“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7 (NIV)
If you have followed me for any length of time here, you already know about my fear of winter driving. I’ve been teased about it for years and while I knew it was excessive, I seemed powerless to stop the panic attacks that would occur at the thought of driving in the snow or sending my loved ones out in it. It affected my work, our marriage, and even our children because as much as I tried to hide it, they still sensed its presence and developed fears of their own (talk about ultimate mommy guilt). The year our oldest was born, I called my husband in a panic, asking him to pick me up from work so I wouldn’t have to drive home. I’ll never forget how his co-worker asked him, “How long has your wife lived in Michigan? Isn’t she used to snow?” Bill’s answer, “She’s lived with snow her whole life – but she’s still petrified of it.”
I wasn’t always like this. I’m pretty sure I knew when that “over-the-top” fear first developed. Eighteen years ago, I was dating my (now) husband. I had spent some time with him on a Sunday afternoon and was driving back home around 7 PM, in November, in the dark. I lived about 20 minutes away in a neighboring town and had to take the highway back and forth to his house. It had rained off and on all weekend long and was still raining when I left that particular night. However, I hit an invisible wall – one that wasn’t there hours earlier. It took me by surprise because I left rain and encountered a complete whiteout. Before I knew it, my very tiny car was spinning out of control, on the highway where it finally stopped facing the opposite direction staring directly into the front end of a semi. It took a few minutes but I got my car headed back in the right direction and inched home. I had no cell phone, so when I finally arrived, I called Bill, crying and shaking, to say I was safe.
I haven’t been praying and asking God to specifically heal me from this fear. I’ve had it so long that I didn’t even consciously acknowledge it anymore. However, in the fall of 2015, I noticed a slight change. Our family made a choice at the end of the summer, before the snow started to fly, to buy tickets for a concert 1½ hours away in November… an iffy time of year for a fear-filled person like myself. However, I decided that the benefits of taking our children to hear God’s love being poured into them outweighed the slight risk of a snowstorm in November, even for the midwest.
That particular weekend, a blizzard was predicted and again I had a choice. As in the past, let fear rule and we stay home, disappointing everyone but especially our daughter or trust God and continue with our plans, altering them slightly to factor in some safety measures but continue as-is. I made the choice to trust my husband’s judgment and God’s safety and we went ahead as planned – having the best time ever! God blessed that trip abundantly more than what we were originally anticipating.
Come back next time and I will tell you the rest of the story…
© Cheri Swalwell 2016