“So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.’” Genesis 22:14 (The Message)
In January 2017, while I was fasting at the beginning of the year, God invited me to write a Bible study about caregiving. For the first time ever, He downloaded the whole outline of a book to me in about 20 minutes. I was excited to see what God wanted to do with this project and got started right away. I stalled somewhere around the middle of the summer, but God lovingly re-invited me to finish the study and by the end of August, it was written. It took a few more months for the cover art, editing and formatting, but by mid-December, it was published.
This past spring, I found myself driving to my church for a life group leadership meeting because I was interested in leading a group using the book I had written, Caring for the Caregiver. I couldn’t contain my excitement at possibly having a chance to encourage others using this material.
While at a stoplight, God reminded me of how far I’ve come in my journey learning how to trust Him. Approximately five years ago, our Heavenly Father started stirring in my husband and my heart that it was time to leave our then current church and find a new church home. We didn’t know where to go, so started trying different churches, knowing God would make it known where He wanted us.
The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend found us at Victory Life Church. They announced they were getting ready to begin their summer life groups and invited people to check out what was being offered after the service. I was curious so I went and got a pamphlet, excited to see Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer was one of the choices. That was significant because for the past 18 months, God had been inviting and re-inviting and re re-inviting me to read that book. I had checked it out at the library with good intentions, keeping it for three months and then returning it unopened. I decided, “Okay, that would make a great Christmas present,” so I asked my mother-in-law to buy it for me, thinking if I own it, I will surely read it. In her loving kindness, she not only bought me the book but also the workbook! I still hadn’t read it. It was now May, five months later, and I told God, “Okay, I will sign up for the class.”
I talked with my husband, who wholeheartedly supported me attending, agreeing to take care of things at home on the nights I would be gone. I signed up and was ready to begin.
I believe one of the reasons God persisted with His invitation to me about the book was because He knew how much fear gripped me, and how much it influenced everything I did in life (or didn’t do). The first week of the life group I ended up not even attending. There was a thunderstorm and I wasn’t going to be caught in a storm in a building with people I didn’t know instead of at safely surrounded at home by my family. I remember being so disappointed in myself that night for giving in to the fear, the very thing I was supposed to attend the class to learn how to eliminate from my life.
God has quite the sense of humor because it was that memory He reminded me of as I sat at the stoplight, driving to the same church five years later barely able to contain my excitement at not just attending a life group, but leading one!
Five years. God has chosen to free me from so many areas of bondage in five short years. Fear? God is teaching me fear is a sin and has no place in my life, no matter the circumstances. I choose to trust Him and walk in obedience when and where He tells me to go. Fear of winter driving? Gone. Depression? Gone. Holiday depression? Gone. Anxiety/panic attacks? Haven’t had a panic attack since before Thanksgiving. I still get anxious sometimes, but God has given me the tools to work through that and peace quickly takes its place. Food addiction? Still a work in progress, but God keeps working with me on this one.
Come back next time as I share the Isaac God invited me to lay down this time.
#SFTH: Journey from Fear to Faith
© Cheri Swalwell 2018