~week two~day 1~

Love ˃ Fear

I look forward to the evening time, when rest is close at hand.   It’s not the rituals that we all have leading to bed.  It’s the actual pulling back of the sheet and blankets, crawling in, tugging up the covers.  Feeling the pillows curve around my neck and head.

I’m clean, I’m wearing the kind of pajamas I love to wear.  Clear drinking water is next to me.  The house is quiet and cool.  This is real rest.  And, if I’ve gone to bed early enough, it’s going to last for seven heavenly hours.

This is just about the point in time that I remember my sisters and daughters all over the world.  I know that there are millions laying on concrete or garbage.  Or on dirty mattresses stained with blood, sweat and tears.  Hungry and dirty.  Hopeless and afraid.  Sick, broken and wondering why the night has to be so long.

Their nights are full of fear.  Mine are not.

There are only two directions I can go with the knowledge of my peace in the night and my sisters’ fear in the night.  I can tuck away my knowledge, be grateful I am living in luxury, say a quick prayer and sleep my way through this life.  My other option is to take my knowledge, be grateful for my life and then give it away for others.

Fear stunts us and holds us back from the calling God places in our hearts.  The only thing that can overcome fear is love. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.  1 John 4:18.  If there ever was a good reason to conquer fear, it is so that we can love more fully, more deeply.  So that we can love not only those close to us, but so that we can love those in our periphery who are in need.  

God, I pray that, tonight, as we each go to the place we call Rest.  We would do so not just because of comfort.  But out of the full knowledge that we have done all that we are able in our waking hours to impact the darkness and despair and hopelessness of those in our reach. I pray that as You work out the big plans in our life Lord, we take every opportunity to make every small effort to feed just one person.  Smile at passers by. Complement our co-workers.  Give grace for no reason at all.  I pray that all our efforts are in your name God.  So that we would go to our place of Rest knowing that we have spent the day laying down our life for the same people and causes that you Love.  Amen.


~week one~day 5~

Last summer, our whole family visited my brother in Dominican Republic.  Going somewhere new is brave.  Traveling with your whole family is brave (but we love it!).  Adventure and nature make you brave.  I have some great stories of bravery from our summer trip.

My favorite story of bravery was my sister in law up on the mountains zip-lining.  I had no idea she hated heights.  She didn’t look scared at all.  She geared up to go with the GoPro cam strapped to her helmet.  I would have never known she was scared until I heard her whispering her bravery mantra to herself between taking deeps breaths.  “I can do this.  Yes, I can do this.”  And then she jumped off the ledge.  Flying across the line.  13 times.  Fear was behind her.

Another great story of bravery was my 81 year old grandma walking the ramp to the wood ledge over the deep spring.  About 10-12 feet above the water, she listened to us cheer her on and jumped!  The cool water meet her and she came up for air smiling ear to ear.  No doubt she jumped, in part, to keep alive the adventure my late grandpa was well known for.

We saw other kinds of bravery.  In the slums of Santa Domingo, we visited a family whose kids were sponsored by Compassion International.  About eight people and a few pets lived in a tiny metal semi-permanent structure built over the city’s sewer system.  I think of the mom as brave.  She was brave because she was navigating her faith around her husband who reminded me of the old Temptations song – – Papa Was A Rollin Stone.  She faithfully brought her kids to the Compassion school.  She let strangers in to see her circumstances if only for an opportunity to share her story.  She let us pray for her mainly because when the needs are too great to meet, you have no option except to bring it to God.

I think we’re made to be brave.  I think fear is meant to be conquered.  I think we have it in us to tell ourselves to be brave.  To jump off ledges into air or water.  Whether we are 8 or 80.


~week one~day four~

Overcoming the Fear of Pain and Joy

We fear the gamut of life’s difficult experiences. We fear deep love and of being alone.  We fear personal change but don’t want to stay the same forever.  We fear raising children, but most of us take the risk anyway.  We fear having an empty life and also being too busy for the little things.  We fear.

I like to be alone and find much of my peace in solace.  But if I look deeply at myself, I fear facing the trials and responsibilities of this world alone.  Alone is probably my biggest fear.  I acknowledge this, while at the same time, I know the promise that He never leaves or forsakes us.  We fear the spectrum of the human experience in a rather ironic way.

As my dad faced the end of his days, his favorite verse became He will never leave me or forsake me.  Deuteronomy 31:6.  I don’t know the depth of his fear of death.  But I saw pure strength and wisdom arise out of his conquest of fear.  The full verse says Be Strong and Courageous for the Lord your God goes with you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  When someone is with you for always, you can be strong and courageous.

Fear runs in and through what we see as pain and trials.  But it also runs in and through what we envision as our most precious joys.  Overcoming fear brings us both out of trials and into joy. Simple truths like He will never leave us or forsake us usher us right through fear.