Wednesday, August 1, 2012

One Way He Never Speaks

The path to our new house has been wrought with issues stacked on problems propped against inconveniences. From the beginning, the transition has been neither smooth or straight-forward. It's been sloppy and sideways. It's had me saying, "I don't even give a rip." "Who cares." "So what?" "This is lame." (I regress to sixteen when backed into a corner. Keep that under your hat.)

There were days when we were told that it wasn't going to work out, we didn't meet the requirements, it wasn't meant to be.

There were days when we were told that we did meet the requirements but progress stalled so we looked at other houses in similar neighborhoods. We turned around and we almost walked away.

Still, something was there; something nudging us up closer to the edge. We felt it enough that we fought for it. Logic eluded us, yet we were convinced that this house on North 5th Street was where we were supposed to be.

That is, until roughly three days before we had to sign on the dotted line, when fear crept in like a slow-moving freight train. It hovered near the door. It tore through the walls and picked up speed. At the very last second, we almost derailed.

Strangely, it didn't feel unexpected. It felt like the tail end of many of my biggest decisions. It seems I'm a creature of habit in the ways of major life change. (Have I mentioned that I called my wedding off two weeks before?)

With one nerve-wracking report from Calvin's doctor, we had our out. We convinced ourselves that sky was earth and "Go" was open to interpretation. Lies hooked me in the gut - We'll have to move to Ohio to be closer to Calvin's doctor. What if he needs surgery? What if our bad insurance situation becomes worse? What if we were never supposed to make this move in the first place? What if all the hoops we jumped through were actually signs that we had missed? What if this is God pulling out all the stops to get our attention - Don't Do It!

The good news is, I had Cory. The bad news is, he happily pulled up his own fears like suspenders, trussing his anxiety, pressing every uncertainty against his shoulders while his feet dragged the floor.

 We waded around for a couple of days in the kind of complicated confusion that causes people to forget appointments and almost run out of gas on the interstate. We ate cereal and cold sandwiches for dinner. We were distracted and grumpy while we ran breathless and infatuated into the arms of Fear.

Isn't that one thing we secretly love about fear? That it's always right there, handing us an out when we want one?

When I was a child, someone told me that fear was a sin. I carried their words with me and felt them take root. I figured sin was sin was sin, so if I was going to be afraid to do something new and brave, I might as well take it one step further and lie about it. No, I'm not afraid. I just don't have peace about it.  Just like that, I had formed a safer reality, one that would carry me piggy-back out of every nail-biter and over every bend. I'd found the perfect scape goat.

What I know now is that fear itself isn't wrong. It's a human emotion, no one is immune. What I know even more is that God never speaks to us through fear. Fear isn't part of who He is. He wouldn't know how to spook us if He tried. He has other ways of letting us know if plans have changed or if our ears need checked. He wouldn't waste His time on What Ifs. He's smarter than a flimsy scare tactic.

He loves enticing us into the unknown, holding us steady across rugged terrain. He's got us

So maybe He's leading you somewhere new and maybe it scares the snot out of you. Maybe it requires more than anything He's ever asked before. Maybe you're feeling gutsy, maybe you know there's beauty in flinging your fears onto Him.

Say it with me, the fear isn't Him.

Let your smallness lock hands with every big thing that He is and be amazed at how it wraps all the way around. He's got you.


  1. love this. and love(and miss!) you xoxo
    praise jesus, so blessed by you, farmgirl.

  2. I was sharing your incredible story with my sister the other day. She asked me how it ended. I said I don't know yet. They are making every decision wrong according to what the world says we do to protect our kids. "Bad neighborhood." Speaks volumes. And, let's not forget that little girl that sidled up and helped herself to lunch at the park. What was her name? While I forgot her name I won't forget her story.

    I don't know yet. They don't know yet.
    But, God knows. How faithful you and Cory have been.

    My sis and I were talking about guilt.
    And,how it's a waste...unless the REASON you feel guilty is a prompting.
    Promptings...are different.

    Fear. Guess that's a waste, too.
    But, it's so..familiar.

