Faith in the Middle of Fear

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Faith and fear are two opposing forces that were not meant to go together like bread and butter. However, they can have the effect of forcing the other one out. When there is so much fear in your life, you are always waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I see people walking in fear a lot lately. People are walking in fear of financial situations, divorce, death, presidential candidates, or the terrorists’ attacks plaguing our world. Perhaps every one of those has touched your life profoundly. 

Fear is defined as the following according to Merriam-Webster:

    an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid

    a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful

In case you were wondering we are not focusing on the second definition. To have fear for God in this way of wonder is excellent, but too often no one gets past the first definition. I wonder though how you get to the second part of the description when you in awe and wonder of God instead of stuck in the first part. I will tell you! Faith. When you put faith in the middle of fear you get to the point of respect of the Father. Respecting God might seem simple, but it does take work on our part.

When our fears about our life become more significant than our faith, we fall into trouble. So, as most of you know, I am a single parent, and everywhere there are couples. Sometimes the fear of being alone for the rest of my life scares the blue blazes out of me. Really it does. When I let my fear speak it says will I ever find someone? Then it will start to carve into me deeper with thoughts of I am good enough and will anyone ever love me? Until I am finally in the, no one will ever love me, and I will be this way for the rest of my life. I am fat, my life sucks, and even the silly little things in my life feel like this huge problems. For me, fear moves into frustration about my current situation, which then leads to anger about anything out of place or not going the way I want it. Now, these types of fear thoughts are annoying in my head, self-centered, and mostly ridiculous because I now have faith in Jesus.


Faith comes into my situation now and says SHUT UP FEAR! I am not listening to those voices anymore. 


My faith brings out my patience for the plans God has for my life, and the love I have for everything in my life.  Faith becomes my hope in crazy situations and problems in life. Do I get asked often how do you do it? The simple answer is my faith in Jesus. Jesus is so real to me, so tangible, and His presence is with me all the time. Especially on those days when the world starts to crash on me Jesus is there. In those times when I mess it all up and when those whispers of fear start knocking on the door of my mind. What I love now is I have a choice before I open the door to my fear and you do too. Right before I open the door my hand is on doorknob I ask Jesus to come into my situation. I can take my hand off the knob and walk away from my fears. I have decided my God is bigger than those fears, and you must know I didn’t get it right the first time. When I was messing things up not getting it right, I was willing to take the chance for God’s purpose in my life. I stepped out into what He had for me even if it was just Him and I forever. What a forever and happily ever after!


When I transform fear by putting faith in the middle of my fears, look below what can happen.

fear

: an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid

 

faith

    :allegiance to duty or a person

   : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust

    :something that is believed especially with strong conviction

fear:

:a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”— William Allen White.png

Faith in the middle of our fears changes lives. Walk with hope at your core with your eyes on Jesus throughout the day because when your terror comes knocking you know, you don’t have to open the door anymore.

~Esme

Clean Out a Space

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I have been going back and forth about continuing my writing. I have joined a group called Story A Day for September. It is the first time since college I have been able to talk with a community of writers face to face. It has been so invigorating for me to do so and yet at the same time I am hard on myself about keeping up with my writing. I try to do a little writing every day and keep falling in the comparison trap. The questions begin to creep into my mind like they seem more devoted than I am. 

I have been back into writing only a couple of years. I am trying to get back into daily practice, but I have not been able to sit down daily to do this thing I love. It has been like a couch to 5k experience. I keep going back and forth about writing this week. I wanted to dive back into this thing I loved once. 

There are days when it does feel like an old relationship I used to have I love it, but yet it is hard. How could something you love so much seem so hard at times?  Why won’t the words come out? Why does sometimes it just doesn’t feel great? However, I find there are people and situations all around me that I love but are not always easy to deal with. Family at times can be hard, a job can be hard, and sometimes the thought of another Monday can be unbearable. I would like to make a movement for two Tuesdays and get rid of the word Monday all together! Do I have a second? Second. All those in favor say I. (I can hear you agreeing with me). We no longer have Mondays!  No really #2Tues! (Joking of course.) I digress, it is hard to get out of bed earlier when schedules are being changed due to the new school year approaching. I am exciting for this unique time in life, but I also think waking before 6:00 am is evil, yet I do it daily. I will be waking up early though from now because I have to go to work.

