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fear

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Fear is optional

fear is a prison

What are you afraid of?

I’ve been scared all my life. 

When I was a child and growing up, I had a lot of fears. I was afraid of:

  • the unknown;
  • the dark;
  • storms;
  • strangers;
  • loud noises;
  • big dogs;
  • failing in school;
  • getting in trouble at school;
  • being called on at school to answer a question;
  • public speaking;
  • heights;
  • crowds;
  • rejection;
  • my parents;
  • and more. 

As an adult, my fears are much more intangible, things like me not mattering (not making a difference here on earth) nor leaving a righteous legacy.  Of my children not loving me or having nothing to do with me. Of failing as a mom. Of something horrible happening to one of our children or grandchildren. Of never fulfilling my calling and purpose from God. Of never succeeding as a speaker and author. Of growing old and unloved. Of declining health. Of news headlines, such as the Coronavirus, violent shootings, terrorism, persecution for my faith, and natural disasters.  Fears many people share. 

God has delivered me of many of my childhood fears, but I still have to fight against new fears the enemy Satan tries to throw at me, such as the one above. I must keep my gaze on Jesus and choose to trust in Him!

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

 

Leah's heavy black ankle boot

Leah’s heavy black ankle boot

I’ve been dealing with a lot of anxiety and fear lately because our youngest daughter Leah fell on ice and snow near Christmas, and it broke the fibula in her right ankle. The fracture required her having surgery, which was extremely scary to me.

I know that God is going to completely heal her, but that doesn’t mean I am not battling fears, such as her falling again and re-injuring herself. But I must choose to trust that God is going to protect her and quickly, completely heal her!

Fear is something Jesus addressed a lot with His disciples. One of the most well-known passages is when they were on a boat in a storm in Matthew 8:23-27, NASB.

The Bible describes it as a “great storm.” This was not just a little summer shower. The men were experienced fishermen, and had been in plenty of storms. But they were afraid in this storm.

 “When Jesus got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?””

The men were scared out of their wits that they were going to die. And there Jesus was, asleep! They woke Him up, asking Him to rescue them. Jesus challenged them. He called them out for their fear, asking why they were afraid.

Why are you and I afraid, too? Jesus is always with us in the boat of life! He is at peace, and we should be, too, trusting in God!

storm

In my email inbox today, I received the Faith Gateway ezine in which author Max Lucado writes, “Storms are not optional, but fear is.”

On my Facebook wall today, one of my friends didn’t agree completely with this quote. She said, “Fear is a natural human emotion. It moves us to take action. To seek safety. Fear can alert us to REAL danger. Ignoring it, burying it, or minimizing it won’t save us if we’re in a serious situation. Fear can prompt us to make quick decisions. Some people have physical strength during scary moments and they can rescue others from a fire, car accident, and dire conditions.”

This is true. And in fact, my friend Judy in Florida just experienced this during a storm. She and her husband Bob are staying in a mobile home right now and were going to a concrete building storm shelter during a tornado warning about 10:30 at night. As her husband was getting his sweat pants, Judy went outside to knock on a neighbor’s door.

The wind became powerful and she saw rotating clouds. Judy laid quickly on the ground and prayed for Jesus to help them. She was pelted with debris but God protected her. About 15 houses away, a tree was uprooted and mobile homes were damaged. It was later confirmed that a tornado was on the ground in their area. If Judy hadn’t paid attention to her feeling of fear when she saw the rotating clouds, she might have been seriously hurt or even died. Her fear did alert her to make a quick, and potentially life-saving decision: to lay down on the ground for protection.

Fear can be useful to caution us. We need to pay attention to our fears, because God gives us emotions for a reason. But God doesn’t want us to stay stuck there. He wants us to rise above the fear and intentionally choose to trust in and believe in Him, God Almighty, who is all-knowing and all-powerful. God is greater than any fear or danger that we may be experiencing. Fear is the opposite of faith and is our enemy to trusting in Jesus.

faith deco in sunroom

faith deco in sunroom

Yes, fear is a natural response to frightening, dangerous situations. God understands this and doesn’t condemn us for the fear. But we can’t stay a slave to our fears. We must master them and choose to believe in and trust in God. We must get our eyes off the dangerous storm, whatever it is, and keep our eyes on Jesus, who will never leave us. This is not an easy task. But with God nothing is impossible. Renewing our minds with the truth of God’s word is the key to conquering our fears. (Romans 12:2)

Here are some verses on fear and faith that you and I can meditate on to help us renew our minds and to conquer the enemy of fear.

