Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fear ~ Part 2

These next few posts are going to be raw and pretty transparent.
As a matter of fact this blog is going to be pretty raw and transparent.

Just wanted to forewarn ya, and give you a way out before you read on.

My continued journey to freedom with God started about 3 years ago. It's been a continual unraveling, and untwisting and un-knotting of my heart. This is my journey. It's messy. It's not pretty all the time, but it's worth every step.
I have come to such a big resolve that He has indeed completed the work in me, it's just the process of Him bringing all the facets of myself to realize, and walk in His complete work in me.

It will take my whole lifetime, but I am ok with that. I am safe in Him. He isn't affected by my timetable. I am so grateful.

This is part 2 of my journey out of the area of fear.

Fear was everywhere in my life, it's hard to pick which area to share about....

As a feminine heart, it dictated everything that I did in my relationships with God, my husband, my children, my family, my friends.
Fear slapped so many roles on me that I needed to play, so many masks that I needed to put on, and so many obligations that I needed to fulfill.
"Go! Go! Go!"
"Do! Do! Do!"
"Shut Up! Shut Up! Shut Up!", It shouted at me...constantly over and over and over again.

And when I couldn't keep up the facade, and faltered in any of these things, shame and guilt came to finish up the job.

I had so many layers of shoved down emotions, roles, obligations, people I wanted to be, opinions I never shared...on and on.... so many layers over my heart, I couldn't hear it.
I had never heard it.
I didn't know it.
I honestly became this shell of a person, with a painted on smile, and a pleasant voice.
Agreeing with you, if I thought you had "it".
Letting you tell me what I should do also to achieve "it".....in every area of my life.
Very sad.
Very scary.
I fed off of what people said about me, their opinions of me.
I sought out roles in my church community that would gain praise...that would make me feel special, and a part of the "in" club.
You see, I didn't know who I was...so I needed people to tell me who I was.

I was miserable.
I was depressed.
I was dying inside.

The more I tried, the more miserable I became.

I would get so frustrated with myself... beat myself up with my words.
Why couldn't I achieve "it"... whatever "it" was...
Peace?
Happiness?
Why could I have it ALL together?
What was wrong with me?

I wanted it SO bad!
I truly love peace and happiness.
As a matter of fact, I tried to achieve permanent residence in Happy Land?
Yep! I tried very hard to stay in Happy Land for years, but the price kept getting higher and higher.
The more I tried the more I fell apart.

The area that is near and dear to my heart, and that I am continually walking out is the area of my children.
Being a mom.

After my hubby and I had been married for just a couple months, we decided (he decided, and having no opinion whatsoever, I agreed.) that we should make our family complete, and have a baby.

I had my first baby, and really struggled with being a mom.
I didn't like being a mom, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.
I didn't feel like these other mom's I had seen with their babies... connected and fulfilled.
I felt numb and disconnected to my baby.
I had a baby because, again, it was a "supposed to do" area.... my hubby brought it up, and I followed.
I look back at the condition of my heart, and I was SO not ready for a baby.
I know nobody is, but I really should have waited to know myself more... to get to know my desires.
But that's what I did tho... I just did what was expected, and what every woman did after getting married... you had babies.

I don't regret my babies.. so I hope that my thoughts don't paint that picture.
I am so grateful for each of them.
I just think the mom that they deserved has come along 10 years after they arrived on this earth.
The mom that they have experienced has been so broken, and so lost.
Not knowing my own heart and desires has really cheated my children of a lot of the nurture and love that they really needed from their momma.
They have gotten a lot of different women to be totally honest, but not me...not the true me.

Because I didn't know and understand that God had equipped me specifically for my 3 lovies, I became what I saw other mom's who had "it" were.
I became a master duplicator, and that's what my kids got.
And when I couldn't keep up with that particular mom, I got frustrated at myself.
Angry that I couldn't be what I saw a godly woman was supposed to be.
And then, my children would get a whacked out, grumpy, irritated, "leave me alone" mom.
It's really sad isn't it?
I think so.
My children's desire from me, is for me to be me.
For their momma to be the woman that I was created to be, NOT what other women are.
Not what the church had taught me my whole life to be either...you know, the Proverbs 31 woman?
But who my children really needed was me.

