Training wheels

I walk a thin line between anxiety and laughter in large groups. I thought I could resign myself to this as part of this season. But then I went to church.

This isn't my church. It's just a pretty one.
It was one of those messages that you feel is written just for you. You slowly creep down in your seat to avoid the pastor's gaze, which you're sure is going to settle on you any minute now. And fill up your whole paper with notes.

I'm ruminating on this while I put training wheels on my daughter's bike. First of all, you've got to get the assembly right or they won't work well - or even worse, might be dangerous. I installed one training wheel upside down, for instance. That is NOT going to work! I bloodied a few knuckles during the process. And then the bike is done, and I watch Amy ride and think about how impossible it would be for her to ride that bike without the extra support. How necessary training wheels are for a time.

Amy, when she could ride a trike but couldn't crawl or walk (Nov. 2009)
We all know the story of David. His ebb and flow of trust and hope in the Lord is spelled out through at least 3 books of the Bible. In Psalm 56, when he tries to hide out with the Philistine enemies to avoid being killed by jealous king Saul, he says "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

How do we grab hold of that type of faith? It's been given me incrementally as the years passed. I cried hard when my baby Rosy was diagnosed with a spinal abnormality. I cried for the losses I knew would come with cancer, but by God's grace, I have been able to face tests, treatments, and long separations from my family with a calm spirit of trust. When Amelia was given 50/50 odds and we held her in a coma-like state, I was not afraid.

Yet anxiety has marked the days of 3 months. Where the peace and calm He's given me in times past? In I Samuel 21:13 we get a very different picture of the man who says in Psalm 56, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you." We see a man feigning insanity to save his head from sitting on a silver platter. So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. This infuses me with hope because I have recently been on the psych wards, with the truly insane, and God rescued me from that. I am hopeful because David experienced such a transformation, even in his various sins and low popularity eras, from appearing like a madman to being a man after God's own heart.
We rebel because we have been hurt. We are afraid God will leave us high and dry. Yet, when the threat comes from above us, He covers us with the wings of a hen protecting her chicks. When the threat comes straight at us, we are covered with His blood. When the threat comes from underneath us, He sets us up upon a rock. ~Doug Lebsack, 6/12, Valleybrook Church
So how am I going to change? You know that fear - that you've tried a million times already to root a particular sin out of your life, and it just stays there, blooming and breaking your heart as you allow it to bloom right out into the public eye sometimes. You've tried to cover it up. You've tried to pretend it isn't there. You've read books, listened to sermons, and asked other people. And the sin persists.
  1. Just stop. Stop being rebellious. Don't do it.
  2. Stop standing still in the way of sinners. Get moving. Replace the old with something new.
  3. Get up our of the seat of the scornful, where you sit judging other "worse" sinners than yourself. Start walking. Start doing.
When you do these things with a heart prepared to go somewhere with God, we are transformed. You are not there to sit around lounging in the glory of God. You are there to be remodeled. God uses His house to remodel our hearts. Get out of fear, and let trust flow in to replace it. If you choose to make your peace with your fear, live with it because change is too hard, guess what? The very thing you fear may well be attracted to you with magnetic force. What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted. (Proverbs 10:24)

So I've got a plan. First, I made a mental list of the sins that I'm holding on to. I came up with ideas to stop all those things. I'm looking for counsel from my Bible and scholars and lovers of the Word. I'm not going to stand still any longer. I feel propelled to service, as I once felt when I started mission work.

I'm getting up out of chair and taking a ride on a bike with training wheels. Hopefully soon, I'll be on my two-wheeler, as my kids would say. I am not going to let anxiety snuff out my spirit or control my life. God is big, much bigger than my anxiety. I've GOT to trust in Him.

Because fear is never very far away.

Amy, hospitalization #4, boarding the ambulance
The tiny scar that is monument to my cancer-marked life.
Burying Theodore, who lived for 14 weeks in my fallopian tube.
And you have to look hard sometimes or you miss the joy.

Rosy worships at the sunlight through historic windows.
Amy, almost healed by Christmas.
Katy at Christmas time, 2009
Katy with Grandma Nel at Christmas time, 2010.
My smile over X-country skis for Christmas, 2009.
My joyous wedding day.
My gratitude list, short but poignant this week:
#685: A pastor who tells it from his own experience
#686: a "verdant bower of beauty" (as Anne would say) to look out upon during my morning peace on the porch swing
#687: Help flowing in from all directions.
#688: Cat has her kittens!!
#689: Friends with whom you have a life history of love
#690: The bittersweet of the babies you held walking out as graduates and adults