Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My journey with fear...

Lots going on at the Baker house. Well, in the last 11 days I've sent 3 daughters & 2 bonus daughters across the world and almost all have gone in different directions. Rachel and Olivia have been in Ireland touring for 15 days, ALL over that country. Sarah and Meshali left for Europe for 12 days, Shay had a wedding to shoot & then they were going to tour - Belgium, Paris & Amsterdam are their stops. Then Sunday we sent off Megan to Israel where she will begin living & serving the people there, bringing Jesus to a nation that's in desperate need of Him. So in the last 11 days we've made 3 trips to the airport & sent off our precious girls, 1/2 way around the world. The traveling isn't too rare to happen in our home because they've all been bit by the traveling bug. They've gone numerous places overseas in the last 8 years but to send so many of them at 1 time, is rare. In the wee hours of Monday morning as I woke up through the night waiting to hear that Megan was safe in Israel, the Lord began to remind me of how far this Momma has come. I spent some time praising Him for His peace that passes ALL human understanding and thanking Him for guiding me along my journey of being a Mom. I pray I'm continually reminded of the victories in my life and how far He's brought me - but oh, how far I still have to go. It's ALLL because of Him and I take NO credit for this testimony. IN Him is the only way I can trust, IN Him is the only way I can have faith and IN Him is the ONLY way I can have peace!

So I thought I'd write down, mostly for my girls 1 day to look back at, but write down this crazy journey of fear/worry that had such a hold on my heart & mind, for so many years. Believe it or not this will be a condensed version but I pray my story may help someone. I wrote the above and after I share with you where I've been, you'll be able to see what a true victory the above is for me. Right off I'd like to share that I still have battles almost daily. I have to make a choice to not believe lies that try to torment me. So now, PRAISE GOD, I deal with fear in a much different way.

It all began around 18 years ago. Ray & I were out on our porch in our old house. We were starting the painting process on our house so we were prepping the outside. We had the 4 girls at the time, Rach was 8, Sarah was 6, Hannah was 2 and Olivia was 1. We lived out in the country in a community that had 4 streets & those streets were surrounded by land/woods. We knew almost everyone in the neighborhood & we all looked after each others kiddos. At this time the older girls were playing somewhere around our house, out of our sight. It wasn't rare for them to play between our house & a couple of immediate houses around us. Hannah & Olivia were near Ray & I but in this specific insistence I couldn't lay my eyes on them. The street we lived on got NO traffic other then traffic of homeowners and all of us went down the street at a snails pace because we knew to look out for kids. So at this time I couldn't see any of my 4 girls when I got this horrible phone call from someone in our family. The news was something that nobody ever wants to hear. I won't go into any detail but it was regarding 2 girls that weren't but a couple years older then Rachel. It was violent and would change their lives forever. Little did I know, my way of Mothering would change in that moment too. I was the 1 talking on the phone and Ray was coming down the ladder and after comforting the person on the phone & praying with them I looked at Ray with terror and said, "go find the girls"!! For the next 10 years I would parent in a way that had me usually tormented every day. I parented almost always in fear...

Something that I've learned since is that when trauma comes into our lives a spirit of fear (& yes, I do believe it's a spirit) is always there ready to attach itself. If it's a death, bad news, a car accident, a nightmare - anytime trauma comes, fear is ready to torment you. I didn't realize until years later but I began to do 1 of the most destructive things & that is, to parent out of fear. Fear was almost always what guided me. You name it I would attach fear to it. Now I don't want you to misunderstand fear, and using God given wisdom because I sooo believe in using wisdom. I would never tell a Mom, "oh, just let your kids do just about anything because the Lord will watch over them" - I believe in being wise with our gifts that God has given us. But whenever I was given a scenario of somewhere my kids wanted to go, someone they were go with, the place, the people, the weather - EVERYTHING was ran through my head with fear at the forefront. I can now say that because after 10 years of living like this the Lord began to deliver me from that and I now live in victory, so I do know the difference.

My fear/worry didn't just begin with that 1 incident. I was from a line of worriers. It was a generational curse that was being passed down and I was the lovely recipient of it. I know there are people that wear a "worry badge" with lots of pride but I wasn't 1 of them. I knew the word of God enough to know that it was a sin and I was stubborn enough to want to be free! But in this case I did wear this "wisdom badge" but in reality it was a FEAR/worry badge. I would always tell Ray that I was just using wisdom as he so graciously would try to appease me and my craziness. There were times as head of the house that he would step in and talk sense into me and it would sometimes work but the fear would come right back. So I would shelter my girls like a Momma bird shelters her chicks. Eventually the worst thing began to happen right before my eyes - I was passing on that fear to my girls. Rachel began to battle fears and I would see that in her & it would break my heart. Sarah was more like Ray & you couldn't make her afraid of anything and it wasn't until later that it showed up in her. Hannah battled fears in a HUGE way and has a testimony of her own. Olivia, well you couldn't get her to fear anything and she's still the most easygoing of them all. I pray that I dealt with it quick enough in my life so it won't ever effect her. So began another generation of women being motivated and tormented by fear/worry.

