Monthly Archive May 2015

I Am Literally Afraid.

I’m scared. I am literally afraid.

Fear and anxiety are not brand new feelings for me, but they are overwhelming me more than ever before. The chair in my study will soon be stained from all the tears I cry with my face buried in its lime green upholstery. I’ve been scared before but I’ve never been this scared and certainly not with this much frequency.

Life has never been this busy. It has never been this tiring. The stakes have never been this high. And I look in the mirror at a desperate man.

Ten years ago when people described to me what it meant to feel anxiety and debilitating fear, I just nodded my head as if I understood. They would speak of shortness of breath and increased heartbeat and knots in the stomach. They would speak of feeling paralyzed or exhausted or hopeless. People would explain to me how fear and anxiety can grip the very depths of your soul and literally impact your body and I just didn’t get it. I had sympathy and no problem believing it was real, but I couldn’t grasp it.

Then I started my own photography business, married the love of my life, and soon after we were pregnant with our first boy. This all happened in a span of less than 4 years.

Suddenly I knew what it meant to feel anxiety. If you’ve ever looked at a fledgling photography business’s profit & loss statement, you might begin to understand. Now imagine looking at the profit & loss statement at the end of a 70 hour work week, knowing that your pregnant wife is waiting for you in the downstairs of your gracious mother-in-law’s house, which is your own temporary home. And no matter how you crunch the numbers, they don’t add up to comfortable or anything within shouting distance of that place.

That’s when I felt it for the first time. That’s when I curled up in a ball in the middle of my photography studio in Barboursville and wept and shook with anxiousness I had never known. My heart was racing. I couldn’t breath. My stomach was in knots and my prayers were desperate!

And we made it through. God was faithful even when I wasn’t. He slapped me around a little bit in His mercy. My wife was patient, strong, gracious, and forgiving. We moved into our own home. Isaiah was born. The business accelerated. We made it through. But for a season I battled fear and anxiety on a daily basis.

And it scares me, because I know I don’t have what it takes.

It has struck again several times over the years. As I grow older I am faced more frequently with my inadequacies as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a pastor, as a bread-winner, as a photographer, as a friend, as a strawberry grower, as a golfer, as a pancake flipper… and now as an adoptive parent-to-be. And it scares me, because I know I don’t have what it takes.

And when you fast forward to now: loving bride, three wonderful little men in the house, a steady and healthy (not huge but healthy) income with a little over a hair’s width of padding, a nicer-than-needed home, job security, food on the table, etc. And now we’ve started the adoption process. Fundraising is going gangbusters, people are pouring out unimaginable amounts of help and encouragement, and everything seems to be falling into place with a fair amount of ease and perfection. You would look at the circumstances and situations surrounding me and think that fear and anxiety would be the last emotions threatening to steal my joy.

And I have never been so scared in my entire life.

Weekly… at least, and often times, several times a week, I find myself struggling to breath… heart racing, face hot, stomach churning… Scared. Out . Of. My. Mind!

Life has never been this busy. It has never been this tiring. The stakes have never been this high. And I look in the mirror at a desperate man.

You would look at the circumstances and situations surrounding me and think that fear and anxiety would be the last emotions threatening to steal my joy.

Listen, all the things I thought would calm my fears and squelch my anxiety feel like sand slipping through my fingers. It all feels so fragile and temporary (it is). And everything about the “man that I have become” that I thought would destroy fright and vanquish doubt isn’t enough. I have nothing left to give. This is all of me. And all of me adds up to inadequate. Grossly inadequate. And that lime green chair in my study is getting a workout and a saline bath on the regular. The tears are hot and the prayers are desperate.

And so I run to Him. I believe that the stories are true. I believe that barren women conceive and that water comes out of rocks and sea’s can be parted. I literally and as a combined result of logic, reason, and faith (all God’s gracious gift), believe that the sun can stand still and dead people can come back to life and people named Saul can have their name changed to Paul and find themselves ready to die for the same message they once sought to kill.

I trust Him more than I trust myself. And He loves me more than I love myself. And so when I bury my face in the battlefield of that lime green chair, I cry out for eyes to see the promises and for peace to calm my troubled heart.

He has already won the battle for my joy. For our family’s joy. He already wrote our story. Our daughter’s story. The final chapter is infinite joy. Adoption was His idea to begin with. We’re in good hands.

And when I bury my face in that green chair later this week, I’ll be desperate to remember that.

————

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

————

PUZZLE

You’ll call her “mom”.

You’ll call her “mom”. Maybe “mamma” at first. Maybe “mommy” or like your oldest brother, maybe you will call her “mom-mom”. And i can promise you this, she’ll hear you. She already does.

She’ll wake from sleep and hold you in her arms. She’ll stop to watch you spin across the living room. She’ll defend you from enemies. She’ll engage all your fears. She’ll share all your joys. She’ll read you one more page. She’ll meet your needs. She’ll take special note of your wants. She’ll find you. Pursue you. Embrace you. Educate you. Kiss you. Chase you. Wait for you. Cry with you. Help you. Feed you. Clothe you. Inspire you. Admire you. Miss you. Want you. Laugh with you. Trust you. Pray for you. Work for you. Fight for you. Live for you. If need be die for you… She will love you… She already loves you!

Happy Mother’s Day to a woman that does not share your DNA, but loves you more than life or blood or biology could ever explain.

You don’t know it yet, but your mother has a place in her heart for you that is bigger than you can grasp. A hope that is indestructible. A love that defies logic.

You’re going to love her. She’s more loving than words can say. She’s creative. She sees beauty everywhere. She inspires a sense of wonder in life. She’s beautiful. Her eyes are peace. Her smile is flight. Her laugh is made of pure sugar. She’s smart. She’s side-splittingly funny. She’s courageous. She’s tender. She’s forgiving. She’s witty. She’s intoxicating. She’s gracious. She’s steady. She’s surprising. She’s more than words. She’s going to blow your mind and steal your heart. She’s your’s. She’s waiting. She loves you.

Today I will wish her a Happy Mother’s Day on your behalf. And on a Mother’s Day in the not so distant future you will wish a Happy Mother’s Day to her yourself. Happy Mother’s Day to a woman that does not share your DNA, but loves you more than life or blood or biology could ever explain.

You’ll be in good hands, my sweet lady. Mama knows how to love like the sun knows how to shine and the rain brings life to the spring. So come home soon… not to any set of walls… but to your mamma’s open arms.

Her heart beats for you.

PUZZLE