Her nails dug into my forearm. Her bright blue eyes carried a pool of pent up fear on the brink of spilling over. One might think she was being torn from her family to live with monsters. The metal gate in front of us barely kept us at arms length from her enemy. I gently grabbed her shoulders and turned her around to face me square on. I spoke from the Holy Spirit that bubbled up inside of me.
“You can be scared. You don’t have to get rid of your fear. But it’s time to tell fear it doesn’t own you anymore.”
At this she mustered up what little courage she felt and replied, “Ok. let’s do this. But hold my hand and please don’t let go of me.”
She trusted me, us, that we wouldn’t let her walk into something that would hurt her, but we were willing to let her be afraid. What an important step this is in building faith. It reminds me of how many times the Lord does the same thing with our grown up hearts. He doesn’t want us to be trapped, tied and chained by our fears and anxiety because He knows that it will keep us from walking in joy.
For a little background, two months ago our family made a trip to Six Flags for a family adventure day. Nate used his glorious head of big hair to his advantage a
nd got in line to ride the mother of all coasters- the Iron Rattler. It has a near vertical drop straight down and stands high above the horizon. Nate, Taylor and I all dared the drop but Abigael stood back at a distance. We went home that night and as I tucked her in she told me she felt pressure on her chest. She couldnt sleep because she felt sick to her stomach and dreamt about rattlers. For weeks she worked herself into moments of terror thinking about that drop. I told her she didn’t ever have to ride it and that no one would force her to get on. To be honest I thought it was a tad dramatic and thought there were plenty of other things to worry about at the time- but that is a particular area that the Lord has an infinite amount more patience than I do. Finally one night she said- “mommy. I have to do it. I have to ride it so I won’t be sacred anymore.” So the last day of school we picked them up and made a surprise trip to Six Flags to start off the summer conquering fear. She was terrified the entire ride there.
The moment that Rattler came to a stop, her face lit up in shock and delight like the New York Christmas tree. “Mommy! I actually did it!” While I was so thankful to see she liked it, our proudest moment was that first step past the gate that held her at bay. The step that said I’m not turning back. The step that said I trust you. The step that said Im done being shackled. We have an enemy, a snake much much like this Iron Rattler, that wants to haunt our dreams and cause to run and hide. He wants us to doubt, be overly anxious and stay in our comfort zones. This last year I have watched our daughter time after time choose to step out and on these fears so that the enemy doesn’t gain any ground in her heart. She has taught me to step out in faith even when I’m terrified and unsure. She hates the idea of the devil keeping her from things God has for her. So time and time again she trios back those shoulders and digs her nails into our arms. She knows we will not leave her and more importantly that Jesus will never turn away from her. Some of us are bold like Nate and Taylor forge ahead with adventure and courage. God made these warriors to fight the enemy head on with boldness and confidence. We need them. But some of us have battled fears and anxiety our whole lives. Abigael. Me. You? But He did not make us to stand back and watch. I do not step out and do the crazy things God has called us to because I am fearless. I step out in faith because He tells me to and because He promised me I could squeeze His hand and dig in. Perfect love casts out all fear He says; His perfect love for us. We often wait until we aren’t afraid but history is filled with terrified warriors. We don’t have to conquer our fears- God does.
Friends. What is your Rattler? Step up to the gate, just take one step of faith and wait for the ride of your life- windblown and glorious.