Fear has had my heart in a death grip for over forty years, but I listened, learned, loved, and laughed my way to a place of sweet freedom this week with the help of loving family and friends. I didn’t realize how afraid I was until I got teary during a conversation with my daughter-in-law on Friday morning about their plans to build a new home. They want me to build next to them, but fear made it clear to my heart and my head that was never going to happen. I told my son I didn’t want to borrow money, and I had no intention of building or buying a house. I was going to rent a small apartment in town, and that was that. I told myself it was to keep from compromising him financially, but the real problem was not trusting God to provide.
I started Friday morning thinking I would hit a brick wall, and ended the afternoon with dreams of walls going up on my new house. God used a series of seemingly unrelated events to transform my heart. I continue to be awed by God’s grace, but I know He smiles at my surprise the way I do when Lilly and Mylah squeal with delight when I surprise them. I never tire of those squeals, and I’m sure God doesn’t either.
Last night, a group of ladies of all ages gathered to eat, enjoy one other’s company, and dance with abandon! Dancing the night away was God’s celebration of my freedom from fear. I didn’t recognize the songs, artists, or words last night, but I did dance with joy to healing rhythms that transformed my heart. Those who know me, know I love to dance. Nobody knows me better than God, so I’m not surprised He arranged the special gathering of sweet friends. My knee may be hurting, but my heart is healed. I would say I feel like a new woman, but I think I feel more the girl I was back in 1970.
This is my senior picture at Hickory High School back in 1970. God placed it in the path on Thursday afternoon when He bid me to look back and remember what my heart was like before it got caught up in fear’s tangled web.
I’ve been leading a study on Stasi Eldredge’s book “Becoming Myself Embracing God’s Dream of You” for ten weeks. Going through the book with a group of loving ladies has given me the courage to let God have His way with me.
The journey from fear to freedom is never an easy one, but it’s necessary if I am to live and love as God desires. It’s hard to describe the way my heart feels outside of fear’s tight grip, but I know the young woman in the yearbook photo understands completely. The world is stretching out before me just as it did back in 1970. I made terrible mistakes, and I let those mistakes define me. I don’t plan to do that again because I like God’s definition of me best. I am His beloved, and I plan to live and love in a way that shows I believe that to be true.