Insomnia. Depression. Anger. Fear takes on so many shapes. It looms like a mountain and irritates like a pebble in your shoe. It whispers and lies and builds itself up like the mightiest force in the universe. It smothers out dreams and is like a noose choking out the very joy of life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Before I can share how I have overcome the bondage I think its important to share how deep it held me. Fear is something that I have battled most of my life. I can even pinpoint the moment it began to enslaved me.
My father suffered from schizophrenia and was an alcoholic, as long as he took his medication (that was most of the time) everything was wonderful. Seriously, I could not have asked for a better dad! But like all people, he was not perfect and from time to time he would stop taking his medication, and then he would start drinking and then my mom would take me away from the home for the night.
This might have been where fear started but it wasn’t, my mom always made me feel safe. She made the time at the hotel feel like a girls get-away or a stay with friends like a slumber party. But there was one time she was unable to do that.
The summer of 1992, I was 13 years old. We were at a party at my grandparents home and my mom got sick. Really sick! And we ended up taking her to the emergency room.
It was a long night with lots of tests and x-rays of some sort. I can still see the cubical waiting rooms, florescent lights casting odd shadows because they were not all on. Listing to the doctors say things like “strangulation hernia”, “if she doesn’t start vomiting” and “surgery”.
She was admitted into the hospital that night with talk about the surgery in the morning. My daddy took me home and then some time in the still dark hours the phone rang. “Mommy is having surgery.”
It’s funny looking back as an adult into childhood. Being able to see my reaction and having a greater understanding about what my dad must have been feeling. How scared he must have been.
I don’t remember much about those day that followed. I was thirteen, lost in books and the world of innocence. I don’t know how the surgery went, but my mom ended up in ICU for more than a day before she was moved into a normal room.
It was after she moved into that room that I reminded my dad (again) that he promised to take me to Enchanted Village & water park. He did, we drove the long hours there while my mom stayed in the hospital. He paid the ridiculous ticket price. We rode the Carousel. And then we got into a fight.
What a stupid fight for both of us. He wanted to ride the potato sack slide and I thought is was to babyish. So I told him he could and I would skip it. We both skipped it. Then I wanted to ride the Octopus but he didn’t want to and then I wouldn’t go on it.
We were both being stubborn and bratty. I sobbed and we went home.
We hadn’t even been at the park for an hour. We spent money on gas and tickets and food, money I was to learn wasn’t really in our budget. Hospitals, ICU and surgery is expensive when you don’t have insurance and we didn’t. And I’m pretty sure finances were tight even before that.
I cried the whole way home, then went to my room and took a nap. When I woke up my dad wasnt home, so I cuddled up on the couch with my book.
He wasnt too late getting home after that and went straight to the kitchen. I gave it no thought, the anger and hurt from the earlier part of the day already fading from my heart.
Then I heard the can open.
Most people wouldn’t think twice about that innocent sound. It wouldn’t fill them with absolute fear. But we didn’t drink canned soda in our home, the only time I heard that sound in my house was if daddy had bought a beer.
Daddy was drinking and my mom wasn’t there to protect me.
*I’ve shared this story many times, but have never written it down. This all happened 25 years ago, it’s amazing what time and age does to memories and the ability to see others possible perspectives in a situation. Bear with me and I will continue my story of overcoming the bondage of fear.