I lived the early years of my life wearing afraid like a worn out sweatshirt hanging off my shoulder. Afraid to come home after school, dreading the descent of the long gravel driveway to the front door of the house hidden in the woods for what I might find inside.
I slept with my head underneath the covers at night sweating off the fear of being alone. Grasped the frayed ends of afraid with one hand cupped to my pajama chest and let my fingers open on brave when I told the stranger that followed my mother home to leave my house.
I walked the hallways afraid I wouldn’t measure up, make the grade, be found out or realize my dreams.
Then I left that sweatshirt lying in a heap on the back side of the dilapidated barn door of my youth. Choosing courage over staying stuck.
I pushed out my chest and held up truth to pages of lies the generations before me believed. And followed my dreams.
Because Jesus didn’t come so we could be afraid. He came so we would have life.
I woke up this morning beside the man who loves me. Kissed the kids I bore. I sat in the stillness, closed my eyes and couldn’t remember the last time I uttered the word afraid.
I’ve been blindsided by redemption.
Joining Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday (because it seems like that’s all the time I have right now) for the one word prompt: Afraid.
Oh, I needed this. I hope there comes a day when I can say, “(I) couldn’t remember the last time I uttered the word afraid.”
It’s not that I never say it, its just that I don’t feel afraid much anymore. And I think some of that has come with walking through pain. It brings perspective.
Amazing…me too by the way. OnlyI think it took me a little longer. I went through panic disorder and a decade of agoraphobia first. But then I kicked afraid to the curb along with my unhealthy relationships and am finishing life with courage. Great post!
Thanking God with you for healing. What a miraculous God we serve and what a wonderful testimony your life is Linda.
O, I recognize this!
Absolutely beautiful!! Redemption feels way better than afraid!!
Shelly, I love those moments when our blessings and work of Jesus in us take our breath away. Beautiful post.
I wish you were near me so I could hug you tightly! Thank you for these amazing words and the truths they hold. I’ve shed my sweatshirt, too, choosing to believe HIM above all.
Praise God for His peace that passes understanding! Thank you for your beautiful words!
Literally EVERY time I read your post, its a visual experience. I find myself picturing your words as I read them, using your descriptive visualizations as guideposts. You have a gift, lady, of that there is no doubt. Thank you so much for sharing that gift with us – we are blessed by the thoughts that flow from your head, through your pen (or keyboard), and onto the page (screen – insert your own media here!) And you always glorify God in all you compose. Have a wonderful weekend!
Sherri, you are so kind, thank you. You’ve been on my heart and in my prayers today as we approach Sabbath.
You should give lessons. I would give anything to be able to say that line, “I can’t remember the last time I uttered the word afraid.”
I can’t give lessons Genevieve, just my experience of God being faithful when I don’t deserve it.
The imagery in your words is beautiful. I love the image of losing the sweatshirt in a heap, and choosing courage over staying stuck. What a beautiful reminder that redemption is powerful.
I’m often amazed by what comes to my mind when I have to write for five minutes. Thank you for the kind comment. I appreciate that.
“… left that sweatshirt lying in a heap on the back side of the dilapidated barn door of my youth. Choosing courage over staying stuck…Because Jesus didn’t come so we could be afraid. He came so we would have life.” Amen. So beautifully put! Now, that I may never start fiddling with that sweatshirt, getting ready to put it back on again… At least, if I fail in that, He’s always there to hand it over to! Thanks, Shelly.
I’m with ya Sylvia, let’s not start fiddling with that old holey sweatshirt again.
I loved this post. Coming from a very dysfunctional home growing up, I can so relate. I was “Laura much afraid” for the longest time. I did not have a defining moment when I was no longer afraid but slowly over the years God has shown I do not need to live that way. I do not need to live afraid when I have Him. I love what Linda said “finishing life with courage”…..
I come from a family tree with lots of fearful branches. So glad I’m grafted in to the tree of life with you Laura. We don’t have to be afraid. Yes, let’s finish with courage and may all who know us call us brave.
