I’m angry, tired, and overwhelmed. Probably mostly because I’m tired.
Last night my husband and I were in the hospital until 1:30 A.M. for my son’s croup. He had been in pain for at least two nights (we suspect more looking back), and had vomited the night before. On me. Twice. Then, he proceeded to poo-splode (an explosion of poop out the diaper, normally from diarrhea) on our bed. I am up to my ears in laundry, I forgot to start the dryer, and now my daughter is out of clean underwear.
The last thing I want to do right now is write, but here I am. I cannot help but feel like God has flared up my anxiety (and all other emotions) so that somebody reading this can know they are not alone. You see, my husband used to have breathing problems as a child. A few instances of bronchitis sent him in an ambulance as he stopped breathing. Praise the Lord he was able to get the help he needed to be fine, but his asthmatic allergies combined with increased risk for bronchitis sent my fears reeling. I fear I will have to witness my son dying because I did not act soon enough. I also fear feeling foolish for taking him before it’s a medical emergency and wasting the hospital staff’s time. Both are outrageous.
I keep being reminded of 1 John 4:18 with every new level of anxiety I unpack.
1 John 4:18 New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
Perfect love, how blissful does that sound? As a visually-minded human, I think of running in a meadow next to a waterfall with a rainbow sprouting out. As if no fear means we will be removed from fearful circumstances. Like perfection is within our grasp if we could just love a little more. But that’s not truth. Actually, I would argue it is Satan’s attempt at filling you with disappointment. He wants to cripple you as you realise God did not give you the blissful love you were expecting.
The perfect love “expels all fear,” which he goes on to explain as a fear of punishment. I fear punishment for not being a good enough mom or human. Christ died so I did not have to live up to prefect standards. Instead of our rainbow meadow, can you picture a punishing situation with me?
Another giant in my life is our financial situation. If you have read any other blog, you have probably seen me mention it. And I do wonder if I will look back at myself and think about how foolish I was. We all probably will, right?
What happens when you cannot afford to pay for any looming debt? When you have not worked hard enough (or whatever other shame you place on yourself for it), and your collectors are facing you on every side without a penny to give? How does your fear of punishment flare up? We want to run or work our butts off until we have the perfect budget. While I’m not denying the wonderful power of a budget, I would also caution you to remember God’s love. How does his love play into this punishment? Can God cast out your fear of punishment even then?
In the most fearful situations, we will see God’s perfect love work miracles in our lives. His love, in fact, is what drives us to make a budget or successfully carry out wise financial decisions. He sends the right person at the perfect time, or healing in a place we want to control but we cannot. In my situation, I have finally learned (after over four years of therapy and pain) to run to God and rest in His presence until I feel strong enough to do what he needs from me.
Today, that looks like me writing instead of going to sleep because I feel a pull to write. To steward my planner and budget PDF’s and to prep some crock pot shredded chicken because we need easy protein. It also looks like I will be comforting my son with a sore throat again, even until 2 A.M. again, because he needs to know God’s love, too. A few months ago during a medication shift, running to God meant crying and reading any scripture I could find relevant until God poured his life into me and I adjusted to the new meds.
For you, it might look totally different, but I know you can trust God to lead you into his rest. Whatever fear has been revealed to you, I challenge you to lean into His strength, knowing he will use it for His glory. He does have a purpose, just like he did for Esther who was taken away from her home to become a queen or a concubine. Just like David who was fleeing from the palace he was told he was going to rule. Those stories are placed in our lives to give us strength and perspective, a “hope and a future” like in Jeremiah 29:11. That hope is not for our own plan and future, but for God’s plan and future for you. You can trust Him, flee from the bitterness Satan wants to plant in your life, and persevere with faith through your daily grind. You can do it with God’s perfect love.