Mommy fear was in the forefront of my mind.
My 6-year-old had recently learned to ride her bike and it was time to practice her skills. She was wobbly and unstable. We were venturing out on her first solo family bike ride on a Tahoe trail.
I prayed over and over, “Lord, please keep her safe,” as my mind visualized her crashing. I followed close behind, trying to coach her.
And then it happened. Her handlebars swiveled, she lost control and flew off her bike. Panic overcame me as I swerved to avoid her and hit my breaks.
The next thing I knew, I was flipping over my bike, my entire body in midair, crashing backwards onto the graveled pavement.
I couldn’t get up; intense pain radiated in my elbow. And so there we were both mother and daughter, crying on the pavement.
Thankfully, my daughter only suffered road rash on her tummy. I, on the other hand, would endure surgery the day before Easter for a shattered elbow involving pins and plates in my bone, 21 staples and months of physical therapy.
I have reviewed that day in my mind many times. I find it interesting that what I feared actually happened. And yet it wasn’t half as bad as I had imagined; my daughter was ok.
Sometimes the fear of “what if” will captivate our minds. It will take the joy out of the journey as we worry about what might happen.
Fear had plagued my mind before the bike ride ever started.
And so I ask myself, “what am I really afraid of?”
I’m afraid of losing one of my children.
I think of the pain of dear ones going through the loss of a child… a friend who recently had a brain aneurysm and lost the ability to function on her own and whose husband is now struggling to care for her and their children.
A year later our family was on Spring break in Tahoe again. My elbow was healed. The family wanted to go on a bike ride later that afternoon.
I was afraid to get back on my bike. I wasn’t sure if I should go or not.
I went on a morning jog and heard the words of Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture softening my heart: “He loves us… Oh how He loves us…” over and over, the words repeated themselves. God was telling me He loved me until the words penetrated my heart so deeply that my sobs suddenly burst through all the hidden places I stuffed them.
I ran up the hill—breathing in God’s love for me and breathing out all my fears and doubts—the hill that so many times mirrored my journey as I struggled to run the race of life and make sense of all the sorrow in it and the fear I held inside of me.
I told God how tired I was of being afraid. Afraid of something bad happening, afraid of doing the wrong thing, afraid of what people think of me—afraid, afraid, afraid!
And yes—afraid of falling off my bike!
Get back on your bike. Go on that bike ride.
Those are the words I heard silently in my head. God, is that you speaking to me? Or are those my own thoughts? How do I know that’s you?
The answer came right away. Again—words that I felt were not my own just appearing in my mind, suddenly.
You will never know if you don’t obey.
And then I knew it was true. Obeying meant trusting Him. How would I know whether His promptings were from Him if I did not obey? I wouldn’t.
And so I got back on my bike. And I didn’t fall.
I’m learning to believe and trust in His love for me—to listen and obey what I know He is calling me to do, not what I think others think I should do.
I’m learning to stop always worrying about the “what ifs” and turn them into “even ifs.” It became clear to me that no matter what happens to me or my family in this life, fearing the “what ifs” only shatters my trust in God, but turning them into “even ifs” helps develop my trust in His love for me, so that I know that…
Even if… I fall… He will take care of me.
Even if… the worst happens… He will carry me through it.
Even if… someone doesn’t like something I do or say… I know my worth.
Even if… I fail… I will be ok.
Whatever it is that you are fearful of today, try turning it around and saying, “even if.”
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10 NIV)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. (Psalm 46:1-6 NIV)