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The Relentless Fight Against Fear

My cell phone rang late as I was prepping for a 2-hour dinner and meeting I co-host at the children’s hospital where I work. Where my children are seen.

The prefix showed that it was The Call I’ve been waiting for.

My stomach inverted as I hurriedly hung up the office phone and answer my cell.

“I’m so sorry this has taken so long to arrange. I had to find a day with enough time — your son’s case will be long. I couldn’t find a date this month, so I had to run it by his specialist.”

My stomach completed the somersault. Long case?

The cynicism and the fear rose like a hooded viper posing to strike. Of course it is. That’s how things are with our family and this specialty.

I choked through the rest of the call as we confirmed dates, times (We have to walk into the hospital at 6am. It’s a 40-minute drive from our house. I’m going to need coffee. Lots of coffee.), pre-procedure appointments, and length of stay. I sent a cryptic text of details to my husband, then stuffed it down, way down. I needed to host the meeting without an emotional breakdown.

Four hours later, I drove through the cold drizzly dark, tears streaming to match the rain drops on my windshield.

You’d think that after walking through the valleys we’ve been though (if you’re new here, read the posts in the category “Elli” for an explanation), it would be easy to trust God with anything else that happens.

You’d be wrong.

I am afraid.

Even though I know, from personal experience even, that God will walk me through whatever lies ahead, that His grace will buoy us through the stormiest waters, I’m afraid.

I want to tell God what to do with our family: “I won’t have to give You another one of my children, right? One is enough, right? This son who so resists potty-training will live long enough to change my diapers when I’m old and incontinent, right?”

I can’t control this. I can’t make my son’s body do what it needs to do. I can’t keep my children safe.

My flesh is weak. The thoughts of worry and fear rise up again and again as I watch the symptoms grow in my son’s body and count down the days. Over and over, I hand him to God to care for, and over and over I snatch him back.

I fight the fears with promises like this: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good… (Romans 8:28).

And this: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:1-4)

But it’s a relentless fight to focus on God, not the fear.

Would you pray with me? Pray that I would find rest, that I would be an example of how to trust God for my children, but most importantly that God would be undeniable and unmistakable in our lives?

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  1. Becky Cook says:

    Oh sweet Joy, I am praying for you now with tears. I, too, struggle with fear, and even though I have not been through the same things you have, I know the overwhelming and sometimes paralyzing grip of fear. I love you, am keeping you close in prayer. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Joy, I’m without words. Just know that with a heavy heart I am lifting you up in prayer today.

  3. Praying. When is the surgery? Today? Your dear sweet boy. Praying it is less LONG and complicated than they anticipate.

    • Thanks Gen – he has the procedure in mid-December. Thank you for praying. If you would pray also that he stays healthy so we don’t have to reschedule? If we can schedule this before the end of the year, we’ll owe much less than if it’s done next year.

  4. Joy – My heart goes out to you, Scott and your son/children. I will continue to lift your family in prayer and to cover the requests you mentioned to Gen. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Easy to say, hard to do.

  5. My heart goes out to you and tears fall. I will pray for you and your family. Stay strong and lean on God.

  6. PRAYING!!!

  7. Joy, I am praying for peace and grace for you and your entire family in this season, that the procedure will go smoothly, and that the recovery will be quick!


  8. Praying for peace and strength for you and your family!

  9. Praying for you!

  10. Praying, praying, praying, lovely one.

  11. Veronica Gelvin says:

    Oh Joy…. of course I will pray..
    I know that the Lord WILL sustain you, and He is so very faithful and loves you with an everlasting love. I will pray every single day for you and your family, and specifically for the things you ask…
    I love you Joy
    I hand my (adult) children to the Lord every single day, and, like you, take them back…I pray that someday it will get easier…

  12. Joy,
    I am new to your blog and haven’t had the chance to read your full story, but I wanted to let you know I am lifting you and your son in my prayers. I pray that God will touch you with His hand of comfort, that He will give you rest, hold you in your time of fear, and guide the doctors that will be performing the surgery on your precious son. My prayers will be with you daily.

  13. With a heart that is aching for you and eyes that are weeping for you, I am praying and will continue to pray.

  14. I just stopped and prayed for you right now. I will continue to pray and know some other prayer warriors that I will share this with.

  15. Tears….Praying for you this morning…that God will prove the promise on your blog header to you in this situation.

  16. And may I murmur Eph. 3:16 with you… for you?

    Oh Joy.

    You are that.


  17. Praying, Joy … often, urgently. Much, much love.

  18. Praying for your family. What a hard time this is for you. I’m so thankful you have the understanding of the arms of Jesus around you, always, in all things and at all times.

    Dear God and Lord and Maker of us All,
    Touch that sweet child with your grace and mercy and healing. Thank you that you’re in everything, and you aren’t taken by surprise by our needs and struggles. Bless Joy and family abundantly. I send forth a strong spirit of peace and rest and blessing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  19. Joy, I am so sorry you are having to go through these fears… again. As I read this with tears running down my face… I know I can’t say I know how you feel. I don’t… I have yet to go through a serious situation with my own kids. I do know the feeling of knowing and wanting to hand it to God and feeling afraid… still. I will keep you in my prayers until I hear a praise! HUGS!

    In His Love,

  20. Hi Joy,

    I’m one of Deb’s prayer warriors…I will join in your fight the best way I know how – through prayer! May God strengthen you and your family with His unmistakable peace.

  21. Exodus 14:14

    That’s what I’m praying over you and for you and with you. (((hugs)))

  22. I am praying for you so desperatly, i know after losing Livvy i was so scared when my foster son got ill, but yes he did lose his battle but the Lord kept me strong just as he will with you.

    Praying for that perfect peace xx

  23. Debbie Bonnell says:

    I will pray for you, Joy, and your family.
    I know fear, but maybe not the same way you do.
    I know God and I will go to Him about you and your fear and family.
    He is your comforter and The Great Physician. He is the Almighty Judge and our Redeemer. He loves you and cares about your tears and pain.
    I am going to talk to Him now.
    Love ,

  24. Melinda Lancaster says:

    I am joining others who are praying, Joy. Praying for a peace that surpasses all understanding. Asking that God will allow your son to have the procedure as scheduled–and allow it to be a success.
    What a blessing to have found you on Twitter and be able to visit your blog. My heart hurts for you but I am moved by the way God is using your transparency to spread His light.
    May He hold all of you close during these difficult days!


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