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When Fear Creeps In

January 6, 2014

My 9 year old daughter loves gymnastics. She is very passionate, focused, and skilled, and would choose to be at the gym over almost anything. But something happened last month that shook things up…..Fear crept in.

 

She can do round-off back-handspring back-tucks, front flips, back flips, and a slew of other things, but when it came to learning her back walkover on beam, she was terrified. She would stand on the end of the beam and start to go backward, then jerk forward afraid. Her heart would start pounding, her breathing would quicken, and the fear would grow…and grow…and grow.It got to the point where she was even afraid of doing her back walkover on the floor. In gymnastics, this is called a mental block, and if left unchecked, it can spread to other skills, other events, and even paralyze a gymnast from attempting anything.

 

For Christmas, my husband built her a beam to practice on. I spent huge chunks of time helping, spotting, and encouraging her. I would repeat over and over again, “You can do this. You’ve done this before. Nothing has changed. You can do this again.”The moment she finally regained the skill was priceless- she jumped up and down screaming, full of confidence and full of relief.

 

Enter our foster son. He has now been with us for 9 months. If parental rights are terminated, we would love to adopt this little boy.Last week, we saw some old behaviors resurface that shook our faith. Could we handle this behavior for the rest of our lives if it doesn’t go away? Would we be making the best decision for our family? What if we said we couldn’t adopt him? What if he left and went to another family? What if he stayed and something bad happened? What if? What if? WHAT IF!?!?

 

I started searching blogs and reaching out to people for advice. My husband and I talked about it endlessly. I felt like I had a stomach full of rocks. I felt heavy, anxious, and panicked. I felt like my daughter, standing on the end of the balance beam: full of fear and unable to move.

 

On the edge of complete breakdown, I met two close friends for lunch at IKEA. They are both adoptive moms who have been through the trenches and resurfaced on the other side, stronger and more hopeful.

 

One of the moms asked, “What is different from the way things were last week to the way things are today? Has anything actually changed?”I thought about it,

 

“No. Nothing.”

 

“So why are you all of a sudden so stressed and anxious?”

 

Fear. I had allowed fear to creep into my mind. I had allowed it to travel to my heart. It was growing, taking over every part of me.I pictured my daughter on the beam. “You have done this before. Nothing has changed. You can do this again.” Nothing had changed. God had given us this little boy. God had given us the love, wisdom, and strength (often through friends) to parent this little boy. And God was still faithful to see our family through this.

 

I walked out of IKEA feeling lighter. I felt the anxiety slip off, and I felt like my daughter when she finally stuck her back walkover on beam- complete relief. I don’t have to figure the big stuff out, not today, at least. I just need to trust God through this journey.

 

I love what George Mueller said:“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”

 

- Jenny

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