Category Archives: Fear

No Fear …

ShelterStorm

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

What do you fear?

Losing someone you love?  Being hurt, sickness, finances?  Heights?

Fear is common.  Some of the most common fears are:  Death, flying, spiders, the dark.

One mental health study shows 60% of the things we fear will never even take place.  30% of the things we fear happened in the past and cannot be changed.  90% of the things we fear are really insignificant issues.

Fear doesn’t seem insignificant to the one who’s fearing.

Fear is crippling.
Fear is consuming.
Fear is a thief, robbing us of precious joy.

It’s not easy to overcome a fear.  For years I was terrified of the dark.  People use to make jokes about the lights on at my house because no matter what time they road by, day or night, it was lit up like a motel.  I’m not exactly sure when or how I overcame that fear.  I’m still not a huge fan of the dark but now I can at least manage to sleep without lights on.  I am so thankful for the patience and understanding of my husband who was never a fan of sleeping with lights on.

Are there fears holding you back?  Is something crippling you?  Is there a fear robbing you of joy?

The Bible refers to two different types of fear.  The first type is a beneficial fear of the Lord.  It’s meant to be an encouragement to us, to let us know that nothing is greater than God,  to remind us of His power and glory, that He is the almighty and that nothing can destroy us because He is on our side.  The second type is a “Spirit of fear”.  This is the fear of something.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

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?  Psalm 56:3-4

A month ago, I would have bravely and adamantly expressed, “I have no fear” and yet today, I will admit that in the past few weeks, many fears have come to light.  I am now in the process of either conquering them or allowing them to continue to control parts of my life.  As I stated above, fear alone can be a scary place, huh?  It is crippling.

I can honestly say the thing that has helped me most through the past few weeks has been my time spent with God, be it through prayer or through Scripture.  I was recently encouraged to write down verses that would help me in times of fear or other significant struggles and that journey has been a very powerful one.  Not only am I learning Scripture and embedding it into my heart, but I’m finding new ways to look at things, to process them and to move forward.  God has been my refuge, my shelter in the storm.  Give it a try ;)

You have been a refuge for the poor,
    a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
    and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
    is like a storm driving against a wall.  Isaiah 25:4

What’s your fear?  What’s holding you back? 

 

One Year Ago…

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One year ago today…

The date was July 3, 2012.  The hubby was working at the fire station.  The kids and I loaded up for our annual trip to see the fireworks show in town.  We’ve been every year since Noah was a baby.  It’s a tradition.  This time was even more fun than usual.  We met a couple of our closest friends and their kids at the mall and enjoyed the evening together.

Just as we were about to load up and head home, our friends phone rang.  Tony had tried to reach me on my phone but it was in the van and I couldn’t hear it.  He called our friends phone and they passed it over to me.  All I could hear was “We’ve been robbed!” 

My heart sank.

I burst into tears, trying to shield the kids from seeing me cry but it didn’t work.  They could tell something was wrong, very wrong.

I didn’t know the extent of the robbery at that point but I knew things would never be the same.  Immediately, I felt violated, unsafe, worried, scared and a million other emotions.  What had been a wonderful celebration of our freedom turned into a nightmare that left us feeling imprisoned, trapped in a world of fear.

Our friends were so loving, caring and kind.  Not knowing what was in store at home, one friend took my van along with our kids to their house while her husband drove me to our home to meet Tony there.  That was such a blessing and we are so thankful to have such great friends!

When we arrived at the house, it honestly wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Our alarm system was triggered so the robbers weren’t in the house long, but it was long enough to destroy our security.  While they of course managed to take some of our biggest possessions, the hardest thing to deal with has been the loss of security, especially for our kids.

This year, we will once again celebrate the freedom we have in this country.  We are still putting things back together, fixing what was broken, including our wounded hearts but while doing so, we celebrate the blessings.  We are free to live in a house that we love.  We are free to own things that we enjoy.  We are free to love our children, to worship God and to love our country.  I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life.

