Fear is a covert weasel that can sneak in under the wire and wreak havoc in our feelings and decisions without us even being aware of the wily little beast.
I've never been more aware of this fact than last week when my daughter asked me to accompany her and her husband to their 12-week sonogram. To my surprise, my first impulse was to shout "NO!" and run the other way. But I didn't. Carefully keeping my expression neutral, I saw the excitement and joy radiating from her eyes about this momentous occasion, her first baby, and knew it was a precious honor she was offering me and I should accept graciously.
But my gut reaction puzzled me. What was so frightening to me?
As I considered this perplexing question, a decade faded away like early morning fog and I was transported back to a tiny sterile cubical at a long-forgotten OB office. It was my own 12-week sonogram visit and I was thrilled, despite my daily bouts of nausea, to be expecting our third child at age 42 after five devastating miscarriages. Our two teenagers had been supportive and everything seemed to be going fine. I was already in maternity clothes. I'd asked my mother to come with me, since she had never seen this new technology - sonography - and we giggled like school girls in anticipation as we entered the little office.
Then, the technician began searching with the probe, and I watched her friendly smile disappear as she kept moving the wand around and around. She suddenly turned off the screen and abruptly left the room, stating, "The doctor will be in to see you momentarily."
My mother's face melted. It was only then that I suspected something was wrong. Dark, hollow dread began in the pit of my stomach and snaked outward to fill my chest cavity and my head as the doctor came in to explain my lifeless womb.
I had grieved over the years, sure, but some losses are bured so deep they never really go away. They just get planted over.
And so, as history seemed to be repeating itself, I nervously crowded with my daughter and her husband into another tiny examining room, and found my heart in my throat as the technician pulled out the ultrasound probe.
I had prayed incessantly about this moment, and given my fear repeatedly to Papa God, but tentacles of that wretched, weaselly creature wrapped around the soft vulnerability of my mother-love and squeeze the very life away.
Please, Father. Please let this baby be okay. Please.
Suddenly, a tiny beating heart filled the screen and little arms flailed around a safe, warm womb housing a living, thriving, miraculous baby.
Tears filled my eyes - as they do even now - in grateful relief and joy for God's amazing grace that conquers fear.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJ).