I Am Afraid.

I only ever got three of the expected four wisdom teeth in my mouth. I have one on top that is all grown in and doing fine, and I have two impacted on the bottom. The two on the bottom sometimes play this game – usually every spring and every fall, but sometimes in between as well, where they like to try to poke through my gums. It’s uncomfortable, I feel the need to constantly bite down on gauze rolls, and I greatly empathize with little babes as they teethe. The oral surgeon “thinks” he can get them out, but they can’t tell where the roots are, exactly – the images indicated they are either right through, or directly adjacent to the major nerve that is in my jaw, and if it becomes nicked or otherwise obstructed, my jaw could be forever paralyzed. My dentist told me if I were his daughter, he would tell me to tough it out, because it would be too risky to have surgery. YouTube tells me I could potentially be a star if someone were to film me coming out of wisdom-teeth-extraction anesthesia. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to…. We’ll see what my future holds. This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but my bottom left tooth is especially bothering me right now, and I thought I’d start with a little Val-trivia factoid. You’re welcome.
Today is sunny and bright outside, save for a light gray sky. I imagine the sky is giving way to the snow clouds that are supposed to roll in tonight and tomorrow. Yes…I said the “s” word. S-n-o-w. This time of year is brutal for us midwesterners. We have a few beautiful days and let our hopes get outrageously out of control, and are slammed back down to reality with additional snow. Last year it snowed until May. This year it’s looking like it might do the same. We had a blizzard Monday – and I would just like to take this opportunity to say You are my hero, and I love you Brent – because even though he was hoping to be done clearing snow for the season, he got out there and cleared our driveway. Today, our driveway is clear and dry and the people on our street who didn’t clear their driveway, still have lots of snow in it. Yes, it may get covered again tonight or tomorrow with the expected snowfall, it may get covered again next week when they call for snow again, or the week after, or until May – but thank you, sweetheart, for clearing the driveway! There is nothing that says, “My husband loves me so much” quite like when I step onto dry concrete when there is snow on the ground. /Tangent #2.
Before I get too sidetracked, here’s what’s really on my mind: Fear. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I didn’t want April to come. I’m still not totally sure how I feel about it being here. I feel like time is spiraling even more out of my grasp when I think about the fact that soon enough it will be one year – 365 days – since we learned we would never bring Harlynn home. I was afraid for April to come. I’m afraid for the 10th. 
When I was super sick last week, I was afraid that my illness would somehow negatively affect Little Man. To say I was afraid of being put on antibiotic was an understatement – I was utterly terrified. Thankfully, that wasn’t necessary, and I was able to let the illness run its course without any medical aid. 
I’ve been afraid of something, or many somethings, every day during this subsequent pregnancy. He’s not moving enough. My heartburn is worse than it was before. Dear gracious, I’m past the 30 week mark – that means the final countdown is in front of me, and that scares me.
When we bring him home (and I am only speaking in terms that solidify that as our only option and possibility), how are we going to work the bedroom situation? What if I made the wrong household arrangement decision? What if I don’t sleep ever because I want to watch his every breath and make sure he takes one?
Fear. Fear. Fear. Fear.
Growing up, we had this favorite game in our house. There was no name for it, so I’ll simply call it, “Scare the crap out of someone by jumping out at them from a blind spot.” It. Was. Awesome. Usually our victims would fall prey every time they walked out of the bathroom. Unsuspecting, innocent, walking away from a humbling-activity, and BAM, you jump out and say, “RAHR!” and screams and hilarity ensue. Everyone in our house did it to everyone else. All of us were fair game, whenever the mood struck. When we were first married, I tried the game on Brent, too. I won’t tell the story (even though it is hilarious) because 1) it’s far better when told in person and 2) out of respect for him, I will spare any potential embarrassment. Fear was awesome. Once upon a time. So long as I wasn’t the one afraid, and I could control the aspects of the situation.
I was telling a friend the other night that sometimes, the “froo-froo-feel-good-memes” annoy me and make me crazy. I am the person who hides those posts on Facebook. Just because one person said something that kind of made sense and made another person feel good for thirty seconds, doesn’t mean it should be advertised as gospel truth and emblazoned into internet-eternity. (Yes, I am a Debbie Downer.) One in particular really rubbed me the wrong way recently. It said, “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” Oh for crying out loud, I thought, thank you for the guaranteed set-up for failure. To me, that means if I am afraid in anything, obviously my faith is void or I am less of a believer because I experience any level of fear. Ever. Psh. Or what about the acronym F.E.A.R. meaning “False Evidences Appearing Real” – powerful, right? Um…me, again. Actually, things I am most afraid of are things that I have lived through and don’t want to experience ever again. There is nothing false about them. I know too much about what can and does happen. It is not false. It is entirely real, and entirely possible, and entirely frightening. 
I started thinking about it too much – because that’s what I do – and I remembered a phrase in the Bible repeated the most times is “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.”  That doesn’t say let your faith be bigger, it flat out says: Do not be afraid. Do not. Don’t. 
….um…a little help here, God?  For starters, if we are not to fear, please tell me why you created spiders. Or anything with more than four legs. 
Secondly…Do not be afraid. Our daughter died. We have no idea why. She’s gone. She should be here, but she’s buried in a cemetery and awaiting for who knows how long for her family to join her in heaven. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m not afraid to join her. I’m afraid of losing my loved ones before I’m able to join them, however. I don’t want to go through that again. I don’t want to plan for a baby and instead make arrangements for their funeral. I lived through it, it was, and still is, awful. And you say, “Fear not”?
…”For I am with you.” I’m not going to preach….not today, anyway….but I know, and you know, there are so many scriptures that talk about all things being possible with God, He is our deliverer, and our comfort. If you don’t know, and you’d like to know, look over there –> and email me so we can have a candid, open discussion about it. 
Here’s what God isn’t saying: He isn’t saying things won’t be scary. He isn’t saying spiders aren’t horrific creatures. He isn’t saying there won’t be anything or anyone that will ever be intimidating, or bullish, or outright frightening. He is saying He is with you. And me. He’s there. He’s in the middle of it, or rather, He’s out in front of it. If we can just muddle our way through the middle of it, He’s already there on the other side. He’s already finished it. Completed it. Won. 
I am still afraid. I still feel it rise up within me. I still have doubt. I still worry. I also know, and believe however, that He will let me make it through to the end – whatever the result may be. Does that mean my faith is bigger than my fear? No. It means my faith is real. It means my faith is grounded. It means I’m human, and I don’t have it together in the least. It means when I am afraid, I can hide behind Him and let Him take care of me. My faith may or may not be bigger than my fear, but my God certainly is. Thank goodness.