“So do not fear, for I AM with you; do not be dismayed for I AM your God. I will strengthen and help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3)

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is My own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

“But now thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

*******

Metamorphosis: Transformed from Fear to Faith

my butterfly book at Amazon

Are you struggling with fears, anxiety, or stress? Be sure to check out my book, Metamorphosis: Transformed from Fear to Faith, available for sale at Amazon here

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Do you struggle with hate? My new book is on Amazon!

Do you struggle with hate? I confess that I’ve battled this evil thing for my entire life. 

Can someone who is a Christian hate someone? Of course! 

You may be surprised to know that Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and others in the Bible addressed this topic of hatred with God’s own people! We are all just human, and we struggle every day with sin. That is WHY we need Jesus! I’m so thankful for His grace and mercy that He showered upon me!

God is Love and He will teach you and me how to unconditionally love others.

I’m so excited to announce that my newest book, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Hate to Love, is now live at Amazon, as an ebook for your Kindle! 

https://www.amazon.com/Metamorphosis-Transformed-Hate-Beth-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BTYBB8G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

This book is about my life-long struggle with hatred. You may think, “What in the world? Christians aren’t supposed to hate! Especially a Christian speaker and author!” But I keep things real! 

In this book, I share spiritual warfare tactics and practical tips for overcoming one of the enemy Satan’s powerful weapons against God’s people–hatred.

Hate is what made Satan deceive Eve, bringing sin into the world. Hate is what nailed Jesus Christ to the Cross. Hate is rampant in the world today, because Satan is doing all he can to steal, kill, and destroy in the lives of God’s people.

You can find out more or buy the ebook by clicking on the link at Amazon below. Please be sure to share with your family and friends. If you buy this book, please leave a review as reviews help authors to build credibility and make more sales.

https://www.amazon.com/Metamorphosis-Transformed-Hate-Beth-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BTYBB8G/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

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Blog, Faith, Fitness

March for Mental Health 5K; we’re all broken

“Don’t judge my path if you haven’t walked my journey.”

This year one of the things on my bucket list was walking a 5k. Even though I haven’t been walking consistently lately and haven’t walked a 5k in several years, it was still a goal.

And this Saturday I walked and jogged a 5k, the March for Mental Health, and finished it! I felt so happy and proud of myself!

NAMI

NAMI

 

me before 5k

me before 5k

Created by the volunteer-based, non-profit organization, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and several sponsors, this 5k walk/run was for the support of:

1) advancing the research and treatment of mental illness;
2) establishing family and peer support groups;
3) suicide prevention;
4) providing support to the health care professionals who treat mental illness, spreading overall mental health awareness.

balloons

balloons

The woman who started this 5k for NAMI, Heidi, was the mom of Adam, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He nearly died after taking 100 morphine pills, but to his doctors’ shock he came back to life. With his mother’s, counselor’s, and others’ support, he started college classes and helped his mom with founding this 5k Walk/Run. With his well-known humor, he suggested they call it, “Runs Like Crazy.”

Although she finally decided on the name, “March for Mental Health,” since Adam was born in March, he used his own name, “Runs Like Crazy,” for his team name.

In the end, Adam gave up the fight and took his own life. Heidi continues this 5k in memory of her precious son and others who have mental health issues. Below is a picture of Heidi speaking at the 5k, thanking all the sponsors and participants and her son Adam, who inspired it. 

Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run

Heidi, mom of Adam and the founder of March for Mental Health 5K walk/run

Before the walk started, I also spoke with a beautiful brunette-haired woman named Annette, who was serving at the NAMI table. Her son, Clayton J. Hugill, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his teens. She said he was such a kind, loving, and funny boy.

He lost the fight to mental illness, too, and tragically, he committed suicide when he was just 22 years old. She said it was two years ago, but understandably, it is still hard for her. Here is the pin and bracelet she gave me at the 5k. My heart aches for her and Heidi.

Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K

Pin & bracelet honoring Clayton J. Hugill at 5K

A young woman dressed up in a costume as her “alter ego” shared her story about having borderline personality disorder, a disorder that one of our own family members has been diagnosed with recently. This woman said several profound things:

  • “I’m broken because of everything I’ve been through. Why do we run from the broken? We’re all a little broken.”
  • “Just because I’m broken doesn’t mean I can’t be fixed.”
  • “We need to be present for one another.”
woman with borderline disorder

woman with borderline disorder

I so agree with these words. We’re all broken; we all need Jesus. 

This police officer who works in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) at the Kansas City police department also spoke. I talked with him before the walk, and he explained a little more about CIT training, which helps and prepares police officers for coming into contact with people who have mental illness and to respond appropriately to them. He thanked me for participating in the 5k walk/run. I thanked him for being there and his help.

CIT police officer

CIT police officer

There was a spirit of excitement and joy at the 5k before we began. To my surprise they were playing Christian music, which really encouraged me! One was Chain Breaker by Zach Williams, a song I love.

walkers/runners

walkers/runners

 

woman runner

woman runner

 

young girls runners

young girls runners

This kind black man prayed for everyone before the walk and I thanked him afterward for doing this. He smiled big at me and said, “We can’t forget our God!” and I said, “That’s right!”

man who prayed at 5k walk/run

man who prayed at 5k walk/run

The 5k was in Kansas City by the Missouri River. The area and the day were just beautiful, perfect for the walk! Several people brought their dogs to walk, too.

Missouri River

Missouri River

 

Man with his dogs at 5K

Man with his dogs at 5K

Along the 5k walk/run path, the NAMI staff had created boards with stats on mental health, which I found interesting.

Depression in young adults

Depression in young adults

 

Suicide in young adults

Suicide in young adults

 

teens with mental illness

teens with mental illness

 

coping skills

coping skills

This sounds silly, but I was afraid I’d get lost along the way on the walk, since I wasn’t familiar with the area in Kansas City! Thankfully, they had drawn chalk-colored arrows on the sidewalk to guide and help you.

Whatever you’re facing right now, the Holy Spirit will guide and help you, too.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)

arrows

arrows

At the half-way point, the NAMI volunteer staff supplied water to the participants. You could choose to walk or run a shorter route straight ahead, or go back the way you came, which would enable you to complete the full 5k. I opted for the longer 5k route!

“Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” (John 4:13-14, The Message)

water at 5k

water at 5k

I walked and jogged, finishing the 5k. Afterward, I asked one of the staff to take my picture at the finish line. I was so happy and excited!

me after I finished the 5K--so happy & excited!

me after I finished the 5K–so happy & excited!

The staff and the sponsors had fresh fruit like oranges, bananas, granola bars, and water to hand out to the participants. Another table had pumpkin-flavored scones. 

The ready snacks for the walkers and runners are typical at 5k’s, half-marathons, and marathons walks/runs, and is one of the funnest parts–your reward! I grabbed a banana (ate half after the walk for potassium), an orange (ate the next day), a pumpkin scone (ate most of it), and some brochures on mental health, too.

fresh fruit and granola bars

fresh fruit and granola bars

 

pumpkin scone & brochures

pumpkin scone & brochures

Pray for those with mental health issues and the people who try to help them each day. You might even have a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, or someone you know who is struggling and feels all alone.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline if you or someone you love needs help is 1-800-273-8255.

We will never give up hope!

hope

hope

One of the reasons this 5k walk/run was a cause close to my heart is because of my own mental health background, when I was struggling with suicidal depression, nightmares, anger, anxiety/fears, and hopelessness, in a time of a 5-year crisis as a young adult in my 20’s. I was diagnosed with major depressive episode, anxiety disorder, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I attempted suicide three different times during those five years, including an overdose of pills, but God spared my life. Jesus is my Healer and I give Him all the praise and glory for His healing, miraculous power in my life. He sets the captives free and gives us beauty for ashes. 

You can read this amazing story in my memoir at Amazon, Promises In The Dark, One Woman’s Search for Authentic Love, by clicking here

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