Karen Loritts was the author of this very transparent and honest chapter. I appreciate people who are not ashamed to admit and honestly evaluate the hard times that come to every Christian's life. Although I cannot say that I have ever dealt with fear in the same way that she described, I am forwarned as I am quickly heading into the empty nest period of my life. It seems that even with all the preparation we can do in prayer for those times of life that we know may cause us some struggles, occasionally we are all blindsided by something we never saw coming.
I know some who would think this could never happen to them, and when it does, they would never admit it to anyone until it was over. There is some merit, I feel, in fighting through things with God alone. I've done it. The problem can be in how we share what happened, what we did and what we learned as a result of it. Some choose to wear it as some kind of heavenly purple heart for people to look at and admire. That is just plainly prideful. But others, as Mrs. Loritts did, just honestly share what happened and how close they came to an edge of no return before the Lord had mercy and rescued them. It is from these types of people that we can truly learn spiritual principles.
I was once blindsided by fear and it almost took me completely out.
It was in 1994. I had just experienced a great spiritual victory in that my second child had been born full term and healthy. From day 1, the enemy had tried literally everything he could to take her life. Because of the Lord's protection, we had defied every statistic and even defied a doctor's diagnosis that told us that we had lost her. In fact, I had, at one point, sat up on one elbow on an examining table and stuck my finger right in the doctor's face and informed him that I had NOT lost this baby and that she would be born when she was due.
You see, also from day 1, God had spoken to me directly about this baby's life and He had promised her to me. Having a directive straight from God to you, in no uncertain terms, can make you very bold when pushed to believe or accept something other than what God has said. (I'm praying that I will learn to let God's written Word have it's full effect in me as His spoken Word did during this time. I'm not there yet, but I pray that I get there!)
Within 8 months, I was pregnant again. Although welcomed, I had not planned on being pregnant so soon after having a baby. I still am not sure what happened, but somehow fear assailed me. I began to remember the previous 9 month's struggles and fears. The days spent in doctor's offices, hospitals and emergency rooms were still very vivid in my mind. And the close call while in labor was so clear that just thinking about it made my heart race.
Before you judge me, remember that the same thing happened to Elijah. After his miraculous demonstration of the power of God in defeating the 450 prophets of Baal, he ran and hid from one lone woman. Perhaps these things come on each other's heels so that we will not grow proud and wear our victories as a medal of honor. Or maybe they come because we pridefully take some credit for the victory we just experienced, instead of giving God all the glory. I don't know. But I do know that God is just as big in both kinds of situations.
In 1994, while in my first trimester of my third pregnancy, fear took over. I could not sleep at night. For weeks, I lay in bed every night, all night, trying to go to sleep. As this continued, I began to experience anxiety attacks. I would all the sudden quake so hard with cold that I shook the whole bed, often waking my husband. Then, in a split second, I would feel as if I was burning in a fire. It scared me! I tried everything. I read my Bible, I quoted scripture, I listened to worship music, I refused to get up thinking that I would just lay there and eventually fall asleep, but I wouldn't. I began sleeping in my daughter's room in a spare bed. My nights were spent trying to make myself sleep, crying out to God, and searching my heart.
I experienced temptations to things I hadn't been tempted with since becoming a Christian. And sadly, a few times I gave in to those temptations. I became claustrophobic. If I had to drive downtown during busy times and was forced to stop in a line of traffic, I would have to step outside of my car until the traffic started to move again. At some point along the way, I got sick with a sinus infection that clogged my nose and ears, multiplying the claustrophobic feelings to the point that during dinner, I would often have to leave the noise of the dinner table to go outside. People were continuing to pray for me, but quite honestly, every time someone would pray, I would grow worse. At some point, I just told people to please stop praying for me! The only thing I was truly interested in were some drops the doctor prescribed to help with the pain in my ears as my ear drums burst.
I wish that I could, as Mrs. Loritts does, outline what my plan of attack was to overcome the realization that I was losing it! But I can't. But what I did do had just as much effect. One night, when the banging and the clanging of dinner was sounding all muddled in my head, I left the dinner table and went outside. As I looked up, I saw the stars shining brightly overhead and I knew that beyond those stars God was, at that moment, looking down on me. I was spent. I had no answers, only questions. I had little faith, only guilt and condemnation. I had no hope, because I just kept growing more sick and more crazy feeling. So I simply looked up to heaven and with all the faith I I could muster, I simply said "God, please have mercy on me."
From that very second, my life began to change. My fever broke, my sinuses cleared. For the first time in months, I slept all night in sweet, peaceful sleep. Occasionally the fear would try to come crawling back. I could tangibly feel when it was trying to sneak up behind me and take back over. But a very wise Christian had reminded me that "God has already won the battle. We don't need to fight it again" and that alone was enough to make the enemy flee. I've never had any trouble like this since.
My son was born one afternoon, all 10 lbs. 3 oz. of him. God had obviously protected him through all that I had gone through because he was a delightful baby, a good little boy, and is a growing, thriving teenager today. In some ways, God used that whole episode to rightly put me in my place. I am no match for the devil nor for all the things evil can bring into a life. It is only when I humble myself in my weakness before God, fully admitting that I am in trouble without God's intervention, fully depending on the mercy of Calvary, that I am strong.
The Bible tells us that God will fight for us. That He is on our side. That He causes us ALWAYS to triumph through Christ Jesus. That He is greater in me than those in the world.
The next time I was blindsided by something even more terrible, it didn't take me long to get to looking up to heaven at the God who was looking down and letting Him know that I was down for the count unless He did something fast! And He didn't disappoint me. And He displayed His power in a miraculous way. And He secured a wonderful victory! But that's a story for another day.