"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise - in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?"
With knees shaking and hands clutched tightly she whimpered, "I'm scared. It's too high." Looking down she said, "Mommy, I want to climb down. I can't do it." We've been here many times before. Time after time this rock climbing-type wall has inflicted fear into the heart of my little girl. Every time she'd get one step closer to the top, but to no avail. She'd end up giving in to the fear.
This time she was only one step away from the top - from conquering the fear and standing victorious. Not this time. Fear would not win. "Okay, Honey, one step at a time. You're so close to the top," would be my encouraging words. "No, Mama. Down," she whimpered. Okay, try a different approach I thought to myself. "Babe, I'm right here to help guide you, and Jesus is here with you too. There is nothing to fear." "No, too high. Down." I could see the panic begin to take hold and her little feet trying desperately to step down. She was so close to the top, but she was cowering in fear. It was starting to take over her. If only she could see what I see, I thought to myself. How do I get her to believe in herself, to see what I can? Quick, think of something!
"Honey, look up instead of down. Keep your eyes up to the top. You can do this. I know you can. You need to believe in yourself and have confidence that Jesus (and mom) are here to help you!" "Mm mm..." was her response. Knowing she was at least considering to rethink her plan of retreat, I threw out a final, "Do it afraid! It's okay to be scared, but do it anyway!" With that, my little girl mustered up every little bit of courage she had and took the final step towards victory. "You did it!" "I did it!" she exclaimed beaming. "How do you feel inside, Honey, knowing that you did something that was scary for you?" I asked her with sheer delight. "So happy, Mama. So happy!"
It is by no means coincidental that as I write this I, too, like my daughter am learning how to find courage to do the very things I fear. I wonder as I try to teach my child what it means and feels like to have courage if God isn't in fact teaching me this very same lesson. I'm learning about fear. Most of what I feared has come to fruition. But, I'm still standing. And each day I am learning how to stand more and more fearless.
Some might call it an "ironic thing," but I like to call it a "Jesus thing"...With more now to fear than ever before, I am in fact more fearless. I'm convinced it's because I'm learning to depend on God for everything. The more I trust in Him, the less I fear. When I take the things to Him that I fear, they disappear. And it's then that I am able, my Jesus, to hear.
One step at a time. Look at how much progress you've made. You are a completely different person than who you used to be. There is nothing to fear when I AM here. Keep your eyes looking up - to Me - and have confidence that through and in Me you will succeed. Times of trial will come. And as for fear - there will be some. But courage you can find. Do not allow the fear to leave you stilted and blind. Push through the fear, knowing securely that I AM near.
As we walked home from the park that day, my little girl placed her hand in mine and with a smile as bright as the sun said, "Mama, next time I won't be afraid!" "Yes, Honey, next time you won't be afraid!"
Yes, My dear child, next time you won't be afraid.