Yes. You wear it well friend. And you inspire me to do the same. 🙂
Right back atcha Danelle. You inspire me too.
You know, Shelly, I can cower under covers a lot, and they are of my own elaborate knitting. Why is it that I can’t knit yarn, but I can knit fear and a furrowed brow, which are really knitting invisible, yet binding chains, more than anything else?! I came today from the funeral of a beloved believer and precious, wonderful friend named Connie Joy (I had taken it upon myself years ago to change her middle name from Louise to Joy, and it stuck). And why not? She exuded joy in Jesus in every difficult circumstance. I have never seen one, dear soul suffer so much physically in one lifetime as she. Yet Connie never revealed even one link in a chain of fear. Even though, in the end, she was an amputee in a wheelchair, her spirit wheeled freely in the Lord. And she was not afraid to die. She utterly welcomed it. Sure, she was willing to stay here, tethered to firm terra in her chair, as long as God so bid, but she was not afraid for her soul to fly. The closing hymn at her service was Amazing Grace, with the newly written verse: “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free; My God, My Savior’s ransomed me….” You let go of fear and followed Jesus. So did Connie Joy. He has led you to dreams, and He has led her to heaven. Both are wonderful. Both are fear-free, chain-free……because Christ has set you free! You are free, indeed! Oh, God, grant courage for me to live in the freedom of a chain-free life now and forever!
I’m nodding my head with you Lynn and standing with you in prayer. It is the God in you that allows you to live couragous and free. And He is big in you.
I cried at the funeral. I tear up now. What a beautiful, unimaginable thing to say. I am awed by your words, awed that you’d pray! Oh! How I want Him to be big in me, bigger than who I am, bigger than my sin, bigger than my fears, bigger than everything. Oh, how I want HIm to increase…….me, to decrease!
First, I echo Sherri’s comments above. You do create vivid word pictures! Second, this post brought tears to my eyes, to think of the emotional pain you bore as a child, and how God has rescued you, liberated you, and now blessed you with a loving family. What a splendorous, good God he is!
Thank you Nancy. Honestly, it makes me cry often too. He is so faithful.
FINALLY, I have internet here at the hotel in San Diego and I came over to read this after your comment on Facebook. This is wonderful, Shelly – beautifully said. I wish I could say that I never feel afraid, but I often do. What I’m learning, however, is that courage comes when you walk straight ahead INTO the fear, trusting that God’s got it. You keep doing that, too, I think. Courage is being afraid from time to time – and doing it anyhow. Thankful for the courage God keeps gifting you with.
Well, I’m honored that you chose to stop by here when you got internet Diana. I love you and am so grateful for your presence in my life. And I agree with your wisdom, courage does comes when we walk straight into the fear.
he came that we would have life… yes. learning to live full in Him, empty of fear, overflowing with hope and courage in Christ…. beautiful words for me to read today, Shelly.
I think you are a great example of that Kris, as you launch your book today. What an inspiration you are to so many of us.
I used to like to wrestle. I blindsided one of my friends once in jest because she was sassing me. She never had a sister so I thought she was missing out in the blindside part of her life. I took her down from behind when she least expected it. 🙂 Redemption has taken you down girl, counted to ten and called it done. He has won you! You inspire me…always.
Applause! Great words, Dea.
Love that wrestling imagery Dea. It is so appropriate in my case. Thankful for your presence, your faithful encouragement in my life.
Held up truth to pages of generational lies… choosing courage… what a gift you are.
I remember the day I did it the first time. Stood up and said no to generational curses. It’s cemented in my mind.
Blindsided by redemption, unable to remember the last time you were afraid, the complete makeover of your testimony reminds me of how powerful he is. Because, there are too many who keep believing the generational lies. Loved this post.
We don’t have to become our circumstances, Christ in us allows us to surpass them. I agree Laura about so many being stuck there. It’s what I love to do, share my story to give them hope, to set them free.
I also blogged on fear this morning! I wrote about how I overcame fear so that it no longer controls how I pray for, parent, and love my children. I love your post! And also love the picture 🙂
So lovely to meet you and so thankful you are walking in freedom.