I am excited though about this new found time in the morning. I’m usually a night owl having all of this quiet time in daylight is thrilling on the weekends before everyone else is awake. I am working this week to get my space prepared for writing. I finally found a desk that is not what I expected, but it kind of picked me.

%22The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.%22Walt Disney.png

My characters have been excited as well to be re-released to their world and to start doing things they have never experienced before. I have been working on my first book and trying to go at it just as it comes to me, but I am not sure how successful that has been since it is not done yet. So, during September, I decided to take a break and write some short stories with Story A Day. The program is just that you write a story a day and that is all. They have great forums to share, comment, and encourage each other. I would recommend it to all my writing friends, and the host Julie is a lovely woman. She has a blog and post cast she does as well that are fabulous. 

I have been writing on the go where ever I can, and I hope by the end of this weekend my space will be complete. I think it is essential to make space actual physical space for the things we wish to do in our lives. Life is fast-paced, and those spaces can quickly pile up with dirty clothes, random papers, magazines, and books.  It may be hard to even see the desk anymore (I may or may not be talking about my own office). Let us do some fall cleaning and organizing so we can get those creative thoughts out and within the world. I will thank myself now for trying to help my future writer within me. 20,000 words are down too many to go!

~Esme

 

Learning to Pray

When I in my early twenties I had my first experience with God. It was truly amazing to be introduced to God and begin to understand who God was, but within a couple years most of my fire had been put out by the world again. I have gone through stages in my life when I have learned more about God and His overall being. The first was my introduction to Him, my second time was focused on reading His love letter (The Bible), and the most recent time I decided to give it my all. 

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I was no longer unsure of His devotion or love to me.  Finally, I knew I didn’t want to continue my life without Him. His words were, and they changed me. I felt safe with Him by my side every day which led to a lot of conversations. Even though I didn’t understand prayer completely, I talked to God. He was always nice and listened. Sometimes He spoke back. There were days He was silent.

In our relationship there have been ups and downs because of the world I live in. However, not once has He ever rejected me. He has never turned away. Even when I have been impossible and shouting at Him, He stays. He holds me and loves me regardless. How in love with Him I have become. It is a sweetness to my spirit and life.  But still, I had not really learned how to pray.

It wasn’t until I came across a couple who showed me what worship really was that I was then introduced to another couple to show me what prayer was. To see a true worshiper of the almighty God is lovely. They hold nothing back immediately you can see it is all Gods everything in those moments are devoted to Him. I get chills just thinking about it. It was no mistake I met these people, and God was sure I got the message. He crossed our paths more than once until we got the point. 


They showed me how to worship with everything and that I could begin to share things in my life. Important God moments. This couple displayed the love of God in what they did.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5_16-18.png

Then I met the couple who would teach me about prayer. These two people were not at all what I expect nor was I to them I assume. I was a broken woman, full of tears, and scared to open up about something. I had been deeply hurt by religious people over the years. However, the following months they befriended me and kept inviting me to their home for prayer. They reminded me of my Jesus that I had been spending so much time with. They too showed me His love and freedom there was in knowing I was indeed a child of God. 

The first time I heard the woman pray I opened my eyes, and I looked at her like a strange being I had never seen before. I stood there in the circle holding hands with strangers shocked at how powerful she sounded and her husband followed in suit. I wanted to pray as they did. Things happened when they prayed mountains moved.

The more time I spent there, it was not so much about the how they prayed but that they did. Prayer was practiced like driving a car or riding a bike. It was not recited. Prayers were always from the heart and how the spirit led. It is true you become like the people you hang around because before I knew it, I was praying like them. Things began to change in my life and the people around me.  Praying the promises of God over your life is one of the most useful things to do. God’s word is so powerful when it is buried in my heart. Now I have a base for prayer God has helped guide in it. Don’t give up on prayer it does change things really it changes everything.