    My thoughts and prayers are with your family on your Great Adventure :)

    ~ Dana

  3. I have so many things to say about fear, but I prefer to use them in past tense, and we're currently very much in the present tense of fear here.

    Love the roof. It was the right choice. Amen.


  4. Wow. Praying for you. I'd like to thank God for making you so eloquent.

  5. I love the way you write. And am so glad you are sharing about this journey that you are on. I have struggle with fear my whole life and have only found peace as an adult when I found scripture that helped me know the truth. Fear isn't Him. I love the way you put that. I have been telling my kids lately that God tells us not to be afraid, that he tells us in the Bible, "I've got this."

  6. My boy and I were just talking about this very same thing, tonight, while we painted the basement (don't ask). SO EXCITED for you that things are moving (ha, ha) forward and that you're continuing to walk this path. Trusting that He will meet you at each fork in the road and tell you exactly which way to go....without fear.
    Love you!

  7. Your new home is looking great! I can't wait to see all of the touches your green thumb will put on it. I'm also picturing some window boxes out front. You know me, I'm pushy with my opinions! Happy for you that you'll be kitchen carpet free soon. :)

  8. This was beautiful. Especially the last two sentences.

  9. I have chills from this....something I needed to hear again and again. Right now, we have no safety net, no plan B, nothing other than Him. We are laying it out on the line, with job applications sent out and prayers in the margins, hoping and praying fervently that something happens. And the scariest part of all is the letting go. The walking away from the bills, the stress, the "I've got to figure this out" all scares the beejezus out of me. I don't know what tomorrow holds, I only know that He will be there to meet me. As it is, I know there is a story He wants me to write, but my heart is scared of the reception I will receive. I worry that it will flop like my last one, but who I am to determine what should be done. If God wants me to do it, then He will see me through it.

    Praying for you my friend.

  10. Beautiful honest and true.
    Mandy x

  11. Oh heavenly days, this. Tatoo worthy words all up in here.

    1. I sooo agree! I now want a tattoo that says "the fear isn't Him."

  12. Shannon, Words to one of my favorite songs...

    Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.
    He's charting the course you take, He sees each hidden snare,
    He's waiting to guide you, through each burden and care,
    Fear not tomorrow, God is already there!

    Thoughts and prayers, Terry

  13. This was everything I love about your writing. You are a blessing to so many with your honest, beautiful words & insight. Thanks for this!

  14. I so needed this right now. When every single day for the past two years I have awakened, doubting our choices of school for our daughter, and feel fear wrap around my heart in the night. I needed this, and will be re-reading it many times over, I think.

  15. I love how you share the good and the bad and the scary.
    Your realness is so beautiful.
    Thank you.

  16. Amen, Sista'
    Fear is not from the God who loves us. He is asking you to go on the ride of a lifetime. Scary? Sure but He has you're back. Excited for you and all that is to come.

  17. Um, how did you know Kelly came home the other day with a good (bad in the eyes of worldly wisdom) idea about a complete and total game changer for us. How.did.u.know???? Wow. I'm slayed. I love ya. Sending something tomorrow... Ill verify your addy in the morn. Xoxo. Also, I just read "2." amazing. I love your life.

  18. the fear isn't Him...the fear isn't Him...the fear isn't Him...the fear ISN'T Him!

  19. Gah I love your blog posts. We closed on our house one year ago today, and I love telling people how God brought us to this specific house. And I love reading your journey to your new house and neighborhood . . . praying for y'all :-)

  20. Dear Shannan, will you please move to Seattle so we can be BFFs? I will babysit for free. I learn so much about the heart of my Father through you. THANK YOU! Also, can we hear about Calvin? I will pray. xoxo -- Anna

  21. Bother and snot...that line about 'I'm not afraid just don't have peace'...that is my last line of defense! This is amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Just right. Thank you. Sitting up exhausted and fearful existing in time as I wait for this pending adoption that may or may not go through on Friday. "the fear is not Him" - thanks for the reminder...much appreciated.

