Posts tagged fear
DAY 10

Dear Ones,

Over the last few days, I have taken your names with me on my walks in the storms that hover over the Pacific Northwest. With my rain jacket, my battered umbrella, and my Bogs rubber boots I am trekking through puddles and delighting in the strength of these storms.

~Delighting in the One who delights in showing us His strength in the midst of storms.

As I have walked, I have felt the weight of your sorrows. I believe that your cries for the Father to free you of burdens too great to bear have been heard. From the mother whose children won't stop bickering, to the silent ones who cannot say why, and everyone who has written to me asking that I bring them with me on my talking-to-the Father walks.

Your longing to come with me on this Way of Delight is a giant step towards taking hold of “the life that is truly life” (I Timothy 6v19), that life of abundance (John 10v10) Jesus holds out to each of us.

These words are for you~

"I will... fear no evil... for You are with me."

Psalm 23v4


I will. 

I will choose to let go of fear, to push off shame, to run free.

I will choose to fill my soul with delight.

I will choose the way of love even when I feel unloved and unlovable. Even when I don’t want to and think I can’t.

I will choose with my will fully surrendered, not allowing my wild and untamable emotions to choose for me.

I will choose. Every day. All day. This day.

I will.

I will fear no evil.

Because perfect love casts out fear— all fear.   

Fear of what people might think, fear of what someone might do, fear of rejection. Fear of failure, fear of shame, fear of aloneness. Fear of not-enoughness, fear of too-muchness, fear of powerlessness.

With my will I will choose not to fear even when my heart is beating and my hands are shaking and my body betrays me. Even then I will choose not to fear. I will be wise, alert, discerning and assertive— and free of fear. By choice.

I will fear no evil.


I will fear no evil for You are with me.

Always. Even when I cannot feel You or see You or hear You. Even to the end, especially at the end.

I will make room for Your presence to sink deep within me, breathing deeply of Your Spirit. I will make space for You in my every days so that I recognize You and turn to You on the days when evils stalk and temptation lures. I will open my eyes so I may see You. I will tune my ears so I can hear You. I will draw close so I can feel you.

And when I fail and fall back to fear, I will come to You in sorrow.  I will sit with You there, confident in Your love, without fear of condemnation, assured that Your love is greater than my fears.

I will fear no evil, for You are with me.


From a heart filled with faith in a Father whose love will never let you go,


P.S. For everyone who asks in the comments, I will add your name to my growing list of people to bring along on my walks with the Father. This brings me unbelievable delight!

DO NOT FEAR... and other words about listening to God

Dear ones, I woke up this morning wanting to go back to sleep.

Ever have those days?

It’s a rare feeling for me, an inveterate morning person. As I lay there wondering what in the world was wrong with me, I sensed that whispered truth from the One who knows me better than I know myself.

You’re afraid.

I knew His words to be true, though it hadn’t dawned on me all through the restless night. And hearing Him, I felt that instant relief I’ve come to recognize as my soul’s visceral response to His words to me.

The fear had to do with my plans for the morning. After months of writing and years of living my story, I’ve finally got it all on paper. For the past several weeks an editor has been waving her magic wand over my words, asking me questions, filling in gaps, challenging my assertions, making sure I am writing true and getting the story right.

Waiting for me on my desk is the final edit.

And I am scared. Nervous. Worried.

Feeling once again those all too familiar feelings of not-enoughness.

The inadequacy that has haunted every step of writing my story kept me bound to my bed this morning instead of bouncing out to my writing cabin with joy. 

I pulled myself out from under the covers, made a pot of tea, and sat by the fire Phil had made, eyeing my cabin out the window with dread.

Since my Bible was waiting by the backdoor instead of in its usual place by my chair in my cabin under the trees, I settled in to the safety of this place where I never write.

I sat in Phil’s chair. Sipped tea, and waited.


No words, more dread.

I’ll just spend this day wrapping. I need to wrap, after all. I’ll get to my book later.

Relief… sort of.

Opening my Bible on my way to where I left off the day before, my eyes caught these title words: Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man.

My heart froze.

That’s me! I am that paralyzed man. Paralyzed by fear, haunted by feelings of inadequacy, knowing deep down that I’m not good enough, smart enough, responsible enough. Convinced that I have failed again to meet my own standards of perfection. I am hog-tied by that knowing that I am not as good as I wish I was— at anything.

