If someone were to ask me seven or eight months ago if I was afraid of death, I would've said no. Death is not something to be afraid of. God is bigger than death and it's a lot better to save that kind of respect for the one in charge, not the underling.
Then Joshua died and I discovered something about myself: I'm not afraid of dying myself...but I am very afraid of death when it comes for the people I love. Especially, as it turns out, my children.
I didn't realize quite how afraid I was until this week when I saw a few mildly abnormal pregnancy symptoms. Before I tell the rest of the story, the week has gone by and we've figured out that we're not dealing with another miscarriage but something only annoyingly problematic on my end. In other words, it doesn't appear anything is wrong with the baby or threatening him. (Or HER, as Anna firmly states. She has a good track record. She's making me doubt my usual all-babies-are-boys-until-proven-otherwise mindset.)
Over the course of this week, though, I've had a lot of reason to think about what it means to be afraid and what needs to be done to conquer fear. At first I thought I needed to talk myself out of it. Turns out that doesn't work. For one thing, I wasn't exactly sure what I was afraid of at first; and for another, when you find one thing to focus on that's positive, you can find negative things that send you right back to being afraid again.
Ben watched me failing to be unafraid and began stepping in pretty quickly. He reasoned with me several different ways before he eventually said, "You know, there's a reason we're told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And 'fear' is different from 'terror'. When you fear God first, you respect his power and authority over everything else more than you respect anything else. When you really know and fear God, you can't be afraid of death, because God controls death. The closer you are to him, the more you should have fear of him and the less you should be afraid of anything else at all."
It seems like through the course of my life, the lesson I've needed to learn most is how out of control I really am. I can't control my own life, let alone anyone else's - even those I love and want to protect most, like the tiny baby it feels like I'm so responsible for protecting right now. As much as I want to do it - even as much as I try to do it - I'm still not in control. There are so many other things and people stronger and more in control than I am: and the controller of all of these is God. What's amazing is how quick I am to focus on something like death and fear it rather than focusing on the Controller of Death and fearing him!
The thing about fearing God is that it only leads to wisdom if you believe that God is Good. Lots of people are afraid of God because they think he's arbitrarily cruel or doesn't care what happens to us or just allows bad things because he feels like it or he's ineffectual at preventing it. That's not the kind of fear that takes away other fears. It's a whole other ballgame to fear God while wholeheartedly believing he is wholly and completely Good without change or fail.
It's this reminder that finally broke through the fear I couldn't shake myself from. I feel like a little kid who lost her mother in the store only to realize she'd been standing right behind her the whole time. Ever have a moment of relief like that?
It feels pretty wonderful.
Happy 10-week anniversary, Peanut. I can't wait to hear your heartbeat.
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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