Sometimes fears quiet me still. They race through my mind quicker than I can breathe and it’s all I have to keep myself hushed.
When I get agitated, I clean. Dishes cleared from the table and dumped into water. Soap and bubbles and scalding warmth as I scrub and fume. The floors get swept. The cupboards washed. My hands move so my mind can think, can fathom what is going on and why.
Sometimes my husband asks me to hold still, to stop and speak. Even then my feet bounce, my hands wring. My words usually stumble because they are racing through my mind faster than I can form them from my lips.
And always, always it is fear that is the root.
Fear that I will never be able to change a situation. Or fear that I am not strong enough to bear this weight. Fear that someone will step into my life and cause dissension and I won’t be able to stop it. Or fear that I will become what I never want to be. Fear that I will speak when I should be silent or be silent when I should speak. Fear that I will wound through my pain, instead of heal.
A few nights ago I sat with my daughter and she whispered fears into the dark of her bedroom. They were hushed and sorrow-filled, created by real events and knowledge.
Just like the fears I battle, the ones I’ve learned from life-experiences that left me hurting and empty. The ones that are reasonable and realistic. The ones I can leave to churn and thrash around until they burn into anger. Fiery and hot and capable of defending my home and my life, but not my heart.
I look down at my daughter, with the moonlight tracing patterns on her face, and I don’t want that for her.
Because anger only burns the person holding it. And fear only cripples the person clinging to it.
So we start singing. Because what else is there to do but sing?
Psalm 46:1-2 is sung as we tuck the blankets in. Hebrews 13:6 is whispered as I brush the hair back from her face. At breakfast the next morning, as the eggs are frying in the pan and toast is browning, II Timothy 4:18 dances through the kitchen.
On the dark evenings, when fears come and we can’t seem to stop them, Psalm 56:3 fills the room with comfort.
When the fearful words come racing through, in the middle of lessons and heart-shaping moments of teaching, Isaiah 41:10 becomes the theme song.
Through the darkest moments we sing John 16:33, because in this world we will have trouble but take heart! He has overcome the world. He brings peace, which deprives the world of its power to harm us. And He whispers John 14:27 into the recesses of our hearts.
And last Sunday, when the morning didn’t go as planned and we didn’t know if we’d make it to church or be stuck on the side of the road, she looks over at me and starts singing 2 Thessalonians 3:3. We smile because it’s true. God is faithful. And we’re protected. And all the things we think matter so much, they really don’t at all.
When we make it to church and they announce the children’s trivia question, she bounces out of her seat and waves her hand wildly. 2 Thessalonians 3:3. The one we’ve been singing all morning long. “I knew that answer,” she tells me. “It was easy as puddin’ pie. He’ll protect me from the evil one.”
And I laugh because she’s turning into my daughter, sure as shootin’, and we’re figuring out this fear thing– both of us together.
Because God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind. He created us to live as Sarah’s daughters, doing what it right and not giving way to fear. He created us to live, not be crippled and burnt by fear and anger.
That’s what He said. And I believe Him.
And to you, the one who is struggling with fears chasing, His peace is for you as well.
[You can] trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is [your] strength and [your] defense
He [will] become [your] salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)