Friday, June 09, 2017

Fear vs. Faith: How a driver's license (nearly) drove me to drink

*This is an article I wrote for our church's newsletter. We are reading A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger Than You (Paul David Tripp). This article is a summary of how God is using the book in my current circumstances.*

Less than a month ago, our oldest son got his driver’s license. In that moment when my precious son drove his vehicle away from our home- with our other son in the passenger seat, no less- all of my fears took on a life of their own and began to shout mercilessly at me. I was kidding about this event driving me to drink. But the anxiety it produced may or may not have caused my husband to suggest such a solution. It is no accident that I am reading A Quest for More (Tripp) during this stage of parenting.

God has been patiently and consistently growing me over the past two years as he has exposed old wounds again from a traumatic car accident in high school. Fear has come in great big waves instead of manageable whispers, particularly when Jackson became a student driver. My “Comin’ to Jesus”, so to speak, has been wonderful and painful (as all discipline and healing should be from a loving Father). Idols are slowly being pried from my white knuckled fists, as I learn to parent a teenager with ever-growing independence.

In A Quest for More, Tripp masterfully describes the two kingdoms that we choose to live for: the little kingdom of self vs. the larger kingdom of God.  I was deeply convicted as I was reading chapter 4. It stated, “This way of living (focusing on my needs or the kingdom of self) is always riddled with anxiety and fear. You see, I will never be able to control all things that need to be controlled in order for me to guarantee that all of my needs will be met…I will always struggle with the anxiety that comes from the realization of how small the circle of my control actually is.” Yes, there’s the rub. Fear usually boils down to a lack of control or essentially, a lack of faith. As Jack drives away in the rain, drives farther away from home, gets his first job that requires traveling back and forth, and settles into more social events with friends, I get opportunities as well. I get to come to the foot of the cross and preach the gospel to myself, remind myself who our Creator is and who I am, and build my trust and faith. It’s a daily renewal and I am so thankful. My prayer life is never quiet!

Ann Voskamp says, “The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ.” And that same idea is the premise of Tripp’s book. He goes so far as to say that “this constricted little kingdom (of self) will crush my humanity.” We were not designed to live for anything outside of the glory of God. Being reminded of this truth has led to repentance and growth, but it has not produced a fearless Momma overnight. However, I can testify that reflecting on the work of my Redeemer and his saving grace, purposing to live for His glory and not my own (“the larger kingdom”), and continuously surrendering my children to their heavenly Father has developed a growing peace and joy in me.  I am so thankful for the Lord’s mercy. And just in time…in three months, we will have another student driver!

“Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

Margaret Shepard


I just can't seem to recover from the frenetic pace of this past school year. I try to relax in the Word or a book, but my mind is constantly racing with put-off responsibilities. So I get up and work on those things, only to shortly feel overwhelmed. Even rest is overshadowed with the "too much" of life. I feel like a ping pong ball- back and forth.

I feel the Lord calling me out, but I can't quite make out how. I keep telling myself to "serve joyfully", all the while knowing it's not a heart problem. I need to make a change. Where to begin?

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."
Frederick Buechner

I miss the days that we lived in Atlanta. My husband worked outside the home. I homeschooled and spent my days managing our children and home and serving our church as a volunteer. We used our home all the time for ministry- homeschool support group, prayer group, dinners, youth, playgroups. Such simplicity, and yet I felt fully satisfied, using my gifts for the Lord everyday.

Now I feel frantically overcommitted. I feel like I am trying to serve in areas where I am being pushed beyond my capabilities. Am I just being challenged and feeling the rub?

This stress will be a matter of prayer this summer. Something will have to change- whether my heart or my commitments. Something will have to give.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness..."
Ps. 115:1