  23. Concrete driveways are so great for sidewalk chalk! And foursquare. And basketball. And... and... and... Just sayin'. :)It's gonna be good and I can't wait to hear more. Bravo for walking through the fear! It's so amazing to see again and again how He really does "got us". Thank you for showing us up close what that looks like in real life. I'm trusting with you.

  24. Beautiful and timely words. Complimented perfectly with my morning cup of coffee and chapter from "Grace for the Good Girl". and can I just say you brought a little of the farm to the city. I love how somethin about your house brings up farmy to me. I love it!

  25. Ooh, I needed this today. Fear has been knocking on my back door, and although I haven't let him in, I can see his shadow through the window. Big, life-altering choices are supposed to be a little unnerving. They wouldn't be life-altering if they were safe and known. And life is about to get all altered up in here.

  26. This is what is happening to us right now on a house. Hoops to jump through, difficulties and then some more of them. It's an old farmhouse and I feel it in my bones that it is ours. Very encouraging to read your inspiring words. Thank you! I have just recently discovered your blog and I look forward to reading more! (oh- and we too have a little one from across the seas!)


  27. Amen.

    Praying you peace, friend. Truly.

  28. Thanks! Needed this today as fear (as well as moving countries, learning new languages/culture/EVERYTHING) is stacking the cards against a good night's sleep and healthy eating (salsa is a well balanced meal, right?).
    God is NOT in the fear. Lather...rinse...repeat. Repeat.

  29. The wonkier your life gets the better your blog gets. Just sayin

  30. You and Cory give me such encouragement for persevering. I keep thinking about a line from our summer bible study, "Stuck." Jenny Allen said it and it hit me between the eyeballs..."God set the bar at trouble." In this world you will have trouble...God pretty much tells us to plan on it! That little nugget really helps me keep from freaking out. :)

    1. Oooh...I LOVE this! I need some more Jenny Allen in my life. Thanks for the head's up, K-ster.

  31. Oh, dear. I needed to read this today.
    I am having to set some 20-year-old-stepped-over boundaries in place today. I am scared. I don't have total peace. But, I know it must be done.
    I've never done this before and yes, it scares the snot out of me.
    I will cast my fears on Him. He cares for me (and will heal my heart through this).
    Thank you for writing this post.
    All my appreciation,

  32. i just absolutely love how real you transparent.
    you share it all with us....and it's just so beautiful.

    you're not alone.
    i become a total psycho in uncertainty.
    change completely 100% freaks me out.

    i'd like to think i'm better at it than i was 5 years ago..but deep down, my inner 16 year old comes out still.

    praying for y'all...

  33. Ha," I just don't have peace", that is sooooo me. I like the idea of locking hands with Him and knowing He is smiling while He tells me,"Come on we can do this, I've never been wrong yet, have I?"
    I love the new home, it has Martin written all over it!

  34. often comes out of my desire to control. Why can't I learn that I'm not supposed to be in control; HE IS! I love your writing! God uses you often to articulate what I'm thinking/feeling. gOD BLESS

  35. i think you meant this post for me... or at least HE did... thanks!

  36. Thank you. Really. Fear has been an almost constant companion this week. Thank you.

  37. That's a great post! And now I need to go send fear for a hike!!

  38. Thank you for this. It's where I'm living right now.

  39. Hi Shannan,

    Don't know how I found my way here, think it was through Tales from the Coop Keeper's blog. Don't know how I stumbled upon her either.

    Since you don't know me I hope you don't mind if I comment on a thought I had about your little fella, Calvin.

    I don't know what health issues he is facing, but I do know from my own past experiences with dozens of doctors, including specialists at the Mayo Clinic), that while they are looking at the big picture and trying to rule out the scariest possibilities they often overlook small but important clues &/causes.

    Hopefully, this has already occurred to the doctors and been determined not to be a problem for your Calvin, but just in case I thought I'd mention it anyway.

    Has it ever been mentioned to you that since your son was adopted from another country and he is a first generation American that the typical American diet may cause a few issues to his health?