The fear I battled with was fairly specific, well maybe not. It really was anything that stood in the way of keeping myself, Ray or my kids safe. I wanted to keep them safe - spirit, soul and body. It wasn't just about keeping them safe from harm, it was keeping them safe spiritually too. I can't say all of it was wrong, no way. They are 4 amazing women. I'm grateful that I had enough wisdom to make decisions that were Godly. Of course every decision I made as a Mother, didn't have to do with their safety. My battle was mostly in my mind. I would try so hard to not let them see the torment I was in but it was clear when I made some decisions, that they were based in fear. I'd have to say the majority of time I would let them do the things that I was fearful of and I would just be afraid. I was fearful of them spending the night with anyone other then my sisters, fear of anyone they drove in a car with, fear of the places they would go if I wasn't with them, fear of going really anywhere out of my sight, fear of friends that had older brothers and the list goes on & on.

So Ms. Sarah hits 16 years old & she's done with homeschooling. We're figuring out what to do next with her and through her youth pastor at the time (Adam McCain), he goes to someone that he knows at CFNI and gets her in to that Bible school. She isn't even 16 yet. She begins in the Winter after she turns 16 late the next Summer. So, my precious #2 daughter gets her drivers license 1 mth and 4 mths later she is driving to Oakcliff 5 days a week. She's a good driver but I'm fearful of every person she drives by on the highway, HA! She makes the praise band her 1st semester so she leaves when it's dark, very early. She drives by some pretty bad neighborhoods and I'm faced with my most horrible fear!! She literally has to park her car in a parking lot where the ghetto is all around. And did I mention she's cute & little - not a tough girl (or she doesn't look like it on the outside). So everyday I get up and pray. I pray & release every angel in the area to watch over her. I plead the blood of Jesus over her & put a hedge of protection around her - I still do that everyday over my kids. But everyday I am working this faith muscle and trying so hard to be brave when I see her out the door. Then comes that next Summer. She's been at CFNI for about 6 mths and I'm getting better. I begin to measure my small victories. Some days she would forget to call when she got there and I wouldn't call out the Dallas police to go find her - small VICTORY!!

Then my world was rocked when Sarah comes to Ray & I and tells us she needs/wants to go on a mission trip that Summer. Huh? Your 16 and I'm not gonna let you go to some foreign country for 3 to 4 weeks with a bunch of people I don't know. NOPE! It's really out of the question in my mind. Then the Lord begins to work on me like he had been for about the last 5 years before that. I began to let her just talk about it so that was a small victory. She 1st wanted to go to the South America mission trip which I didn't have peace about - let's get real I probably wasn't gonna find peace about any of them. Then she says she really feels that the Lord wants her to go with these awesome leaders & some amazing young adults to...INDIA!! India? The land of a million Gods? OH MY!! I told her I'd pray and she was happy with that. Ray of course was on the other COMPLETE end of the spectrum. He would have let her go ANYWHERE, trusting that the Lord would take care of her. But, he knew that I needed to walk this journey out & he was confident that I would hear from the Lord. I began to make a list for the Lord to answer and IF He answered them ALL, I wouldn't be able to dispute that HE wanted her to go! My list was - would she get the finances to go: and she did, for herself AND others - would there be kids going with her that I'd feel good about in their maturity & also spiritual maturity: and there was - people she is still friends with, Megan went on that trip & Jessica we met because of that trip & Ray later married her to her hubby, Rick was on that trip & he was very protective over Sarah. So that was answered. The last thing I needed was that peace to come to my heart. It was a 3 week trip and I couldn't think that I wasn't gonna be able to function for 3 weeks. Because fear makes it hard to function. Sleep escapes you, you can't concentrate, you can't eat=Teddi can't take care of the rest of her family. But I made a HUGE step of faith to agree to let her go - Ray was already on board but he wanted me to have that peace too. So the final thing needed to happen. 1 morning around 10 days before she left Ray was having alone time with the Lord and he came to me after and confessed that he had been battling a bit of fear about letting her go - HUH? Ray Baker in fear, WOW! For a second I could have had a full blown panic attack because if he's in fear then I should be in utter shock. But what he was about to share with me changed my life. From that day to this the revelation that the Lord gave him was simple but it was straight from the Lord to me and of course to Ray. Ray had just been telling the Lord that he wanted to trust Him with Sarah and he was gonna try not to think of all the things that he could be afraid of with his precious gem in a country that hardly anyone even knows Jesus. And after he pleaded his case the Lord spoke to his spirit 5 simple words. He said - You Can't Keep Her Alive!! It seems so easy & simple but doesn't He so often through the Bible speak to us in such simple ways? He told me that and I've never been the same again. For me it encompassed soooo many things. But more importantly it was revelation. I can't keep them alive if they walk out my door and they go get the mail and someone swerves at them in a car & kills them. I CAN'T KEEP THEM ALIVE!! So began my walk of learning to trust the Lord in a way that may be sooo simple to most but was so hard for me. Other areas of my life I had complete trust in the Lord but with my families safety, it was a battle going on in my mind.

