Response to fear = WORSHIP.
This little gem is written in colored chalk just above the door frame directly across from my home office desk. It’s been there so long, it won’t erase. Fear is not who I am. It absolutely does happen to me, occur in me, and takeover my heart and mind at times. But it is not who I am. Nothing takes over my mind and my heart without my permission. But, last week, something occurred so suddenly without warning that I didn’t even have time to make the choice not to fear, before I was overcome with it.
I had been working from home that morning before heading out the door to teach my dance class, pick the girls up from school and grab some groceries for dinner. After we pulled in and made our way to the kitchen via the garage, we began to put the groceries away and I noticed a little white Christmas tree had fallen over. Yes, Christmas decor… the few items you find that you missed when you boxed it all up and put it away – one of those. I didn’t think much of it. I must have grazed it on my way out without realizing. I take my Natural Grocers bag to hang it on the back kitchen door to remind myself to put it back in the Jeep. As I reach for the doorknob, my heart drops. I mean D R O P S.
As I’m noticing that the entire door frame is busted and no longer attached to the wall, I hear Jacey yelling from the other room, “Why are all of the doors open upstairs??” I FREAK. A billion thoughts at once. Even more emotions roaring at once. I scream “OH MY GOD” in the voice I can only describe as my mother’s. Because I’m a MOM. I’m a mom and ALL SECURITY HAS BEEN BREACHED. The tangible hedge of protection around my sacred space has been kicked down and busted through and I just feel nothing but shock and confused and weak and naked. But, mostly, SHOCK.
“They must know Chris – they got into his stuff, look at this” I follow Ja’nee to the entry to see all of the items in my husband’s armoir drawer laying all over the entry rug. Not another drawer is open. Not a trace of anything gone through, but this one drawer. “GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. NOW!!!!” I have no idea if these perpetrators are still here? Are they upstairs? Are they in the bathroom? WHERE THE FREAK ARE MY KEYS I JUST SAT THEM DOWN?????? “GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT! NOW GIRLS!!!!” Somehow I managed to call Chris and scream who knows what into the phone, but for what seemed like forever, I could NOT – for the LIFE of me – FIND MY KEYS.
There it was. FEAR. All over me.
I held the tears in, until bedtime, when I couldn’t hold them any longer. Sleep was not happening. I just laid there next to my husband, in OUR BEDROOM thinking about the fact that someone uninvited had been in my bedroom just hours before. IN MY BEDROOM. Chris’s sock drawer had been emptied , everything on the floor, with the drawer left fully open. Only a few of my drawers had been barely opened at all, and nothing taken out. Chris had later found that his giant change jar had been taken – the one he’d been saving change in since we got married, so probably $5-700 worth of coins. And his guns, his father’s guns, gone. I guess being a thief is not so much a personal thing, but it was more than hard to not take it personally. To be stolen from. Not just items or money, but to steal OUR SPACE, to steal OUR PEACE. To walk into our home – INTO MY BABIES’ ROOMS???? How could they? What?? WHY??? All for some cash??? Who the hell do you think you are STEALING FROM US??? We would have given it.
Chris held me as I ugly-cried and wailed uncontrollably. It’s like my momma heart knew the kids had gone to bed and let loose. The next morning I woke up and the tears were streaming before I even knew it. I was rocked. PISSED. Heartbroken.
Practice what you preach. God loves to remind me of my own advice to others. So, what now? I can’t be scared. I can’t live that way. I have things to do and children to care for and focus to be given to beautiful, life-giving things. I can’t be shaking, thoughts flying, riddled with anxiety. I don’t give fear permission to steal ME from me.
I wiped those tears and put my kicks on. I went to fit camp and ripped a tough workout. I got stronger, got prayed over, and got hugged. I blared worship music to cleanse my thoughts in truth. I poured my frustration out to a few great girlfriends. I read. I danced. I drank a green smoothie. I breathed deeply and meditated on all that God saved us from. I ran two miles. I did not cook, I just couldn’t focus on the recipe so we went out to eat and broke a couple of our diet challenge rules. I had a margarita. I had a massage. We watched This Is Us.
I fought back with life.
Worship is not just Sunday morning rituals. It’s living fully this one precious life you’ve been given. It’s like in Screwtape Letters when the uncle demon advises his nephew trainee to never let his subject go on a walk. Because EVERY good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights.
GUYS I WANTED TO CALL IN TO EVERYTHING AND CRY AND SLEEP AND DRINK AND SMOKE AND LEAVE AND MAKE MY KIDS SLEEP IN MY BED AND NOONE GO ANYWHERE, NOONE LEAVE MY SIDE.
But, I chose to live. The tears still appear. Even now. The anger still rises and my heart still breaks. But I’m not staying down. What kind of life would that be? I’m a licensed professional counselor, I oughta know there are a couple dozen FREE anti-anxiety and anti-depression things to think and say and do. I know better, so I did better. Even through the tears. Even now. Writing is one of the many things the enemy has kept me from and at the top of my 2017 list. Writing is one of the most powerful ways I process the good and the bad and release all the stuff. So, while this post is late, and not what I planned when January rolled in, still, I WROTE. And I’m going to keep on writing, running, dancing, and living this life because I CHOOSE. I choose faith over fear. I choose to finish the race and not bow out.
So the question every day has come up, “Are you guys ok?? ” WELL. Let me tell you how we are. We are all alive. These suckers walked past THREE APPLE COMPUTERS, AN IPAD, A BIG SCREEN TV AND ALL KINDS OF PRECIOUS PICTURES, ITEMS WE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO REPLACE. But we still have everything we need and more than enough of anything we could want. Thieves live in darkness and despair. Hidden from light. Desperate. Dishonest. Selfish. And about to have to pay a hefty price for walking in my house – in about a million ways for many, many days because God don’t play. Remember in The Color Purple, when Whoopi said, “Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail”.
Listen, I don’t make up the rules, I just know you don’t mess with God’s babies. Ja’nee said she was reading her bible the other night and read something about a thief will be exposed. She said she believes they will be found out. Her faith… whew! God is using this to grow us all, and even bless us, because that’s how He does. And His justice is far more perfect than anything I could muster up. And I don’t have to. I can trust, HE’S GOT ME AND MINE. BELIEVE THAT. I feel sorry for anyone that would ever intend an ounce of harm to a Johnson. It has never worked out for someone to come against me or my family. If there is one thing I know in this life, THIS FAMILY IS GOD’S. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK.
When you feel that pesky little fear dragon crawling up on your back, go for a run, go see a movie, go pray and breathe so deeply, and share a great dinner with family. WRITE. READ. DANCE. Fight fear with living your life. Every crevice of it, every day.