It’s hard to post this morning. After what happened on Friday everything seems so… unimportant. But as I checked my editorial calendar to see what I’d planned to post today I thought that perhaps it might be a little fitting. I think a lot of us are struggling with fear now more than ever. I know that I have been secretly thankful that my children aren’t old enough for school yet. I ache for you mamas who had to put your babies on the bus this morning and swallow back tears. I ache even more for the mamas who had no babies to put on the bus this morning because their precious lives were snuffed out on Friday. It hurts and I am silently thanking God that He isn’t asking me to deal with that fear just yet. That I get to stay home with my babies today and not send them off to school and that I can save that fear to deal with another day… another year.
I do still struggle with fear and I’m sure if you’re reading this you do too. We live in a world where bad things happen — more and more often it seems.
I’ve always been a bit embarrassed by my two “biggest” fears because they seem silly to me. One of my greatest fears is flying. Getting on airplanes make my palms sweat like you wouldn’t believe. I’m also a bit (or a lot) scared of speaking in public… as in, up at the front with a group of people staring at me.
Up until two years ago it had been a long time since I had stepped foot on an airplane. In fact, I told my husband after we got married that I wasn’t going to do it ever again. If we wanted to go someplace we would drive. So we did. We drove 16 hours to visit family, another 10 to spend our anniversary in Canada, and never thought much about it. I truly got to a place where I thought I could avoid airplanes completely for the rest of my life.
Then God stepped in. It’s not okay to let fear rule in any area of your life. Did I need to fly anywhere during the years that I refused to? No. Was it causing any real problems for us practically speaking? No. But it was allowing that fear to take root and grow larger in my heart. So God took care of it in a big way.
He called us to adopt… from Ethiopia. Yea, there’s no way to drive across the Atlantic. When we started the process I decided to put that whole flight across the ocean thing on the back burner. I told myself I would be heavily medicated and that I can do anything once. Then we got a few months into the process and Ethiopia changed their laws… we had to go twice. Honestly the money was the last thing on my mind… crossing that ocean multiple times was. We charged onward and months later Mareto’s tiny face filled our inbox.
When I boarded that first flight in January 2011 I was sweating. When the plane took off I cried a little (and was totally mortified that I was such a wimp!) But I did it.
I did it because love compelled me to. I did it because the love in my heart and soul for that little boy waiting on the other side of it all was greater than any fear I’ve ever had. I did it because God told me to. I did it because I love Him.
I’ve boarded 26 flights since that first one. I have two flights coming up next month and another two in March. That will be 30 flights in two years. I’m still a little nervous each time I board a plane, but it’s getting easier each time.
Shortly before our first trip to Ethiopia God started in on my second little fear. I had been asked several times over the years to speak in front of groups. Never anything huge, but I’d always said no. The last time I said no my husband spoke instead and I sat in my seat feeling horrible. I knew in my heart I should have said yes. That night I went home and thought long and hard about why I refused to speak in public.
I came to the conclusion that the only thing holding me back was fear. I decided that was it. I told my husband that I had decided I would never say no to something if the only thing holding me back was fear. I couldn’t believe how quickly doors and opportunities opened up.
Within the week I was asked to speak at our annual women’s Christmas party at church… to about 80 or so women. I was terrified. But I stood up there, held the microphone, and told my story. And it wasn’t terrible!
A few tiny other things popped up and I agreed and was always glad after the fact. But this summer God asked me to do something that’s about equivalent to flying across the Atlantic in my mind. My friend, and the founder/creator of the Created for Care conferences emailed me in July.
“Soooo…we have a session we want you to consider leading for both retreats. What are the chances you think you would be able to serve with us??? We need a session on PLAN A: Trusting God through infertility, loss, first child adoption–His Plan is Always Greater (Embracing Traded Dreams in your heart:)Did I just make you throw up–or are you excited;-)?”
I sat at the computer with my jaw dropped as low as it would go. I love how my friend knows me… I emailed her back to tell her that I was totally excited, but yes I did want to throw up just a little. I talked to my husband, we prayed about it, and this time (even though I am still scared) there wasn’t a moment of hesitation. I knew that my whole heart wanted to say yes! So I did. I will be flying to Atlanta next month and again in March to speak in front of a group of women (who will be very very very nice to me even when I probably get emotional and when my hands shake.)
There is only one reason why I am so excited in the midst of my fear… love. I love the women I’m going to talk to. A room filled with women who have stumbled, limped, and sometimes crawled their way along the path the motherhood. A group of women who have faced infertility… mothers who said goodbye to precious babies they love with every inch of their soul. Women who have been called to walk the road of adoption and who said yes and never looked back. These are my sisters. These are my people. These are my bosom friends. I love them and I don’t even know some of them.
I can’t wait to stand in front of them with tears in my eyes and tell them that I know. That I know what they’ve walked and that we are all in this together. I can’t wait to share the redeeming power of God’s work in my life. I can’t wait to tell them that God’s plans are PERFECT even when it seems like it’s all falling apart. Because I love them. And because I am head over heels in love with the God who took my broken life… and my children’s broken lives… and put us together to make one of the greatest lives of all time.
I don’t claim to have the above verse all figured out. I still feel afraid each time I board a plane, and you better believe I grip the arm rests with white knuckles when there’s turbulence of any kind. My hands will shake and my heart will pound each time I stand in front of a crowd to share the story God is writing for me. I do know that love has driven away the paralyzing fear… the fear that makes me unable to move and keeps me from doing the things God asks me to. Love has cast that aside and love allows me to move forward no matter how afraid I feel.