I read the story. No, that’s not right...

I inhaled the story.

It’s that story I have been drawn to over and over again. I’ve taught on it, written about it, researched words and deciphered my way through dusty tombs written by men with strings of letters after their names.

But this time I did what I’ve been doing a lot lately; I followed the rabbit trails of references the translators leave behind.

I wanted to know more of what Jesus meant when he said to the man: “Take heart, son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mt. 9v2 NIV)

The trail led me first to these words: “…in this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16v33 NIV)

Take heart. I have overcome your trouble.

Ah… peace chasing fear away.

His peace. Given as a gift through His words…

His words to me, the fear prone daughter of Royalty. The one who forgets that she’s not alone- never alone.

This child of His, whose soul struggles to get it right. To believe. To fully entrust every bit of me to Him.

But it gets better, this listening.

The reference trail led me, strangely enough, to Romans:

“… in all these things you are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8v37 NIV)

Oh yes! I forgot! Again


That’s why I’m afraid, because I’m stuck back in that thinking, that wrong thinking, that my story is about me.

Sure, it’s my story… but the truth is, my story is all about Him— what He did, how He speaks, how He is teaching me to hear.

And, my dear anxious ones…

Your story isn’t about you either.

Your story is all about Jesus engulfing you in His great love and hiding you there.

Your story, and mine too, is about how in all things

“God works for the good of those who love Him,

who have been called according to His purpose.

For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…

and those He predestined He also called;

those He called,

He also justified;

those He justified,

He also glorified.”

(Romans 8v28,29 NIV)

He also glorified. 

Once again that heart-halting sense of His speaking to me, through me, for me. 

What? Lord, isn’t it me who is supposed to be glorifying You?

Yes. That’s right.

What am I missing? Why is my heart beating wildly at this thought? Could it be true that You want to glorify me? That’s crazy!

And I’m laughing now because I know it’s true! I feel His smile, that chuckle of the One who so persistently leads us into truth.

And here it is, all unwrapped:

When I tuck myself into Him. Purposely listening, yielding, obeying, wanting His truth to be the truest truth— He actually glorifies me.


In Him I am better than I am.

In Him I am freed to be who He designed me to be.

In Him I am adequate.

Paul’s words in I Corinthians break through to add octane to my wonder:

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”

(I Corinthians 3v4,5 NASB)

Which means that, Lord…

My adequacy is from You.

Smile. Joy. Wonder. A gift so lavish I cannot get over it.

And then I scurried to write it all down for you, my dear ones. To remind you again, all of you who are haunted by fears, hunted by an enemy whose fiery arrows (“flaming missiles” in the NASB) sting and wound and threaten to relegate you to the injured list, that…

Hid in Him you are enough!

That, in fact, He wants to use you to tell His story to a whole world that doesn’t yet know that it is Him— Jesus— they are craving as they spend their moments and their money accumulating.

This is what I mean when I talk about listening to God.

When I say that He speaks in the silence. He does! He really does!

From one who is learning to hear and wanting you to know,


P.S. Read it for yourself in Matthew 9v1-8, then again in Mark 2v3-12 and then get the details in Luke 5v18-26.


DAD STORIES: memories from a man who got it right

I’ve told you about my dad— how, without actually meaning to, he’s shaped my faith in God.

(my daughter, Rebekah and my dad)

My dad has shown me in his own way— in his way with me, how the Father is.

How He loves…

How He welcomes…

How He wants to be with me on those early, intimate mornings.

Because of Dad, trusting God has been, if not exactly easy, at least simple for me.

One night, many years ago, when my old nemesis, Fear, started to choke the joy out of my daily life, the memories of my dad’s way with me broke those chains…

It was late and I lay in bed wide-awake. Alone and afraid.

My husband traveled as a part of his job in those days, sometimes for weeks at a time. On this night he was an ocean way, unavailable, unreachable, unable to calm me down or cheer me up. I’d suffered the insomnia of fear every night he was gone.

Too exhausted to sleep, too afraid to allow myself to rest, my façade of courage was crumbling.

My fear teetered towards terror.

A deaf woman alone at night with three children sleeping blithely in their bedrooms— every possibility presenting itself in colored array as I desperately prayed those demons away.

