#1,291 Brave (A Pep Talk).

Alright, y’all. I’m awake tonight for the first blog in a while. Lately I’ve been just before crashing when it’s time to write, but tonight I’m alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic. Like the camp song. I learned some things today that I really want to tell you. So. I’m gonna illustrate this post with artwork by Alexandra Snowdon that I, serendipitously, discovered recently.

I’m in this women’s Bible study at church. I joined it reluctantly because I’m so dang busy with work and pro-bono projects and during the summer, our church doesn’t meet on Wednesday nights so it’s kind of a breather for me in the middle of the week. But this class meets on Wednesday nights. But it’s a Beth Moore study and I did Breaking Free in 2010 and it was freaking awesome. This study is called Esther. It’s about how tough it is being a woman. Tonight I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been grumpy today and just wanted to lay on the couch and watch The Sopranos while Ben rubs my feet and I eat raisin bran out of my favorite coffee mug. I’ll still do that, but later. I almost didn’t go tonight, and neither did Julie. We ride to Bible study together and it’s her birthday and  she wanted to not do this tonight. I made her, begrudgingly. And here’s what we learned that I just really really want to tell you about and that could just change your life if you let it marinate:

1. You’ve been placed in your very particular sphere of influence for a reason, and for just such a time as this. For instance, I am probably writing this right now because one of you needed to hear this more than anything in the world. I don’t know that, but maybe! I live in Laurel because maybe I can bring something to the table that changes this city that no one else can. I am a member of a dying denomination maybe because I can be a part of its revitalization in this community. There are a million other things I’m meant to do, but I don’t know what they are yet and I might not even know it once I’ve done it. But I have to listen for the cues from God, follow them, and do my best at whatever it is. The same goes for you.

2. The more self-absorbed and detached from reality we become, the more we mistake annoyances for agonies. We have to force ourselves to see the difference between fleeting inconveniences and authentic tribulations. Your Pottery Barn couch that didn’t arrive on Tuesday as scheduled is an inconvenience, not a tribulation. Y’all. I struggle with this ALL THE TIME. My life is so cushy and sweet 90% of the time that when I try to fry chicken and my wonky skillet is burning them on one side, I’m just about ready to cry over it. That makes life scary, doesn’t it? When every minor inconvenience ruins our day? Or just the fear of something inconvenient ruins our day? Well…

3. We have to face our fears because most of them are not legitimate, most of them will never happen, and if they do… then WHAT? Alright, y’all. Real talk.

My greatest fear is having children. I am terrified not only of childbirth and labor, but then of how having a baby might change life as I’ve known it and my body, to boot. I’ve been afraid of this since I was a little girl, and the anxiety and fear of it only becomes more intense the closer I get to turning 30 years old. Because I hear the clock ticking now. I love to imagine a little boy learning how to work on a car with Ben. I love to imagine reading Amelia Bedelia books to a little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, teaching her how to make my mama’s lasagna when she is a teenager. But I can’t get to those sweet parts of parenthood for the fear of the first part that gets you there.

So if pregnancy is my worst fear, if it were to happen, THEN WHAT? Let’s walk through it. Well, I’d be sick all the time and I wouldn’t be able to take any medicine to stop from throwing up constantly. I couldn’t eat bananas or smell steaks grilling without puking. Well, THEN WHAT? Then I’d get really huge and pregnant and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for the last few months. Well, THEN WHAT? Then I’d go through a long, horrible labor and it might traumatize me forever. Well, THEN WHAT? Then I’d have a baby and I’d be very unsure of how to take care of it.  Well, THEN WHAT? Then I’d learn over time and many sleepless nights. Well, THEN WHAT? Then they would start to grow up and develop a personality and I would enjoy talking to them and learning things with them. Well, THEN WHAT? God would take care of us, we would learn how to take care of a growing child no matter the difficulties that came first.

So if our own most terrible awful happens, even though God tells us to trust Him, He doesn’t say to trust that He’ll make sure everything goes the way we want it to, He just says ‘TRUST ME.’ It’ll all go exactly the way He planned and it will NOT kill us. And if it does kill us, that was the plan and we’ve just got to be prepared to roll with it. We have to be brave. The most frequent command in the Bible is “do not be afraid.”

This nearly made me cry as we were learning about it tonight.


I’m sorry this post was so long. But I bet some of you needed to hear this for one reason or another. I hope so.

Disclaimer: This is not a post about having babies, but about fear in general. And this doesn’t mean we’re gonna go have a baby in 9 months. It’s just eased my worries and fears about it a lot. So. Don’t get too excited, mama.


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Daily Journal

17 thoughts on “#1,291 Brave (A Pep Talk).

  1. Erin….I need to hear this more than you know. Thanks for writing it. That Bible Study seems like some very powerful stuff……as far as being afraid of pregnancy and childbirth, I am sure every woman has that fear at some point of their lives, but I know with every ounce of my being and every part of me knows that you and Ben will be two of the most amazing parents I know. Keep the faith!!!!!!!

  2. I get inspired by your blog every day, honest to God. You and Ben lead such a happy, normal life, with its normal ups and downs, but you face it so head-on, with so much hope and positivity, that I can't help but be inspired by it. Thank you for posting so religiously.

