The Art of Fear

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.




14 Comments on “The Art of Fear

  1. Jessica,
    Thanks so much for sharing. All us moms understand what that is like and what you are going through. it gets easier as time goes on. My father in law just kept telling the simple phrase “It’s going to be ok.” Praying for you today! Enjoy your baby boy.

  2. I came upon your blog by reading someone else’s. I can’t tell you how much this post resonated in my heart and reaffirmed what God is teaching me. I am a new mom (my baby boy is 2 weeks old) and the thoughts you described regarding your first few days with your sweet girl could have been written by me. I keep telling my husband that I know God is teaching me about Who’s really in charge. I barely let him feed the baby at night since I’m so scared to not know what’s going on. Thank you for sharing your heart and the lesson’s that you’ve learned. I pray that God will help me to let go of the fear!

  3. This reminds of me last Sundays message at I struggle with a lot of fear in my life. In the messag ethey quoted Psalm 34:4, which is a reminder to me that just as God can deliver you from your fears, he can deliver me from my fears too!

  4. Hello there, I found your blog through Amanda Jones. I’m a Texan living in the UK. Just wanted to say that I appreciate this post so much. I’ve struggled with fear like this for years and years- sometimes it’s worse than others and at other times I feel like I’ve beaten it. But I guess it will always be something I battle with from time to time. Anyway, thank you!

  5. Welcome to my blog Polly. How awesome you get to visit your sponsored child. Where are you going?

  6. Hi, so glad to have been referred to your site by a delightful blogger from blissdom. We are planning on taking our children to visit our sponsored children though compassion so I cant wait to read through your blog

  7. Wow Sherri,
    Absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing your story. What a great word.

  8. As the mom of 3 girls I can always relate to you. Here’s what the LORD did for this 1st kid to college mom. My oldest left for college in August. She went to a smaller state university. She isn’t too far from home so she comes home most weekends (which helps me A LOT in the worry dept.) She only knew 1 other girl from her high school but they didn’t room together. She ended up with a roommate that she just tolerates. She struggled socially, partly because she’s a good girl and didn’t party/go wild with her 1st taste of freedom. So I begged, begged GOD for her a christian ‘new best friend’. As a woman of faith, I pray. This situation however was one that I can say I probably prayed over the most in my life. My harping ‘squeaky wheel’ request from August until mid October was ‘GOD bring her a new best friend’, I felt led to pray for that even more so than for her safety. One day in Oct. as I was repeating my plea, the LORD impressed me with “She is good, I have her right where I want her”. I broke down with gratitude. HE had sent Himself to be her ‘new best friend!!’ She spent the semester in her dorm, studying the Word and drawing near to Him, her walk became deeper than ever. And, she also made the Dean’s List her 1st semester of college.
    So – all that to say, He knows our mothers hearts. He watches over His little sheep even when we aren’t around 🙂 He will bring us moms comfort when we need it 🙂

  9. Rachel,
    I have the same thoughts about college with my oldest too. Hope all is well with your family!
    Blessings, Patrica

  10. Thanks you for a much needed reminder…The truth that I see revealed over and over when I have the courage to let go of the fear, is that God can/will do abundantly more than we could ask or dream. When we hold on to our fear, we do not allow ourselves to see that. Fears are very real, and often quite justifiable. But in the end, they are hinderances to the amazing work that our loving God is busy carrying out. It is only when we release that fear that we are able to see and grow. But that’s always so much easier said that done…lol!

  11. I have been battling that panic and fear you describe here. We are looking at colleges for Nathan and it rises again. What if I haven’t done enough to prepare him? Then…I give him to you Jesus. Again, and again….. So thankful that He is available to receive our fears.

    I enjoy seeing your updates and following your adventures. Thanks for sharing!!

  12. Fantastic Forrest,
    Don’t even get me started on thinking about college. Thanks for you comment!

  13. I remember well the day I brought my son home from the hospital. I was TERRIFIED of every driver around us. It was a real epiphany; with the ginormous love that I felt a few days prior as I held him for the first time came that dreadful fear that something would happen to him.

    We do have to have faith that all will be well, but every once in a while (mostly when I think about him going off to university) I am a wee bit panic-stricken. Think I’m going to mark this post to review when I feel that.


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