Walking through the parking garage after work last week, I noticed a bumper sticker that brought me comfort. It read: "Love>Fear." Just prior to seeing the sticker, I'd been caught up in my mind with feelings of anxiety. Even though I'd completed the last of my chemotherapy treatments, I felt physically weak and vulnerable. Feeble. The reason I was walking inside the parking garage was because I could no longer walk up more than two flights of stairs before being winded--something I was almost embarrassed to admit. Before cancer, I'd park my car on the eighth floor so I could get the exercise walking up and down the stairs each day. Now, I could only walk downstairs and up only one or two flights. I'd walk those one or two flights, then head to the elevator that took me to whatever floor my car was parked on. As I trudged to my car, I bemoaned my weakness and asked, "What if I never regain strength?" "What if I'm not able to once again find a way to exercise and empower my body?" "What if the cancer comes back and I face chemotherapy again?" "What if I'm not able to work?" "What would I do about health insurance if I couldn't work?" Negative, disempowering thoughts curled out of my mind. Then the bumper sticker interrupted the noxious thinking. A mercy from God, no doubt.
I began to remind myself of how deeply I am loved by God. He had gotten me through the treatments and provided support from countless people who love me. Countless prayers from His army of believers. He'd supplied many good days when I felt well and was able to work productively. I was still consistent with walking, albeit a slower pace. My husband had gone to every medical appointment with me and cooked me boundless healthy food, washed the floors and told me every day that I would make it. My daughters stood by me like rocks of Gibraltar. My sisters and family in Italy regularly checked in with me. Even colleagues surrounded me with good wishes and filling in for me when I couldn't make it to work. Friends sent me texts, emails and letters, brought me flowers--lifelines of encouragement. Yes, love truly overwhelmed fear in my life. When I got to my car I remembered God's supply over this year--His incessant forbearance toward me.
God reminded me, too, of another way to slay fear in my life--a memory I cherish. When my girls were little, they listened to cassette tapes and learned numerous songs. One of our favorites was sung by "Charity Churchmouse." We often sang the song at night as I tucked them into bed. The lyrics are:
I cast all my care upon you.
I lay all of my burdens down at your feet.
And anytime I don't know what to do.
I cast all my care upon you.
We would sing this simple tune over and over until drowsiness and peace began to work its way over our hearts.
I realized I could still sing this song now. I imagined tying all my fears, worries and anxieties to balloons and watching them sail away, no longer resting on my shoulders. I would cast my cares to the wind and let Jesus take them. I, in return for the burdens and cares of my life, would receive His supernatural peace, His love and presence that is greater than all my fears and worries and doubt.
When I'm feeble and overwhelmed by life,
Guide me into your glory where I am safe and sheltered.
Lord, you are a paradise of protection to me.
You lift me high above the fray. ~Psalm 61:2-3 (The Passion Translation)