Having a home is something I had prayed for, dreamed of and waited for so long to have.  Sure, we’d had homes, but not our own.  Finally, we bought our home in November of 2011.  Just 8 months later, the joy was stolen from us.  What should have been years more of happiness and joy in our new home was suddenly stripped away, by someone that took advantage of the freedoms in our country.  Evidently, they felt free enough to tear up our home, steal our things that we have worked hard for and destroy the feelings of security we had found in our new home.

As the year has passed, things have gotten easier but it will never be the same.  I still catch myself checking doors behind me, two and three times, sometimes more.  I still find myself beeping the van numerous times to make sure it’s locked.  We have up’d our security measures both inside and outside the house.  Sometimes, it feels like we’ve created our own lock down but right now, it’s what it takes to make us feel safe because of someone else’s actions.

The hardest part this year is knowing we will never be able to celebrate our freedom and independence like we have before.  That was all taken from us this time last year.  A few days ago, my kids started talking about how the 3rd was coming up and how it would be a year since our break-in.  Of course it was already on my mind, but I had hoped it wouldn’t cross theirs.  No such luck.  They are well aware of what happened last year.

My youngest son asked if we would go to the fireworks again this year.  I asked him how he felt about that and he said, “I want to go as long as we can leave some cars in our driveway so the bad guys think we’re at home.”  What a shame that he has to think that way and worry like that but of course I’ve felt those same feelings.  I’m still not sure what we will do.  Perhaps we will just enjoy the evening at home and be thankful that we weren’t here last year.

No matter what we choose to do this year, we will still celebrate because we do have so many freedoms and so many things to be thankful for.  We do live in a country where we can choose to do the right thing or the wrong thing.  It is a freedom of choice.  Even though some may choose to do the wrong thing and others will continue to suffer because of bad choices, we can go on.  We will move forward from this day.  We know the heartache and the worry, we know the fear but we also know the joy that comes from what they couldn’t take away – they couldn’t take away our freedom, they didn’t take our hearts, our love for each other, the bond we have as a family, the life we share together and the memories we will make as we celebrate each year.

Still, please say a prayer for peace for us, especially for our kids.

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Lessons for my kiddos…

I remember as a kid, there was some kind of magic in the air.  Do you remember it?

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Like…

Believing that mom’s checks meant infinite money.
Santa Clause was such a nice guy to leave so many cool things for me.  The Easter Bunny was pretty nice too!
Mommy’s kisses could fix almost any boo-boo.  What her kisses didn’t fix, Papa’s hugs could.
Most friends were easy to make and hard to lose.
Friendships lasted forever – even if in reality forever was only about two weeks.
Bugs were kind of fun.
Romping through the woods was like an adventure through a magical castle.
Evil didn’t exist except in movies and we were too young to watch those movies.
Wishing stars really worked.
Singers sang their songs directly to me – they even wrote them about me.
Cars never ran out of gas.
Bills?  Everyone gets tv, power, phone – it’s just part of what you get for being a grown-up!
Grown-ups have it made because they get to make all the choices.
Grown-ups get to pick where they eat.
Grown-ups have all the money they want.
Grown-ups get to decide where to work and when to work.
Grown-ups could play all day.
It would be so cool to be the grown-up for a change!

And while I have many fond memories from childhood, it was also filled with much grief, loss, sadness, fear, hurt and pain.  I am so thankful that my own children have so far be able to just enjoy being children and haven’t been forced to grow up too soon.

But…

We teach our children lessons but some of the hardest lessons I have learned have been recently – as a grown up.  I want my own children to treasure the magic of childhood and not wish it away for…

Bills…they really do have to be paid and when they aren’t paid on time, you lose things like tv, power, phone, etc.  The companies really do cut you off when they don’t get their money.

Wishing stars are still very cool, interesting and pretty but those wishes – were most likely just your own strength and courage with a little help from God and answered prayers.

