Until Fear Goes to Sleep

Jennifer slips that little box out from behind her right after we sing—right before we pray—before the official start of our small group discussion. And here I am again, all gape-mouthed and unsuspecting. I don’t know what to say when she places that prettily wrapped package in my hands and all eyes are on me—smiling—and once again these people that I love prove that they know how to love better than I.
“We wanted to recognize all the hard work you’ve done,” she says. “Congratulations on completing the Lay Pastor program.”
We’ve all been friends a long time but it always amazes me how love grows…how even the familiar can surprise. I let myself be surprised.
There is a lump in my throat and I clumsily tear wrapping paper to find the loveliest bracelet nestled inside. Jacalyn helps me with the clasp and she whispers what these beads mean and now Jeff and the boys can buy more beads to add to these here and what do I think?
I look at the silver winking in the sunlight spilling through the window and the beads roll around on my arm and I think it’s perfect. I hope I say thank you, but I might just be too grateful to remember…have I mentioned that gifts were not a part of my little girl life? No birthdays or Christmases or even just because.
I am not very talented at receiving.
And then she slips a little red notebook in my hands too–telling me they all have written a little something in it for me. The little red notebook says Believe on its cover and some days…some days I still can’t believe these people love me. And there is that old fear inside that a love like this can never stay and I wonder to myself that this thing we celebrate—might it mean a walking away from this love one day?
I tuck the little red notebook under my papers—unopened—and we start our lesson for the night.
It’s a good night and after our lesson we have dinner together and our kids play badminton and we sit out on the deck and catch up. I go to bed tired and happy. Blanketed with love.
So when I awaken in a panic at 3:00 a.m. I’m not sure where it comes from. No matter how much I pray and recite the book of James, I can’t seem to shake it. After an hour of listening to the house hum I know there’s only One Place to go. I slip out from under the covers and drift downstairs.
I know what it’s about but I don’t want to talk about it.
I lie on the couch with unblinking eyes in the dark. The Lord comforts me—he reminds me of the red notebook. I read my friends sweet words in the dark hours and cry grateful tears. But that pit is still gnawing at me. 
I can’t do this, I tell Him. I am not enough.
The red notebook is open on my lap and that’s when I see it. On the very first page in the margin, my friend Marci wrote Joshua 1:9
I know what it says, but I get my Bible so I can touch those words—read them with my heart.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
I read the last words over and over, until the truth of them becomes real again.
the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Over and over. Until fear goes to sleep.
Blogging in community with Michelle and Jen today. Love you girls! 
This week’s memory verse:

Check previous Tuesday posts for prior verses.

For memory cards of the whole book of James visit this post. 


  1. says

    I’m glad I read this and the linked post, too. And the post after the linked post, about your giving the gift to your dad. You remind me how blessed I am in having the same faith as my parents and brother’s family. I’m so thankful you have friends like the ones who knew what you needed before you needed it, also the Holy Spirit within, whispering to you. I’m so thankful you lean into that voice. You’re beautiful and stronger than you know.

  2. says

    What a gift to have friends like these that believe in you this way. And God’s timing is perfect, His presence omniscent. I could feel Him there with you in the middle of the night when fear shouts. You are lovely, every little bit of you.

  3. says

    Ok this is the second blog post I ended up crying over tonight… just beautiful and I know how hard it is to receive…for the little girl so say ‘ok’… I accept.
    You deserve it so much. You are awesome and beautiful and I hope someday to meet you.

  4. says

    So thankful with you for friends who see you, really SEE you, and for the faithful companionship of the Lord through those friends and through the Word and through calls in the night to look in that beautiful red journal. Whenever I have bouts with deep fear, I find the Jesus prayer so comforting, centering, stilling. I’m glad you found the words that brought peace for you that night. And I’m glad you wrote about it, too.

  5. says

    oh, Laura, I read your post, and I wished I could give you a big hug, …your story resonated with me…so glad God gave you the verse you needed, and friends that love and value you…my thought for today was “God, you are enough.” May He continue to comfort the little girl deep within, and let her know that He will never ever ever ever leave you. (Heb. 13:5) My friend, who knows Greek, says there is a three-fold emphasis…it is one of my most comforting verses…{{{HUGS}}}

  6. says

    When a person is usually a giver, it is difficult to learn to receive. A Pastor’s wife taught me that because I was never able to receive a gift or even a compliment.
    God is the giver of all good gifts and we must be able to receive from Him. Excellent Post Laura!

  7. says

    4 a.m. and I needed this. I have been awake praying about Colorado being on fire. I have lots of family there…all safe at this moment….but it’s horrible out there. And then the thoughts begin. Our youngest just quit her job and is moving to Colorado. She has grown up so much through great adversity….but this momma’s heart can think of a lot of things that are UNKNOWN right now. Choosing to set my gaze on Him. He gave me several scriptures including this scripture so lovingly written in this precious book shared with love.
    Laura, you sit at the right hand of God. Being one with Christ means all that He experienced is now who we are. We don’t have to hope for the truth, the love, the authority….it is NOW ours, as we are covered by the blood, wrapped in love for all eternity. Believe indeed….FOR IT IS TRUTH!

    Now I choose to not think of all the details of my child moving 10 hours away. I choose to set my gaze on my Father…abiding…my only refuge.

    Joy for what God has been doing in you. I’m always so thankful He is such a creative God that He can even use a donkey….that always makes me feel usable. We are filled with His Spirit, we walk in His authority, we love because He first loved us. We breathe Him in….we breathe Him out in all we do. You are a jewel!

  8. says

    This post left me with one of those “ahhh” moments, savoring not only the outcome but also the awkwardness of receiving and the fear of stepping into the role for which you are now officially prepared.

    I know you already wear this new hat well, and have for some time already.

    Blessings on you, your family and all who come into your sphere to care about now because of the new role!

  9. says

    Every time I read something you write, Laura, my heart is moved, so very touched.

    “Until fear goes to sleep….”
    I had a night like that recently, too, and The Word was the place to go.

    You are so loved–thank you for sharing.

  10. says

    Laura, you are easily loved. Your sweet grace and tender, giving heart reach out like a gentle touch to everyone around you.
    I know that fear. I fight it even now. And twice already today he tenderly reminds me that He is enough.
    You spoke His words to my heart today. Thank you dear friend.

  11. says

    Oh, Laura. I’m so happy for you! Completing the program now means that West Virginia has a lovely and wise new pastor. I love that your friends gave you gifts that help to alleviate your fear.

  12. says

    If I tell you that I am not surprised at the love you have received, would that give you pause? I do not even begin to know you as your friends, who you have so blessed… but, I have a sense of you through your scripture posts, your words, the experiences you share with your readers…
    I was having what my husband calls a “duck” day, complaining about nothing, but knowing that there was “something” at the root of my disquiet…I pulled up your blog, with this post and your friends message to you, became a message to me…thank you both!

  13. says

    So happy for you, Laura, in your new role as lay pastor. This is just wonderful news!

    And those words from Joshua? I have turned to them so many times. I have many fears, and God is the only way out of that darkness.

  14. says

    Thanks for the inspiration you gave for Fire on the Mountain.

    Fear comes in many forms…and often its that feeling of helplessness, hopelessness. Embracing it helps us understand it.

  15. says

    How sad that you didn’t receive gifts when you were young. We were not rich, but we always were excited about gifts! They needn’t be expensive, just a token to show you’re appreciated and thought of. I’m glad that God is teaching you to know your worth in His eyes. Sometimes He uses people to shower His love upon us. Open up and receive! Blessings! Patsy from

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