Open Hands

Jason and I have two kids, Anthony and Jessica. We were not believers when we got married or when we had our kids. By God’s grace, we came to faith while they were both still young and so we had the privilege of teaching our kids about the Lord and bringing them up in a Christian home.

 

From the time I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a mom. What I didn’t know, however, was the fear that would come along with having them. From the time they were young, I found myself struggling with fears that something would happen to them or that someone would hurt them. Because of this, if you saw our kids, you saw me. I felt the weight of needing to be their protector. For those of you who know me, you will find this quite funny considering my size.

 

I would love to say that once I became a believer, these fears went away, but they didn’t. When we made our last move to Ontario almost ten years ago now, fear was definitely winning the battle in my heart. We were in a new province, and that meant a new school for the kids. We didn’t know anyone. It was during these stressful days that the Lord in His loving kindness to me, brought conviction to my heart. He convicted me of the fact that I wasn’t trusting Him when it came to the kids. Up until then, I had been able to justify my worries and fear thinking that I was just being a loving and protective parent.  That all changed when the Lord revealed my heart to me and I saw my sin for what it was.

 

Philippians 4:6-7 became verses that I found myself very familiar with. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I’m so thankful that the Lord put the word “anything” into verse 6, because it took away any justification that I could come up with to excuse my worry. With these verses came deep conviction and encouragement all at the same time.

 

The truth is that I had tried everything I could in my own strength for years to overcome these fears. No matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t. I found myself sharing my struggles with others in the church and asking for prayer. Vulnerability can be hard at times within the church, for fear of judgement, but I found it to be life-giving knowing that others were praying for me.

 

The Lord has been so gracious to me over the years and I can honestly say that He has done an amazing work in me. Fear does not dominate my life anymore. When it starts to rear up, I know that there is only one place to go, to the Lord. He is so gracious and kind and hears our prayers and offers us His peace.  John 14:27 says, “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.”

 

My struggle with fear over the years was challenging to say the least. When I was in it, I just wanted it gone, but I am so thankful to the Lord that He used this very struggle to grow me in my relationship with Him. I am reminded that the sanctification process is not easy or painless, but it is worth it. It is through the struggles that we can give God the glory because we know we simply couldn’t have gotten through them without the Lord.

 

 I give thanks to the Lord for the work that He has done in my life and the freedom that He has given me.  Our kids are grown now and our oldest just got married days ago. By God’s grace I will continue to seek the Lord so that I can hold them, and everything I have, with open hands.

Twyla Johnston

Twyla Johnston

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