  3. I'm so very proud of the woman you have become. Having known you as a child in elementary school and now reconnecting with you as a young woman makes me happy. Happy to see how you've grown into your own person living a life that is real!!! Keep the faith!

  4. Well, you did it again! What an inspiring post and one I sure needed to read. (love the graphics by the way!) We all have fears and it is comforting to know God has the master plan. You and Ben would make amazing parents, but it has to be something the two of YOU decide – no one else. I'd love to join a Bible study much like the one in which you belong. Sounds powerful and inspiring – just like you. 🙂

  5. Such beautiful and truthful words. I always find it comforting to be reminded that God has a plan for everyone and that we DO NOT need to be afraid. I've been reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young everyday, and it reminds me to live my days a little more freely knowing that everything will work out the way it is meant to work out for me. This post came at a good time since I am working on listening to God more and trying to figure out what He wants me to do with the life He has given me. Thank you for an inspiring post again, Erin!

  6. Thanks, girls! You're the reason I keep on doing this on days when I'm just too tired. So glad that you're here!

  7. In my prayer group this morning, we read an excerpt from a John Piper devotional app I have on my phone. It said this:

    "We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue."

    In your times of fear, may you seek refuge in Him. He is our "hiding place" and we are "helpless"! Great post. LOVED your transparency!

    Love! Love! Love!
    — from your former Laurelite, therapist, mommy, daily blog reading friend!

    Stephanie H

  8. pal, all of those things might happen during pregnancy….. but they probably won't. it's a legitimate fear. and you will go through long nights are frustrating times, but i can finally see those sweet moments with my kids (like taking MC to make art at the museum yesterday), and there's nothing like it. you will be excellent parents, if you feel led to have them. if not, you'll be the best youth ministers in the world. just like you were scared to start your own business – and things might have seemed scary at times – but you've made it…. you didn't let fear and uncertainty get the best of you. my biggest fear is inadequacy…. in all aspects of life. i'm afraid i'm not a good wife, mother, teacher, friend, person. but most days i realize that's ridiculous and i need to get over it. so i'm glad for this post because it's a great reminder that we all have fears.

    **i know this post was not about pregnancy, but i know you well so i also know that besides being extremely terrified of sickness, pregnancy and labor are your biggest FEARS… so i just thought i would try to help ease that fear.

  9. It appears, my friend, that you have assembled a mighty collection of kindred spirits in this place. Praising God for that and your ministry of the "everyday". ..and those words..how they ring true for all of us, and how they could have been ripped from the pages of my journal 15 years ago. ( although never written so eloquently as you). Fifteen years ago tonight I married my best friend..and the FEAR! Oh the fear of having children, of messing up, of small and large disasters that might come our way. And over those same years, I am learning that God's grace and the strength that I need is at the threshold of each door that I open, and not a moment before. I couldn't imagine surviving pregnancy, or the sickness, or the worry. I couldn't imagine sending my child to school, or managing their first heartache. I couldn't imagine having one healthy child..and then to be blessed with four. ..and I certainly couldn't imagine telling those babies that their mama had cancer– and praying that they trust me when I say its gone–and yet, God gave me what I needed in just His time. ..and then there will be dates, and driving, and college…and..so much fear still ahead. Thanks for this post..and reminding me of the journey…and the need to stay in the present, step towards the next door and take a moment at the threshold. –lisa

    • Lisa!! Happy anniversary!! I so love to hear from you. I'm so glad you're doing great since the surgery! Thinking of you every single day, friend.

  10. Erin, Khaki read this while I was out of town and called me to tell me to be sure and read it. I finally got around to it and what a a great post! And AGAIN, I know it is not about getting pregnant, but let me tell you. I was terrified. Totally terrified about having kids. ALL those same fears and I will never forget something my mother told me that totally tipped me over the edge. She said, "Andrea, if having a baby was SO bad, no one would EVER do it twice."
    Now think about all those people who have more than one child….

    This is the same woman that told me when I was thinking of buying my first home, "No one can ever afford to buy their first house, and no one can ever afford to have kids, but yet pretty much everyone manages to do it anyway."

    Both of these "Khakisms" proved true and good advice.
    She also once said, "Skinny? I've been skinny. I've been REAL skinny. It's not all it's cracked up to be. Now pass me those cookies."

    • Andrea! Thank you so much for this. That's actually a really fantastic way to think about it since almost everyone has more than 1 child!

  11. I'm finding this post a year after you wrote it, but you were right. I needed it. Sometimes we just need someone else to say, "Me, too." I found your blog through Southern Weddings, and one of the things I loved from your interview was your honesty about not having kids yet. My husband and I have been married for almost six years, but we're not parents yet, either, in large part due to some serious fears I have about pregnancy and childbirth, fears that I honestly thought were mine alone. But then I read this! And even though your post isn't about pregnancy or childbirth, it is about vulnerability, and what happens when we open our hearts and mouths and let God to the rest. So thanks for being vulnerable on the internet. Thanks for opening up to strangers. And thanks for letting God use you through a blog post. (Isn't that awesome?)

    • Annie! We've been married 5 years and it still is the scariest topic that comes up for us. I'm getting braver every day, I think. I hope! I'm so glad you and I have stumbled upon each other in this little corner of the internet. Email me sometime! [email protected]

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