I love this one.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

~Esme

To Write or Not To

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I find there is so much going on in my head that it is hard to get it all out on to paper. Why is this so hard? It is not really that writing is hard, but the discipline of writing daily had been a struggle of mine. I have been letting life get in the way so quickly when it comes to this passion of mine. My life has a way of forcing me to take more breaks than I would like. An illness, death in the family, or a trip out of town seem to be on rotations often enough to keep me out of my flow. Then before I know it it has been three weeks since I even looked at anything and then I am behind on my deadlines again. It’s even funnier to me because I am a huge planner and for everyone else, I’m on time, but when it comes to myself, I usually let it go. 

I have an excuse a lot too that I don’t want to write crap which is a lie cause pretty much everything is crap the first time around and if it isn’t then I am standing to applaud you right now. I have once again gotten out of my habit of writing, and it sucks if I’m going, being honest. I am behind in all of my personal writing already. So, every day I am writing a little bit because if it is just some, it is better than none. 

In truth, it is hard to go day to day with all of these characters living in my head. They try going on grand adventures and end up making messes all over the place. Often I lock them in a room tell them to sit down and be quiet which is not very nice of me. I should be offering them food and drinks and talking to them where they want to go (no I am not crazy I am trying to be funny). It is hard for me to focus some time on the mundane things during my days unless I write. For instance, I may end up washing my hair three times a morning before I realize I have. We might happen to cross paths, and it looks like I am somewhere else it is because I am in my fictional world trying to figure it out. This does not mean I cannot come back to reality it just means I might daydream a lot more than the average adult or child for that matter. Please don’t take it personally when you see me at the gas station, school event, or in a store and I don’t register we have met okay. You could stop me and ask if I have written anything that day. I would not take offense, and it would make me aware I am in that other place.

Still, the question remains perhaps why are you complaining about writing or all these ideas? I assure I am very grateful for the ideas and time when I get it. There is a quote “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway. I think Hemingway was brilliant in many of his works. I am not sure; however, the negative image you may see in your head it what I want you to see. I do think it takes all you have to write and the things I write become part of me. In many ways, writers make their work their life and indeed the blood of their being. What would they have without it? I know now writing is not my life and it is not my blood because Jesus is, but it has become an event I have to make time for.

I am headed back to the planning route because it is what works for me. I am saying no to some things, so I am sure I have time to write. I feel like it is what I was called to do on this earth. Although I am not always sure why and I a lot of time don’t know how any of this will make a difference maybe for someone.

Make time for the things creative in your life it will bring you so much joy to share with others. If you have stopped doing whatever creative outlet you had, it is never too late to pick them up again or start something new. You may have a book inside you that you have not let out yet, a painting that is set in your head, or a quilt that needs to be sown. Do it, be brave and choose to write, dance, sing, and paint. Create because you will not regret you did it only that you didn’t.


~Esme


He Said Fear Not

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I have dealt with a lot of fears in my life. I was terrified of flying before I did it, and swimming until I learned how to do it. I didn’t know how to do any type of public speaking until I was talking in front of the whole high school. In fact writing, this blog has been a fear of mine too. 

This blog has been a fear because I have not made it a habit of letting anyone inside my head. My thoughts have been my own for years and rarely shared. I had always liked to hear about other people more because it would give me a more authentic understanding of who they are. 

The only time I ever shared my writings were in classrooms in college. I was never praised for my ideas or my work. There was usually something utterly wrong about the whole story or poem. I only really had one supporter throughout my college career. I am not sure I even really knew what writing was then. 

When I came back to God just a few years ago, I felt Him calling me to write a blog. I had been moved to write again since I had moved, but I seemed paralyzed once again by fear. I was just writing for myself, but I still couldn’t find the courage to finish anything. It has taken me so long to build my faith to trust and believe in Him even though I don’t see the results of what He is doing right now. 