I can honestly say through the time of Sarah being in India those 3 weeks with hardly ANY way to communicate with her - I was NEVER, I repeat NEVER gripped with fear!! In HIM, I had peace! It was nothing I did, it was His amazing GRACE!! Then after that Rach & Sarah went with Rick & the band to the Philippines for a trip - NO FEAR! Then Rach & Sarah went to Israel on a mission trip and again I had NO FEAR! I can't express to you what victories these were! I was SOOOO fearful for my girls to go ck the mail and I'm letting them go to some pretty unsafe parts of the world?! ONLY IN HIM!! Then the Lord began showing me what my girls would have missed out on if I would have stayed being controlled by fear. Rachel & Sarah met Hannah's husband Austin on the Israel trip and I don't think he would have been brought into our lives if it wasn't for them going on that trip. Rach went and lived in Israel a couple Summers ago for 3 mths, PEACE. Then she went this Spring for the 3rd time. Hannah went to Israel 2 years ago & got engaged - no fear again. Ray & Liv went to Israel and I did awesome!! Rach & Sarah have been to more states then I can count, either ministering or for fun - and again, I've trusted the Lord. But earlier, in my mind I wanted them to forever and always be near so I could keep them ALIVE! But the Lord....had other plans for them and my hearts desire was that I would NEVER stand in the way of their destiny! I could share so many more times that IN HIM, I've had victory! What a wonderful God that we serve, who meets us right where we are and He begins to transform us and make us new. I'm so grateful that I didn't let fear stand in the way of my children's destiny. They've had life experiences that I've never had and if I would have continued, they would have certainly missed out on them. It breaks my heart to think of the people that they have met all over the world, that we may have missed out on knowing.

So I finish this where I started it...THANKING the Lord for His indescribable peace. He said He was gonna leave us HIS peace and boy oh boy did He!! Where there is FEAR, there is NO PEACE!!! So right now Rach & Liv are literally going all over Ireland. They're staying usually somewhere different every night, with rain daily and I've had peace that can only come from God. Sarah & Shali are traveling quite a bit between countries & Shali hasn't ever been out of the country - PEACE is what I have. Then Megan is gone to a place that is not too safe on anyones radar but I have total peace that she's in the will of God. 1 thing that the Lord showed me several years ago and there's been SO many things I've learned but He showed me that my children are MOST safe when they're in His will. If they moved across the world or stayed here - if they aren't in His will here, that won't be as safe as they would be there. Like I always say, this life is a journey and I'm who I am because of where I've come from. I've tried to stay teachable and every day I'm faced with a decision, a decision to walk in fear or walk in faith - faith in something that I don't see but faith in a Savior that is ALWAYS with me and always with my family. I choose faith! It's a place where peace dwells! I've spent too many years being deceived and thinking that the fear that was motivating me to make the decisions that I was making, was God, when in reality it was the opposite of God. I can be very emotional thinking that I could have kept living in the fear that I was living in daily but sadly I would be facing a much different life then the 1 my family is living. SOOO many BLESSINGS that the Lord wouldn't have been able to give my family if I wouldn't have decided to step out and BELIEVE! I had to 1st see that I was being deceived and THEN, He began to remove the scales off of my eyes. I thank Him for seeing me through those years. Only IN HIM can I have this testimony after years of tests. I pray that this testimony can stop my children from ever walking down the road I went down and if they do I pray it will NEVER be as long as mine was.

Your fear may be about something totally different. Your fear may motivate you in another way then mine motivated me. Every kind of fear has 1 thing in common - it wants you to believe a lie. The lie is - what the enemy is telling you, is bigger then God. To trust God with every aspect of our lives is tough for almost every human. It's a journey that starts young and if you've had hurts & pain, it begins to distort that trust in God. Some that have had an easier life, it's easier for them to trust. But let me remind you - It's the EASIEST thing to do when you begin to know that it's simple to trust in a God THAT CAN NOT LIE - When we begin to renew our minds with His word & we begin to see what HE says about taking care of us, what promises He's left us and on & on, HE begins to unmask a lie that the Devil wanted us to believe. Fear will stop you from blessings that you may not even know yet are yours. Most of us have fears - but let the Lord deal with those fears. DON'T live your life and make decisions that are motivated in FEAR!! Fear is a LIFE robber, it's a blessing STEALER, it sometimes starts out small and if it's fed it grows and grows!! You may never know what blessings you're stopping in your life because of fear...Trust IN the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding but in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.