This is an area that fear has ravaged.
My children.
The guilt in my life that I have experienced in my relationship with my children, is absolutely ludicrous.
Fear of doing it wrong has robbed my children of what they needed

That scripture, "Love covers a multitude of sin." is one that I lean on to fill in the gaps in my broken years.

I pray for their hearts that His love and grace does cover what I have missed... and that I may continue to be the momma that they need me to be.... me.

To share something closer to home, something that I am just stepping into.. is the decision to NOT homeschool my kids anymore.
This area... WOW!
I have many friends that I have not shared this with yet, so this might be a surprise.
I have nothing nothing against homeschooling. I think it's wonderful!
But no longer do I think it is for everyone.

At the beginning of this summer, the Father started showing me areas that I have walked in that were just covered and motivated by fear, shame and guilt.
And if there is anything that I can guarantee you that is NOT of God, it is areas that we walk in that have fear, guilt and shame in them.
Unfortunately, we are a culture that is run by fear.
We are a church culture that is run by fear. Fear of the unknown... fear of the "what if".
It's sad, but true.
But that's a whooole other post :)

Me in my zest for freedom, said with all gusto,
"Go for it, Lord... show me all the areas that I am operating under fear with!"

And then I saw it...
His big finger pressing on the whole "homeschool" area.
I came undone.
I couldn't believe it!
Not that!

He started to unfold it, and showed me this was an area that I have been trying to shove myself into. A mold that was not made for me.
He showed me that fear has run me and this decision to homeschool my children.
Shame and guilt keeping me shut up, and pressing myself into this mold.

For years I heard from different friends and sources that to send your children to school, be it private or public, would squash their personalities, they would fall away from God, their education would be less then desirable, their attitudes would change towards each other, all compassion and love would be out the window, a worldly mindset would be ingrained, and they would lose their connection to their father and I.

These words might be true of some children. Maybe this is what some parents have experienced. Maybe.. maybe not. But for my heart is was gas to a flame... it just ignited every fear in me about the future of my children.

These words, and teachings, scared me to death! They dictated my decision to homeschool, and to continue homeschooling.

But, can I ask... what do all those words create in a person?
These words create a fear of the unknown.
They create a fear of uncertainty, and the "what if" factor kicks into play.
What if this happens to my children... and honestly it's not what if, it's this WILL happen to my children, it's just a matter of when.

Is this how God works? Is this how He leads? In fear?

So, each year pushing forward, I would remind myself of all of the above reason of why I needed to homeschool.

"Remember, Amy.... remember you don't want your kids to lose their way. You don't want them to fall away from Jesus. Everything is pending on you keeping it together, and offering this to your kids. You have got to keep it together here! Get over yourself, and be strong and do this!"

So I pressed and pressed and pressed myself into the homeschool mold.
Time would carry on, and the melt downs began.
Press press press.... another melt down.
And on and one... until my melt downs became more and more frequent.
I would melt down, and cry and totally lose it... pick myself back up and keep trudging forward.

Increasingly, as time continued to carry on, the melt downs kept getting more and more frequent, and I began to build ways to cope with all this pressing.... addictions came along to help me on my journey.
Addictions. Yep.

All kinds of them.... my mind created ways to survive and to numb me on my way.

I started to become incressingly depressed, and my ways of coping weren't working anymore.
Remember I said earlier, the price kept getting higher and higher?

But I so desired to offer my children the home school experience, to give them away out of all these thing that they would become if I put them into school.