I have let fear control me and push me into directions of my life I should not have gone. There were so many long and dark roads I was led down by fear, and it gave me memories I would rather forget. Fears of disappointing those I love, fear of failure, and fear of just general things in life.

I had a weekend away, at a conference and the women did not speak about fear, but it came up over and over. Doubt we wouldn’t have a room to sleep in, fear of getting robbed, fear of bugs, fear of driving cars over large bodies of water, fear of getting shot, fear the passion for things wouldn’t come back and fear that would miss what God was saying to us. I wanted to cry at the gripping fear had. 

I can say fear is NOT of God. 

Did you hear that? 

Fear IS NOT OF GOD.

So, please stop being afraid about who may find out about your past and stop being scared how you are going to make it in the future.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1_7 (NKJV).png

I was happy to find there were so many references about fear in Bible stating do not fear, fear not, and do not be afraid. You would think we would pick up on this not being fearful thing, but there is day after day in our face. 

I have found though that living and learning are very different things.  I can learn about something in such great depth it can be like I have lived it. When I am working on a character in my books I have to know the ends and outs of who they are in order to make them real to my readers. I look at lessons in life in much that same way. 

I have been overcoming fear on many different levels in the last month. I have found listening to worship music had helped. I discovered I need to questions the fears when they come up because many times they are not logical. When my world seems to be crashing down the only way I have found to walk through my fear is the Word of God being prayed by me over me. I usually just speak out the scripture myself in my prayer times through out the day. I build my faith on these words and believe Him because His Word is true. As you walk throughout your life and you start to feel fear on its way pray a couple of my favorite verses.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

(God speaking) ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’  Haggai 2:5 (NKJV)

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)

~Esme

The Heat

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The heat makes people crabbier than the rush of the holiday season. I know I used to work in retail during the holidays, and I might say at times the at heat and holidays were a tie but seems like the weather has been worse as of late When I get too hot I just don’t want to be close to people at all. We have had a relatively mild summer but it has been very humid here, and it reminds me of a trip I took a couple of years ago to Louisiana.

While I am on the mend, I would like to share musings I wrote down during the trip.

I had started this month off with excitement, and I was on task for my novel to be complete. I had planned out my writing days. I had a clear direction of my book although I had not written anything out formally. I was determined to get this book finished because I had been picking it up and setting it back down all year.

I knew I was going to a conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and I tried to make every effort to be ahead of schedule on writing so I would not be losing my writing time because of the trip. Things did not go as planned. I did not get ahead, but I did get behind. I decided to pull up my big girl panties though and take it in stride.

“The thing with heat is, no matter how cold you are, no matter how much you need warmth, it always, eventually, becomes too much.”.png

I had learned that over the course of that year I really liked writing in certain ways and the musical genius of Miles Davis helped me get where I was going in my book. My novel was still there, and I would complete it in due time, but it may be a week later than I thought.

Writing did not always go as planned, and even in the book, I am found my characters had minds of their own and went off doing things I didn’t want them to do. I had to figure out how to pull in the reins on them, and I am at the conference. I am taking in everything in all the words, sites, sounds, and feelings. It was truly amazing.

After the conference was over, we went to New Orleans in the French Quarter, and what an architecturally exquisite place. I could not stop staring at all the building how strange they seemed as if looking at jewels for the first time. We ate at Cafe Du Monde where lines were long, there were people crowded in the tables and all around the outside. The pigeons were on the hunt for any beignets dropped or tossed. The beignets were like eating air and were just something everyone should just try once in their life. It was really an experience, I hope one day to go to a cafe in Paris one day, but until then this one will be fine.

We went back to Baton Rouge, and in the morning all of our phones were going off. Family and friends wanted to be sure we were safe because a shooter was on the loose in Baton Rouge. The killer had been staying in the same hotel we were at. All of the sudden I was just still my whole body stiff and in a daze. Then, I began to pack and worry about what might happen if we didn’t leave right now. It was hard in those moments knowing only a few miles away was a man killing other people because he thought it was right.

