Fear is not a new thing for me. I've struggled with fear before. My greatest fears have often involved my children...and sometimes before I realize what i'm doing, i've just imagined something horrendous happening to them and I'm paralyzed by the What ifs. It's not that I walk around always seeing danger at every corner. It's usually more like something that catches me off guard...like those pregnancy dreams, or when I hear that tragedy has struck someone else. And I have wondered, if the worst happened, even my worst imaginings, could I still say that God is good? Would I still believe? Or would the faith I thought I had, fall apart?
I did alot of reading last year, most of which included real life stories of people living through horrible situations. I read a story about the Rwandan genocide, stories by former child soldiers, stories by people who did humanitarian work in the midst of war. You might wonder 'why did I spend so much time reading such heavy stuff?' I wondered that myself! I think I was looking for the answer to my questions. And what took me off guard was the Hope with which people shared their stories and the Courage that they found to 'do the right thing' even under immense pressure. I didn't only read about it. I saw this in the lives of people I care about - people whose spouses died far too early, people who live with debilitating illness etc.. It's a long list. I have heard these people echo verses i read in Psalm 27 "In the day of trouble, God was their help." They express trust in God in painful times, in ways that make me sit up and take notice.
This past year I often wondered if God was preparing me for something. In fact, I even journaled about this, not long before Rachel was conceived. Something I feared has happened. I await the birth and death of my daughter. But, I know that God has been with us. I have experienced real peace - not something I made by telling myself to be brave, (the grin and bear it kind of attitude because "so many people have it worse"). Real peace. Now, as we look ahead to her birth, I have new fears. I wonder what it will be like to hold her precious little body, and fall in love with her, and then to maybe watch her suffer. What if I have to suffer a horrible back labor again and it takes months to heal physically? Will God be there then?
A friend of mine sent me a reading that has been helpful for me in dealing with my fear. It's titled Grace when we need it. She writes, "We would do well to heed Elizabeth Elliot's advice that there's no grace for our imaginations. None. It's simply not available. God is not waiting in the wings waiting to help us through whatever horrible imaginary trouble we can conjur up today. But his goodness...will be abundantly poured out whenever we walk through a real trial."
This is what I believe. This is how I can face each new day.