Stop being alarmed…

Tracy Jones KiddosFive years ago, Matt and I moved our children from a private school we loved to a public school we have grown to love, and for me, the transition was brutal. Though it was my kids who made the actual transition, it was me who fell apart.

We went from the safety and security of a cocoon-like environment to one of perceived danger around every corner. The private school was small, family-like, well-structured, with great communication to parents. The public school was enormous, double the class size, little communication, and in general it was sink or swim.

I jumped in with my usual gusto and volunteered for homeroom mom for Ava… and for Luke… and for Noah… and for the PTA and for everything else I could think of to help me not be so overwhelmed for my children and for our family. I figured the more I was involved, the less I had to be afraid of.

Unfortunately, fear was the heart of my motivation… fear of the unknown, fear of my kids getting lost, fear they would be invisible in all the chaos and noise of their large classes. Valid concerns, yet my fear didn’t change anything for my kids or their experience in school.

At my core, what I was dealing with was a very deep resentment towards God. I knew God had spoken very clearly to me and to Matt that the kids were supposed to be at public school and that He cared for them even more than I did. He chose public school for them. There was no doubt in my heart that God was in this journey for our family and I was so very mad at Him for it. I didn’t want this to be His plan. I was mad that He didn’t provide for us to stay where they were safe. Every little thing that happened at public school I was like, “See God, this is NOT a good plan. Now I’m just going to have to jump in and micro-manage it to make sure my kids are safe.”

As I look back, the reality was… my kids were great. They made amazing friends that they still have to this day, and were taught by wonderful teachers. Noah stopped his stress “ticks” and started relaxing and enjoying school. Luke played happily and loved on the kids around him. Ava struggled, but eventually moved to a class where she thrived. Many of the friends she made that year are still her friends today. In the past five years, my kids haven’t just survived, they’ve flourished… and I have continued to struggle.

This past summer, my new doctor diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue which was already causing a whole host of physical symptoms I’ve dealt with for the past few years. When she finally looked at me and said, “Okay, your body is deficient in this, this, and this… but I want to know why,” and then discovered the adrenal fatigue… my mind immediately went to the question of when. What caused the fatigue? I could look back and clearly date it to the change in schools, but the answer wasn’t school… it was fear.

One day as I wrestled with all this, my dear friend Deana called, and I shared with her what the doctor said that morning. She said this, “You have to go and read Mark 6:50-52. I’m not going to say anything else, but God has something for you in those verses.” I got off the phone and immediately went and read.

It’s the story of Jesus and He’s just fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. He sends His disciples in a boat to the other side of the lake while He dismisses the crowd. Well, He sent them straight into a storm on the lake, and the disciples are in the boat in the storm “agitated, troubled and filled with fear and dread.”

Jesus walks on water to get to them because He saw their distress, and when he gets there he says,

“Take heart! I AM! Stop being alarmed and afraid.”

And then he gets into the boat and the Bible says the wind ceased, and the amplified Bible says the wind “sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating.” But here is the kicker, in the next verse the Bible says that the disciples were astonished at the miracle because…

“they failed to consider or understand the meaning of the loaves.”

I was completely overwhelmed as I read this passage because this was me with my kids’ schooling. We, as a family, were in a boat that God said to get into, and I kept freaking out and being alarmed by every wave that came. I’ve seen Him do so many miracles in my life and yet all I’d done was fear and worry that this was the time He wasn’t going to be faithful, that my kids would suffer.

Here are the truths that hit me that day:

  • ✩ Just because God says get into the boat doesn’t mean there won’t be storms.
  • ✩ When God says get into the boat, no harm will come to you.
  • ✩ There is a difference between the storms raging around you, and you being harmed by a storm.
  • ✩ You freak out in the boat because you have forgotten His faithfulness, you have “failed to consider the meaning of the loaves.”
  • ✩ Considering God’s miracles and faithfulness in the past gives you the courage to face your current storm.
  • ✩ When you are feasting on His faithfulness, you cannot be filled with fear.
Considering God’s miracles and faithfulness in the past gives you the courage to face your current storm.
I had forgotten God’s faithfulness when it came to my kids. I felt the Lord challenge my heart to sit and write down every thing I have seen God do in my kids lives as a result of being in public school and the list was so long…
–the character they have grown through their storms,
–the bright happy kids that they are,
–they all love school,
–they have great friends and wonderful teachers.

I wrote out a long list for each child of the growth and positive change and the miracles that God had worked on their behalf. That day, I realized as I “considered the loaves” that God was right all along. I sat on my back porch and forgave Him for telling us to get into a boat and sending us into storms. I asked forgiveness for not trusting, for my fear, for forgetting his faithfulness. The panic and alarm I’ve felt for the past five years left me that day.

“Take heart! I AM! Stop being alarmed and afraid.”

I had to stop and consider all that He is, all the good that He has planned for my kids and for me, and surrender my control. His goodness is the key to why I can be in this boat and not have fear… not my ability to manage the waves.

His goodness is the key to why I can be in this boat and not have fear… not my ability to manage the waves.
I’m still in my kids’ schools because I’ve made great friends there and because I love supporting the amazing teachers who sacrifice so much each day to touch the lives of so many, and because honestly, if God said get in the boat, I’m all in…

But the fear is gone. My motivation has changed, and I’m saying ‘no’ more often as a result of that. There are a lot of baby boats (aka… opportunities) and now I’m asking the Lord each time, “Is this a boat you want me in? Because if storms come I’ll be safe, as long as You said to get in the boat.”

Today, no matter your storm, or your boat, I want to challenge you to join me and “consider the loaves”. Remember God’s faithfulness, take heart, and stop being alarmed and afraid, because if He said to get into the boat, you are safe.

We can rest in His faithfulness. We can rest in the boat.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest
— I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.”

Matthew 11:28

I Love These Monkeys…

Love these monkeys - Tracy Joy Jones

But there is no safer place for them than in the boat. I just have to keep considering the loaves.

With love,