The fear was paralyzing, but after speaking with the person, I rode down there with they were convinced this wasn’t going to stop them from doing what we had planned to do. I saw bravery in someone else that day that I had admired. I wasn’t sure when I would get to the point in my life, but if I could just learn something from her, it would be not to let fear control me. I had been learning lessons about fear all year and each time it I was gaining more understanding. I must keep walking forward and not let fear control me. Today I will use my writing to write the fear out me and everything that happened to me.


~Esme

Quiet Time With God

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These last two months have been about purposeful isolation this year. I had been very busy with work, a relationship, my child, and various organizations this year and I was ready for some rest. I had been through a lot of heartbreak and long hours. I had gotten to the point in my life I had crowded out the very things I felt were important to me. So, after a long deliberation, I decided to take time off to quite myself.



It has been lonely at times when I spend so much time alone at home. I found myself often sitting down on the couch thinking that filling myself with Netflix shows would somehow make me change. I suppose if you have known me for any amount of time the first thing to do would have been to blame me for not calling someone. There might have been whispers that I was not doing well and depressed because I wanted to be alone. I would totally understand that because people have been quick to judge me due to my past. There are many people in my life that have not seen that I do enjoy being alone from time to time. Oh my! It must mean I love to be a hermit, and never talk to anyone. No. It means I get my energy from alone time, which has been harder to find time for as a single parent.

There are times I have really enjoyed being around people in general and I have missed many friends. It seems as though ever since my birthday almost two months ago I have been voiding people in general to have more quiet time.

I have been reflecting on times in the past when I took time off from my social life I was doing whatever I could to fill the time. It made me realize these empty feelings I have deep inside of me, these voids that nothing could fill had been there for a long time. When I have been busy I don’t notice these voids as much. I have been a Christian for a long time but I wondered if God was really enough for me and if He was then why was I plagued with these doubts and emptiness. I have seen God do miracles but then I was still doubting what He was going to do for me.

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One of the first things I did when I dedicated my life to God was find a community because I needed people to encourage me on so many life changes. When I had this fellowship and community of believers it was amazing. I could talk openly about God and things I did not understand. They helped lift me up and we all prayed together. I was sharing about what I have seen God do and where I thought walking with Jesus would take us next. I had never wanted to willingly trade them or be away from them for long periods of time, however, life happened. I was drawn away from them and I had to figure some things out on my own about God.

In the time I had away from the community I have learned a lot about myself and even more about God this time. I realized there was still jealousy in me and feelings of abandonment. I thought my faith was so strong and I would be fine on my own. I hadn’t realized how much I was relying on my community for answers and prayers. Like I said before the community can be amazing, but sometimes (no I am not speaking for anyone else) it stunted my growth in the Spirit. Instead of listening when God was whispering to me I said, “Maybe later.” Instead of writing when He asked me to months ago I said, “I will soon.”

So in turn, I had been placed in this place were the only person I can hear is God. It was a humbling experience. There were still times I had said, “God I got this.” I still needed Him to get through my day though. By the end of the day in my stubbornness, I had given back all the troubles and problems I was trying to carry around alone. When I had community it was easier to buckle the bag of worries and problems around me and keep going anyway. When all the while God was there saying, “I will carry it all for you if you let me.”

This year it has been different. I quickly shut off the Netflix and enjoyed the silence that surrounded me. I was able during those times to completely put all of my focus on God and I would not allow anything else into my mind. I am not perfect and I know I don’t know everything. I am glad this year I took this time off to have a vacation with God.

He is still peeling back the layers of me and getting out all those things that don’t belong to Him. I am His masterpiece and process is wonderful and painful at the same time. God has shown up to say, “Though I am quiet I am still right here.”

I hope others would be encouraged to take time with God and not by doing so many things be just allowing yourself to listen to Him. I know not everyone can take off a lot of time but even if it is 5 minutes in the morning or 10 minutes right before bed, it is better than nothing.

-Esme