Today’s testimony is shared by a woman I have rubbed elbows with for years. We are part of the same community, and yet I have never known her story. My heart aches to think of how many times I’ve walked past her without even realizing all she was struggling through. It is a fresh reminder to me of our need for deeper connection with the women we live and walk with every day. We need to come in closer, and invite others to do the same. How much different I believe our journeys would be if we did…
Her story is brave, and tells of a battle to overcome the grip of fear that often seeks to gain its hold through traumatic circumstances. I’ve seen many people run from fear and succumb to fear, living imprisoned lives of deep suffering and reaching for anything to distract them from the pain of its bondage. I’ve seen very few stand and fight and face the reality of fear, determining to walk in the freedom God promises.
But here is one such woman. With God’s help, she has reached for her breakthrough, and she has determined to grow and heal. And God has richly rewarded her with the strength and help she needs. As she continues to show up every day and keep growing, keep breaking through, I am inspired by her faith and her purposeful journey to take back all that fear has tried to rob her of.
Would you join me in praying for still more breakthrough and more healing for her and her marriage and family? No doubt God has something amazing in store for her and for them. This breakthrough was meant to bring good news to many more who are struggling in the prison of fear. Please share her story and let’s begin to face and overcome the demon of fear in our lives, together, by God’s amazing grace…
“My name is Aiesha and here is my resurrection story…
In 2005, I had an experience that caused PTSD, which in turn led to panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia and suicidal thoughts. One day, when I couldn’t get a refill on anxiety meds, I sat in my car in the parking lot and cried out, “God, if you’re real then you need to do something because I am going to kill myself!” God heard my cry at that moment and graciously led me down the path that leads to life in abundance. From 2006 to 2010, I was being healed of my past and renewed in my mind. Those were the dramatic transforming years. Those were the falling in love with Jesus years!
I married in 2010 and it seemed as though, right after returning from our honeymoon in Hawaii, life became very intense. I kept thinking things would mellow out soon, but for 5 long years, they didn’t. Upon returning from our honeymoon, news of physical/mental/verbal and even sexual abuse in my family was disclosed. Soon after the news, my brother was shot and almost died and my parent’s home became unsafe due to the threat of a drive-by. Less than a year later, another one of my 3 brothers had a freak accident when helping to move a car and almost died. During those years, 2 cousins both in their early 40s died unexpectedly and instantly. Close family members spoke out about being raped by other family members in the past, so relationships with the perpetrator were now completely cut off. So many secrets of abuse were now out in the open, which affected not only the abused but also the abuser’s spouse and their children. Who would die next? Who would come forward next? Who would be molested or raped next, and how could I stop it from happening? How could I protect my daughter and the children in our family? Fear was my constant reality.
I remember thinking, ‘God, you don’t love my family. You allowed us to be destroyed.’ I knew God had a plan for my family members and that all of the pain that they endured was not in vain, but it was an overwhelming time and sadly, that was my honest thought. It seemed that those who had come forward, those that I loved deeply, began to engage in even more self-destructive behavior, and it was difficult to watch. My father’s alcoholism worsened and it affected the whole family. I feared losing him to the disease so in my attempts to keep him safe, I later realized, I became co-dependent, and this co-dependency didn’t come without a cost. It negatively affected every area of my life. Once again, more fear.
During these years, there were suicide attempts by close family members and my brother, who I love dearly, suddenly became mentally ill. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and went to jail for the first time on Christmas Day. He went to jail due to a delusion about my daughter. He wanted to protect my daughter from her father, and so tried to kill my husband. I stayed away from my brother for years and had minimal contact with him in attempt to stay safe and keep my family safe. My brother and I always had a close relationship, and I missed him very much every day. More fear closed in on me.
Through all of the chaotic events happening in those years, I was expected to help fix them. I assumed the “helper” role in my family at the age of 11 and perhaps that’s why I naturally became a social worker as an adult. I remember hearing the comment, ‘You help people for work, but why can’t you help your family?’ I went into Super Social Worker mode and became obsessed with who needed what interventions and even prayed for God to work out things the way that I thought best. And then this Scripture humbled me and released me from the burden that I unnecessarily carried:
Job 38:2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” It taught me that God knows best; I can rest.
Once I let go of trying to fix everyone and everything, my focus shifted and I was confronted with the reality of a very wounded marriage. I was so wrapped up in all of the chaos that I had neglected my husband and my marriage. I had allowed myself to be consumed by fear instead of fully trusting God and now the consequences were settling in. There were family members knocking at our door at all hours of the night. There were either phone calls from relatives waking us up in the middle of the night to share tragic news, or relatives calling to say good-bye before threatening to kill themselves. There were times when I drove an hour away at any hour of the night to try and sort out whatever chaos was happening at my parents’ home. Fear of what might happen if I didn’t answer the door or the phone, or intervene in some way stopped me from setting boundaries with my family and this took a toll on my marriage. Still more fear.
Although I had faith and knew Jesus’ power, I allowed fear to ultimately rule over me and control my every move. Fear told me when to wake up and search the internet when someone was sick. Fear filled me with anxiety and made it hard to sleep at night, leaving me exhausted the next day. Fear made me anxiously cling to my phone so that I wouldn’t miss a call. If I left my phone at home, Fear persuaded me to turn around and go back home to get it even if it made me late for work or an appointment. Fear made me feel that I couldn’t ever turn my phone off and be alone with God without distractions. Fear made me doubt God’s power.
I held on to the scripture, 1 John 4:18 “Perfect love casts out fear,” and I kept reminding myself that God’s love is perfect, and if His love is perfect then I have nothing to fear. I also remember finding comfort in Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” I leaned on this verse for comfort when my family members were being threatened and also when I was afraid that my brother’s delusions would lead to him killing someone in my family.
Fear is manipulative and very persuasive. Fear will invite you to dance to a song that never ends, and it will dance with you for as long as you want, but it’s not what God wants. God wants you Free! Fear always took the lead in our dance and my steps always followed. Fear whispered and I reacted. It would whisper, ‘I am your protector. If you listen when I speak, YOU can protect yourself and your family from every bad thing.’ Fear drains you of energy to enjoy the blessings God has given you in life. Fear drains you of energy to carry out God’s will for your life. Fear robs you of the joy and wonderful peace found in fully trusting God.
Fear is relentless. It will silence you and your praise and in doing so, it can stand in the way of your break-through. Fear will whisper, ‘Don’t sing or clap too loud now because something bad is coming.’ Fear will say, ‘Don’t give God praise YET because the test results didn’t come back yet.’ Fear will say, ‘Ok, God did this miracle, but what about this and that, just dance with me some more.’ Ultimately, Fear stole my voice by making me afraid to speak, afraid to praise and afraid to laugh; it made me timid.
Now that I recognize Fear’s tactics and manipulative ways, my hope is to encourage you to not minimize the dance with it. If you are dancing with Fear, I urge you to walk away today and don’t let it control you any longer. I now pray and rest in knowing that God is mighty and however things turn out, whether I perceive them as good or bad, He is in control. I treasure this scripture because it helps me when I am tempted to dance with Fear: Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, –who have been called according to his purpose.”
I think Fear serves its purpose by making us more cautious at times, which can prompt us to pray, but it’s important to refrain from dancing with it. Acknowledge it, pray then ask Jesus to help you let it go. Smile and rest assured that Daddy hears you and He loves you. Nothing can separate you from His love. Romans 8:38-39 reminds us: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.“ Rest assured dear sisters, you are safely protected in the shadow of our loving Father’s mighty wing!”