My whole life I have battled with one fear or another. Fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of death, fear of LIFE! Fear of horses, fear of BIG DOGS.
I have always believed that a person MUST take sensible precautions in anything dangerous, and yet exposure therapy can be very helpful in overcoming many fears. From a worldly perspective at least. So I can honestly say:
I have flown in large planes and still get nervous but I am no longer afraid. I have also taken several lessons in flying a GLIDER! YES! Believe it or not, an airplane with NO ENGINE! I loved it. So much so that I wish I could go take lessons even now and learn to pilot one on my own. Maybe one day!
Heights, though, still intimidate me, greatly. And I get nauseous just looking at photos of those glass walkways or hanging hammocks over gullies in the mountains. I got dizzy recently watching a video of a dreadfully high roller coaster – and I laughed at myself. I try. I really DO try. Some things are just a little slower coming than others.
I am not afraid to live or to die. In both cases, I have gotten to know Yahweh so well, and Yeshua’s character is a precious example I want to emulate. His sacrifice and gift to us and my understand of it have greatly blessed me with peace and calm. I know I can rest in the comfort of God’s love and blessings as well as joy of knowing what life is about and what death holds.
Fear of horses came after I was thrown from one when I was only 5 or 6 years old. I had just gotten the cast off my broken arm after an adventure I had with my childhood friend who lived next door. My family was visiting my aunt and uncle, and my aunt offered to let me ride her horse while she led him around. And don’t you know, we were fine one moment and the next, the horse had reared back and tossed me right off – right onto my right arm that had JUST gotten out of a cast! I remember dad taking me to the ER to get a quick x-ray – JUST IN CASE! I was fine. But it made me nervous to ride horses again – until I was a teenager.
Not sure what came over me, but I got the courage. I started riding at a stables not far from where I lived – I rode at least once a week for quite some time. And I even helped a friend during that time who worked for a carriage company ride the Draft Horses to the barns, grabbed a new set, rode them back and hitched them up. I learned to really LOVE horses at that time – especially the big ones!
You see, from a spiritual perspective, we should turn to the scriptures and although fears taunt us, we must always remember what they say: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)
So here we are – again in life at the stage where I will be working through a NEW fear while remembering Psalm 56:3 - When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. (WEB)
For months I have been working on moving our vegetable garden to a new location in our yard, away from the prayer garden so that we can see the lovely flowers growing more clearly. We will no longer be looking through the fence and vegetables to see the hummingbirds, Orioles, gold finches, blue birds and more. We have a clear view from our deck and it is lovely.
Our new veggie garden has raised beds, a tomato trellis I built from cut trees, archways for plants to grow vertically, and a fence that will eventually be made fully of wood and chicken wire. We love the new garden much better than the old because it is not only edible and functional but it is prettier and more professional looking than the previous design.
Since constructing the new area and setting the new beds, there have been a few obnoxious little hummingbirds who dart in and out with their wings buzzing. They must have a nest close by, yet I have not seen one. Most days they don’t bother me while I am working or picking, other days they get a little too close for comfort. So imagine how calm I was walking the perimeter of the veggie garden fence the other day and I heard buzzing. I just figured it was those two getting angry at me again. I ignored it.
Then I felt it – a STING on my right hand. I NEVER SAW IT – but I heard it – loudly!!! It was literally attacking me over and over again. I could tell by the sound moving closer, then further, then closer, then further, faster and faster each time! As though it was darting at me like a crazed buzzing maniac!
No. It was NOT a hummingbird!
All I SAW was a blur – it appeared dark AND BIG. Or at least it looked BIG to me! It kept flying at my face and ears – I had my hair down, which may have been a good thing at first. But a BAD thing in the end! It may have protected some of my face and ears in the beginning, but in the end, whatever was attacking me got STUCK in my hair. I could hear it furiously buzzing and moving through my hair.
By this time it had stung me once on the back of my hand between my thumb and first finger, and twice on my elbow THROUGH my thick t-shirt sleeve. I truly only thought it got me once on the elbow – it hurt SO much more than my hand did, though. I ran screaming and flailing into the house. Poor Jim! I know he has never seen me like that before. Even the time I got stung by hornets on the bottom of my foot as they flew through the deck planks I didn’t run screaming and flailing like a rag doll in a hurricane!
When I got inside, Jim rushed me to the bathroom to see what was wrong. I could barely make sentences and honestly, I don’t even know what I said to him. I think I was still screaming! Worst of all, I could STILL hear that buzzing as though whatever had attacked me was THERE not far from my right ear! At first I didn’t know if it was all in my head – FEAR, making me hear things??? OR was it really stuck in my hair!?!
We ended up with Jim trying to BRUSH my hair and out it came!!! A bald faced hornet! Black and white and actually no where near as big as the ones that often pester us on the deck. I do not know how such a small one could be so violent – but it was. I have never actually been ATTACKED like that before by a bug. The ones that got my foot were just angry I sprayed their nest while cleaning the deck. This one was unprovoked. I wasn’t near enough to anything to have been close to a nest, and I hadn’t touched, poked, prodded, or done anything to disturb them.
Jim ended up killing it after it flew from my hair. Then we started to see the damage it had done. The sting on my hand was small, and we discovered the second sting on my elbow – both of those spots were forming welts. My elbow turned hot and red, and it ached so much deep inside the joint. I applied my homemade dandelion salve, took some Benadryl and good old fashioned aspirins.
I can honestly say, I have never, in my whole life, even when afraid of heights or horses or big dogs have I EVER had a panic attack like I did that day! It took me about two hours to catch my breath and stop crying. I WAS A MESS!!! I ate dinner, although I didn’t want to. I watched TV with Jim, although I didn’t want to. ALL I wanted to do was go to bed and start the day over the next morning.
When I DID go to bed, because of all the Benadryl I took, I slept like a log, but my elbow ached all night long. In the morning it was stiff, but my welts were gone. I tried to go outside to go for a walk. I got as far as the deck. I panicked. I tried to go pick beans and a zucchini in the garden – I got as far as giving the neighborhood cat a little kitty food. And I got scared again. I just could not bring myself to go all the way to the other side of the yard. My stomach was tight, and I started to feel tears well up in my eyes again. Praise Abba it rained all day!!! I couldn’t go outside again until today!
I have to admit – the fear welled up inside me again today. But I had to do it. As I walked toward the garden, ALL the “fear” scriptures I normally have memorized to quote for others, went POOF! From my head and the only one I COULD recall was the one in 2 Timothy that God did NOT give me that spirit of fear inside!!! So I said it OUT LOUD as I walked through the gate to pick veggies. I WISH I could have also remembered this one, because it would have instilled in me that deep trust I normally have in Yahweh for His protection and provision:
Don't you be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
Isaiah 41:10 (WEB)
I did it. I picked beans, yellow squash and a zucchini. I trimmed the squash leaves and tossed them in a bucket which is “stewing” for homemade fertilizer. I trimmed a few tomato plants. And ALL the time I heard buzzing all around me. You could say I had buzzing in my ears and butterflies in my stomach! I was SO nervous – but the FEAR is dissipating. It was not overwhelming me like yesterday. For this, I can ONLY give the credit to Yahweh. I KNOW that I am in no way responsible for my calming while in the garden – because today they ALL sound the same. The little bees, big bees, wasps, hornets and hummingbirds oddly all sound exactly the same – and that started to set panic in my heart and mind.
But Abba….HE has that perfect love, that love that casts out ALL FEARS. I did not do it on my own, not at all. And I praise Yahweh for that comfort of His wings covering me.
Blessings and Shalom.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 (KJV)
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
Torah For Women
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