A small flame

A small flame

when mama's afraid... the fight for faith

When I think about the emotions that erode the sense of 'haven' I want to nurture in my marriage, fear is surely at the top of the list. Some fears are obvious, but I've found that fear is often a chameleon, changing it's colors to masquerade as something else. The desire to for a healthy husband, well-behaved children, a spiritually strong family, the desire to make sure my family has 'enough' financially...

What often begins as good common sense or a Godly desire can easily morph into the uglier and more restless emotion of fear. And that fear can cause me to criticize my husband, to be harsh with his flaws and mistakes instead of extending grace and patience, and to shoulder spiritual leadership that oversteps my God-given role in our marriage.

Definitely not a recipe for making my marriage a haven!

A couple of years ago, I took an entire year to focus on fear: identifying the places where my choices were motivated by fear and then stepping over that fear to live fully in spite of fears. During that year I worked through my Bible, studying the places where fear was mentioned - what an uplifting journey that was! Here are two of the many observations I came away with from my study:

First, the 'fear not' verses in scripture are almost always linked to a trusting & deeply-personal relationship with God. {Psalm 27; Psalm 46; Isaiah 8:11-14; Isaiah 51} God’s antidote for my fear is himself. Everything I fear is temporal, but God reminds me over and over that He is faithful in his salvation and un-changing in his character. When I am afraid, it is because I have lost sight of the vastness of God, His sovereign direction over all areas of my life and the deeply personal nature of His love for me.

Second, the circumstances that cause fear to well up in me have been intentionally placed in my life by God to give me an opportunity to lean hard into him and grow in my trust. To give me an opportunity to experience God more fully or in a new way. {Exodus 20:20; Psalm 34} True, the circumstances might have a visible, human cause but when I look past that human cause with eyes of faith, I can see my Heavenly Father at work. Truly, nothing comes to me that does not first pass through my Father’s hand. Like Peter who found himself walking toward Christ on the water (Matthew 14:22-34), God shows up in my life in unexpected ways. And his coming expands my little world, gives me the opportunity to experience something more amazing than I could have never imagined for myself.

In each circumstance of my life, my responsibility is to remain faithful. It is God's to control the outcome. He is my provider and the architect of my life. When He chooses to allow difficulty in my life or the life of my family, his compassion, wisdom and love means that I can trust him, even in difficulty and pain, to bring about only what is best for me and those I love.

I'm learning to live in light of these truths - some days my practicing is more successful than others - but the rest it brings to my heart spills over into my marriage and my home.

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