Shadows danced across the wooden paneling of my bedroom walls. Wind swirled under the trailer, making the underpinning clang. My heart thudded in my chest as I huddled under my covers, sending prayer after prayer heavenward.
Jesus, please protect me. And my family. And our home. And my kitten.
Brewing storms created much fear in my young heart, for the creek behind our trailer often overflowed its boundaries, pouring into our backyard. Then under our trailer. Then into our front yard.
Once my grandpa donned waders and carried me to higher ground, so NOTHING cast more fear in my heart than rain and rising water.
When I was younger, I thought as I aged that fear would dissipate. I’d be older and bolder and less fearful of this world.
My fears would simply change with age. Instead of fearing for myself, I began to fear for others – not in a paralyzing way, but in an “I’m responsible for them” way.
Over the past few weeks this “I’m responsible for them” fear has been highlighted in my heart by my upcoming trip to Honduras. One week from today, I will fly with a team and my 13-year-old daughter to Tegucigalpa then later to Puerto Lempira.
I’ve been to Honduras many times, but have never feared anything except the plane ride – and even my fear of flying is lessening as I frequent the friendly skies.
Yet, I’ve never flown to a third-world country alongside my daughter. The little girl I birthed has never seen real poverty. Her heart has never heard the cry of the desperate. She doesn’t know the feeling of riding away on the bus, wishing you could have done more. Praying those you’ve met somehow saw Jesus’ love in your actions and heard His words in your speech or through your smile.
She’s never had reason to question God or his ways. She’s never looked need in the face and called it by name. She’s never known want – never been hungry – never been without. She’s never seen barbed wired, machine-gun guarded gas stations or residences.
In Hannah’s world, a tarp doesn’t constitute a house, a bowl of rice doesn’t equal a meal, and two outfits aren’t a wardrobe. This is the unknown for her.
And for me.
I’ve never viewed one of the world’s most dangerous countries as a mom protecting her child.
This became most evident to me a few weeks ago when I began having nightmares about our time in Honduras. I’d see Hannah and I working side-by-side one minute, but in the next, she’d be gone. Sometimes I’d see her off in the distance reaching for me and other times I couldn’t find her at all. I awakened as I frantically search, running from place to place screaming for her.
Finally, I admitted to myself: I fear what Hannah will see there. I fear I won’t be able to protect her.
And, God says to my heart…I am her protector.
I want to control what she will see, who she will meet. I want to protect her from anyone who might wish her harm. I want her to experience Honduras and see God show up as He always does – in miraculous ways. BUT, I also want to help God decide what her experience will look and feel like.
In fact, I’d like to always keep her safe. From mean girls. From unfair circumstances. From death. From harm. From the world.
And, I can’t. I can be wise, but that’s it.
I’ve placed my life in the hands of a sovereign God that has promised to never leave or forsake me. I’ve taught Hannah about the same God. About a God who loves her- a God who numbered her days before her birth. A God who promises his children – including her – eternal life.
If you’re fearful today, I pray you cling to Him and His Word:
1 Give thanks to theLord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
2 Let all Israel repeat:“ His faithful love endures forever.” 3 Let Aaron’s descendants, the priests, repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.” 4 Let all who fear the Lord repeat: “His faithful love endures forever.”
5 In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free.6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.What can mere people do to me? 7 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me. I will look in triumph at those who hate me. 8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. 9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes… Psalm 118: 1-9
Instead of fearing, I am thanking God for His goodness and love. I am remembering that He is FOR me – and for Hannah – and for all of his children. Placing confidence in myself to protect Hannah is foolish. Only God can protect her wherever she is in this world.
Give thanks to the Lord; He is good. His faithful love endures forever.
And, THAT is enough.