In a few days I will be asleep from 8:30am to 3:30pm in an operating room. As a mom to four children to sleep seven straight hours during the day feels like a dream come true. As a control-freak monster, laying still and unconscious for seven hours straight feels terrifying.
I have had four scheduled c-sections and even then, I would tell my OB over the curtain that it was taking him a little too long to sew me back up.
In the unknown, I feel so much fear and hope tangled up together.
There have been many seasons in my life where I have ignored fear and pushed it aside, believing that the acknowledgment of fear was connected with personal weakness or a not-good enough faith. Only pushing the fear aside in the name of faith actually gave fear more power to linger and remain tangled up in my heart.
Fear is a real thing. the Bible says “fear not” three hundred and sixty five times because fear is real and we humans need reminding when we experience fear in real life. This bilateral prophylactic mastectomy is a big-deal-real thing and I am scared, my children are scared, and my husband is scared. Fear in this situation is a part of the process we are walking in. I have had to feel fear, and I have encouraged my children to feel the fear as well. We are letting fear in, looking fear in the face, while crying and praying with one another—but at the same time we are also trying to embrace power, love, and self-control.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
—2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
We are human so we fear, but we also are spiritual and connected to God through Jesus and His Spirit who lives in us so we also have hope. This is where and how fear and hope seem so tangled up together. There is a tension between the fear threads and the hope threads tangled up in human hearts.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to fear, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. —Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT paraphrased)
What is hope? Hope is believing that God is good and trusting him when we cannot see in the unknown. When our human minds are fearing, weary, and cannot wrap themselves around why something is good, this is when hope takes over. Hope is believing that God is renewing us in the hard things—hope is believing that God is renewing the whole world through the hard things.
You can see fear and hope tangled up together in Lamentations 3:
Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall (extreme bitterness).
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
Fear not is not as easy as it sounds. Fear is real. But fear should not be ignored. Fear should be felt and shredded through the power of the gospel. Facing fear and saying “I am weak and I am scared, but I am hopeful that God is good in the hard things.” This is what my renewed view of strength looks like. I am looking fear in the face and saying “I feel you and I see you, and I am weak and scared, but God’s power—his love, his grace, his faithfulness and his mercies—is bigger than my human fear.
Currently I am shredding this human fear through the gospel on a daily, moment-by-moment basis. I’m feeling the fear, dealing with it, and unraveling it away with truth from God’s Word. Then trying to slowly walk—one step at a time—like a broken vessel—in hope of a renewal that I cannot see. This process is on-going and happens several times a day.
In the unknown, fear and hope feel so tangled up together, but in the gospel, there is great power over fear.
I am fighting to feel his hope and his peace as I unravel the fear tangled up in my heart as I walk into a big deal thing next week. Thank you for praying and for surrounding me and my family on this hard place journey.
Big deal thing is scheduled on Monday, November 5th from 8:30a-3:30p (EST). We will update when we are on the other side.