Monday, July 3, 2017

When Freedom Walks In




The mind has 
Corners and crannies
Where hidden lie
Memories

The heart wants
Uncovering
From carrying
The burden 

Where can they meet?
Heart and mind
Like oil and water
Refuse to mix.





Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.



A child sat on the side of the road and saw the crashed cars. There was the bloodied man being held up by the ambulance drivers. There was her Father holding his chest, and there was her brother coming behind in his own car, rescuing her from the scene.



It was a memory locked in the recesses of my mind. Occasional nightmares and flashbacks from the scene would replay years later, but I would tell myself how thankful I should be that God preserved my life with only a chipped tooth, and my Dad only suffered a few cracked ribs.


But the heart knows when a fear takes root.

 

If you knew me in the '90s, you would have seen a self-sufficient Stay-At-Home-Mom who walked everywhere, and took the bus to the orthodontist for her teenage daughter's appointments. Grocery shopping was a family affair after my husband finished working. We worked out our schedules, and we thrived on our together times.  But when my younger son approached the time for getting his learner's permit, he said, "It's time Mom. You're coming with me and we're BOTH learning to drive together this time."

I had never enjoyed driving when I got my first license as a teenager. So, as a young wife, when we moved multiple times while our children were toddlers, it felt too hard to continue taking the tests and changing my license in every state. 


So I let the deep-settled fear gain more ground in my heart, and I allowed my license to expire.


Was my son correct?
Would I really be able to re-learn driving,
after almost 20 years?


Oh, I prayed and cried, and stormed my way through, as my husband had two "learners" practicing that year.  Just before the deadline for my permit expired, I passed the test, hearing the instructor tell me, "You're a very good driver, Ma'am, you really shouldn't be so nervous."  

What should have been a celebration, still felt like a chore to me, and despite what the instructor said, I had to sing my way into driving alone. every. single. time.

But God has a way of making sure 
that our hearts get laid bare, 
and He sees where fear takes root.

He gently pries and tugs
to bring to the surface
the long buried tendrils.



When we moved to Wisconsin, with a fresh new license in my hand, one of the first neighbors I met was my precious elderly Ukrainian friend who had just lost her husband.  While I was practicing my driving in this small town, her health was gradually declining. And in just a short time, she needed a driver to take her to Doctor's appointments and stores. My driving suddenly had to come up a notch.

God was still working to uncover the fear.


But yet I held back, until I gathered with dear friends for our church's first Ladies' Retreat, several years later. As I led my group that first night, the question went around the circle, and each one of us found our hearts being uncovered by a God who loves us too much to leave us to ourselves.  I heard myself speaking what I had not planned to say:


I still DESPISE driving, but I want to be free.


And with those precious friends, 
we all laid down burdens 
and found Jesus there
to meet us with the truth.


That very first Sunday after the retreat, as I drove to get coffee for a few friends, my normal "easy" route was blocked, and I had no choice but to take the scarier way that I always avoided.  I heard Him whisper His own words to me:

"You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me."


And something shifted in my attitude 
that morning.

What was once a chore
became a place for God's power
to be shown, even within my own heart.


. . . . .



In these days, years later once again,
where weakness seems to reign,
And driving times are few
with pain following each one,
my heart is filled
with a gratitude
I never thought I could have.

When it's necessary for me to drive,
God chases all fear away.

He has redeemed the past
of that bloody nightmare
with His Holy Strength,
carrying my mind
as well as my heart
uniting as one
with praise.



Dear One,
May I ask a hard question?

Is there a long-buried 
pain in your heart?

There is ONE
who longs to meet you
with the LIGHT of HIS PRESENCE.

When you ask for freedom,
He will come to you too.




My dear friend, Anna Smit, blessed me with this song today, and I pray it blesses you also:







I am linking this week with:





 

16 comments:

  1. Your story showed such vulnerability and I appreciate how you are learning to let go of your fear. God replaces fear with freedom and I see how He is doing that in your life.

    May we grab the freedom that we find in God. Happy Fourth!

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    1. Thank you Mary for your sweet encouragement! Isn't God so good to show us how He brings true freedom to our hearts? Even as we pray for our freedoms to continue in our Country, there is such a deep heart-freedom that Jesus has already won for us! Happy Fourth to you also!

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  2. Bettie, thank you for sharing your story. I'm glad God has given you freedom from that fear. I also love your poetry at the beginning. You really have a way with words.

    Many blessings to you, dear friend, with love and hugs! xo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      I am glad these words were a blessing--you are such an encouragement to me! We have such a gracious Lord who brings HIS freedom to us, in the midst of our hard places. I love to hear the stories of how He moves in each one of us! Blessings, Love and Hugs to you too, dear friend! xo

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  3. I am so glad that you shared this story. Driving is a means to an end -- a very important end. I begged my mother to learn how to drive, and even offered to pay for driver's ed, etc. when I became an adult. She would not embrace that freedom, and it was always a weight for her. This is the BEST kind of Independence Day post!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Michele,
      Oh, my Mother also did not drive! While I was a teenager I said that I would NEVER let that happen to me, and yet I did give in to that same fear and weight. So, yes, thank the Lord for His freedom, and TRUE Independence! Happy 4th to you!

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  4. Oh, dear friend! I am SO sorry you had to go through this awful experience as a little girl. Bless your dear heart. I know about those deep-embedded fears that stem from childhood. Oh, my, do I know! Fear is SO real, and as the dear Word of God says, it has torment. I loved what you said, "But the heart knows when a fear takes root." How very true! I find so much wisdom here, dear friend, and it is so apparent that the wisdom comes from a life that has suffered much. God bless you and give you reprieve from your pain. Sending much love and gratitude to you for the dear encouragement you are to me and so many others!

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Isn't our Lord so good to speak to us so gently about those fears buried down deep in our hearts? When we know HIM, there is such a hope to find relief. I am so thankful for all of your encouragement and prayers too, my friend! May you be blessed with such gifts of Grace, as I continue to pray for your dear family!

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  5. We all have some secret fear or worry in our hearts which God can see, and heal, if we ask Him honestly.

    Praying for you right now.

    God bless.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you are so right--we each carry things in our heart that God can heal. I am so thankful that He does respond to our honest searching! Thank you for your prayers! May God bless you!

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  6. Bettie, When praying with friends today, I was contemplating your question today. Do I have a long buried pain? I am left thinking and praying. One friend came with this verse, which applies to you too. 2 Corinthians:3 "Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our[a] hearts, to be known and read by all. 3 And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." God Bless your words, dear Friend.

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    1. Dear Debbie, I think it's so important to offer our open hearts before the Lord, as you and your friends did today. He meets us there in that communion of sharing. And the Scripture passage you shared is such a beautiful picture of that sharing--letters from HIM written on our hearts. You brought tears to my eyes to think that HE lets us share like that! Blessings and Hugs to you my friend!

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  7. What a great post, Bettie. Very encouraging. #nofear

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    1. Amen! #nofear because of our Lord! He is so good to us!

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  8. I'm a reluctant driver too and some recent fender benders have definitely made some of my fears resurface. I love the way you have expressed your feelings through writing. It is such a gift and blessing to others. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Dear Natalie,
      I'm so sorry you've had to deal with those fender benders. You will be in my prayers for the Lord to meet you with His strength and courage. Thank you for being an encouragement here. May the Lord bring you His Blessing!

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