What if someone breaks in the house? Would I hear them? No.

What if there’s a fire? Would I hear the alarm? No.

What if someone big and mean and bad comes barging in the front door… no, no, no!

I can’t hear! I can’t protect my children! I can’t be safe!

I sat awake, hearing aids at full volume, baseball bat at hand.

I prayed, of course. 

Desperate liturgies for protection: for angels, for hedges, for walls and warriors to watch over me.

And I laugh a little now, but at the time, that helplessness felt immensely more real than any assurances of the safety of my neighborhood or the ridiculousness of my fears.

Yet still…in spite of the unreasonableness of my angst, God brought Himself into my runaway fears.

Instead of scoffing: You’re a grown-up, Di, get over it!

Instead of shame: Where’s your faith?

Instead of platitudes: Angels are watching over you…

He reminded me of my dad.

Every night when I was growing up, my dad walked through our house just before going to bed. He checked doors, turned down the heater, closed windows, peeked in on each of us kids.

Making the rounds like a night watchman.

Making sure I was safe.

Making me feel safe.

Never once, in all my years at home did I beg Dad to take care of me. I didn’t plead for protection from the invisible bad guys. Didn’t remind him to lock up. Didn’t keep a baseball bat close just in case.


I didn’t need to ask for protection because I slept close to my protector.

God, I realized, is just like my dad!

In fact, I began to suspect that all my begging might be an insult to Him. Of course He’s watching over me! 

Instead of desperate rituals of praying for angels to surround me, instead of walking through every worry, and making sure He knew all about how He should handle it, and why, and what I wanted Him to do…

Maybe I should just thank Him for all the nights He’d watched over me.

Just like Dad.

Years and years and decades of nights. No bad guys, no break-ins, no monsters under the bed.

Just my great big God watching over me while I slept.

I drifted off to sleep that night whispering thanks.

And every night after that, whenever the reality of being a deaf woman alone started to feel unsafe, whenever fear threated to keep me up, I felt that grip of safe assurance— of my Father being just like my dad—steady, dependable, present.

He loved me… just like Dad.

He was up to the task of taking care of me… just like Dad.

I could practically feel Him locking up tight, making the rounds, checking in to be sure I was okay… just like my Dad.

My dad spent all my growing up years watching over me. Sometimes in simple ways like locking up at night. Sometimes in harder-to-swallow ways like restricting my freedom lest my naivete leave me unprotected.

I wasn’t always grateful. I didn’t always understand. I wasn’t always nice about not understanding. In fact, he could tell you stories about me not being nice or grateful or understanding…

But that didn’t stop him.

Because my dad cared enough to take care of me… and so does my Father.

From my heart,



1.    He watched over me.

2.    He was there— down the hall, next to mom, no matter what.

3.    He didn’t mock my fears.

4.    He kept watching over me even when I didn’t think I needed him.

5.    He showed me what the Father is like.


P.S. Have you learned some things about the Father from your dad? Can you tell us what?

Or are you just now learning that the Father is different than the way your dad was to you? That He loves in a way your dad was not able to love?

THOUGHTS ON... faith and fear and hiding hogs

(image by Bethany Small)

…and all the people in that region begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone…

Luke 8:37

…the crowds received Jesus with open arms because they had been waiting for Him.

Luke 8:40

I sat before the fire this morning with a cup of steaming tea in one hand and my Bible in my lap. Groggy from sleeping too late, restless and needing real rest, I felt all unsettled inside.

The words caught me.

The story of a whole town pressuring Jesus to leave after He’d done good— rid a crazy man of his demons.

Why weren’t they okay with that?

And then right up against that question, rose the story of a whole town pressing in around Jesus for help and healing.

How did they know?

On one side of the lake an immense crowd gathered to beg Jesus to go away. To leave them alone.

On the other side of that same lake, equally insistent crowds waited with open arms to invite Him right into the midst of their stories.


Why would one person push Him away and another pull Him close?

And aren’t I just a little spiritually bi-polar too?

On some things down right rigid in my strict adherence to His Word…

and on others clearly disobedient and mostly unapologetic.

Why do I ramp up the intensity of my words in order to get my own way… when I well know that what God relishes in a woman is a gentle and quiet spirit?