Singers tell stories and while the stories may be just what  you needed to hear, they most likely aren’t actually about you.

Bugs are creepy, crawly and yucky.  They’re just plain gross.

Romping through the woods can will get you lost.

Cars do run out of gas and gas does cost money – these days, a lot of money!

Mom’s rarely write checks anymore but the debit card also does not have infinite supply of money.  It will and does run out.  While you have not had to do without any major things, there actually is a point where the funds end.  Get a good paying job in a secure field of work – but make sure it’s something you enjoy.  All the money in the world won’t make you happy if you’re miserable making it.

Santa Clause is a great guy.  When you grow up, you can thank him (or her) yourself for all the cool things he gave you ;)  While you’re at it, give the Easter Bunny a carrot (trimmed in white gold would be good)!

While mommy would like to believe her kisses fix all the boo-boo’s just like you believe, much of that is the perfect design of our bodies to heal themselves and a little prayer from mommy.  When you grow up, I hope you’ll carry on the tradition and kiss your little one’s boo-boo’s away.  There is definitely still some magic there!  And I’m sorry you don’t have a chance to know what a Papa’s hugs are like – they were wonderful!

Friendships are messy.  Friends aren’t so easy to make and while we’d like to believe otherwise, they are easy to lose.  Grown-ups sometimes act like children and sometimes we hurt each other – not because we really mean to do it but sometimes it just happens.

Relationships are hard.  They take work – lots of it.  In the end, they are so worth it and the time you share is irreplaceable.  Just don’t take them for granted.

Evil does exist and not just in the movies.  There are bad people in this world but there’s also much good.  Be a part of the good.

Do kind things for others.

Pray for those who are lost.

Share what God has done in your life.

Love each other.

Don’t judge others just because they don’t walk the same way you walk.

Don’t be afraid to cry.

Remember that you are never alone.  I wasn’t truly living until I finally grew up and when I grew up, I remember how magical it felt to be a kid.  Enjoy those moments.  You will grow up one day and you will face hard times, pain, hurt, fear, rejection, loss, etc.  You will also have many blessings in between.  Lean on God.  He picked me up when I have fallen, more times than I can count – even when I didn’t think I needed His help, He was there.  Even when I turned my back on Him, He was there.  And now, as I pray for you, your safety, your future, your life, He is there, listening, guiding me as your mom, watching over us all.

Even when there is no where else to turn, remember that I told you, your Bible should be like your right hand and no matter where you go in life, you can find answers in there.  You can learn how to love others, how to work out relationships, how to handle your finances, how to love your children, how to raise them to be kind, caring, loving people, how to reach out to others and share the good that has come to you and soooooo much more just from that one book.

Through it all, stand true to yourself.  Don’t believe because someone else says it’s true.  Believe because that’s what God is telling you.  Find truth for yourself.  Seek Him.  Pray.  Listen.  Be open to what He has to say to you.

Until then, treasure every moment because the reality is you aren’t promised tomorrow.

Enjoy the innocence of being young and the magic of being a child!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

The not so lovely truth about baggage…

I must admit, I’m a girl who loves bags!
Just ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you, I go through purses like babies go through diapers.  My husband would certainly agree that I have a slight huge obsession with bags.
The pic above is from my current stash of bags.  My collection has been purged many times over the years.  I have learned that I am very fond of a particular style and keep going back to that same style which is why I’ve hung on to most of these. 
On the left, there’s a blue & green flower print w/ Phil. 4:13 on it – that’s our church bag!  All the Bibles go in it as we head to church and I keep my current Bible study stuff in it.  It’s a nifty Thirty One utility tote ;)
Notice the bright yellow in the frontthat’s my hot new bag!  I snagged this beauty by Nine & Co. at JCPenney over the weekend.  Yes, I *had* to get the matching wallet because it’s also yellow and all this fabulous yellow will match the tiny huge order of more bags I have coming after a recent Thirty One party at our place.

