When I was growing up, my biggest fear was that my house was going to burn down. I lay awake at night and planned elaborate escapes from the house depending on where the fire might start. My family told me that when I was very young I had seen my grandfather accidentally set his clothes on fire by sitting too close to an open fireplace, so that seems to be where that fear came from. The fear followed me right through school, college, and afterwards, with me going so far as to forgo candles in my wedding and being afraid to strike a match with my fingers to light a candle. But as I got older, I trained myself out of the worst aspects of the fear, finally getting to where I could use candles in the house and even light them myself.
But that fear was replaced with another one once I started having children, and that was that I would somehow through action or inaction lose one of them. That remains my biggest fear, and my phobia of fire pales in comparison. I pray every day that my children will be safe and have their entire lives. When I had a major car accident when my youngest was four months old, I was convinced as soon as the truck behind me rear-ended me, throwing the car ten yards across a lane of traffic and into a neighbor’s yard, that I had lost all three of them in one fell swoop. It was not until I turned and looked behind me that I realized that all of them were safe and that I truly knew the depth of my fear of losing them.
I did all I knew to do—I took it to God and prayed hard 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God had not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love, and a sound mind.” One by one I handed them over to God, knowing that his hand was on them and his will would be done in their lives. Only God’s hand is able to lift that fear from me and give me peace about my children’s futures.
I continues to have anxieties—going out in the car, driving long distances to unfamiliar places, losing my husband to a premature death, etc. But I continue to pray this verse over my fears and hope to conquer them all through God’s peace—the only peace that passes all understanding.
Julie Whitehead currently writes and blogs from Mississippi at her personal blog. She has been a university lecturer, a disability examiner, and a freelance writer. She carries a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and blogs to create awareness and help others understand the disease and its effects.