Why do I lay awake at night worrying about my kids… when He has so clearly stated that He loves them with a greater love than I could ever grasp?

And why can’t I help myself?

Why don’t I stop?

Fully awake now, I scoot forward, lay aside my tea and sniff around these stories. What I find gives me much more than a caffeine jolt.

The ones who wanted Him away were afraid. Not of the stark naked, demon filled, manic man who broke through chains and dominated the countryside. They were used to him. Had it under control.

What scared them witless was Jesus’ undeniable power to bankrupt their undercover pig operation. Here was a kosher Jewish town making a killing on hogs.

They had a secret that Jesus knew about and they thought by pushing Him out of the picture they could keep stockpiling all that lovely stash without the whole world knowing.

And maybe I have secrets too. Secret pride. Secret fears. Secret things that feel safe to me. And I don’t want Jesus to have anything to do with my hog business.


Then there’s the other guys. They welcomed Jesus. Held open their arms and fairly wrestled Him into their lives.

A leader fell flat on his face before Jesus, blithefully ignorant of what everyone else might think. His daughter was dying and by golly this guy was going to do everything in his power to get the help he needed to save her.

He was desperate.

A woman grabbed onto the tassle at the bottom of His robe and held on for dear life, stopping Jesus’ journey through the crowds. Nothing and nobody was going to stop her from getting from Him what she wanted more than life itself. Weak and weary and tired of the isolation of illness, this woman would go down in history for her insistence that Jesus help her.

She was sick of being sick. 

I think there’s a treasure to be unburied in these side-by-side stories.

Something about fear and faith. And how you can’t have both. One cancels out the other.

Faith overrides fear and fear deletes faith.

I chew on this all day. Keep coming back to the stories. What am I missing?

I don’t want to be a bi-polar believer.

Moving from crisis to crisis, one season all good and peace-filled and other’s centered…

Too soon swinging to anxious, overwrought, ready to burst into tears because life is hard and how come that happened and why me?


And while I am praying and seeking and wondering, words jump out at me:





I know those words. And I know something else—

that the life I long for cannot be had as long as I insist on holding God to my way


the life I long for is mine for the taking if I’ll only refuse the fear by fully entrusting every single teeny tiny facet of my life to Him.

Everything.  Everyone.  Fully.

And so I get up to face my day with three treasures tucked into my heart, stored in my mind, settled into my soul…

1.  It’s usually when I’m up against death and desperation- really scary stuff— that I come begging for Him.

2.  Not until I get sick and tired of being sick and tired will I live the life I long for.

3.  Fear is what gets in the way of what I really want.

These are three things I cannot afford to keep forgetting, and neither can you. But I’ll need the help of other women who want what I want.

Women who’ve declared themselves all His.

Women who are daring to trust Him even when they’re really not crazy about all that desperation and dying talk.

Women who are willing to call me out when I start hiding hogs again.

Women like you…

From my heart,


PS:  Can you write us some stories of times you fell on your face in full on faith that only He could fix those broken places?  We need to hear your songs of deliverance to help build up our own wobbly faith.

repost: 4.2012


(image by Bethany Small)

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. 

Psalm 107:29

The boys in the boat were in their element.

Fishermen raised by fishermen, these guys lived, breathed, worked, played, dreamed to the rhythm of the lake. So when a squall came up suddenly, surrounding them with gargantuan waves, swamping their boat, heaving their bellies… they knew enough to be legitimately afraid.

Hadn’t they heard the stories?

Of men lost at sea, bodies washing to shore months later, of widows wailing beside the graves of men too young to die?

They knew enough to be afraid. Desperately afraid.

In the front of their boat, Jesus seemed impossibly unaware of their troubles. Curled up to keep warm, his head nestled into a pillow, He slept right through— oblivious.

This week, I have been just like those fishermen.

Storms threaten to swamp my boat. Hard things: squalls, upheaval, unrest. Too many things coming too fast and I feel swamped, overwhelmed, afraid.

Afraid for my father, whose body is fighting too hard to breath. How do I live and laugh and joy while my dad, this man who has been my refuge, my picture of the Father, faces agony?

And then all the other minor waves which, alone, are entirely doable, but added together, swirl into a deadly undertow.

How do I do this?