    I have heard before that this can be a problem for some Asians. I've read that throughout their history, Koreans have cooked and eaten without milk and other dairy including cheese. Dairy is rarely involved in Korean meals. This is due to the fact that many Koreans are lactose intolerant. Korean food differs from American food in significant ways. Their diet is anti-preservative, lacking in dairy and bread and heavy on spicy peppers. In Korean homes and restaurants they avoid boxed, canned, frozen and packaged food.

    A traditional Korean meal will largely consist of fresh food. Rice is important in Korea. Eating wheat/bread is rare. They eat a lot of sea food and vegetables. I know that if a person's body is sensitive to wheat/gluten it can cause inflammatory bowel problems and systemic (body wide) inflammation and illness.

    Also, more than a cup or two of milk can cause intestinal irritation and bleeding & or inability to absorb iron, both of which can cause anemia and illness in all children. But if someone is allergic/intolerant to dairy it can cause systemic inflammation where the person's own body(immune system) attacks your own organs and cells.

    I have been told that medical doctors have little to no training in diet and nutrition in medical school. I was shocked to read this as well in many books written by doctors. Have you read any books written by Dr. Lendon Smith (pediatrician)?

    If any of this info does not apply to Calvin please disregard this post.

    Otherwise, you may want to consult a holistic M.D. or an allergist and just ask if diet may play a role in ongoing health issues, especially if there are any signs of anemia, blood loss, abnormal blood cells, inflammation (pain, itching, redness of the skin, swelling, allergies, etc.)

    If there is any food allergy or hereditary intolerance to certain foods and they are avoided for several weeks health starts to improve quickly.

    Good thoughts and prayers to you and your family,


  40. this is beautiful, it took me so long to learn that and still I forget, thank you for the reminder.

    I was behind in the blog world but caught up the other day, know that I am praying for Calvin, and all of you.

  41. thank you for sharing the fear. the apt description. The lie added to what I think of (or have been told is) sin. I so get that. I agree...the fear isn't Him. Someone has said that the most often phrase that is not afraid...especially when the angels appear to give a message from God. So it must be common to feel afraid when it goes against worldly wisdom, against what we can see, when it is the Lord giving us a message. thank you for the reminder that we all grapple with fear. facing it is way better than denying it.

  42. Good words ~ thanks for sharing them with us.

  43. I've read this page 1 million times, saved it to my desktop even and am still having to repeat it daily "the fear is not him"... it is hard to learn, isn't it? There is so much I am afraid of right now, on the eve of us moving back to canada from Australia and finances are a big one. I think I've given it to God, but if I only think I have, does that mean I have 80% given it to him and hoping the 20% I've kept for myself will help us over the line? Giving it ALL to him is such a hard practice to really truly trust that he is there, every step of the way. Much to ponder. Daily. Bless you and your words!!

  44. Im so afraid. Afraid we will never go
    Afraid we might go. Afraid we have no clue how to hear Gods voice any more since it seems like we have been wrong and staring at closed doors forever. Afraid there might not really be much of a plan for my man and i
    Afraid we havent waited long enough. Afraid we will be waiting for the rest of our lives. Yeah just afraid. I hate that...working on it. Loved your words tonight.

  45. Fear isn't Him! Thank you! I'm getting ready to speak for the second time next week and I've been feeling great about it...until earlier today. I could feel that terrible, sneaky fear creeping up. Your words helped more than I can tell you.

    Your house is gorgeous! Congrats!

  46. Girl, you'd better preach! Once I understood that we experience fear (and it isn't a fatal flaw or a failure), that we never experience it alone, and that fear is never the end of the story, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and shouted the coming victory (because there always is one). So glad you shared it. What a blessing...
    Keep writing, sister-dreamer. Write On!

  47. Oh my word... I know this was written in August... but it is so relevant to me right this minute... as I prepare to move my family to a house that was a month ago inhabited by squatters with drug issues... (it's a rural property) I am fearful... and now hopeful... God will move there with me... and it may not all be smooth... but it will be ok.

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