Friday, February 24, 2012

Fear & Gratitude

My Superhero woke up long before me this morning. I'm actually not sure when he woke up, but it was long enough to eat breakfast and study his Bible. He did his usual smoother-me-with-kisses round only once this morning (he usually does that at least twice).

I partially woke up to the sound of my Superhero telling our Saint that he can't go with him today. I hear the Saint whimpering loud and pathetic like and the back door about to shut.  I holler for the Superhero. 

"Yeah Babe?" says my Superhero.

"Are you taking Poco with you today?"

Still hollering from the back porch to our bedroom (which isn't that far by any stretch of the imagination), "No. He's in trouble, he wouldn't eat his pills."

"Please take him." I'm thinking of how hard it is for me to listen to our huge Saint pace the house back and forth, longing to be with "Dad"( a.k.a. go for a pick up ride).

My Superhero says something back, but I can't understand him, because I'm only half awake. Then he shuts the door.

I half holler again, "Ryan".

He doesn't come back. I think it's because he probably thinks I'm going to try to convince him to take our Saint and how he doesn't like to tell either of us "No". It's probably because he didn't hear me. I stir in bed, wondering if he took his cell phone (the reason for my final holler).

My Superhero is traveling over mountain ranges and two hours away, and pulling a trailer full of tools. I'm concerned because he had done a bunch of work to his 19 year old pick up and trailer yesterday.

I somehow convince our Saint to lay down. He lies as close to me as possible, on our floor, beside our bed. I reassure myself that my Superhero probably has his phone, even though it was put in a funny spot last night, and I try to fall back asleep to the sound of my dog's disappointment.

Instead I toss and turn. The dog's disappointment is heavy and my bladder is full. Stumbling to the bathroom, eyes half open, cat at my feet, dog at my side; I see the pills laying on the floor, which now suit as a reminder of my dog's disobedience and disappointment, and my rise before the sun.

Marching back to the bedroom, I notice the Superhero's phone on the kitchen table. Suddenly my heart races and my mind flashes with scenes of Ryan stranded on the top of a cold snowy mountain without a phone. 

An assortment of "What if..." zoom through my brain like a fierce freight train, as I'm putting on my clothes. 

What if... my Superhero dies? My worse fear emerges. A fear I entertain all too often. I rationalize the fear, because my Superhero is much too good for this old rotten world..... and me....

 My dog is all kinds of excited because he gets to go on a pick up ride. 

I speed to Carter's where he feeds 40ish horses for a friend every morning. I watch every vehicle that goes by, in case it is my Superhero coming for his phone. I get to Carter's to find out that I missed my Superhero by five minutes. I'm full of all kinds of regret for not calling their house and waking Mrs. Carter to relay me urgent message; the consequences of that seem much better than what may happen to my Superhero.

I exchange a few hollow words with Mr. Carter because all I can think about it my Superhero. I wish Mr. Carter a good day and speed away. I hurry home in case I somehow missed my Superhero in passing and he wants his phone. I seriously consider driving towards my Superhero's destination. I think I could possibly catch up with him, since he is pulling a trailer. No, "that is crazy", I decide.

Pulling into our driveway I think, "I should have chased him". I would only go as far as the next town over. It'd be a good excuse to go to their Starbucks. Plus, how romantic would it be if I did catch up with my superhero on top of a mountain or something.

I sit in my pick up and watch a jack rabbit (actually have no idea what type of rabbit) hop around our yard and driveway. I almost snag a picture of him with my phone. He is a fat, dark, and handsome rabbit (I have no idea if it's a he). He hops to underneath my pick up. My fat, dark, and handsome cat watches the rabbit intensely, until a bird flies above his head. I'm gently reminded of a Bible verse in that split second that our cat moves his eyes to the bird, and back to the rabbit.

"Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?" Matthew 6:26-27

I don't want to get out of my pick up because there is a rabbit under it. 

When did I become such a worry wart? When did I become so afraid? Why does fear paralyze me so?

When did fear devour me, and then leave me as a survivor... someone who just survives this world...

And since when does not having a phone come any where close to death?

What kind of Superhero needs a cell phone anyway? 

Am I actually concerned about my Superhero being stranded on a mountain? Or am I terrified of having to function an entire day w/o having him a button away? Yes, that just came out.

Do I answer his phone when people call? I don't even answer my phone!

Fear. It's so ridiculous, yet I subscribe to it all too often. God's been bringing this weakness to my attention lately. I have been amazed at how much fear is a motivating factor in the decisions that I do or do not make.

Fear of what people think. Fear of what might happen.

I go to the gym because I'm afraid of getting fat. Not because it's good for me, I enjoy it once I get started, or because it makes me feel good.

Recently I read or heard somewhere (I can't remember where) that "Fear" is one of the most common topics that God covers in the Bible. So I did a little searching myself. has an inclusive list of verses on the topic, please read for yourself by clicking here.

 " For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV.

I lost my sound mind the moment I found my Superhero's phone. 

Why is it so easy for me to forget to trust the One that takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field (Matthew 6:25-34)? Perhaps I forget because I can't always see My Maker, but I do easily see the pain and suffering this world dishes out.

Recently I read a book called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp, which has eloquently provided a solution for my fear problem. Voskamp writes beautifully of a life that is thankful no matter what, even in the midst of life's awful ugly. Like Voskamp points out, when you are looking for things to be thankful for, you are too busy being thankful to be fearful. And in the absence of fear is trust.

At the risk at sounding dramatic, the book has truly changed my life, honestly. It (and God to name a couple) are teaching me to be present, which is something that I am frequently struggling to do.

The book has made such an impact on me (and after prayer and consideration), that I'm going to offer a small study in my home on the book and on thankfulness. I'm going to call the study "Living Gratitude". 

*I'd also like to invite you, my reader (and my loved one across the globe), to the study via my blog (not my home, sorry my house is too small to fit you all).... I plan to share most of what is covered in the small study group here on my blog...

***So will you join me in "Living Gratitude"?***

The first study is planned to launch Tuesday March 13.  So that means you need to order the book soon! If you live in my neck of the woods, and want to order through me via Blessings Unlimited, the shipping is free. You will also need a journal. Voskamp has created a beautiful journal to go with the book, but it isn't necessary for the study. A journal of some kind is necessary however.

I'm busy. Crazy stupid busy. My plate and schedule are full. However, recently I have discovered that I'm too busy not to include things like this in my life, because this is exactly what keeps my heart full and my days in the light. But I'd sure appreciate your partnership in prayer about this study, the small study group, and my overflowing plate.

I'm really thankful for you taking the time to read my posts. Please email me or comment to let me know if you are going to join me in "Living Gratitude".

God is love,


  1. thank you so much for your post Vanessa, it has touched me so much. I have dealt with so much fear and worry in my past that it caused me to have anxiety attacks. it was the scariest and most painful time in my life. With the armor of God and the verses you mentioned above I've since learned to control my fear so that this doesn't happen to me but sometimes it does come back and I get a little flutter in my heart and I get scared for an instant and then I think about our Heavenly Father and I realize that he's always there for me and I feel safe again. it is such a difficult thing to overcome. I would love to join you in your study group if possible.

  2. Whay time n Tuesday March 13 ????????????????????/ Wuld lve t cme if I can .

  3. I'm sorry Dawn, the study from my home is already full. But you can still do the study with us via my blog!!! It's a great book, I know you will love it!