"Don't be afraid—you're not going to be embarrassed.
Don't hold back—you're not going to come up short.
You'll forget all about the humiliations of your youth . . ."
Isaiah 54:4 (MSG)
Let me explain.
We had situation this last Sunday that threw me right back to one of my most painful memories ever.
See, I had a bad experience on the day of my graduation from high school that permanently etched itself in my memory like the brand on the side of cattle is burned into its hide. Unfortunately this memory often is dredged up at inopportune and unsuspecting times that nearly always blindside me.
I was left behind.
On the day of my graduation as an honor student. The culmination of my educational experience up to that point. One of the biggest milestones everyone notes.
I was left behind. Abandoned in a way.
At the very moment my parents and family could have been surrounding me with congratulatory hugs and pats on the back, my mom panicked about the party she was throwing me and insisted my dad take her home to finish preparations for all the people who would be attending.
At the very moment family photos were being taken all around me, I was left waiting for someone to return to retrieve me so I could attend this "all-important" party.
I kept waiting. People asked if I needed a ride home. The administration even offered to let me back in the school to call home. (This was way before cell phones, y'all!)
I waited until I was the very last person out on the sidewalk in front of my high school. The very high school I never entered again until my brother graduated five years later. I haven't been back since.
I waited, and I waited. It was the loneliest 45 minute wait of my life.
My special day became a time that will always remind me of being alone.
I won't bore you with any further details, but not one family member that day understood how deeply that impacted me. Not one family member apologized for leaving me or for anything at all.
Fast forward to last Sunday. I was not alone, but I thought someone had left me standing. That same panic of 22 years ago rose in my throat, and I coached myself by saying "This is not the same." "God has not forgotten you." This truth rang in my ears:
"God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.' So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)
I was not completely unaffected by the incident on Sunday, but I turned to God in the midst of it, and I got over that feeling pretty quickly, remembering that God knows my needs and will provide for me exactly when I need it. Just when I was about to give up, the vehicles parted and my precious DP was visible with a big smile on his handsome face.
The author of the Bible study I am doing mentions this, and I am convinced this is what I need to do with this situation I described:
"Such incidents can open up the doorway to a lifelong struggle with fear. But God in His love and grace wants you to move beyond the fear of the past so you can move into the hope of your future."How do we do this? I've been trying to move on for years, but I know the residue of this long-held fear of abandonment impairs my decision making and cripples me when I least expect it.
The truth of this study is helping me to move on in a healthy fashion. The author cites Isaiah 44:6-8, and it is a powerful passage to put God in His rightful place and remind us we can fully rely on Him for everything.
So I close this Fearless Friday a little lighter, knowing that I can choose to build my foundation on the Rock of my Lord Jesus Christ. I can put my fears at the foot of the cross and walk on Without Fear.
***photo credit--dusty davis