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When Fear Eats Holes in Your Soul: 31 Days

The day I quit my job, I sat in the parking lot and cried.

My letter of resignation was on the console, my mind was set, but my heart hurt. And I was so very scared of making the wrong decision.

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But you know that gut feeling when you’re making the right decision and everyone keeps telling you how crazy you must be and you do it anyway? Yeah, I had that.

So I quit my job as a middle school teacher and I gave away parts of my classroom and little pieces of myself and I came home to be a full-time mom who writes a little bit.

Six weeks after I turned in that letter, the bank where my husband was fast-tracked though corporate management was closed by the FDIC.

That’s a whole sad story for another time, but suffice it to say, my principal tracked me down and offered to let me reconsider. I didn’t. We didn’t.

He interviewed with another bank and took a position that was a 45-minute commute away. We skated through summer on the surety of God’s timing and my idealism of staying home, and then wham!

I got hit by the mack truck of exhaustion that can only mean one things. An unexpected, unplanned, unlikely pregnancy.

My baby boy.

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I didn’t handle the detour well. By fall, the honeymoon period was over, the job was costing more than we were making, and I was positive there was no way I could be a good mom to FOUR kids. Four. That’s twice their father and me.

Miserable and pathetic and terrified that I had made the biggest mistake of my life, we plodded ahead through forms for aid (our health insurance had been dropped with the job change and I was rationing milk for cereal, tough, tough times). Christmas loomed on the horizon.

One early December afternoon, when the kids were begging to decorate, I trudged  to the outdoor storage shed and wrenched open the door. As I shoved aside boxes and my belly in an attempt to pull out wreaths, the movement began.

Scurrying from under boxes and across the dusty floor came the mice.

Go ahead and retch. I did.

Our family cat had disappeared over the summer and the mice had moved in and set up residence among our boxes of old clothes, decorations, and general junk. They seemed to be everywhere, and when my husband took on the task of cleaning out the building, he found what could only be classified as an infestation.

I. Lost. It.

In my mind we had done everything right. We had prayed. We had saved. We had trusted.

In my mind, God owed us an easier time because we had placed our faith in Him. That’s not how life works, though. The easier time comes because of the trust through the hard times.

Mice had eaten holes through all our humdrum life stored in a shed.

Fear had eaten holes through all my gauzy fabric of faith.

And set up camp deep in my soul.

Somedays I think I’ve repaired that faith lining. Now it’s a patchwork quilt of protection, rather than a film of security.

But somedays I find a hole, and I poke myself through, and rage like I did that day in the backyard when we purified the tangible items of our little life.

On those days, I need to purify my soul–to cry out and weep and beg and listen to the still small voice that reminds me–

Do not fear.

And I repeat it like a refrain as I weave the fabric of faith across the holes in my soul.

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

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