I keep coming back to these men, boys really— rough and tough, confident in that swagger of strength that comes from a life well lived.

They know it all. They can do it all.

They’ve set goals, figured it out, worked out.

And then the storm hits and all they know to do doesn’t work.

And so they panic. And so do I.  And so do some of you.

But Jesus doesn’t get mad at our fear. He doesn’t slap us down, shame us, trade us in for someone braver and better.

He doesn’t even rebuke these guys for their audacious shouting in His ear.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically, they woke him up, shouting, ”Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?”

When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” 

Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. 

You’d think the next words out of his mouth would have been lined with disgust at these wimps. After all, they’d been with him long enough to know him as not only a miracle maker, but as a man with a message of a kingdom yet to come. Of God’s upside down kingdom where everything is not as it seems.

They were supposed to know by now that life is about more than success and tranquility and hunky-dory dreams come true.

And so should I. But sometimes I forget. And then I panic and get overwhelmed and frantically fearful.

But listen to what Jesus says,

Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?

I hear his words and my soul stills.

There are lessons here for me, for us.

These men saw the waves and panicked.

I do that. Anything out of the ordinary mixed with a little bit of too much, thrown in with a cup full of liquid gunk and suddenly I’m sinking.

The key, I am coming to see is to trust God before hand.

To live as if difficulties are normal. To live unafraid of loss. To live unafraid of death.

And the only way to do that is to let go of my Christian bumper sticker view of life, instead, soaking my mind in Jesus’ words and stories. 

Jesus didn’t panic because He lived at peace with the imperfect.

These men saw the waves and assumed the worst.

And so do I. Give me enough waves; enough conflict, enough stress, enough bad news, and I assume the worse. I’m going to drown.

Two plus two equal the end. Woe is me. I can’t do this.

But it’s not true. I can do this.

I can do whatever He allows in my path because He is in me and He has overcome all my not enough-ness.

These men saw the waves and got mad at God.

I do this too! Don’t You care that I am going to drown?

There He is, all curled up comfortable, blissfully unaware of their sinking ship—  and they get mad. I mean major mad. Shouting in God’s face mad.

Can you relate to their reaction? Do you do that? Shout in anger when really you’re scared witless?

These guys knew His power, they knew He could save them, so why didn’t He? There He is, seemingly passive and unaware while their lives sink into despair. Right when they need Him the most, He falls asleep on the job.

Is it any wonder they got a little miffed at Jesus for sleeping through the storm?

But, I am coming to learn, sometimes storms are needed. And I don’t know all the reasons why, but I do know that He uses those sinking kind of circumstances to bring me in close, to draw me near.

Jesus didn’t always understand either.

And the not-knowing hurt. And yet, still He chose to believe— not in fairy tale endings, but in the great heart of His Father.

He chose trust.

And that’s where I am today. Done with the panic. No longer waiting for the worst. Believing and trusting because I’ve been doing this for long enough that to not trust Him is just... wrong.

Today I chose to believe that He is good and He knows and He cares.

Today I chose to believe that He calms my storms with His whispers…

From my heart,


P.S Are you facing some storms that threaten to do you in? Can I pray for you? I would love to hear both your fears and your trust… 


If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 KJV


If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

Proverbs 24:10 NLT


Dear girls,

Just a couple of weeks ago when the pressures of packing and sorting and moving collided with news of my father’s failing health, I faltered… fainted… imploded in a great revealing of the smallness of my own strength.

And ever since that day I’ve been afraid of doing it again.

The chest tightens up.

Heart speeds up.

Worries well up.


And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about:  fear of fear.

Once unreasonable fear has wrapped you in its grip and pulled you under to a place of panic, you will forever fear the fear.

The fear itself becomes more frightening than whatever it was that scared you.

And it leaves you weak. Small of strength. Faltering. Fainting.

Just the woman, just the way, I do not want to be.

And so I have set out on a quest for wisdom from the Wise One who promises wisdom if we’ll only ask. (James 1:5) Every morning I’ve been up early, asking for Him to show me the way out this chest tightening anxiety that is so fearsome, so weakening, so… not what I want.

I’m filling my journal with scribbles and stories of His words to me about the how and why and when and what-to-do when I worry too much.

It’s time I pass some of those lessons on to you. Because you worry too. Too much. Too often. And you’re being weakened by the worry.

