This is a series on unpacking Matthew 14:22-34.  This week, our focus is on verse 27 – “Have courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” (Jesus to the disciples)  Click here to read the first post in this series.

I lie on my back soaking in the tub, hair dancing around me like seaweed stuck against a plank.

I hear music that fills me up as I ruminate on beautiful words I just read in Anne Voskamp’s new book One Thousand Things.

I’m thinking so much about fear – how it entraps us, how it controls us, how it limits us until we don’t even realize it is so and we are stuck.

We must do something or it will surely eat away at our soul like a hungry cancer with relentless force.  It won’t stop until we administer our own chemotherapy, our own poison against what is evil and the only place it can be found are among the thin pages of a thick book next to my bed.

And then I see it.

In the canned light above me, within the frosted plastic of it’s cover, I see a very much-alive spider trapped within the confines of the space it is in.

It walks one direction, believing to be free, until it runs smack into the other side of the light.  Another wall.

How ironic.


It entraps us.  Blocks us within confines we don’t even see. We think we are free, we rejoice for a moment, then we walk into another barrier and more times than I care to admit, the root is submerged in fear.

I watch a while longer then contemplate asking my husband to take the light apart to free the spider.  I know what his reaction will be and decide against it but determine I can no longer watch that arachnid walk from side to side trying to get out.

It’s brutal to watch others live in fear, too.

I move downstairs and decide it’s time for a snack of the beloved nectar derived from avocados.

I assemble the ingredients – the cilantro, the onion, the salsa, the salt.  Cumin.  And of course, the avocados.

Each negative emotion, thought, feeling I’ve ever had can be traced back to the root of fear.  That sneaky pick-pocket of a thief.

My impatience with my children when we are running late and no one has any sense of urgency except for me?  Traced back to the fear of not seeming like I have it all together, that maybe I’m NOT a perfect mother after all. (Which for the record, I don’t even come close.)

In the early years of our marriage, when I was convinced he would leave me after one petty argument?  Traced back to the fear of abadonment.

I combine the ingredients of my beloved guacamole together and marvel at how I don’t enjoy any of them alone but mixed together, they become a choir of beautiful voices, voices I readily devour with contentment.

“Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27)

The pieces of us are mixed together into a  beautiful creation.  Created in His image.  Though we are flawed and He is not.

Yet He knows us so well because He is the Creator.  Just like I know all of the pieces of the guacamole I’m making, He knows every ingredient of us  –  His masterpiece.

With over 20 verses in the Bible about fear, He created us to be fearful so we would look to Him, the only one who can allow us to take courage.  Fear is just one ingredient that forces us to seek Him – to look to Him for guidance, for rest.  For restoration, for repentance.  For love.

And ironically, as I write, I wonder if fear isn’t sometimes a positive emotion, a catalyst that encourages us to get out of the boat.  That tells us we might need to examine something further.

Perhaps it just depends on what we do with it.  Like all of God’s ingredients that combine to create us, we must use what He has given us for good.

Fear, if used for good, can lead to freedom.  Freedom leads to thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving leads to joy.  Joy leads to faithfulness that is contagious.

We apply courage.  We recognize who He is.  He walks beside us as we try not to be afraid.

And we are on that path to freedom.

You may recall that two weeks ago, I shared my latest obsession on guacamole.  A few asked for my recipe.

Mommy on Fire’s Guacamole

4 avocados, peeled and smashed

Fresh cilantro*

Juice of one lime

Fresh diced onion

Fresh tomatoes or chunky salsa

Cumin – however much you desire!

Sea salt – same drill – however much you desire!

Mix together.

Eat with either Baked Tostitos Scoops or fresh veggies.  Rice crackers are good, too!

Enjoy.  Love.  Relish all of those ingredients.

Other blogs to explore along with the Sisterhood?

Visit Marci at Overcoming Busy to learn more about “Cooking Once and Eating Twice” – totally making that Baked Potato Soup and Saucy Curry Chicken…

Cherie at Heart and Soul Reflections is also reading Anne Voskamp’s new book One Thousand Things and has great information regarding the (in)courage book club on this title that will begin on February 6.

Linking with sweet Jen from Finding Heaven for Soli Deo Sisterhood…

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