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She stood there for what seemed like an hour, hesitating, looking at the guy at the bottom of the ramp urging her to go for it, then back at me, then down at the skateboard she stood on perched on the edge.  I could tell her heart and mind were working at 100 mph trying to decide what to do.  She wanted to be a skater and had pretty much mastered the horizontal, flat ground skating. Now she was trying to learn to “drop in”: when the skater presses their front foot down on the board and rides down the steep curvy ramp. The idea is to stay on the skateboard of course and keep going once you’re on level ground.  She had attempted dropping in on the smaller ramp at least 15 times, each time wiping out and landing flat on her tailbone – the one place with no protective padding. Now she was perched on the big ramp but not so sure.  The guy encouraging her said she needed to lean forward and be more confident stepping into it with her front foot.  Not easy to do when you are stepping down into a stomach-lurching straight drop at first!  She had been leaning back too much before and so she fell.  It didn’t help that we were at a community skate park on a busy Saturday with some parents watching and a bunch of other skaters rolling around, mostly boys.  I don’t blame her for being a little afraid.  After you get hurt so many times trying something you’re not really eager to try it again.

Ever since we left our old church in December I’ve struggled with the thought of going back into the pastorate and being pastors in another church.  At first the idea was so repulsive to me I couldn’t even think about it without crying or getting a stomach ache.  I just wanted to run the other way.  Why?  I’m realizing it’s because of fear.  Fear of failure.  Fear of people being different from who they say they are.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of making a wrong choice and moving somewhere where we won’t be effective or happy.  Fear of people leaving or misjudging my husband as a leader.  Fear of conflict.  Fear of disappointing God.  Good grief – so much fear!  God has been helping me admit my fears and get rid of them.  His love casts them out.  The key is to step forward confidently, trusting in HIM and not people in a church or anywhere else.   That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but whenever I start to feel afraid, that’s an opportunity to trust Him.

I’m trying to primarily focus on getting to know God and accepting His love.  It seems the more I do that, the less I will be afraid.  That’s what I John 4:18 means about perfect love casting out fear.  I have to stay close and let God keep me full of His perfect love.  I’ll trust more readily, knowing that whatever happens in my life I’m never out of His hands or cut off from His love.  I know there will still be those feelings sometimes of “been there done that and don’t wanna do it again.”  I’ll see my husband at the bottom of the ramp with his hand outstretched saying eagerly, “Come on!”  I’ll look to God and see that He’s watching attentively and is coming along with us, then I’ll lean forward and step down….here I go!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”  I John 4:18 NIV