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I was twenty years old and standing all by myself on a bus in Seoul, Korea.  All by myself, except for the teen girl whom I had met minutes earlier. She would be hosting me in her non-English speaking home.  As I stared out the window at the billboards that seemed to be shuffling past like a deck of undecipherable cards, fear gripped my heart. 

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You see, I had grown up in an extremely conservative and legalistic sub-culture of homeschoolers.  It was all that I had known and I had learned to fear.  In these legalistic groups, rules are no longer based on scripture but on an individual’s interpretation of scripture.  Following all the rules can be confusing at best.   

Just before loading the plane that had carried me to this foreign land and away from everything familiar, I learned that my parent’s marriage had fallen apart.  What would this mean for me…my family…my future?  Fear gripped my heart and I was now on the other side of the world by myself with my fear.  There were other team members with me in Korea…but, not this night…not in this home.  I was by myself.  I had one of those moments where I wondered, “What in the world am I doing here?”  I had no person on which to lean.  I was by myself without any security that I had ever known.  There were no parents, siblings, pastors, aunts, uncles, friends, or cousins.  I was by myself…but not alone.  As the rug of false securities was ripped out from under me, what remained was my loving heavenly Father, the one who loved me more than any other and who held my future in his hands.  He was right there next to me in that Korean bus and he was still in control.  In that moment, I surrendered all my fears to him and placed my life in his hands.  My heart was light for the burden that I shed that night.  But, oh, how we humans like to pick burdens back up and chain ourselves to fear, doubt, and anxiety.

*******Flash forward 10 years******* 

I was now happily married and mother to a growing little family.  I found myself picking back up the fear that had so crippled me.  I realized that I was making parenting decisions out of fear.  But, I was no longer slave to fear.  I had been set free.  Why was I surrendering to it of my own free will?

I mean, who really wants to be that second generation homeschool mom whose kids read Harry Potter, play video games, or eat fast food and soda instead of thr organic foods straight from the family garden, right?  So, although I had been years removed from my legalistic childhood and set free from fear, I found that I was allowing fear to find shelter in my life as I made parenting decisions based in fear.  I mean, what if my child read Harry Potter and was tragically transformed into a witch. Why, oh, why would I pick back up that ball and chain and shackle myself to it once again?  Oh, that I could have learned the lesson just once.  But, I am thankful that God is gracious, loving, and…not legalistic. 

So, today, I am finding myself challenged as I revisit the rules of our home and see which ones pass the litmus test of fear.  If I fear my child’s future, how can I truly and perfectly love him?  Because, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 

I love the recent Disney movie, Frozen, because Elsa has to learn to let go of the fear that has held her captive for her entire life.  She has to choose love in place of fear.  Once she lets go of the fear she can truly love and enjoy life and those around her.   And, what a difference it makes in the lives of those around her!  What a beautiful picture of how God intends for his children to live life.   

I am enjoying, once again, the freedom and joy that come from letting go of fear and loving those little hearts that God has chosen to entrust to me.  

How do you choose love over fear?

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”  1 John 4:7-12