I have been living in fear. There is no other way around it. It started about the time I found out Sophia's friend, Rylee had relapsed. I wrote about it in March - in a post called "Fear Itself." That was four months ago and I've been living under the umbrella of fear since. It got worse in May after Sophia's last scan showed the tumor hadn't changed. I wrote about that too - and while I remained convinced God was up to something, I wasn't altogether sure it didn't involve going through more chemo.
My prayer time these last four months has been filled with tears. I have revealed only to God the depth of my fear, but my behavior reflected the terror I've been living with. I've turned to many old bad habits, which only proved to damage my relationship with The Lord, my family and myself. Several weeks ago, I spent a week emotionally paralyzed. I had received news from several fronts that tore down the last vestiges of strength I was using to fight off the fear. Relief from all that I was feeling started to consume my thoughts.
Have you ever lived in this state of mind? It's awful.
It makes relating to people not in the midst of a crisis hard. It robs you of joy, peace and kindness. You can't think of anything because if you do, it will inevitably lead you down a path towards the fear you are not ready to face. It makes service to others virtually impossible.
There is a reason there are supposedly 365 "Do Not Fears" in the Bible. We are not to be slaves to it because Christ died to free us from it.
On Tuesday morning, I wrote the weekly TPT4KC post based on 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Then I sat down to pray.
I started as I have every time I've prayed these last four months. "I'm sorry, Lord." What happened next makes it clear He had enough of this type of behavior.
(To say the Lord spoke to me, to those who do not know Him, sounds ludicrous. He has only spoken audibly to me once, but many, many times, He has moved in my heart like a cool breeze over a parched, dry land. And I hope my recounting of what He said to me Tuesday morning makes you want to develop the kind of relationship where you, too, can hear what He has to say. But I digress.... )
As my tears began to flow and I once again began to confess my fear Sophia would not be healed; that we would have to extend her protocol and this way of living; and that I could not do that - it was like someone turned off the faucet. That very instant The Spirit shut down my tear glands and I heard Him whisper:
Do not fear, little lamb. Trust in The Lord Your God.
That was all I heard, but the feeling impressed upon me was that He didn't want me to keep carrying this mountain of fear around on my shoulders. So, if I couldn't lay it down - He would remove it.
His perfect love supernaturally healed me of my fear.
For the first time in months, I was able to praise with my whole heart. I was able to think about what our mission work will look like in the future. I was able to smile at others in the clinic without bitterness or judgement. I was able to relax and let Him shepherd me through the day. I has given me a mind to remember all the people praying for us. I was able to not complain.
He has restored my joy. my hope. my peace.
He gave me an experience to recount in the coming days, a truth to hold onto, to bring my mind back into obedience to Christ. He showed me again that I could, no matter what, depend on Him, look to Him. He reminded me He is my God and I am His beloved, not in this alone.
Is everything perfect? Of course not, but the perfection of Christ is once again on the throne of my heart - Not fear.
I am not ready to claim that this next scan will show her tumor gone. I think it is presumptuous on my part to think I know what He is going to do. But I can say our fight will be over soon. And I could not say that before Tuesday.
He even used our oncologist to remind me of this. In our office visit, I recounted to her the patients around us, especially those who had relapsed. She responded with "Those are not the same kind of cancer." Through her, God reminded me that our journey continues to be different than others.
I don't know what He will do in the future or even the present. I do know that He is faithful - to forgive, to heal, to provide, to love. He still speaks to His children, especially when He wants them to be free - free to love Him completely without anything standing in the way.