Here, my girls, is

Lesson #1 About Worry: 

Anxiety starts with that first socially permissible step called fretfulness.

Intense anxiety is not, as some would lead us to believe, purely biological in basis.[1] No one falls into a full-blown anxiety attack out of nowhere.

And anxiety is not some sort of guerilla tactic of the Evil One that hits us out of the blue. Instead, the enemy of our souls sneaks in to exploit our weaknesses, hoping to render us ineffective and weak.

Though the dark spiritual and the physical may need to be examined, that is not where anxiety starts.

Anxiety starts with fretting— those socially permissible comments we toss out in conversation.

What if…

I’m worried about…

I’m afraid that…

And instead of taking those first alerting signals to the Father we try them out on other people. What’s been silently brewing inside comes bubbling up and we hand the words to those who care about us, hoping they’ll make it go away.

They, in turn, often dismiss our worries and say something inane like, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

Which makes us go underground again. Only now that we’ve put all those jumbled thoughts into words we know what we’re worried about.

So we pray about it. After all, we’re told to pray about everything, right?

Well, sort of. But I’ve learned that there is praying… and there is praying. 

How many hours have I fussed at God in the name of prayer? Gone on long rambling prayer walks where I worried out loud at Him the whole way. Telling Him what to do, how to go about doing it, when He needs to get on it.

That, my dear girls, is not praying. It is spiritual fretfulness. Just the kind of thing that shuts out His voice and shuts in the worry.

Do not fret. It leads only to evil doing.

Psalm 37:8 NASB

Fretting, we are warned, leads not to solutions, but to doings. Evil doings. Bad stuff.

The frightening, weakening, embarrassing episode of intense fear I experienced a couple of weeks ago did not start with whatever it was that tipped me over the edge.

I began that walk to the edge of the cliff with a slow meander onto the pleasant path of acceptable fretting.

And that is right where I must stop the worry if I’m going to be free of it. Fretting cannot be tolerated. Like an alcoholic who dare not take a sip, I’ve been warned now about where worry leads.

It is time for me to take that slightest tightening of my chest and turn it into a question for my Father.

“Why am I worried Abba?”

To talk to Him. To listen. To confess that… I am afraid and short on trust and taking on too much and wishing I hadn’t and what’s wrong with me?

And then to let Him do His redeeming thing on me, in me, through me, to me.

It’s just a small lesson, I know. But it’s a start. A realization that I am weak. That worry has weakened me. That it starts with fretting. That apart from Him I’m a mess.

That He loves this mess that is me enough to get to root of it so He can get rid of what weakens me.

Isn’t that just amazing grace?

From my heart,



[1] That said, a check up is wise when experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety. All it takes is a few out of order hormones or a broken down thyroid to slip some people over the edge from ordinary worry to panic attacks.


 Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Four)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)


Verse of the Week:



More Words from the Father:

Psalm 36v7-8

Psalm 91

John 14v1-6

Matthew 10v16-31

2 Timothy 1v7


From my Heart:

In the Shadow

Fear has stalked me my whole life.

Since I can remember, I’ve been afraid. Afraid of heights, afraid of falling, afraid ofgetting lost in the grocery story, afraid of getting in trouble, afraid of anything fast.

Nicknames get attached to little girls like that…








I was afraid of people too. Afraid of being noticed, of talking to someone I didn’t know. Afraid of standing in front of people, of giving book reports, of giving speeches. Afraid to walk to my teacher’s desk to ask a question (After all, someone might see me!).

My imagination ran rampant. It ran my life, defined my days, and determined my future.

And my fears grew up with me.

As a teenager, I was afraid to walk through the courtyard area where hundreds of students gathered for lunch. Instead, I’d walk all the way around the school to slip into the cafeteria unnoticed.

As a young woman, I was terrified of staying alone at night. Every creak and groan of our old house shot a surge of adrenalin through me. Was someone there?

I wouldn’t drive alone to visit my little sister in college three hours away. The roads were isolated, after all. What if my little Volkswagen Bug broke down?

Earthquakes scared me the most. When I was fifteen, my family moved to California. Every few months, it seemed, the earth rattled and shook. The slightest tremor would leave me weak-kneed for weeks. I imagined the house coming crashing down around me, being trapped, alone. The rumbling of a truck left me scurrying for cover, an airplane overhead sent my heart racing.

