When my son’s health was failing and he was having trouble swallowing, the doctors told us we had to give him more nutrition through a nasal g-tube, which is a long slender tube inserted in through his nose, down his throat, and ending in his stomach. It looked like an endless giant straw that was flexible like a tiny garden hose.
The process of getting that tube through his nose was horrifying. Sometimes the tube would get stuck and would not go down. Other times he would choke if we didn’t insert the tube fast enough. Sometimes the tube came out bloody, a sign that the tube was irritating his nasal passages.
Because I was the one at home with him, I learned how to insert this tube into his nose by myself. It was some of the most horrible work of motherhood.
When things went well, it slid down easily in one try. When things went bad, I had to pull it out and try again. My son endured it because he had to and I endured it, because I am his mom. As much as I dreaded this, I learned to do what needed to be done.
Throughout Silas’s life, we had to learn a lot of things that people should never have to do to a child. Not only did we stick a tube down his nose, we also learned how to inject medicine into his thigh with a needle and feed him through a tube through his stomach.
In response, people would often say these kinds of comments:
I don’t know if I could do that.
I can’t imagine having to do that.
I would faint if I did that.
Then I would think, Well I really didn’t have a choice. And when you don’t have you choice, you learn to be brave. You learn the prayer “HELP.”
Just ask any parent who has cleaned up vomit or has dealt with a child who had a bleeding head wound.
I didn’t have a choice when it came to my son’s g-tube, but it made me braver in the process. It made me lean on Christ more. It made me realize I could do things I didn’t know I could do.
Because living with less fear isn’t about never feeling afraid, it’s about learning to face our fears even when we’re scared. As Jennifer Dukes Lee says, “It’s about living less controlled by our fears.”
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2nd Timothy 1:7 AMP)
I have met people facing their fears in incredible ways: Women who didn’t know they if they wanted to be mothers and are now parents, or people who didn’t know if they could start new businesses, new ministries, or even speak in front of a group. They took their mustard-sized faith, stepped out of their comfort zone and put one foot in front of the other.
The problem is when we see our fears as bigger than our faith–then our fears start to impact the margins of our life, our comfort zones, our decision making.
But through prayer we push back against these fear-margins that keep our lives small. We face our giants. We dream new dreams. We listen for the still small voice that says:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
We hold these promises white-knuckled in the dark night. But when the morning dawns and sunlight spills onto our beds like new hope, we remember the promises that carry us past our fears.
The mercies of a new day making us braver than we were before.