We announced to our family that God had overwhelmingly showed us that the way He would expand our family was through an international adoption from the country of Ukraine. Our peace in this decision was at an all-time high, and our excitement was, as well. God had blessed us with answered prayers, unity as husband and wife, clear direction, and favor in a lengthy paperwork process. We enjoyed the love and support around us and felt bold confidence.
Kiev, Ukraine; March 2001
“Take the train as far as it goes, to the end of the line, to Luhansk, Ukraine. I regret to tell you, however; I do not know anything about the orphanage you are going to. You will need to ask directions to find the Lotikovo Children’s House and how to proceed with your adoption.”
Suddenly, I was paralyzed by fear. God had brought us on an adoption journey filled with peace, excitement, and confidence. Now, our adoption facilitator was out of information, and we were boarding a train for 18 hours to end up where? To do what?
Have you been there? Have you felt confident and empowered, and then in a few months, days, or even moments later, you feel alone, abandoned, or maybe paralyzed by fear?
Fear…At some point in our lives, we all feel it…most likely, in varying degrees and situations. We also know that fear can be good; it keeps us accountable for our safety. However, the fear that God has left or abandoned us, or the fear we didn’t actually hear Him correctly, is dangerous to our safety, as well. Fear can open the door for the enemy to begin his work as the father of lies and lead us to take our eyes off of our Father, “the author and perfector of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2a ESV).
I was astounded when I learned that we are told more than 300 times in Scripture, “Do not fear!” or “Fear not!” Some scholars even say “fear” is mentioned 365 times…one for each day of the year. I am comforted to know God knew we would come up against fear, and, in His ultimate way of loving us more than we can imagine, He equipped us with tools for those moments: to hear His Word say, “Do not fear, (enter your name here).”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
Psalm 46:1-3 ESV
“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”
Isaiah 41:13 ESV
“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:31 ESV
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
John 14:27 ESV
“…for God gave us a Spirit, not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”
2 Timothy 1:7 ESV
“So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?'”
Hebrews 13:6 ESV
Oh, there are so many more verses I want to share with you…that God wants to share with you. Will you go searching? Will you let Him speak the words directly to you…and then, believe His words? Let them change your fear back into confidence.
Soon after boarding the train, a woman approached me and asked me why I was crying. After telling her why, she had a look of incredible amazement on her face. She proceeded to explain that she and her husband were going back to the Lotikovo Children’s House to pick up their son that they had adopted. They were also traveling with their adoption facilitator that specialized in adoptions from the very same orphanage we were being sent to. For the next 18 hours, our facilitator met with their facilitator and acquired all of the necessary information to help us with our adoption.
The Lord turned my eyes back to Him, and He said to me, “[Stacey,] fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).
Shoo! It's been a long while since I've settled in to work on the study! The LORD, however, gave me a verse yesterday to dig into. I thought it was going to be for the blog, but as I sat down and dove into the verses around it, I asked Him if it was for the study, instead. It, indeed, was; He continued to show me different connections with the theme of the study. I didn't deep dive far into it, but that wasn't His intention today. He just showed me some notes He wanted me to get started on and gave me a bit of quiet time to do so. So exciting to me!! Thank You, LORD, for directing my steps toward obedience in Your purpose for me!