Ever since my children have been big enough to play in woods, I have feared ticks. I have feared them for one reason and one reason only: Lyme Disease. Though I didn't know much about the disease, I knew it was one I did not want to have to deal with when it came to my children. And ticks are especially scary to me because of how easily they can hide. So we've always done "tick checks" after my children have been playing in the woods. Back in September, my son was bitten by what we thought was a spider. We never saw what had bitten him, but the bite looked ugly and the several doctors who saw him all agreed that it was a spider. So he was treated with antibiotics to help his body fight the infection. A month later, he suddenly was hit with rapid fire unexplained joint pain and swelling. First hip, then knee, then shoulder, all within a week and a half. Crazy weird, but we all thought his body was still processing the spider venom. Some blood testing and a few specialist appointments later, we got the diagnosis that broke my heart. Lyme Disease. Despite all of my efforts, my son ended up with Lyme Disease because of a tick that we didn't even know had been on him. My fear was once again my reality. I cried. I questioned. But I couldn't walk away from the fact that this was now my son's reality, too. One that he would potentially have to deal with for the rest of his life. My counselor's words from years ago came back to me. Letting this new reality conquer me was not an option. I have spent the last week figuring out how to survive this. Because we will. I have never believed that God makes mistakes, and I still don't. God is writing the story of my son's life, and I trust every chapter that He puts in it. I am learning ways to give my son the best chance at living his life with Lyme Disease successfully. And we are surviving it. Because there is no other choice.
The thing about fears is that they have the most power when they stay inside our head. They have the ability to grow to insurmountable sizes. We have a lot of fears that never come true, but they still swirl in our minds, terrorizing our hearts and holding us captive to the imagination of the worst. The first step in conquering fears is praying about them. God is big enough to handle our fears and worries. When we trust our situations to Him, He can take our fears and replace them with peace and trust. The second step is speaking our fears out loud to someone we trust. Not only can those people speak truth to us, but the act of speaking out loud about the fears gives them less power to debilitate us. There have been many times where I have gone from frozen fear to faith and hope just because I have had a good conversation with someone about what was causing me to fear. Another step in conquering our fears is surviving them. Sometimes our fears do come true. Sometimes we are faced with the very thing we feared. And the beautiful truth is that we can survive them. Often not without tears and prayers and people who love us coming beside us. But we can survive them. Because as people, we are a lot more resilient than we think.
Ps. 56:9b "This I know: God is on my side!"