I used to have such fear. And fear made me worry. Sometimes I worried about things to the point that I felt ill. Mostly, I worried about the safety of my three young sons. I wasn’t a ‘helicopter parent’ –- well, maybe I was with my firstborn, but the term hadn't been invented yet 26 years ago.
I was very watchful, and as my boys will be sure to tell you, I was overprotective. But truthfully, you have to let some of that go when you have a household full of boys. Those of you who know boys understand that boys are very physical and always active. Of course there was danger in their roughhousing, but if I worried about every little thing they were doing – or might do -- I would drive myself crazy.
Mainly I worried that something really bad would happen to them. I feared for their safety. I felt that if anything ever happened to them, I couldn’t live without them; that I wouldn’t want to live without them. They were part of me, my own flesh and blood, and I loved them more than I ever knew I could.
I remember walking along under clear Texas skies talking with God. We talked a lot during those long, solitary walks. I told Him of my deep fear of loss, and He listened. I thanked Him every day for my sweet little boys, and prayed for patience so I that I could be a better mother. Oh, yes, I prayed for more patience every single day.
As I grew in my faith, I finally realized that my beautiful sons were really God’s; that I had been given the honor and privilege of raising them and loving them, but ultimately, they were God’s children.
I held so tightly to my responsibility of raising my sweet boys. I loved my sons so much, and letting them go into the world without my protection filled my heart with fear and dread.
One day, God spoke to me through my thoughts, and He told me that I had to let go. I had to trust my boys to His care. I took a few days to think about relinquishing this control that I thought I had over their lives and their safety.
Knowing God was in control gave me a feeling of peace and freed my worried mind. I was able to live without fear for my boys’ safety. Not that I never worried again, but I learned to focus on God's provision, and I began to learn about trust. It took practice, and believing that no matter what happened, my sons were in God’s hands.
Since the day I gained my freedom from fear by learning to trust in God, He has continued His work in me, especially in the area of trust. Now I am the one going out into the world, away from my home and family, and I know that God will always be with me.
I think the world is an even scarier place now than it was when my boys were small. It was during their middle and high schools years that the Columbine tragedy happened, and then so many other school shootings followed.
Every day when my boys left for school, I wondered if they would come home to me. But I couldn’t live in fear. That was what the enemy wanted. I knew that to live in fear would crush my creativity and my zest for life, so I gave it all to God. I prayed for their safety, and released my fears to His great love.
Our fourth son is now a teenager, learning to drive and beginning to be out in the world away from us more and more. I lean on my understanding of God’s presence in my life, and His great love for all of us, when I need to let go.
Recent events at the Sandy Hook Elementary School have shaken me to the core. I still struggle with the senseless violence that destroyed that community’s peace and tore apart families when so many precious lives were lost. I’ve struggled with this along with the rest of the nation, and indeed the world, but I can’t let this fear control my life.
There is no doubt that there is evil in this world. And some people focus on these and other tragic events to point out that there is no hope for humankind. They’ve bought into the fear and they perpetuate it.
I am the eternal optimist, and I believe there is much more good in the world than evil. I see this in my life everyday, and in my community, as people reach out to help one another. This goodness comes from God, and if we look, we will find it in the world and in the people around us.
I’ve learned to let go of my fears, to trust in God with all that I can’t carry alone. My sons would argue that I still worry too much, but I know the truth. I know how much of my fears are released to my God who I know is always near.
I don’t know why these tragedies occur, but I do know the evil one would relish us living in fear of what will happen next. We cannot succumb to the fear in this world. The only way to live in peace in our own spirit is to connect with a higher power of goodness and Light. My Savior not only freed me from sin. He frees me every day to make the choice to live in peace and harmony.
The world can be a tragic place. Lives are cut short and danger abounds. But the world is also a beautiful place, full of love and people who understand the preciousness of life. We need to make the choice to rise above fear and live fearlessly through trusting God.
Each of us must make our own way, but we shouldn’t try to do it alone. Rest in His peace, so that we may be free to live in the joy we were meant to have here on this earth.