I had no control over it. My body began to shake and I felt like I could not get enough air. My mind raced out of control and I didn’t know what was happening to me. Fear had gripped me to the point that I was panicking, but there was no threat. So why was I panicking? Four days earlier, I had birthed my first-born child. I hadn’t slept in four nights and my entire life had changed. I now had a baby. What if she dies? What if she just stops breathing? I dwelled on Julia’s entire life that night, worried about every possible circumstance that could go wrong. I couldn’t sleep with this fear looming over me. I was loosing it and I experienced my first panic attack.
My father-in-law got up in the night when he heard me. He sat with me and we talked and drank some Chamomile tea. “You need some sleep, Patricia. Let me take the baby and you get some rest. I will hold her and she will be fine.”
For the next 10 years of my life, I would wrestle with fear. I would wrestle with unjustifiable fear.
Flying was the worst. My body would be taken over by adrenaline. I was certain I would die and leave my children without a mother. My heart rate accelerated, my breathing turned into gasping, my palms became wet with sweat. At each bump I would grip my husband’s leg leaving welts on his thighs. “Patricia, relax. You need to relax. Breath…breath.” It would get so bad he would grab my face, “Look at me, you are ok.” Then I would cry. I was a mess. I still would travel; I just had a very hard time. My doctor gave me a prescription of anti- anxiety drugs so I could fly.
Four years ago, I got on a flight without any panic and without any drugs. Four years ago, I started sleeping well, without fear. I finally let go. It wasn’t therapy that got me to this place; it was purely a God thing, because one day…I just stopped being afraid. I just stopped trying to control things.
Fear is a crazy thing. The day I became a mother was the day that fear became an art in my life. I wanted to create the scene, paint the picture, but in the back of my mind, I knew that this child was the artwork of God. The fate of this child was really in the hands of the Almighty. I could protect this child, but I could not control life or death.
My daughter Julia keeps talking about wanting to move to Africa one day; the Republic of Congo to be exact. When she talks of such things, my mind starts racing and yes…I feel a twinge of fear. I can’t imagine what the mother of a soldier feels when saying goodbye to her child as they go off to war. How does she deal with fear?
It’s a battle isn’t it?
But at some point we have to let go. At some point we have to TRUST the Almighty and give up. I don’t mean give up like in a race. I mean give up the paintbrush and let God do the painting. Maybe, once in awhile he lets us choose the colors.
Heroes in this world aren’t birthed from fear. Don’t we all want to raise a hero? Don’t we all want to be a hero?
To fully come to grip with fear, we have to give up our control.
Often, people talk to me of their fears of doing something. Usually it’s travel related. “Patricia, how old were your children when you first took them overseas? Were you afraid? ”
We took our kids to Indonesia for their first overseas trip. Isabel was five. I was incredibly afraid, but it made her into what she is today; my little hero.
So I ask you my friends, are you letting fear stop you from living? Are you letting fear stop your children from becoming a hero?
Give up the paintbrush and let God become the artist and He will paint something beautiful.
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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