Maria had just told the story of her greatest fear coming true.
It happened to be one of my greatest fears as well.
I won’t give the story away, but I will say this is a common one for all mothers. Tissues passed around the auditorium at the women’s retreat as she told us how she experienced profound peace in the middle of her worst moments.
As the years went by after that retreat, I was continually amazed at her down to earth and humble faith enveloped in a peace I had never experienced.
How could she go through something so completely devastating, something I didn’t think I could ever survive, and walk through life so humbly confident?
Little did I know I would learn three years later how a faith like that is grown.
My whole story is not for today, but I’m telling you it’s such sweet relief to know Maria and follow her example after the fear-based ordeal of our adoption transition last year. To have a friend who understands the devastation of living fearfully and the utter joy and peace of completely surrendering it all to the Lord is a gift.
I’m honored that I know her and now I’m excited that I get to share her with you because she has written a book.
Breaking the Fear Cycle - How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart walks us straight through how to face our most debilitating fears with bravery and live in the freedom of peace.
There is so much goodness between the covers of this book and if you struggle with fear, anxiety and stress you should order it now. I didn’t tell the story of what she told us that day at the retreat because I want you to read Maria’s words for yourself.
I’ve told you how she affected my life and now she can do the same for you. Her book is powerful and actionable. Instead of staying abstract she tells us specifically what to do to begin to control the fear in our lives instead of it controlling us.
Did you know you have a choice to control your fear?
That is one of the most important lessons in this book. It’s not a passive journey, but an active and engaging battle that we can choose to overcome. The best part is we are not alone.
This has been one of my favorite passages of scripture for years and Maria’s application of it has amplified it as a favorite even more. She writes:
We have things to do. Maria tells us to find our battlefield of prayer and watch God work through it.
Recognize that your weaknesses are God’s time to shine
As I was reading through Maria’s book I kept recognizing the times in my life when I was most fearful were times when I was also the weakest. Whether mentally or physically or circumstantially, the times lined up.
When I’m feeling weak in an area it’s so much easier for me to fall into fear-based living and try to control things with my own strength.
But our weaknesses and our lack, like Gideon and his 300 men, are the best parts of our lives for God to show his power.
Don’t make the mistake that I did last year. Instead of turning completely to the Lord with my weakness I focused on the problem I could see. What I saw was my complete lack to handle adding a fourth child to our family through adoption and I crumbled.
Follow Maria’s example.
She took her time of weakness and turned fully to God. She battled and wrestled and surrendered and made the choice that fear would not win and then she experienced God’s perfect peace in the midst of living through her greatest fear.
Her active battle for peace was an act of faith leading up to the day of her worst nightmare. And on that day this is what happened:
Because of that day I see her walking around with a humbleness of spirit. She had to give the control over and it became the most profound lesson of peace.
When we take our focus off the disparity between our problems and our available resources and put the focus on God we can be sure that we will be provided for even in our weakest and most heart wrenching moments. Our timid, comfortable living will transform into bravery released for Christ through our weaknesses.
The more we sit at the feet of our father the more peace we can have when we live out an adventurous life for Christ.
I can’t control my future or the future of the people I care about and that’s ok because God cares for them more than I can imagine. All I have to do is continue to pray actively through my fears and trust that the Lord is good.
We will overcome fear and thrive in our weakness when we put our focus where it belongs.
I have learned that I am brave enough, a warrior on Christ’s battlefield, able to fight fear with truth and I want you to experience that too.
Maria’s book has given me the tools I need to continue to walk in peace daily even if the worst imaginable happens and even in my weakest moments. I pray that you will find peace as you read it.