Monday, October 18, 2010

The Little Girl Within -- A Suitcase Full of Fears

Fears -- we all have them and they can be difficult to handle.  Today, my friend Lori Jones shares a descriptive and insightful story about when she was a little girl watching her Aunt struggle and how Lori is learning how to surrender her own fears.
     On pins and needles I watched Aunt Irene carry the serving platter across her kitchen.  The plate bobbed and weaved like the flight of the bumblebee and threatened to come crashing to the linoleum.  The potential of things breaking sent shivers down my spine; at just nine years old, I had already figured out that broken things meant for a bad day in my household.
Just as I was about to develop a quiet ulcer, the tray found a home on the counter.  Whew.  Then, off she went with a dishtowel, wiping a glass and holding several others in the crook of her arm!
She traveled with a tilted gait and mumbled to herself while cleaning up after our evening meal. Her head swayed with a mind of its own.
            This was the first summer we had come to Colorado and found her shaking like this.  I had heard through the parental eavesdrop line that Irene was sick.  I was sure it was Huntington’s, the secret disease in our family, the one that grownups spoke of in hushed tones when the children were playing.
I knew there was no cure; of that I was sure, and I wondered if they could tell by looking at you whether you had it or not, because at family gatherings the adults would cluster and whisper with one other, while peeking up and around at us cousins.
I sat frozen while Irene finished, alternating between chewing my fingernails and gripping the table edge.
When we had arrived the night before, I desperately wanted to hug my Aunt Irene, and yet I was completely terrified of her and whatever had taken over her body.  What if right in the middle of the embrace she uncontrollably grabbed me and wouldn’t let go?  What if she tipped over, and it was my fault? If the truth be told, I feared I might catch what she had if I got too close.
My Little Girl Within had fears, lots of them, and she stowed them in a suitcase and travelled with them into adulthood.
Fear is a roadblock; it can stop us in our tracks if we allow it. In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were to conquer and take possession of the Promised Land, they were also afraid.  Although their new home was filled with good food and fertile soil, it was also inhabited by strong men, towering over them.  The future was unknown and intimidating.  But God said through their leader Moses, “Be strong and courageous.. the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:6-7)
Looking back on that trip, I regret not holding her tight.  I’m proud of my aunt, forging through the kitchen like nothing, not even a bad case of sea legs, could stop her from getting the dishes done.  I will remember Irene, not as a victim of Huntington’s Disease, but as someone with courage, who refused to become paralyzed by her present circumstances or to dwell on hypothetical’s; she just did the next logical thing.
I’m learning to unpack my fears, one at a time, and release them to God. Does this ensure a positive outcome?  Not necessarily, but if God promises to go before me, I will try to follow Him and rest in the assurance that a “mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace”. (Romans 8:6)

Lori Jones is a wife and mother of three children.  She is a self-employed database designer who works part time in order to balance caring for her family and home with her passion for writing and teaching.  Lori is a regular speaker and teacher for Women’s Wednesday Bible Study at Calvary Bible Church in Neenah, Wisconsin.

If you have a Little Girl Within story that you would like to share in order to encourage others, I would love to hear from you. Guidelines for submission are at the bottom of the post for the start of the series here.

1 comment:

Fran said...

Dear Lori, your faith story is so encouraging to me as well as to many others. Thank you for all you have shared through your experiences and the many ways God has gifted you. You have great courage. May you continue to cling to your Father.

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