But somewhere in there I gave my heart and life to Christ. I heard that He was my Father.

That He cared about me. That He would take care of me. I read His Word and sang His songs and surrounded myself with His people. Little by little, fears fled. I grew more confident, composed even.

But earthquakes were still my undoing.

I remember sitting on the edge of my bed once, talking on the phone, when the bed began to wiggle wildly. I turned to scold my son (sure he was bouncing on the bed!) only to realize that the whole room was shaking! I could hardly sleep on that antique iron bed after that, every movement felt like that tremor.

I prayed for courage…prayed for strength…prayed for healing…




It seemed I was destined to be defeated by fear for the rest of my life.

Then it struck. On a mellow October day, the Great Quake of ‘89 rocked my world. Literally. As soon as it started, I knew it was a big one. Really big. Hollering for my kids over the earsplitting roar, I grabbed them close as we huddled in a doorway. When it was finally over, we weaved our way through our broken glass-filled living room to the back yard. News from neighbors filtered in fast. Several tuned in to the emergency broadcast system since phones were out and power lines down. Hundreds of people had been crushed beneath falling bridges and buildings. Some were still trapped.

And that’s how God freed me of fear.

In that moment, when all our lives were completely and unequivocally out of our control, He stepped in. He took over. He became to me who He is-


 El Roi: the God Who Sees


El Shaddai: the All-Sufficient One


Adonai: Master


Who can fear when He is so supremely in charge? When the Master of the Universe, the One who can shake and subjugate the very earth, is watching over me, how dare I be afraid? Suddenly my fear-filled life seemed silly, trite, and petty.

A few weeks later, Phil and I wrote our first and only song together. And though the tune is over two decades old now, the words still ring true and ageless. Perhaps this is a song Ruth could have sung as she labored out in those fields, gleaning, working, sweating, yet resting in the shadow of the Almighty (Ruth 2v12).


In the Shadow of His Wings

By Phil and Diane Comer


In the shadow of Thy wings I find my refuge,

In the shadow of Thy wings I will abide,

It is there that I will lay my burdens and my cares,

It is only there my heart finds rest.

It is there that I will feel You lift my heavy load,

And in the shadow of Thy wings,

In the shadow of Thy wings,

Yes, in the shadow of Thy wings

I’ll rest,

For in the shadow of Thy wings

I’m blessed.

In the shadow of Thy wings, I find my refuge

In the shadow of Thy wings, I will abide

For You are the source of strength

To those who wait for You

And in Your strength I’ll run and not grow tired

For You are the Most High God,

It's You that I desire

And in the shadow of Thy wings,

In the shadow of Thy wings,

Yes, in the shadow of Thy wings,

I’ll rest,

For in the shadow of Thy wings

I’m blessed.


From my no longer fearful heart,







Boaz pays Ruth a beautiful compliment when he meets her for the first time. Apparently, he’d been inquiring about her previously, for he already knew of her reputation around town.

“May the LORD reward your work, And your wages be full from the LORD, The God of Israel, Under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2v12

The Hebrew word translated here as “wings” is kenapayim. Later in Ruth 3v9, the same word is translated into English with the word “skirt.” When a woman took refuge under the “skirt” or the “wings” of a man’s garment, she became his wife - his to take care of, to provide for, to lead, and to love. All the town, and Boaz especially, took notice of Ruth’s devotion and dependence on Yahweh. She was like one married to Him. Faithful, determined, secure, and thriving.

No wonder Boaz couldn’t keep his eyes off her!




Jesus taught that fear is something to be battled. We have the ability to choose not to fear.

Fear and afraid come from the same Greek word: phobeo. It is where we get our English word, phobia. The meaning is rich and graphic: to put in fear, terrify, frighten. At its root is a sense of terror and of running for your life. 

Timidity is a little different. Deilia means cowardice or one who is cowardly and fearful.

Paul spoke of a “spirit of timidity” that does not come from God (2 Timothy 1v7). He also referred to a “spirit of bondage” which leads to fear (Romans 8v15). Both of these spirits are to be replaced with the truth of God’s Word.

