have no idea friend… how today… just today I needed this. Thank you!.

  8. 9

    So funny that you would write about your fear of Zoe’s legs getting stuck between the bars of her crib, which is exactly what happened to our Astrid (4 mos old) last week. I think about you and your fears with your young children and find it interesting that I still have fears for my adult children and granddaughters too. Faith leads us forward blind … love that, holding our hand. Thankful for a great assurance in God.

  9. 10

    Beautiful words. I am soaking them in and thinking about the contrast of love and fear. You are right, the opposite of fear is love. When I have faced my imagined worst-case scenario, God’s love always meets me in the moment. It is when I imagine those fears, and God’s soothing love never joins in the nightmare, that the fear attacks.
    I live with fear and love like the turning of a page. I forget God’s love, and fear is right at my heels. Fear grips. Love embraces. Fear sucks out life. Love breathes it in. Fear hunts me down. Love draws near as I draw near.
    Thank you for your words.

  10. 11
    Patti Goldenson says:

    Thanks so much – you’ll never know how much I needed that – you’re great and so is God

  11. 12

    Thanks for these words. They are a breath of fresh air today — knowing I’m not alone in feeling the exact same way.

  12. 13

    How uncanny! I wrote about fear today, too. Speak to your soul, mama. You hope comes from the Lord!

  13. 14

    LisaJo, I just love you. Knocking knees and all.
    Xo

  14. 15

    Oh thank you, thank you, thank you. I sighed with relief and new courage when I read this post. I am ready to get back up again.

  15. 16

    I think you have spoken, the unspoken, conversation that every mother brings to God. So much can happen here, even to the Christians. For me, once I really believed that He loves my children, my husband, my sibling, my parents…and me, much more than I could ever, – Then to open my hand and allow Him to hold, what He has made, became much easier.

    I frequently forget that it is All His from the beginning…and He is allowing me to hold what is His, for a short time. Love you Lisa-Jo and your beautiful heart.

    • 17

      Oh this sounds so like me. I am afraid of so many things , but my husband helps me out a lot. I loved reading this.

      • 18

        We all fight fear with, love, Norma. You and I both. Love fights fear, because The love of Christ is perfect and casts out all fear 1John 4:18. But sometimes remembering…to remember …is not always easy!

  16. 19

    All of this–every single word–is just the gift I needed right now. Thank you, Lisa-Jo.

  17. 20

    Thank you SO much Lisa-Jo. Today I woke to the news that a good friend’s house burnt down last night, she got out with her kids and dog thankfully. In December another good friend died in a blaze that she couldn’t be saved from. With a 2 month old baby and 2 other littlies, I feel so powerless and anxious and I lie awake worrying and yes, this was a day I felt afraid. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this out. xo

  18. 21

    Great post. I so identify.

  19. 22

    Thank you for your honesty, and making me feel like I am not alone in the fear & homesickness stakes! I will be thinking of you & yours when we go home to S.A. at the beginning of March for a holiday, and praying for you too! Praise the Lord for hope, laughter & ice-cream! :-)

  20. 23

    Love reading your posts! Each of them, special and great in their own way! Thanks!

  21. 24

    Oh, so beautiful, Lisa-Jo. Thanks so much!! (I wrote an essay for a book collection coming out about fear and the only thing that helped me through that time was a blessing prayed over me that used that verse in 1 John – love over fear. . . over and over again.)

  22. 25
    Suzanne Thompson says:

    Love the pics of your children. So precious!!

  23. 26

    do you ever get afraid that sometimes a sadness won’t ever go away?

  24. 27

    Beautiful. I feel it. I get it. It’s nice to hear I have company in some of my fears. I think there are more of us with them than without. I think having the courage to say them out loud also takes the power of the fear away and makes us stronger. So glad I found you through the Five Minute Friday grapevine!

  25. 28

    I am discovering that my fears have actually been “keys” that have locked me up or set me free…that fear minus faith equals captivity, but fear plus faith is glorious freedom. “Faith has always walked forward blind” is a testimony to glorious freedom…just in the walking. Thank you so much for the reminder, Lisa-Jo.

  26. 29

    God’s peace to you and all us mommies as we actualize and flesh out these truths. He is good at providing that all surpassing peace when we ask Him for it… and wind when we need it, too.

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