I'm afraid.

I'm afraid.

At times the fear paralyzes my heart. I feel my chest tightening and that knot in my stomach forms.
Flashbacks flood in so vividly that I can almost feel the physical pain all over again. My mind races and takes me to a dark place of faithlessness. A place where I forget to trust my unknown future to an all-knowing God. A place so deep in the caverns that I can no longer see the light.

"What if this round of treatments doesn't work?"

"What if we lose another baby?"

"What if I have to make that hysterical phone call to Mom all over again?"

"What if I can't bear the grief a second time?"

My heart is racing, my stomach feels sick and tears are forming just typing those questions. It's a heavy burden. I can't let myself dwell in the darkness of fear for long because, if I do, I'll never have the courage to walk back through the doors of that fertility clinic.

Honestly, I don't have the courage on my own anyway. The closer we get to resuming treatments, the harder fear pounds on the door of my heart and mind.

I know I'm not the only person struggling with fear. It's not limited to my situation. The unknown health issues, that scary diagnosis, the uncertainties of the future, that first ultrasound after treatments, that next deployment, the ailing parents, that singleness is forever, the financial burdens, that the depression will never subside, that the abuser will come back -- the list could go on forever.

Friend, I want to share with you some truth and encouragement that has been a sweet salve for my soul as I've been wrestling with this unrelenting anxiety. God doesn't want us to live in fear. How do I know? Because He says so.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord our God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

God doesn't say, "I'm with you sometimes," or "I'm with you when you're on good behavior." No. He says, "...for I am with you ..." "...wherever you go." Wherever you go. 

He is with us in that fertility clinic.

He is with us in that oncologist's office.

He is with us now and in the future.

He is with us during that ultrasound.

He is with us on the front lines of battle.

He is with us as we care for sick loved ones.

He is with us in the season of singleness.

He is with us when the financial burden is debilitating.

He is with us in the depths of our darkest depression.

He is with us when we break free.

He is with us.

When the fear grips my throat and threatens to steal my breath, my joy, my hope, I have to decide to fight back. To pray. To give my fears to God. As of now, that hasn't been a one-time release for me. Maybe it will be for you. For me, I have to decide every single moment to be intentional about giving my fears to Him -- especially in this particular season of life.

Right now, friend, can you and I decide to fight back? Together, can we pray and seek His face? Can we give our fears to Him? Can we moment-by-moment focus on truth? Can we spend more time reflecting on who He is and how He cares for us?

Yes. We can and we must, lest we allow the darkness of fear to gobble us up. Cling to Him, cling to hope, cling to joy in all circumstances. Trust Him to lead us, comfort us, and make beauty from our ashes.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6

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