– shameless plug:  be sure to visit my friend Kelly at the Thirty One links above to get your own awesome bags! –
{ Might I add, encouraging a bag party might not be the best idea for a girl who drools over bags (aka bag addict).  Perhaps an intervention might have been a better idea! *wink* }
So what’s my point in all this?
As much as I love bags, I don’t love baggage!
Baggage is defined as…
1. The trunks, bags, parcels, and suitcases in which one carries one’s belongings; luggage.
2. The movable equipment and supplies of an army.
3. Superfluous or burdensome practices, regulations, ideas, or traits.
Baggage is…
regret, disappointment, shame, guilt, anger, fear, anxiety, hate.
heavy.  it weighs us down.
tiring & exhausts us. it wears us out.
occupies too much of us, leaving too little for the important things.

Or as we know it, it’s all the crud we’ve stuffed away in our pockets (our hearts & minds), lugging it around with us every day, weighing us down, leading us to depression, wearing out our bodies, our minds, our spirit, attacking our hearts, our attitudes, and leaving us open to Satan’s attacks.

The baggage in my life has piled up about as quickly as my purse pile grows.  I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of baggage – that is, give it to God!  He is capable of carrying all the things we drag around.  He can carry my baggage without worry, without anger, without resentment and all the while, He remains caring, loving and gentle.  I don’t have to worry about the strain I put on Him but the freedom it has given me is big huge! 

While I still struggle with my bag obsession, I am happily learning to let go of the baggage that weighs me down and keeps me from glorifying God.  
Hand your bags to God – He will gladly carry them!
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”  Luke 18:27
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  Proverbs 3:5-6
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7
I am thankful for these gentle reminders that I don’t have to carry around a lot of baggage – God will carry it for me! 

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Lessons Learned…

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

I am not at all without sin.  In fact, I have had so much sin in my life that for most of it, I felt absolutely unworthy of any love from God.  I turned away from Him in shame.  I withheld prayers because I felt dirty.  I cried out to God in anger because I was angry with myself, for my own bad choices.  I blamed God for all the wrong in my life.  I spent years miserable, soaking in my own world of self pity.

I thank God every day now that HE has brought me out of my own world of darkness and into His light – He has forgiven me.  I thank Him for the beauty he puts before my eyes each and every day – beauty that for years, I couldn’t see.  I thank Him for the man He placed in my heart to love me and to share my life with.  I thank Him for the children whom He entrusts me with each day – even when they turn the house upside down, through the temper tantrums, the crumbs, the runny noses, the dirty diapers.

I thank Him for making the most unimaginable sacrifice anyone could make – saving me by allowing His own son, a man who did nothing wrong…ever, to suffer in tremendous pain, hanging on two slabs of wood, with metal shoved in his wrists, blood dripping from his brows, crying out “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

How could I not be thankful?  How did I go through so many years with anger and darkness in my heart, missing out on all the glorious things surrounding me?  How did I not wake up with His songs in my head and His words in my heart?  How did I survive and why did Jesus have to die?

I have spent the past year doing some deep thinking and lots of growing.  In that time, I have had to make some hard decisions.  I have had to step out of my comfort zone and follow God’s lead.  It’s a choice that took me too long to make but I am glad I did.  In doing that, I have met new people, grown closer to my heavenly father and learned new things about myself.  I am learning to trust myself.  I have learned that in all this life, the ones God places in your life, to love and to take care of are most important.  I have learned that living in His word, reading my Bible as much as possible and drowning myself in His glory is all I need to get me through each day.

I have learned that my life is headed in a direction I never imagined was possible.  I have dreams of all the ways God can use me.  I never thought God would use me – why would He? 

I was broken.
I was damaged.
I was dirty.
I was angry.
I was depressed.
I was suicidal.
I was lonely.
I was afraid.
I was worried.
I was ashamed.
I was sad.