LETTERS TO MY SON: how to help your wife thrive

She considers a field and buys it;

From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

Proverbs 31:16

Dear son,

I’m a little nervous about writing this letter. Because we’ve allowed these bits and pieces from my mother-heart to be made public, I run the risk of being misunderstood, of having people cut and paste and take my words to you out of context.

But you know me. You know my heart to help you and to lay a foundation for a strong and beautiful partnership with your wife of someday. God’s Word is infallible, perfect, right, true—but my words aren’t. And so, I ask you, and everyone who reads this to give me a little room. These are my thoughts, my take on what I believe the Scripture teaches, not a rigid box that every husband or every wife or every family must fit into in order to follow after God.

That said, as my son, I want you to know some things about women that many men seem to be unaware of.

We are strong, resilient, adventuresome, loyal, willing to take risks, persistent, and unafraid of great sacrifice for our families.

Who do you think really settled the West? While men most often led the adventure, it is the women who brought their families, their ingenuity, their perceptive skills and adaptivity to the wilderness. Women created homes, carved beauty, cared for fragile lives, and brought control to the chaos of an unsettled land. They work alongside their husbands to make their dreams come true.

And we haven’t really changed. We’re still pioneers at heart, willing to do whatever it takes to see our families thrive.

That’s the kind of woman you will marry someday, Matthew.

And yet, at the same time, we are fragile creatures. We feel deeply. Grief, rejection, pressure, stress, fear, anxiety. We have this capacity for relationship that makes us take responsibility for how everyone in our lives is doing. And sometimes we get lost in the process. Sometimes our men fail to see the vulnerability behind all that strength.

We are impressively capable and yet we are fragile from all that feeling that is inherent to who we are.

So… what has that got to do with this description of a wife who evaluates and plans for the buying of property and then develops it and works it and prospers?

Simply this: In the overarching story of your lives together, your first responsibility is to be the primary provider for the wife you want. Given the right circumstances and the protection and provision of her husband, your wife will thrive, and in that soul strengthening freedom, she will surprise you with her success. But it’s up to you to watch over her lovely, loyal, hard working drive to succeed for the benefit of her family.

First of all, here’s what I don’t mean: that wives should never work outside the home. And here’s what I do mean: that you must guard your own desire for nicer things from pressuring your wife to set aside her family priorities and work more and harder and longer than she should.

Now, life is messy and stuff happens. Men get sick, they lose their jobs, they need further education, they start businesses and need support. I get that. Life, real life, is full of seasons that demand every resource we can bring to the table in order to survive.

What I want to impress on you is the vision of a man who is looking at both the big picture of values and goals and provision for a lifetime, and at the care and nurture of a wife who will, at times, work harder than is good for her in order to make those goals happen. Just watch over her.

Be in charge.

Know your budget.

Stick to it.

Be thankful for what you do have.

Don’t always need more.

Lead your family well.

Let your wife flourish and thrive and think of creative ways to use her gifts to enhance your lives— not to provide for your needs.

Make it your goal to see your wife in her sweet spot. That place where she wakes up with a smile on her face because she gets to be both productive and creative, at the same time knowing that her family is growing and thriving under her care. Make that your goal, Matt, and you will be copying what Jesus does with us, the Church, His bride.

Husbands, love your wives,

just as Christ also loved the church and

gave Himself up for her,

so that He might sanctify her,

having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

that He might present to Himself the church

in all her glory,

having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;

but that she would be holy and blameless. 

So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.

He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh,    but nourishes and cherishes it,

just as Christ also does the church,

Ephesians 5:25-29

I know this is a lot of weight to put on a man’s shoulders, my son. And yet I also know that God has given you what it takes to imitate Him in this kind of loving. Be strong and courageous. Be smart and responsible. Work hard and think ahead. Be willing to fight for your family’s well-being, to dream ahead of the way you want it to be, to plan a path to make it happen.

Above all, let God be your provider by laying your life before Him and asking Him to lead.

I love you!

From my heart,


P.S. Caution: Don’t read more into these words to my son than I mean.

Women have always worked- hard. Sometimes they even get paid. (!) The Proverbs 31 woman was a successful investor, she made money, lots of money. She was good at what she did. But there are years of a woman’s life when she needs the freedom to pour all that drive and intelligence and giftedness into her family. It is the wise man who does what he can to make that happen.~ Diane