Last year was my worst year homeschool year to date.
I was dealing with my food addiction, and was crumbling intensely in the whole homeschool arena.
Food was my friend.
It helped me for a very long time to cope and to numb and to keep pressing myself into the mold. Food had to go now, and I wasn't dealing very well with all the pressing and squeezing that continued to go on.
I wasn't numb anymore, and I could FEEL everything.

With food not being in the picture anymore, I couldn't keep up with the pain. I was melting down intensely now, depression came intensely now, aaaand that's when the Father stepped in, and asked me...

He asked me THE question... to take a year off from homeschooling, and lay it down.

"Will you lay this down? Will you trust me that I am your children's God, just as much as I am your God? That I am leading them, just as closely as I am leading you?"

I was shocked.
I thought for sure He really liked that I homeschooled. That this is what God wants for every family... for every mother to offer her children.
"What, Abba? Homeschool? Not homeschool?"

Silence.

Then I came completely undone.
Lots of emotions came after... oh boy.

I was mad.
Sad.
Grieved.
Frustrated at myself that I couldn't DO it. That I couldn't get it together, and just die to my self and homeschool my kids. Gheeze! What kind of mom was I anyway...apparently NOT a good one if I could at least offer my kids this.

It was a hashing out session for sure!
And eventually peace came, and a surrender in my heart.... and when I could see past the pain, and the guilt, I was so relieved.

I was so incredibly relieved. My gosh... what a burden I didn't realize this had become.

I now look back, and I see why He showed this area to me way back at the beginning of the summer. He has walked me through the emotions... the letting go....the trusting that if He asks me to lay it down, that His grace will follow my children, as it follows me.
And it has.

So, in this season, I have laid down homeschooling my children..
It's been hard, but it's been a fear that I have walked into with my Abba.
You have to walk through fear. You can't avoid it. You can't hide from it. You have to walk towards it and through it.
The beauty of walking through it, is that there IS another side. There is a new found freedom and strength on the other side.

My son went to school today, and my girls' started last week.
Big steps for me. BIG!
I have cried, I have let go, I have stepped towards what I know the Father has asked me to do...and I have peace, and am no longer afraid.

The lies that I believed about them going to school outside my home are just what they are... lies.
When I choose to believe a lie that my kid's are going to fall away from Jesus and never to be found again because I send them to public school, I am saying that my God is NOT able to lead them and guide them as He does me.
His words are Truth with a capital T.
And if His words are Truth, then when He said that His law is written on their hearts, and that He now lives and dwells within their hearts... and He is their Shepherd and will lead them into all Truth, I believe it.

That is a truth that I had to swallow. That is Truth. That is NOT a lie that is spear headed by fear, guilt and shame.

Anything that tells you that you "should" do this or do that is not from God.
It isn't.
If He asks you to walk towards something, He will never intimidate and operate in fear.
He will bring your heart and your desires to what it is He has for you.
Will there be nerves, yeah.
But nerves and fear are very different.
And in Him...He being LOVE, there is NO fear. None.
Oh, and there is NO condemnation either. So that includes shame and guilt.
This has become a HUGE filter for me. If I am listening to something, be it a person or a teaching or a conversation... if I began to feel fearful, or want to operate out of "should do"/shame and guilt, then it's not for me...because it's not my Abba God.
He doesn't operate in fear, guilt or shame.

It's a scary season, but today... as I sit here in my quiet house, I can't wait for my kids to come home. I miss them, and can't wait to see their beautiful faces.
I am looking forward to coming up along side their teachers, and volunteering at their schools.
Being as much a part of their education as I can!
I am so excited for it! I have such peace residing in my heart.
And guess what, they are doing so good. So so so very good.
This isn't for everybody, and just as much as I would never tell someone to homeschool their child is they felt they were not called to do that, I would never tell someone to NOT homeschool their child if they felt they were called to that.

But can I say this?

Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing?
Don't do anything that is dictated by fear, shame and guilt.
Try it out, see if it's for you. Maybe it is.. maybe it's not.
But don't continue to do something that is causing you major internal stress and pain because you "should" do it, or that it equals a good, Christian person.... do it because you want to do it...do it because your are passionate to do it. Do it because your desiring to do it.


Part 3 on it's way.....

Hiding.

6 comments:

  1. isnt it great to be free to be you? God has made and equipped us to be exactly what He intended. Just like snowflakes, they will forever take your breath away if you consider that none are duplicated and yet each so beautiful..... God is just that AWESOME!

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  2. Oh, Amy... I wish, I wish, I wish I could hug you right now! I too, for my entire life have lived in fear. Fear about marriage, children, being a beautiful (perfect, ahem) representative of a child of God have plagued me every day. So many times, I have tried to fit myself into a mold that is clearly not "Jamie" and become angry, frustrated and guilty when it didn't fit. Thank you my friend for sharing your heart. I can't imagine how hard this was to share, but as always, I admire your honesty and courage! Love you, girl!

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  3. hey you... thank you for sharing, amy... life is not what we think it is. there are so many unknowns to our hearts that we do or live.. hiding, blaming, shame.. we love to beat ourselves up, and sometimes, for me, it's doing that to someone else or them to me. it's very vicious.. my hope is that we can open up to papa, and trust him. i'm so fragile @times, and there is so so much to consider. overwhelming. but each step, each moment, each hurdle we face & climb & conquer.. he shows his grace and mercy, love and so much more. i long to trust his hand and heart.
    i am so grateful that papa has created you. he has taken this all and will and has, to use for good. for his beautiful glory. it's yours. it's beauty.. i love you..

    hope we can talk soon, and share more..

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  4. this is amazing stuff Amy!!!
    just got plugged in over here from Choosing Freedom.
    WOW!
    and am I ever glad to be hear.
    Your words ring s true and I can relate on many levels.
    What we think is TRUTH has been so diluted...so religiously removed from our Creators plans for us....it is astounding
    Whether your child is homeschool, public schooled, private schooled, not schooled isn't the point is it...deeper things are at work
    I went through a similar experience with my oldest son.
    Keeping the story simple, he was having struggles and for 4 years begged to be home schooled...I resisted KNOWING there was a possibility we would kill each other...lol...when i grade 8 he was still asking we thought maybe it was time to give it a go...that year was a very tough on for him...anyways we did it and I got a view into a world that would be so awesome for the right child and situation. As it was my son felt very lonely and thought there were so many good things that came out of it over all he found out it was not for him. Which was great..then came the decision of where to wend him..bakc to the Christian school he had been attending since grade 1 but was not able to meet him specific needs or to the public school where a child like him may have an easier time....well you know the lys so I won't go into it, know this I struggled, wrestled,wept, fought my way threw it. But you know who I was fighting...me and my fears.
    The day came when I was so tired, I will never forget it. i was driving down a main road in our town, tears streaming down my face, the struggle heavy on my back and I cried out "God what should I do I don't know what to do!" Softly gently quietly God responded, " Where ever he is, I will be with him."
    WOW...okay....yup...I am getting that!
    God is so much better than we allow! It is amazing.
    In that moment a lot of chains were dropped and even again as I write this I am reminded... Fear is not my friend! God does not give us the spirit of fear.
    You are an inspiration Amy I love your raw exposed heart.

    love and light

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  5. Yes! Yes! Yes! I have been this mom, and I am so grateful to be doing to work to journey out of that crippling place. I have recently come to the conclusion that homeschooling is not the right choice for us, I would only be doing it out of fear. I am SO afraid of not homeschooling, I was homeschooled my whole life, and school was where you went your kids if you didn't like them and didn't care about them. I still have a lot of work to do to oversome that anxiety.

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  6. I just found your blog. I can so relate to this fear in regard to homeschooling. After 16 years, I am tired of the fear and am putting my 5 children in school. I have been filled with so much anxiety and fear over so many issues. Your blog has really touched me.

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