Right before Nick was diagnosed with his first brain tumor at the age of 7 in 2002,
he was part of a musical at our church entitled,
This music was all about being strong and courageous as you share the love of Jesus.
Nick loved that musical!!
He sang every song with such passion, leaning his head back and smiling as he belted out every line of Joshua 1:9,
"Be strong and courageous,
Do not be terrified.
Do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!"
Nick understood what it meant to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.
Because of this, sharing this love was something he did naturally.
He was a child who lived life fully and loved people deeply.
I was reminded of his smile, his energy, and his love for life a couple of nights ago when we sat down and began watching old home videos.
It was the first time I had watched a video of Nick since he passed away in 2008.
His voice, his smile, his excitement for everything he did (sliding down a slide, hunting for Easter eggs, jumping into a swimming pool) reminded me of why he faced cancer the way he did.
He wasn't afraid of life.
But he also wasn't afraid of death.
Nick knew where he was going, and he loved who he would meet there - Jesus.
So, when Nick heard he had a brain tumor time and time again over the next 6 1/2 years,
he never complained.
He never questioned.
He never become overwhelmed with fear.
I can still envision him sitting on his hospital bed, grinning ear to ear with his thumbs up as he was rolled back for yet another surgery.
He wanted us to know he was good with whatever happened behind those surgery doors.
I learned so much about being brave from this little boy, this gift.
I realized recently, though, how easy it is for me to slip back into my fearful tendencies.
Todd leaves next week for a semester abroad, and I find myself getting nervous about all the details regarding this trip.
Evan leaves in about two months to live in another foreign country, and I can easily become anxious thinking about his next chapter of life so far from home.
Olivia has her permit, and she loves life behind the wheel of a car.
Watching her leave the driveway with Tim in the passenger seat makes my stomach turn to knots,
and I often have to whisper prayers the whole time they are gone.
Some days, I am deeply aware that just because I have already lost two children I am not exempt from losing more.
As I wrestle with that truth, I can almost hear God whispering, "I will carry you through everything your future holds, just trust me."
If I'm totally honest, though, those comforting words often stir up even deeper fear, because I do not want to "need" to be carried through anything else in my life.
This messed-up thought process of an overly-anxious mom can consume me sometimes.
I have to make very purposeful decisions in order to not lose my mind because of fears like these.
I've hidden some verses deep in my heart that help me on days when the fear of "what if" overtakes the reality of "what already is'"
because grief, while painful and hard and lonely and scary, pales in comparison to visualizing a cause for any new grief in my life.
I was recently introduced to a family who is facing fear head-on as they live with the reality of a very aggressive cancer easily returning to take the mother's life.
They have an inspiring website and message I want to share with all of you who are trying to face fears today.
Take a minute to visit:
You will leave inspired and encouraged.
I know I did!
Help them celebrate Heather's life and her determination to live life fully in spite of her fear.
When we embrace our pain and face our fears,
We stop "being afraid," and we begin to live fully.
We begin to notice that every little moment of life is filled with hope and joy!
People notice this kind of fearless living, and suddenly they are inspired to become more courageous too.
Today, if you find yourself fearing today or tomorrow or maybe still dealing with fear from your past,
consider hiding one of these verses deep in your heart.
See what happens when you give your fear to God and say, "I trust you no matter what."
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to
God, for he cares about you.
When we choose to walk forward
in life in spite of our fear,
we are free.
Free to love.
Free to laugh.
Free to hope.
Free to live.
Nick reminded me to live with joy as I watched him love life in old home videos.
Heather reminded me to live fully in spite of reasons for fear through her beautiful website.
I hope you will face today with a courage that comes from knowing and trusting Him who holds our tomorrow even when our tomorrows are scary.