I hear the piercing shriek divide the nearly-midnight air and immediately I become a 90 degree angle in twisted and cozy blankets.

My own sleep will have to wait.  My mind wanders to the approximately 1,000,000 other mothers whose sleep will also be interrupted this exact evening.

Eyes at half-mast, I make my way down the hallway to find the middleman in a torrent of emotion – crying, screaming, sadness.  The tear-stained face that awakens the innate part of a mama to scoop up her young without conscious thought looks to me to make it all OK.

“Mama, I’m scared”, wails my first-born son.  “I’m so scared!”

Fear.  It takes root so early and wraps itself around our young branches before we are even aware it’s happening.

I hold him.  We pray and ask God to relieve Him of this terror and to be assured that God is bigger than anything that could ever scare him.  We sing a song.

The tears are gone and the night has resumed it’s quiet peace that existed before fear squeezed so tightly around my young son.

I walk a little more steadily now, back to the electric blanket, back to the sleeping dentist, and I think about fear.

It’s the worst kind of thief – fear is not like a bank-robber who does his job quickly and overtly and moves on.

No.  Fear is more like a pick-pocket that sneaks in and suddenly what we thought was there is gone and in it’s place has been left something we didn’t ask to possess in the first place.

During this past year, I’ve learned much by simply unpacking Bible verses –  there is abundant meaning in even one sentence.  Certainly not every sentence of the Bible – but several.  Several that I often just read “at face value”, on a literal level that cheats me of understanding it’s full, intended message.

Today is the first day of a series I am beginning on unpacking Matthew 14:22-34.  I was drawn to this passage while writing an article earlier last week and reading it through new lenses, I was awestruck.  It is one rich passage.

Jesus had just finished feeding the five thousand.  Understandably, he needed to be alone, to pray, to spend some time with his Father.

That group of raw-human men, his disciples, were instructed to get on a boat to begin their journey to Gennesaret.  Jesus would join them later.

The waves begin to topple the boat.  A storm descended upon the men who were immediately filled with fear.  This was it.  Surely, they would all perish.  There was no way out.

And then Jesus.  Of course, Jesus.

He appears and the men are scared even further for their Savior is walking towards them.  On water.  They believe he is certainly a ghost.

“Take courage!” It is I.  Don’t be afraid,” he tells them. (v. 27)

There are well over 20 verses in the Bible about fear.  Our Creator knows it to be such a prevalent emotion for He made us this way for a reason – so we would press into Him.   It’s so human of us to fear.

But what exactly is fear?  Natural and human, yes.  Lack of trust in Him?


But God.

He tells us to take courage.  It is Him.  He tells us to not be afraid.

Over cresting waves.  Under lightening and the smashing of thunder.  Through terror. Take courage.

Further thoughts on this wretched pick-pocket will be here tomorrow as I pray over verse 27 this week…

On this Multitude Monday, my list of 1,000 things continues…I am so thankful for:

272.  He tells us to take courage.  It IS Him.  We are not to be afraid.  Trust.

273.  Anne Voskamp’s new book, One Thousand Gifts. Wow.

274.  Finishing The Shack and actually enjoying it despite being told I would not.

275.  Praying through a call we are unsure of yet exercising our trust in Him to lead us where to go.

276.  After a six week hiatus, Bible study resumes!  We will be studying Beth Moore’s new David study.

277.  My little girl.  She is reading.  And enjoying chapter books (that I read aloud to her).  This lover of words is ECSTATIC.  And you know what she loves to do the very most?  Write.  Oh boy.

278.  The two monkeys that live in our home and are loud, acrobatic, and bubbling over with more energy than I’ve EVER had – those boys bring a level of life to our family that wouldn’t exist without them.

279.  A friend who supports my need to release these captive words.  Who gives me time to set them free.  Who brings me a bagel and coffee in bed so I don’t have to go downstairs and upset the masses.  So I can release.  That friend is my husband.

280.  Praise be to God for the cancer-free diagnosis of my other friend’s husband.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Thank you.

This week, if you feel the fear rising between your rib cage and pushing against your wind pipe, may you take courage.  May you know who He is.  May you refuse to be afraid.

Want to read a wonderful post on how we sometimes change in different situations?  Visit my sweet friend Eryn at Mama Hall and read her wise words!

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