Monday, June 16, 2008

Sling the BackPack on Your Back

My Grandparents were killed in a plane crash in 1986. I know! They were headed down to Dallas in their little plane when a thunderstorm was too much for them and the auto-pilot wouldn't shut off. It was awful.

I was 13.

In college I remember being in church and something came over me. I stood there and wept and wept for the loss of my Grandparents. I was so mad at God. I felt cheated.

That was the beginning.


Back to camping. There is one bag I'm not too particularly fond of. The backpack. I like it because it holds so much stuff and I don't like because it holds so much stuff. Great for college books, bad for camping. The ones for camping, however, aren't like the ones for college. The camping ones have metal bars that go down the back of them to help support all the weight. They literally can hold everything and the kitchen sink you might need for camping.

My dad bought some for the summer when he and my uncle decided to hoof it down into the Grand Canyon. Those thing weighed about 60-70 pounds each! At the time, I think I weighed 60-70 pounds. I'm but a mere 40 pounds from that now.....not really.

What I'm trying to get you to picture is that a backpack for heading down the Grand Canyon is hea-vy. Dang heavy. It's not something we're created to carry around everyday.

So, what was "the beginning" I was referring to at the start of this post? In a word...fear.

After I had the explosive realization that I was hurt that my grandparents were dead, I began to fear that I would lose others in my life. I would go into panic attacks and be afraid to drive on the 2 lane highway out to our house when we lived in Missouri. I would almost hold my breath as each car zoomed by me as I headed home.

JT would leave for work and I had to talk myself through the fear of him getting in a wreck. It wasn't everyday, but enough to become something that made me start making bargains with God.

One time, I could tell that God was moving in me to deepen our relationship. I broke down in the shower and told him that I believed that in order for me to trust Him that I KNEW He was going to put me through that kind of loss again. It was a twisted reality, but a reality none the less. I assumed that to follow Christ would mean a "sacrifice" so I could trust Him. Sheesh, the devil had done a number.

Later, I had kids. Oh man, talk about fear. We were going to go on a short trip and leave my two oldest girls with my parents. They were little and I was still dealing with panic attacks. I asked our Sunday School for prayer. I would play out what could happen if we got killed or if my girls did when they were outside my watchful eye.

My dear teacher just asked me point blank, "What would happen to your girls if you died?" I'd never played it all the way out. The point he was trying to make was that they'd be fine. It helped, but I wasn't free.

Fast forward a few years later. Mom came to pick them up for the day after we had moved back to Oklahoma. They were in the car, and as she backed out she mentioned that they were going to run down and see my sister who lived 45 minutes away. "Okay!" I said boldly.

I went inside and within seconds a panic attack consumed me. I called JT in near hysterics and he calmed me down. He said, "Go get in the shower and relax, I'm on my way home."

Again, I found myself if the shower, this time making threats to God. I guess this stuff happens in the shower because I'm all alone and most vulnerable! Anyway, this is what I said to Him, and I was serious!

"God, if you take one of my kids, all bets are off. I quit. I love you, but I'm just going to be done talking to you. I promise, if one of them dies, we're through."


He just let me cry. Sometimes that's the best thing He can do.

I'm a little shady on the time frame but I can remember that during these few years it was so hard to let go of fear. I cried many times and would fret, worry and dread driving and flying.

He spoke over me once in my quiet time.



"You know how much you love your kids?"


"I love them more than you could ever muster up. Give them to me."

I wrestled and cried and wept, but I knew that God was good. His plan for me was only good, not fear. Not dread. Not worry.

I had stuffed my backpack of fear over and over. I had let it rule me and hang on my back to the point that I could not carry it anymore. I would pack it up with all kinds of what-if's and headed down into the Grand Canyon of Darkness. No donkey to help me. Just me and my backpack of fear.

I knew the verses. I knew the truth, but until I humbled myself and let Him take my heavy backpack of fear I would just crumble under the weight of it.

So I did. I gave it to Him. I began to trust Him and know that anything bad that could happen would not be His fault. We live in a broken world and bad, terrible things happen, but my God is good. So very good.

He promises that He has not given us a spirit of fear! He's given us a spirit of power! (See 2 Tim 1:7) He promises that there is no fear in love and if He is love and He is in us, then we can know that fear is not from Him! (See 1 John 4:18)

He trumps fear!!! WHOOP WHOOP

And finally, my last real bout with fear came on an airplane last year. I was feeling the fear creep in (and it's real, and I'm sure it will come back), but God said to me, "You need to be done with this."

That was all He said. I giggled and said, "Ok." And I was.

We have come so far together that He knows I just need a reminder every now and then that He is God, He is Good, and He loves me.

I've tried to take my backpack up many times and I feel the hand of the Spirit on mine reminding me that He'll carry that for me.

He'll carry it for you too.

Do you carry a backpack of fear? Do you fear loss, financial problems? Do you fear for your kids or friends? Do you fear rejection or more pain?

Fear not, I bring you good news of great joy!

God is here and He is Good!

For more reading...

I John 5:4-5
Psalm 9:9-10
Psalm 27:1

Just read the Psalms! :)


deleise said...

Natalie that is so good. Satan does love fear, doesn't he? Sometimes if David is late and doesn't answer his phone I practically have the funeral arangements made and am in mourning by the time he calls me back in 5 minutes and tells me sorry, he was on the phone. I'm getting much better, though. Satan stinks.

lori said...

You know 3 years ago my college roommates husband was killed in a car accident on a business order to get there, we literally passed the scene on the highway...the similarities were too much...they had 3 children the same age as mine and for quite awhile after, I had to go to GOD with the fears that surfaced because of that......

"You need to be done with this.."
I've heard HIM say those words to me...DONE with it...either you trust me or you don't...let's stop the games...
Backpacks of fear can get mighty heavy...I know, I carried one for awhile!

loved it...
love ya!!


Julie said...

When I was young...can't remember the age, elementary of my neighbors was killed, her grandparent, cousin and aunt in a head on collision. I was really closer to her sister than to her. She was closer to my sister. She was still in elementary school when she died. I didn't realize until later in life how much that accident brought fear and pain to my heart.

Fear is a real eats away at us...

I have battled fear too. The more I know Him and His heart...the less I fear.

Thanks for sharing your heart.

Angie said...

Boy do I have a backpack of fear. Thank you for this. God (and my best friend who gave me the link here) knows I need this.

I'm going on a trip away for the longest time from my girls ever and had the thought that I might start really worrying about dying. I hadn't actually gotten to really worrying about that, but I had "bookmarked" it in my head for later. Funny how reading this I realize that God was doing just the same thing to, Angie you don't need to worry about that.

God bless, Angie.

Natalie Witcher said...

Ladies, our GOD can kick fear in the teeth! Sweet Angie, I pray that you will trust Him to take care of you and your kids. He loves you more than you know!

Theresa said...

Have you noticed that at times your backpack of fear leads you to be a control queen. Because if I am in control nothing bad can happen so there is nothing to fear. It is when I was stumbling down that road that I was really messed up. Amazing what Fear can do to you.