…And Grace My Fears Relieved

Amazing Grace is one of my all-time favorite songs.  Written by a former slave-trader who lived a less- than-stellar life before he met Christ, this usage defines grace as God’s eternal, life-saving, undeserved favor.  The origins of grace in Latin are related to thankfulness—and in Greek, to rejoicing.


God is characterized by His grace.  And he is thankful and rejoices over us when we recognize and accept his graciousness (Isaiah 62:5).  In return, we are to be a thankful and rejoicing people (Isaiah 61:10).

Today I am that sort of person—thankful and rejoicing because of God’s grace.  Just recently He handed me a week full of blessings for no particular reason as far as I know.  I think He just loves me:).

But before I describe the blessings, I need to mention the contrast of the week before last. That week was characterized by fear.

I know fear. It is a gift (not!) I give to myself.  Anxiety may be a better word for what I experience, but fear is the core emotion. This time it was brought on by the anticipation of an anniversary trip with my husband to the New England Coast. The trip itself was not the stressor.  The stressor was preparing for the trip and feeling okay with leaving the kids at home.  Special-needs moms know this stress well.  Will the kids adjust?  Will they behave?  How will the caretakers handle a meltdown? Will they recognize critical signs or symptoms?  What if the plane goes down or my husband or I don’t return from our trip?  How will anyone else help my children when only I know what they really need?

Our kids are actually young adults now so they took care of themselves when we traveled this time.  That in itself is a a measure of God’s amazing grace, although it also brings into play its own set of concerns. One of our children still can get seriously anxious and depressed when we leave—but nobody else would know because she’ll rarely share those feelings with others.  The other child relies on us for complicated decision-making, and sometimes, for basic common sense.  These kids are not ready to live on their own without their parents picking up and piecing together some missing links.  This means I am still concerned about the plane going down.

I have one other fear related to travel. It’s almost too silly to mention, but I’ll do it anyway. I have a fear of bringing the wrong stuff on the trip.  Trivial? Yes. Logically worth worry?  No. But my brain obsesses about what to pack.  It gets stuck on color, style, function and being prepared for potential inconveniences or discomforts. Unfortunately, I do this on most every trip and it always stresses me during the week before our departure.

The only good part of this repeating fear is that every time I travel, God relieves the anxiety.  As soon as I get into the car or airplane, God seems to cover my journeys with undeserved favor and blessing. The preparation is done and I suddenly become aware that everybody and everything within my sphere of responsibility is under God’s control.  This brings joy and relief. But aren’t those things under His control even when I am in my busy mode of preparation?  Yes. Absolutely yes.  But I see them more clearly when I physically drive away from my sphere of influence.

Maybe that’s why I noticed when God extended three particularly sweet gifts on this most recent trip.

  1. While we were gone, a friendship was forged between our daughter, Madeline, and the acquaintance/friend she invited to keep her company while we were away. The willingness of this friend to spend the week with our daughter was a tremendous gift in the first place because Madeline has been without good friends since she developed chronic fatigue, followed by depression and anxiety, six years ago. This friend’s name is Grace. Yes, really. Her name is Grace.
  2. The second gift was that, for the first time ever, we didn’t receive an anxious call from our daughter while we were away. Can I tell you how long we have waited for that moment? I’d say about 16 years.
  3. As for me, I packed just the right attire. We had beautiful weather, two safe and easy airplane flights, and a great week of Fall color and sight-seeing.


What big or small worries are defining your days right now?  Is there relief in sight?  It is easier to see God’s grace and provision when under a short-term stressor like travel, but I have been through stressors that lasted for YEARS without relief.  I get it.  Still, I’ll leave you with these thoughts:

  • Never give up hope that God will extend some undeserved favor toward you or your loved ones. If you tend to worry, take the next step and trust God anyway. You may or may not feel completely relaxed, but deep down, your heart will be at peace.


  • Watch for it, because God (now or later) will show you His amazing grace. 


  • Be thankful, joyful, and tell the story of grace and your fears relieved.

The Overcoming

A Poem Inspired by Jesus and His Disciples

on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24)


by Karen Crum

All stood still

In disbelief

Faces downcast

Beyond relief

“We had hoped…”

But hopes were dashed

Plans were ruined

Security smashed

They shuffled along

No victory claimed

All seemed lost

No hope remained

But Jesus rose

and listened then

to broken hearts

and seeking men

He did not

So much comfort shed

But told them “Look

At what was said..

by prophets

oh, so long ago

predicting loss

and suffering so.”

“Don’t look down”,

he seemed to say

Believe the truth,

Do not dismay

For I am here

You see me now

I’ve overcome

I’ll show you how

To live beyond

the moment here

past your feelings

past despair

Listen to

my book, my Word

and Spirit whisperings

quietly heard

Look to truth

keep your eyes up

I’ve surpassed

the bitter cup.”





Choosing a Year of No Fear

I had a dream recently that is typical for my unconscious nighttime adventures.  I dreamt I was on a beach vacation with a group of family and friends, but was stressed out because we all had identical black suitcases and I was constantly confused about which was mine.  I went from one to the other, certain I had found mine, only to reach in and discover that it was someone else’s.  I was anxious to be missing my own belongings and worried that I would be unjustly accused of theft.  Also, I was worried about how badly I needed a shower…

I know there are some particular anxieties revealed in this dream that might interest some psychotherapist, but, for today let’s focus on the feelings of anxiety in general.  This dream reflects what God and I know about worry in my life.  It has played a starring role too often.  In response, God directed me to choose a theme for my year– the theme of No Fear. I rarely even make New Years Resolutions so choosing a theme for a year is a totally new experience for me, but it’s sorely needed. Others may not see fear as prominent in my life because I don’t always act based on these feelings, but God and I know I have to beat them down regularly.

As I write, I am cautious about using  the word, “fear” because I have rarely had my life or safety threatened in a way that others may have experienced, and I don’t want to minimize those intense events.  Worry or anxiety, however, has fear at it’s core.  And fear, played out in our minds and bodies over time has a negative impact on our health and quality of life.  Research demonstrates that it puts us at higher risk for cancer, auto-immune disorders and chronic inflammation and illness.  More importantly, it is like a vice on your life.  Over time, fear squeezes out joy and traps you in its dreary grip, making you feel like you will be in its forced service forever.

For parents of children with special needs, fear can be a daily occurrence.  You may be afraid that your child with autism, who wanders out of your watchful eye, will run into danger.  You may have a depressed child that you fear might harm him or herself when left alone.  I worried about how my child would act at school and if she would face rejection. I was anxious about taking trips on an airplane lest I not return to raise my children.  The list of potential worries in parenting are endless. And to top it off, I was afraid to stop being afraid because I thought that letting my guard down might lead to disaster.


If this sounds at all familiar, join me in living a Year with No Fear.  In Isaiah 41:10, God tells us, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my mighty righteous hand. ” It is worth the risk to let go and let your guard down because God’s guard is always up! The magnificence of that will be the topic of another day.  For now, let’s just make the commitment to stand against fear.   It will be a struggle and I need accountability.  Do you?  Let’s help each other.







When “Scary” Invades Your Home

The Halloween season has just passed and the “scary” items are disappearing from the shelves replaced by fall, Thanksgiving and even Christmas decorations. Stores have put the jack-o-lanterns, skeletons and ghoulish attire on clearance shelves in hopes of hastening their way out of the stores. The season of “scare” in retail is gone for another year, and I am pretty happy with that. It is not my favorite time of the year. Fear is not my favorite emotion.

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