2 Replies to “I Am Afraid.”

  1. I do agree that He is bigger than any storm or any fear we have. The hard part is to surrender that fear to Him who has overcome.
    I still hope you don't have the surgery, my fear is too big.
    I pray and struggle along side you in this month.
    All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed.
    God bless,
    Mom

  2. I wish I could "not be afraid". Fear, worry its a huge part of my everyday life. I know, that no matter the outcome that I will be OK, the He is there for me and he will help me. But that doesn't keep me from feeling the fear, dread and worry that comes from things I can't control. And like you, things that I've experienced that I really don't want to experience again is a big part of my fear.
    I feel guilty at times because I feel as though my faith isn't big enough. That if it were, I'd never be afraid of anything. I'd just turn it over to God and everything will be fine.
    I just can't seem to let it all go like that. I know what will happen will happen, His will be done.
    But if we aren't supposed to be afraid, then why do we pray to Him to keep our children safe on their field trip, or our husband on his road trip for work? Why do we pray for Him to watch over our grandparent who is in the hospital, or a friend who's husband just up and left her? I think we pray for these things because we fear if He doesn't step in and give guidance or comfort, healing and help then things will turn out badly.
    I don't know if being afraid is because my faith isn't big enough, but I pray that He helps me to keep my fear under control. I think once you let your fear become bigger than Him, that your faith has dwindled. But I certainly don't have the answers. I'm just working my way through this life the best I can. 🙂

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