You are held.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over my life so much that I nearly drowned.  (Mark 4:37 rewritten) 

I immediately panicked and put on the nearest life vest floating on the water.

Then I grabbed buckets and furiously worked to dump the water out as quickly as possible. 

I cried and screamed until my throat hurt. I pounded my fists and through gritted teeth I finally yelled, “God, wake up! Are you asleep? Please help me! Can’t you see I’m drowning here? I’m sinking and there’s nothing else I can do.”

In exhaustion, I quit! I threw the life vests and buckets overboard and waited as the water continued to pour and rise.  

I thought I was going to die. Just before the water got up to my mouth I whispered, “I give up.”

Immediately I felt him hold me in his big arms and I heard him say, “Good, let’s get to work.” 

I laid there numb as the water stopped pouring. The waves were completely flat with just ruffles of movement. The dark clouds parted, and the sunshine warmed my face.  Everything was beautiful and bright. I was so tired that I fell asleep peacefully in his arms.  

When I woke up, I thanked him for coming to my rescue and saving me. He smiled and laughed a little when he replied, “Michelle, I was right here the entire time, but you were so determined to save yourself. You’ve always felt like you had to protect your world and everything in it. That feeling of needing to be in control helped you survive your childhood. It’s like a reflex for you.”

But now, that desperate need for control holds you back. It gets in your way and it paralyzes you. It doesn’t serve you well at all anymore, and it’s so automatic for you it’s hard for you to even see it.”

Now let’s try this again.

My eyes widened as the sky grew dark.  The clouds boomed and the lightning lit up the sky.  My heart started to race and I struggled in his arms.  The more I pulled away, the tighter he held me.  I winced as the water came up to my ears and this time instead of screaming I started to sing. I clapped my hands and raised my arms in worship as if the booming thunder and lights were just a part of the concert.  

A funny thing happened.

As I sang, my heart rate slowed down.  My eyes met His gaze. The panic and anxiety slowly left, but the storm raged on. 

It was as if I was floating on the furious waves. They continued to pound me, but I didn’t sink.  The water continued to rise but I didn’t drown. The wind blew with fury, but I hardly moved.  

Tears of Joy welled up in my eyes as I finally realized I was safe in the arms of my Heavenly Father. Safe in every season and in every storm! 

I simply had to let go.  

I had to learn how to part with fear and control, and how to link arms with faith and praise.  

It wasn’t easy, but when a new storm arrived and made my heart pound instead of looking for a way to control it or manage it, I looked for his arms.  

I remembered his faithfulness in prior storms. 

Even though I still get scared, I sing out loud in my shaky voice.  I lift my arms in praise through tears.  I say His name over and over, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Music keeps me focused on being held. The praise keeps my focus on Jesus and not my circumstances.  

Jesus simply looked at the waves and commanded them to be still. Just like that! When there’s chaos, seek him, praise Him and let His presence usher peace and calm into your life. 

You are loved.

You are safe. 

You are held.  

Do you remember the last storm that swept into your life? What did you do to stay focused on Jesus? What song do you sing when your life is spinning out of control? What promise do you cling to in His word? As the storms rage all around you, how did you sense His presence?

Are you in a storm right now? I would love to pray for you. Please comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com.

Take Me to the King by Tamela Mann is a song that has blessed me in all of my storms. I pray it blesses you.

You are not intimidated.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
    but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

I pray this sets someone free.  

It happened two Sunday’s ago. I walked in a little late to Sunday School and sat quietly in the empty chair directly in front of my friend Tope, the teacher. The four of us took turns reading through Proverbs 29. I had read the chapter before church and verse 25 stood out to me every time I read it.

When we finished reading, Tope sat back in her chair and asked us in her rich accent, “What do we see here?” When she looked at me, I read verse 25 out loud again and explained, “This verse really resonates with me.” As we discussed the verse, Tope said, “Yes, our fear of man can make them be like an idol in our life.”

I am not sure if I said it out loud or whispered it, “I am not afraid of him.” 

As they moved on to other verses, I stared at the Bible App on my phone, and started reading verse 25 in other translations. 

I was thinking, “I am not afraid of him, but I am still so afraid..why am I so afraid?” when I came across verse 25 in The Passion Translation:  

Fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back.
But when you place your confidence in the Lord,
you will be seated in the high place.

Proverbs 29:25 TPT

My heart started pounding, and I saw mini-movies and screenshots flash in my mind of the ways he convinced me to NEVER TELL about the abuse. 

Can you imagine the amount of cruel intimidation it takes to ensure a child keeps a painful secret? As a child, I didn’t really understand all that was happening to me, but I completely understood that if I ever told, the most awful and dreadful things would happen. And, it would be all my fault because I told. I had to keep the secret.  

I could faintly hear them discussing another verse in Proverbs, because I was still staring at my phone and the word intimidation.

