Fear is a part of being human. But a life of fear, a heart filled with fear is not God’s will for His children. In this post, my friend Amanda Lee shares the true story of how a heart of fear was transformed by God’s Word. I pray it encourages you.
Watching God’s Word Transform a Heart of Fear
It was mid-November. The city had just received a fresh dump of snow and my eyes were drawn to the bonus room windows where I looked down at the street below. The sidewalk was full of kids carrying backpacks as they all made their way to the school at the end of our street. Two bright yellow school buses packed with kids passed by and I felt my heart squeeze a little.
I turned to face my own two kids, still in their pajamas. My daughter’s hair resembled a rat’s nest that desperately needed brushing, although I wasn’t winning any beauty contests that morning either. My plan of starting our homeschool days with us all dressed by 8:30 AM now felt like a reproach. Pushing it away, I decided to focus on the curriculum we needed to get through that day.
With a fresh cup of coffee in my hand, I got my son set up with a puzzle then turned to my daughter. Taking a big sigh I asked her, “Ok honey.. are you ready for math?” She said nothing as her bottom lip began to quiver. Tears began to fill her eyes and slowly trickle down her cheeks. Without answering me she stared blankly at the math page in front of her.
My head dropped into my hands and I rubbed my eyes, trying to gain my own composure. It was only 8:30 AM, and this battle we were facing daily was becoming more than I could handle. I had only been homeschooling for two months, but I already felt completely exhausted. When it came time to do math, my daughter struggled.
Failure was frightening.
Trembling replaced trying.
Simple tasks were scary.
And I was at a loss.
That morning, as I looked at my girl once again battling her inner demons, I felt powerless. I wanted her to have victory over her fears, but I had no idea how to help her.
After we slogged our way through our lessons I got my kids settled into some quiet time. I carried a fresh cup of coffee into my bathroom, and poured a hot bubble bath. There, I sobbed my heart out.
“God, this anxiety stuff is impossible. I’ve tried everything! Cheering her on, giving her snacks, letting her have lots of breaks. I’ve cut down on our lessons, I’ve picked the best curriculum I can find and nothing is helping. I can’t stand seeing her so afraid. What does she need, God?”
Sizing it Up
I’ll admit when I first stepped into homeschooling I was more concerned with how pretty our homeschool room would look than how I would begin to tackle my daughter’s anxiety issues (which had begun to surface towards the end of the previous school year).
I spent months transforming our bonus room. I had all our books ready to go, neatly lined up on a bookshelf that also held markers, pencils and every craft supply under the sun. I had furnished our bonus room to be a welcoming place to learn. I assumed that because I was prepared, it would be smooth sailing.
“It’s grade 1 and 3… How hard can it be?” I remember telling my husband.
It never occurred to me that bringing my son and daughter home for the year also meant having to do daily battle with my girl’s anxiety. I assumed that if she was home with me, her fears would disappear.
I pictured happy homeschool days where my children would rise up and call me blessed. But instead, our days looked more like a cruel repeat of Groundhog Day.
That night in bed, as I reflected on our day I knew something had to change.
Recognizing the Enemy
Can you remember what you were afraid of as a child? Childhood fears are common. Most of us can say that we had normal fears when we were growing up.
As a child, I was afraid of the space under my bed. After turning out my light at night it wasn’t uncommon for me to dash towards my bed and jump under the covers. I always pictured a hairy, decrepit hand reaching out from under the bed, ready to grab my feet and pull me under. I can’t for the life of me tell you how I developed that fear, but as is the case with most fears, I quickly outgrew it.
Our kids will face all kinds of fears as they grow up. It is normal. But fears that remain and severely begin to impact them daily are an entirely different story.
The Apostle Paul recognized fear in Timothy and exhorted him. (See 1 Corinthians 16:10, 1 Timothy 4:12, and 2 Timothy 1:7.) Paul knew that fear is a spirit and the spirit of fear that Timothy was battling was not from God.
In Matthew 4:1-11 we read about Jesus’ temptation by Satan in the desert. Satan attacks Jesus three times and all three times Jesus fires back with the truth of God’s Word. Satan then flees like the coward he is and angels begin to minister to Jesus.
I realized that if I wanted my daughter to have victory over the enemy’s attacks, we would have to start fighting this battle the way that Jesus did when He was in the desert – by firing back with God’s Word.
Honey, Pick up Your Sword
Ephesians 6:17 tells us that we have a mighty weapon against spiritual warfare. The Sword of the Spirit is God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. There is nothing that does more damage to the lies of the enemy than the Sword of the Spirit.
That evening while my family slept I sat at the kitchen table with my daughter’s pink Bible and a pile of sticky notes. I marked dozens of verses that spoke about God’s love, His help, and His protection. I underlined every verse I could find on fear and circled every promise I knew would encourage her.
From that point on, our homeschooling days had a new purpose. My focus shifted from just getting through the curriculum, to training my girl how to fight her battle using the only sword we had – God’s Word.
Every time I would see her eyes begin to fill with tears I would gently tell her, “Honey, pick up your sword.” She would put down her pencil and flip to one of the sticky notes in her Bible and read a verse out loud.
Gradually, her demeanor began to change. Yes, the tears would still come during math. But they ended much sooner. And when they did, she had new hope, new peace, and new encouragement.
“This is hard mom, I can’t do this!” turned into “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13).”
“I always mess up” turned into “God’s power is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10).”
“I’m afraid because I don’t want to make a mistake” turned into “God is my strength, I do not have to be afraid (Isa.12:2).”
Over time, the truth of God’s Word began to cut out the spirit of fear that had taken residence in my daughter’s heart. She had learned how to fight her battle the only way she could win it – with the sword of God’s Word.
Victory in Jesus
The practice of turning to the Bible was transformational in my daughter’s life. I am convinced it was the only thing that had the power to bring her victory over her fears. I have watched her grow and conquer demons that only her Heavenly Father could have battled for her, but it took her picking up her sword and fighting back.
At the end of our homeschool year my daughter was truly transformed. She was thriving, strong, and was living the abundant life I always wanted for her. She rarely cried during the day and she realized that she is actually very good at math!
Two years later I often remind her of how far God has brought her: from a timid and fearful girl, to a strong girl who found her value and strength in the truth of God’s Word. My girl had solid, Biblical roots.
What about you, sweet mama? Do your kids know how much power is found in God’s Word? When the storms of life come, do they have a strong, solid root system that will keep them upright?
Over the last 18 months, I have had the joy and humble privilege of taking the verses I used with my daughter and turning them into a 12-week devotional journal for kids. I Am Rooted! is a fun, interactive devotional journal for boys and girls ages 9-12. In it, kids learn three foundational qualities of God:
- God Loves,
- God Helps, and
- God Guides.
Packed with tons of scripture, I am confident you will also see a tremendous transformation take place as your child also grows deep, solid roots in God’s Word.
The year I spent at home with my kids taught me so much. The sword of the Spirit is a powerful tool against the adversary. When our kids know the truths found there, they are less likely to fall victim to the enemy’s attacks.
I Am Rooted! Devotional Journal is launching on February 10th, but is exclusively available for Wield The Word readers today! You can purchase a copy on Amazon.com here or Amazon.ca here. If you think your child will benefit from growing solid, Biblical roots through this exciting book, follow me on Instagram @iamrootedjournal.
Meet Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee is a mom of two who lives in Alberta, Canada. She has written about her experiences of seeing the transforming work of God in her life by writing a devotional and gratitude journal for kids called I Am Rooted! She’s a self-proclaimed coffee addict who loves spending her time being crafty, studying God’s word and spending time with her precious family.
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