...God has not given us a spirit of fear...
This I know for the Bible tells me so, right?
I have had to return to these words in my head again and again as of late.
If I'm honest, I struggled with them for nearly the entirety of my first trimester of this pregnancy. I can still feel it lingering today.
At five weeks we found ourselves in a "threatened miscarriage", and even weeks after assurance by a doctor that things looked good, I was not convinced.
Here I was, shocked for certain, but also elated over this unexpected, unplanned blessing.
It's funny how something that you didn't anticipate and didn't even know you wanted can turn into a source of unexplainable joy and gratitude. And so, the fear of losing it nearly overwhelmed me. I guess there were moments when it did, actually.
I realized, also, that I had had been struggling with fear for a much longer stretch of time. Struggling with what seems to me to be sin.
His word repeats to me again and again NOT to fear. And I can clearly see that when I am operating in that "spirit of fear", I am far outside the realm of trusting Him. Once again He demonstrates to me that His commands are 'always for my good' (Deut 6:24).
As I look back, the beginning of the adoption process was very similar to the beginning of this pregnancy in that it was never something Christopher and I had planned. When we began to seek God and find out how to best care for orphans, I don't think I believed it would be the actual "adoption" part for our family.
Yet there I was in the midst of the unplanned and unexpected, and it had certainly become a source of joy and gratitude as well! From the onset of the process, however, I have battled fear. I found it somewhat comforting (and maybe I shouldn't have found it "comforting") when I recently read these words from another adoptive mother (her babies are now home from the Congo):
"This is the part of the adoption process that makes you want to crawl under your bed and not come out until it’s safe again. This is the part that tears your soul in two. This is the part that you wake up in the morning remembering and going to bed at night fearing. Because there are no guarantees. And that’s hard. No, not hard. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s not just the fear that your child might die before having a family, it’s that this child you love with every ounce of your being might grow up in an orphanage, on the streets, or worse....
During the process of waiting I held a duel reality in my head and in my heart: he’s mine, he might never be mine. Loving without knowing is a different kind of love. It’s a deep, pounding, fight-to-the-end kind of love that doesn’t let go. It’s almost desperate in a way, this feeling of wanting and yet knowing you might never have..."
There are no guarantees, no clear lines, no definites with adoption.
We knew that. We know that.
Knowing it does not always make things easier, however.
And it's not just those parts that have caused me to be fearful.
From the onset, I have feared that we would not meet this requirement or that requirement.
I feared that our home would not be up to par.
I have feared that the nearly $30,000 needed will not come in time.
I have feared that my dark skinned child will struggle with things I didn't feel equipped to handle.
I have feared that the attachment that I hope takes place might have to be painstakingly fought for...or might never look quite like I desire.
I have feared many things. Many.
And any of them might become my reality at any moment.
You never realize how volatile this process is until you are in the midst of it.
While I have spent too many moments in fear, thankfully, I have spent many more
(with no credit to myself, but rather to that man who is my sanity in the chaos)
So much of life, including so much of all of this, is out of my hands.
I know that regardless of how it all goes, of how it all turns out, how messy or difficult the details become along the way, that we have followed where He has led. We stepped into the unknown with the One who knows. He did not take us down this road so that I could become well acquainted with fear. Rather, to become much more acquainted with the One who casts out fear. I have needed Him in that regard during this short season of my life more than any other time I can remember. I keep finding myself returning to Him again and again to drive out the fear that still occasionally sets in on both fronts (adoption and pregnancy). And, while I hate fear, I think today I am considering that I am grateful for this struggle (note the "considering", I'm not quite "rejoicing" it in yet). I am grateful that the struggle is has intimately drawn me to Him in a different way.
When I read words like these...
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified...
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba," Father...
even the realist in me who knows full well this could all end in heartache and agony like I have never known has to find comfort and peace and hope for the moment.
When I am afraid, I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3
...I will trust in You...
for the Bible tells me so.