I thought about what it was like to live and grow up in fear. Bullied. Terrified. As an adult looking back to that small child inside of me, I felt deep anger and incredible sadness at the same time.    

Tope circled back to me and said, “Michelle, what are you thinking?”  

I shook my head and quietly said, “It is too soon,” because I felt very small and vulnerable. Yet, I also knew I was in a safe place with sisters in Christ, so I continued…

“When you said our fear of man can make them an idol in our life… I am not afraid of him.  On the day I confronted him, he walked in like a Goliath but he left small.  It’s not that I am afraid of him, but I am so very afraid. Look at this verse in The Passion Translation.”

As I read it, my eyes filled with tears and with a shaky voice I said, “Intimidation is a trap that holds you back. He bullied me constantly to keep me quiet. I never told.”

As I continued to break down and share more, they moved closer to me. Tope stood behind me and prayed over me. 

We were going to be late for church.  

A part of me felt like I needed to apologize to them, but I also knew I had experienced relief and deliverance once again and I was so thankful. There are layers and layers on this healing journey, and I’ve learned it is always worth it to keep going deeper and experience more healing and freedom.    

This spirit of intimidation has wreaked havoc in my life for years. It has held me back and made me feel trapped. 

Have you been bullied? Intimidated? Filled with fear? Manipulated into silence?  

It’s a trap, designed to hold you back. 

I’m praying you are able to see how you were intimidated and bullied.

I’m praying you are able to grieve the deep pain from it.

I’m praying you have a safe place to process how it impacted you. 

I’m praying you are delivered from the trap. 

You are not intimidated. 

Your confidence is in the Lord. 

You are safe.  

Baby Steps: He is with me.

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I have always struggled with fear and what if’s. 

I worried about my kids and wanted to keep them safe. I rarely used a babysitter. I preferred to just bring them with us on a date rather than worry the entire time.  

Fear always rattled my cage but no one knew because I wore the “I’m okay, it’s okay, let’s laugh and have fun because life is good” mask.  Somehow, as long as I was dancing that dance, it made it almost felt true.

Still, the fear roared behind the smile. 

Just the thought of disclosing the abuse made me freeze with fear as I imagined all the domino effects.  I felt like I was completely and absolutely responsible over where, when and how each domino would fall.  After several fatal scenarios played out in my mind, I wanted to give up.

It consumed me to think about everything that could go wrong. Those life long fears surfaced and the loud voices in my head pleaded with me to just quit because there was too much risk.  

When I shared this with my counselor, she gently brought to my attention that God was big enough to handle all of the dominos.  He was big enough to work it out in those individuals and their hearts.  

I knew I was not capable of working any of it out, but I also realized that I was afraid to let Him or believe that He could.  

In the middle of sweaty exercise, it hit me.  All of these things that I do to protect myself and to protect my world leaves very little room for God to do His thing.  

Did I really believe that He worked all things together for good? 

I knew that my head trusted Him, but my heart was learning how to trust.  My head knew about His unfailing love but my heart was just starting to open up to His love. I wanted to let go of the fear and trust Him with everything, big and small. 

Often, I would remind myself and even say out loud, “He’s with me. He will protect me. He is in charge.” 

When I am tapped into His strength and follow Him, I don’t have to juggle and manage so much.    

I was used to holding on tightly and He was teaching me to let go.   

Let the Domino’s fall where they may. He is a big God.  I am His beloved daughter and I am simply called to trust Him and take the next step.    

It was time to let Him into the driver’s seat.  

So do not be afraid. I am with you.
    Do not be terrified. I am your God.
I will make you strong and help you.
    I will hold you safe in my hands.
    I always do what is right. Isaiah 41:10 NIVR

This is post #15 in the Baby Steps series.  To start at the beginning, click here.

Overcoming Fear by Trusting in Jesus

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 NIV

Fear has always been my constant companion. It doesn’t take much to trigger fear in me. I’m often afraid of something. In fact when I’m not afraid, I worry about what will happen next and the cycle of fear continues.

When I finally realized why I was so scared and that I didn’t have to live afraid anymore, then fear lost its grip on me.

Fear still visits me more than I’d like to admit, but when it shows up now, I’m armed and ready.

Are you ready to say, #ByeByeFear?

Click below to watch as I share my story of “Overcoming Fear by Trusting in Jesus” at the Hope Restored Women’s Conference.

Additional Resources:

Fight F. E. A. R. by…

F – Fixing your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2-3)
E – Engaging with safe community (Hebrews 10:23-25)
A – Admitting you’re struggling with fear (Psalm 34:17-18)
R – Releasing it, and replacing it with God’s promises (Psalm 56:3)

Questions for Personal Reflection:  

  1. What fears are holding you back?
  2. What lies were whispered to you that make you feel unworthy, unloved and insecure?
  3. Have you given Him full access to your story?

Key Verses:  

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