Believe me, I’m not so cocky to believe that I am parallel to Peter in my saintly-ness, but I do have a story to tell… and I hope it helps you hop out of the boat with me.
If there was a Fearaholics Anonymous, I would have joined. I can see the circle of people sitting there, embarrassed and ashamed to admit that they were desperate enough to come… maybe even a little surprised at who else had shown up.
Throughout my childhood and on into my adult years, I was fearful. I mean just flat-out scared. I was scared of… well, you name it, and it probably would make the list. As a kid, it was dogs, death and Communism.
As a teenager – the probability of Jesus coming back before I had the privilege of getting my license, experiencing marital bliss and… well… you know. ;) But, He never returned and soon I was driving, married and… yes, that too.
Once married, I would lie in bed worrying that something horrible would happen to Tim. I lay shivering in a cold sweat imagining what could happen, what I would do, and where I would go.
Then I had kids.
Now, any mom out there can tell you, if you thought you were a worry-wart before, just wait until those little angels arrive and your heart is forever beating outside of your chest. Holding my newborn son and realizing how little control I had over his life was one of the scariest thoughts. I worried about SIDS, Y2K and SARS. My blood ran cold each time the news came on after 9/11. I mentally lived through the peril of more catastrophes than anyone could expect to endure in a lifetime, and still I worried.
If that wasn’t enough, I decided the best use of the Internet was to self-diagnose myself with every illness in the book. It started with a twitch in my big toe – ironically it was about the same time I heard Michael J Fox announced he had Parkinson’s Disease. I wondered what it would be like for my children to care for a wheelchair-bound mother once I was unable to walk or talk.
Then I discovered aneurysms…and cancer….and, well, you get the picture.
God spoke very clearly to me about my "hypochondriatic" ways, and I knew it was time to get help. But admitting it to anyone was shameful and embarrassing. I wondered what others would say if they knew my deep dark secret. What would people think if they knew how crippled I was becoming by my fears?
Occasionally, I would find relief from the worries that were haunting me, but it was short-lived. I learned to control my surroundings in a way that would shield me from whatever triggered my concerns, but still the mountain of fear grew. Soon, even simple, everyday things would elicit terror and I desired more and more to stay tucked away from the world in the safety of my own home.
I stood looking at myself in the mirror one day – hating the woman I had become. I longed for the peace and security I thought only Heaven could bring. How I wished I was there already. This world is full of so much chaos and turmoil, why should we have to live with it? I can’t say that I considered suicide, but on that day, my depression had reached one of its lowest points.
It was only a couple weeks later as I stood in a prayer service at a conference that I experienced something that would change my life forever. As we stood, singing, praying and worshiping God, a woman (I don’t even remember what she looked like), came up behind me and began to pray. She prayed things I thought only God and I knew about. As she laid her hands on my shoulders, she said, “God, I ask that the thing that has been shadowing this woman her whole life would be removed.” Like a blanket being pulled away from a window, I felt the warmth and light of God’s peace fill my body. I was shaking! I was giddy! I was FREE! I knew the chains of fear had left me, and somehow, this time, I knew it was for real!
In the coming days, God showed a side of Himself to me that I had never acknowledged before. I knew He was in control. I had admonished myself of that many times in my life, but I had never fully trusted Him! God brought a verse to my attention that I accepted as a personal love note from Heaven.
“Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable His judgments and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever, Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
We can look at life and surmise how we think it’s going to turn out, but who has known the mind of the Lord? His paths are BEYOND TRACING OUT! It fills me with joy to know that God already has my days written out. I accept the fact that there may be some days that I would not choose to have on my calendar – but knowing that... that He knows! That gives me peace!
Today, my life goal is to keep my eyes on Him like Peter did on his epic adventure. I'm learning not to rely on my own understanding of things. I want to focus on Him with each step I take, and that, my friends, is the only way to walk on water!
If you are walking in darkness without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God! Isaiah 50:10
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Peter walking on water, click here for the full tale... once there, scroll down to verse 22.