I know I shall be so disappointed, so full of reproach, blaming myself when I find out just how I could have lived. The day I see Jesus face to face and fully grasp his character will be the day I will realize what my life could have been if only I believed the words He spoke in Scripture.
I will be embarrassed over all my fear, I will hang my head in humiliation because of hours of worry and curl up in shame when I think how my thoughts circled in desperation for plan B to Z regarding dreams that might not work out and other twisted plans mulling over worldly solutions for my circumstances. Regret and self-pity will overwhelm me when I “see” the life I could have lived.
It is utterly worth it to get my life in order right now to live a life of liberty and victory as promised.
On a few occasions in my life I experienced the Holy Spirit’s discipline. I say this hesitantly. God works in every person’s life individually and will guide you with his eye in his own way, that relate to your life in a very unique manner. (Psalm 32:8) I write my experience as a testimony and not as a lesson.
My husband was a corporate executive and traveled often. Company policy allowed me to accompany him once a year on a trip of our choice. My three boys were getting a little more independent and with the support of a good friend who could help with the school run and my mother close to keep an eye on them, my friends and family encouraged me to take the opportunity to get away. We spent a lovely week in Germany.
Back home the news hit me hard. My youngest (five years old and in the last year of pre-school) became very ill, shortly after I had left. The whole family rallied around him, the family doctor diagnosed and treated him and he was healthy and happy when I arrived. They told me the whole event with my family’s usual animated drama. I was livid.
I was angry that they kept his illness away from me in order to give me a holiday. Sure, it is a good thing and they were being nice, but I was fuming. Guilt made me respond in angry reproach. How could I jet set around the world while my son needed me? I felt that I utterly failed in my role as a mother and will never let that happen again. I made a decision there and then not to go away again until my sons are big enough to look after themselves.
Three times the opportunity came to go again. I refused. I made a decision and stuck with it. This is my sacrifice for being a good mother. No debate necessary!
One day, three years later, my husband came with a special request. It would have been a unique opportunity to visit an island. Neither one of us had ever had an island experience. My first thought again was no, because of my “vow” to stay home with my kids. One of my friends encouraged me to go and promised her support. My mother was more vocal and even sharp about the matter. She and I had a series of discussions on the subject of fear and she knew very well how deeply my fear was rooted. She knew my fears around my children; she knew how upset I was about anything to do with my children. One afternoon we discussed the whole thing again and she instructed me to read Revelation 21:8:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (NKJV)
But for the rest—the feckless and faithless, degenerates and murderers, sex peddlers and sorcerers, idolaters and all liars—for them it’s Lake Fire and Brimstone. Second death!(The Message)
I sat stunned for a while. This is serious. Am I a feckless unbelieving coward? Is my destiny the lake of fire, second death? It could not really be any worse! Fear cannot be so bad! God, are you serious? Is this how you see me? Are you angry with me? I am only being responsible. Is that so wrong?
I announced that I shall seek the Lord on the matter. In my heart I was upset and confused. I needed to know what the Lord says. On a previous occasion I realized that I did not take the instructions in the Word of God seriously enough.
I “saw” Jesus in my mind’s eye, standing in front of me asking: What is going on here? Do you trust Me? Do you know that I love you and keep you in My embrace?
I got home and grabbed a Bible lying around. I opened it and was stunned at what I read.
The Lord has given me a strong warningnot to think like everyone else does. He said,
“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
and don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
He will keep you safe. (Isaiah 8:11-14, NLT)
I ran up to my bedroom, locked the door and fell flat on my face before God. I confessed my fear and surrendered my life, to Jesus AGAIN, every aspect of it. I stayed there until I felt the burden of my sin lift and the Holy Spirit minister to me with release, peace and joy.
The end of the story, you might ask?
My husband and I enjoyed a lovely week in Bermuda IN hurricane season. When we phoned to confirm the hotel late August, they were nailed up for a fierce tropical cyclone in the Atlantic. We enjoyed perfect weather and explored the two islands on mopeds. The week after we came back, the winds of Hurricane Nate took the little beach where we sat in a restaurant with our feet in the sand and were served exquisite seafood.
We both felt God’s loving imprint on the holiday, keeping us safe, keeping our children safe. How could I ever doubt Him?