Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Welcome back, Dianne, to your blog-site! Where on earth have you been???

Afraid. Lazy. Procrastinating. Involved in other stuff. Unmotivated.

But as to the fear part? Yeah. Afraid. Afraid that if I put to put pen to paper, I would say something stupid. Except. When one doesn’t say ANYTHING, then one has said nothing at all! And no one is ministered to or inspired or motivated or directed to the Word. Nothing happens when one doesn’t do anything!

About three years ago, a rescue pit bull and I had an unfortunate encounter in which I was forced into his territory unannounced and without his permission. A complete surprise to both of us. He got mad and attacked and I became afraid of all dogs for nearly a full year.

During that time, I read some powerful verses that the Holy Spirit used to speak to my heart, motivating me to overcome the fear of dogs. I mean, seriously? At my age? I had to overcome.

 “But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.”

Exodus 14:13-15

Don’t you just love what God said to Moses in verse 15? In today’s vernacular, He may have said something to the effect, “Shut your mouth and get moving! This dry bed won’t stay dry forever! Move!!!”  When I read that, I thought, well, okay! I’ll move! I’ll start working on not being afraid! I’ll stand my ground when I see a dog! I’ll walk up to a friendly dog on a leash and let them sniff the back of my hand as I had done before the encounter with the protective pit. And over some time and pushing down the anxiety in my belly, the fear subsided and I grew calm and in control of my emotions around dogs again. Thank you, Lord!

Since overcoming that huge fear, I decided I needed to overcome the fear of publishing my writings. I had been working on a project for over three years. It was time to take the next step and seek out a publisher. After all, I knew the Lord was directing me to write this story. I was still camping in the belly of the great fish, and becoming quite comfortable.

As I moved, He moved. He moved people into my path to help me take the next steps! Energized, I kept moving until finally my project reached completion and it is now available to those who want to check out my first ever published work on Amazon: Friendship Forged Deep on the Desert Front Porch.  This blog-site is the exception.

Overcoming the fear of the next step is essential for growing and living. Honestly, I grew weary  of  hearing of so many friends accomplishing their goals, even in our middle age! And, I was tired of seeing my project half completed and not out there for someone else’s eyes and heart.

Is all this to say I’m no longer afraid of anything? Do I not experience the knot in my stomach when something threatens me? No, sadly, I experienced fear or anxiety just the other day.

Last Friday morning at our ladies Bible Study which met at the church, before our discussion in Philippians chapter two, I let the ladies know that a couple in our little beach church possibly had the COVID virus. They had chosen to self-quarantine for the next fourteen days.

 Suddenly one of our ladies burst into tears. “I was to be with my grandchildren tomorrow! I was around that couple’s dog last week!” Quickly she got out her mask and put it on. Slowly most of the rest of us followed suit, though, the past several weeks we had been together and even exchanged warm much needed hugs. What was happening?

Right there in that tiny room in our small church a palpable pall fell over the room.  I felt enveloped in a shroud of fear!

Throughout the rest of the day, the angst built, especially when in conversation with my Sweet Mama who told me all about the Harris County judge’s mandate to wear masks everywhere and stay home! Oh my! I thought, my husband and I just need to go home. Sadly, I even un-invited a friend for dinner that night.  Can you imagine?! I got swallowed up in anxiety and fear! Where was the mantra “Do not fear”???

 My husband and I made plans to go back home to Houston and watch the service on Facebook Live. Now, watching the service on technology is not bad in and of itself. It is bad when it is motivated by fear. And this decision was just that.

Allow this old soul to be quite vulnerable with you.  That Sunday morning, I brought my hot tea and Bible out to the front porch of our beach home, Doves Rest, and opened to Colossians chapter one and read ,

“He rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son…..” Colossians 1:13 NLT

Friends, God spoke to me. He lifted me out of the fear and the restraints it held around my spirit.

After reading this passage I knew we needed to stay in town and physically attend our church service, by golly! When I told my Beloved who said, “I only want to make you happy,” the shroud of fear fell completely away.

The joy of the Lord is real, friends. The fear of the enemy is also real……and deadly, in the sense that it can truly keep us from abiding in the presence of the One who loves us more. It can cripple us. It can send us home before the Lord wants us to go home.

Ya’ll! We, who are in Christ, are commanded to walk in the confidence that He has us! He goes before and behind and through us! He doesn’t want us to dwell or sit in fear!

These times are full of confusion; full of sickness, full now, too, of some of those whom we know who are contracting this virus; we know of folks with other medical concerns; in need of surgery, friends who can’t get to their own parents due to this virus! In all these situations, we pray, we bring these concerns to Him and ask Him to heal, be near, provide peace, strength, etc. And then we let. It. Go. We continue to operate in the faith that what we brought to the Lord He will take care of. Because He loves us!

“What I know for sure,” as Oprah says on the back page of her magazine, is that it is never ever too late to go for the passion you have in your gut and make it a reality. It is essential to move when the Holy Spirit moves you if you want to get out of the belly of the great fish and experience what He needs from you to bring about His purposes for His kingdom. If you want to grow close in your walk with Jesus, then get up and move when and where He directs and you’ll be amazed at the Joy He provides when we obey Him! Even in hard assignments, you’ll know that it is Him who brings the joy.

In this next season of blog posts, may you find something from current events, or a prayer; but above all, some encouraging message that will carry you for the day from His Word through the experiences He brought me. Now. Go out with joy and be led forth in His peace.

Father, we all get afraid of things at times. I know. When I let my mind wander too much into the “what if’s” I can get into serious trouble. Lord, may those of us who call your Abba Father and your Son, Jesus, our Savior, walk in a manner of trust and reliance on You in our daily-ness of life. Thank you, Lord, for helping us to overcome our fears and rely on You! In Your name, Amen.

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