Several months ago, I was asked to speak to a group of women on the topic of Fear. I agreed as I enjoy public speaking (not a personal “fear” of mine) and it affords me the opportunity to meet new people and to hear their stories.
While I was agreeing to the speaking engagement, I asked what it was that this particular group of women of “feared” and what their backgrounds were. The woman in charge said, “These are all moms of very young children and they have all kinds of fears.” My mind stopped registering her words at “moms of very young children.”
My own fear barometer rose and I thought, “I think you have the wrong person!” ALERT! ALERT! “I am not a mom. Moms don’t take advice from other women who aren’t moms. ALERT! ALERT!” Throughout my adult life, I have encountered endless cruel comments and judgments from other women who have had the ability to have children and not understood nor bothered to find out why I did not. I’ve had conversations abruptly stop after the questions, “Do you have any kids?” and I answer “no.” I’ve heard principals at schools where I’ve worked tell me that I’d never be the “best” teacher because I didn’t have children. I was told that only people with children really knew and understood how to work with them. I’ve had other women call me “selfish” for working, getting promoted and not “having” kids. The list goes on and on. Over time, I’ve reconciled all those comments and have come to peace with how God created me, yet still, there was that little “fear” that popped up when I heard the make up of this group.
While my fear barometer rose, my face displayed a smile and my head was nodding along with my open mouth saying “Sure! I’d love to speak to your group of moms.”
WHAT in the world just happened? When I walked away from this meeting I thought, “Maybe she’ll forget, after all, this talk isn’t for another couple of months.” I thought if I didn’t remind the leader of this group about my decision, then maybe she’d forget that she asked me to speak. What do you think the chances of that happening were? You guessed right! Slim to none… and none is the correct answer. I knew this to be true as well so I started praying and meditating over what I was supposed to bring to this group of women in the form of words, inspiration, information, love, acceptance and wisdom.
Over the course of several weeks, I heard God’s words in my heart. He spoke loudly. He told me that being a mom was a variable. He told me that being a woman was a variable. He told me that their individual fears were variables. My individual fear was a variable. All of these things are variables and He said that there is only one constant. The constant is GOD. The constant is HIS Love, HIS Protection, and HIS Promise. So, this is what I shared with the women the day we met.
I started my talk that day with a disclosure of my individual fear, as I believe in transparency as a way to build trust. I shared definitions of “fear” and sited research on specific “fears” of people across the US. From there, we got into the meat of the talk where I opened with a scripture I used in the second chapter of my book, A Child Shall Lead…
In this chapter, I write about my personal experience living through and surviving Hurricane Ike, which hurtled through Houston, Texas in 2008. This storm was classified as a Category 4, brought winds up to 143 mph, waves up to 15 ft. high, and caused over $30 billion in damages.
I began my chapter with a quote from Ephesians 2: 8-10. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
We proceeded to talk about the actual meaning of this quote and I provided example after example of how this played out during my hurricane experience. My story begins with fear in the greatest sense…
“I might die…This thought briefly crossed my mind as I raced home from work to pack a few belongings, trying to outrun an incoming hurricane. The only family I had near me was my chocolate lab, Bean. Everyone else lived in states far away. I wasn’t even sure if they were aware of what was happening along the coast. I didn’t have time to call; I needed to get on the road. The sky was turning dark and I was becoming anxious. I have lived in many places but have never been in a hurricane. What was I suppose to do? It was just my dog and me, and I was scared…”
My story continues with examples of how God’s presence was with me all along, gently reassuring me that I was being protected. I felt His peace at each juncture of the storm where fear wanted to raise its hand. It was on my way back home, after the storm had completed its cycle that I really felt God’s love while he sat next to me.
“I actually stopped my car, right there on the highway. There was no one behind me and I didn’t care. I stopped, grabbing the steering wheel while I lowered my head, resting it on my hands. I prayed again for peace, for safety and for guidance. Again, I felt it immediately. This time, however, was different. It was almost as if I could see and feel Jesus sitting in the passenger seat beside me. He was smiling, reassuring me that I wasn’t alone and that He would be with me the whole way home. What should have been a 45-minute drive home took me almost three hours to complete. I have no idea how I had enough gas to make it, but I wasn’t worried. I knew I was being protected…”
This chapter ends with a “what happened next” section. It provides more examples, which compliment the words in the scripture from Ephesians. This is where my lesson was illuminated and the reason I agreed to speak to this group of women with complete transparency.
If you are curious to know what happened next in the story, email me or leave a message here and I’ll gladly share.