All that time, I failed to add one thing to that list, the ONE thing that mattered…

I was HIS!  I was His daughter.  I was His creation.  I was His glory, His name, His word, His testimony …

I AM!  I am God’s princess – and I can glorify Him with my actions, my words, my story, my life.  I can choose to continue to grow and move forward, even when it means letting go.  I can choose to walk next to Him, trusting Him, even when my feelings are hesitant.  He has proven to me that I am worthy and that I am His!

I am thankful for He is what I need and He is my rock.  I have spent most of my life trying to fit in.  I’ve tried to fit into places that I was never going to fit in.  I was really just fooling myself, trying to believe that I had to be here or there or I had to do this or that.  I made bad choices and tried to impress the wrong people.  I lived an ungodly life.  I allowed myself to be hurt, putting myself in places and situations that I knew were wrong.  I turned my back on God and lived my life the way I wanted to.  I failed to let Him guide me.  I failed to let Him lead me.

I am following Him.
He is leading me.
I am thankful.
I am His.

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  Psalm 23:2-6

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Are you consumed?

Are you consumed?

With worry, fear, guilt, questions, doubt, anger?

How do we manage to get through each day when there is sadness, pain, heartache, disappointment, loss – all around us?  How do we go on living when we feel so overwhelmed by all the suffering we are facing or those around us face?

Recently, I see it more and more.  I don’t know if it comes with age or what but I notice now more than ever, all the suffering around us.  I have dear friends who’s lives have been turned upside down by disease.  Other friends have faced questionable times with their children facing surgeries and the unknown.  Friends who have lost loved ones – spouses, parents and even their own precious children.  Each day, I frequent a number of Caring Bridge sites where many families have already lost their children or are praying for just one more day.

And yet, here I am.  I must make it through the day.  I must go on living even though so many around me are stuck in a moment or are dying.  I still manage to find joy in my day – even with all the darkness and sadness that surrounds me.

How do I do it?

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  Matthew 6:27

I didn’t always.  There was a point where it really got to me.  It brought me down.  I was living, but I was dead inside.  I went through the motions of each day but I wasn’t really living.  I missed out on so much and wasted so much time because I was consumed.

Consumed by a past that I couldn’t get away from…
Consumed by regret…
Consumed by doubt…
Consumed by shame & guilt…
Consumed by fear…
Consumed by worry…
Consumed by anger…

I had all these things standing in the way of the One thing I needed to be consumed by … God!

Today, I can make it through the day, even knowing my friends are suffering and facing uncertain times – I can do it because my faith is stronger now than it has ever been.  I can do it because I know God is on my side.  I can do it because I know He is walking with me, holding my hand and guiding me through each day.  I can do it because I know He loves me.  I can do it because as a Christian woman, I am blessed with the knowledge that today is not the end – that our life here on earth is not the end – that it is only the beginning!  I can do it because I know that tomorrow, He will hold me in His arms and welcome me into a place of beauty and grace, a place with no more suffering, a place of joy and happiness where my past cannot follow me, where I won’t feel ashamed and dirty, where all the unknowns of this world will finally be answered.

I can honestly say that without God as my forefront, I wasn’t living.  I was here in the flesh but my heart wasn’t in it.  I was ready to check out of this life.  Each day was a burden.  Every action seemed daunting.  Every choice seemed to have devastating results.  Life was dark and gloomy.  The biggest difference between then and now is that now, I am walking with God instead of against Him – so in my mind, He has to be almighty – there just isn’t any other explanation for the changes in my own life.

I am promised a tomorrow and so are you!  As Christians, we tend to get a lot of flack from around the world.  People think we’re crazy or that they don’t need that “junk”.  I use to think that same way.  I’m here now and living proof that God can and does work in our lives – but we have to choose to let Him.

Will you continue to be consumed with all the daily heartaches or will you choose to hand those over to God – who can handle anything – and become consumed by Him?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Philippians 4:6

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:6

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com