This is my story. Before sharing this with you, I want you to know that my story, like each story, is a personal story. A story between me and my God; me and my Savior. I hope that you not only enjoy it, but are able to take something away from it.
I was raised in a Christian family, where my dad was the pastor of a small church in South Carolina. I realized at a very young age that I needed to become a Christian. I was sitting in Sunday school when the teacher was discussing Christianity, and how if you didn’t have it, you were subject to eternal punishment. (Seriously, who wants that??) Of course being as young as I was, I was pretty shaken over it. It still took me several months before I realized my own personal need. When the time came, there was no altar call or choir singing Amazing Grace; there was just six year-old me and the Lord in the middle of PE class. There, standing in line waiting my turn, I asked the Lord to save me.
Three years passed, and things were about to change. My parents knew that the Lord wanted us in the country of Wales, helping to share His truth with other people. I remember the day they told us. I tried to be happy and pretend that everything was normal, but it just . . . wasn’t. I didn’t know what to think or how I was supposed to feel. And on top of this confusion, I developed a serious phobia problem.
I became afraid of EVERYTHING! I was afraid of being anywhere alone. I was afraid of what people thought about me. I was beginning to doubt my salvation. I couldn’t sleep well at night because I was afraid that if I shut my eyes I would die and go to hell because I wasn’t actually saved. Worst of all, I was afraid of my fears being exposed. They seemed abnormal. I wasn’t about to let anyone know that I had problems. I wanted to be the “good Christian” who was perfect and lived up to impossible expectations.
These expectations were not coming from my parents, or even my God. They were coming from me and my heart of fear. I was convinced that God was looking for me to be perfect as He is perfect. Needless to say, I was falling short, and it terrified me. My parents would continually remind me that it was okay to be real. It was okay to struggle and ask questions. They would pray for me and with me and encourage me to run to God with my loneliness and fears. However, for the next few years as we traveled around the United States visiting churches, I was determined to play the game. The good Christian girl game, and it was killing me inside.
Instead of running to God like I should have, I was keeping all of these emotions tucked away to myself. I unknowingly built a wall around my heart. This wall was so thick that I was beginning to doubt that even God Himself could get in. I had a serious problem that I was just wanted Him to “zap” away, and He didn’t. Fear just kept eating at me, and I spent countless times crying behind closed doors because God just didn’t seem to be present.
It wasn’t until last year, shortly before our family moved to the United Kingdom, that I realized that I couldn’t do this on my own. I knew that something was missing, and that I didn’t have a close relationship with God. I began digging into God’s Word more than I had ever done before, and through this I experienced the healing and grace for which I had been longing. 1 Peter 2:24 jumped out at me. It was God that does the healing, not my determination, perfection or sad attempt to “keep it together.” I realized that I had been missing what was right in front of me! I had been randomly searching for a way out of this pit of fear. What I didn’t realize was that my fear was not the problem. My fear was the symptom of a bigger problem. I didn’t need to find a way to rid myself of fear, I needed to find Him!
A verse that has really helped me is 2 Corinthians 4:8-10:
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”
You would not believe how much digging into God’s Word has helped me to move on past my struggles. I wish that I could tell you that this isn’t an issue anymore, but it still is. It will probably be a constant struggle for me, but through growing closer to God I now know how to deal with that struggle. A song that has helped is by Lauren Daigle, called “Trust in You”. I remember listening to it on the radio and hearing these lyrics:
When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move,
When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through,
When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you,
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.
Throughout this tough experience, I learned something. I learned that no matter what the circumstances may be, I need to trust in Him to carry me through it all. Even when it seems like He can’t hear me, I can always know for sure that He does. He promised in Hebrews 13:5: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” That’s a promise I can cling to! He is still helping me through this today, and for that I am so grateful.
That is my story. I hope that you always remember to trust in God, despite whatever fears you may have. Always remember that He has your back, and all that you need to do is to fall back on Him.