I am constantly learning more about myself and my relationship with God.  It can be quite exciting, not knowing from day to day what is going to happen or how I am going to react to a situation.  Well, maybe exciting isn’t the word I am looking for.

A couple of months ago I experienced a first – I had a full blown panic attack.  I had been to the doctor earlier in the day to have a mammogram and left unsettled and questioning whether or not I was going to have to return for more studies.  I didn’t really think much of it at first and just tried focusing on work when I made it into the office, but fear was growing.  I had not slept much the night before for a number of reasons.  By late afternoon I was incredibly tired, even though I had been drinking coffee all day long.

After leaving work, I decided to run up the stairs to my car, which was on the top level of our parking deck.  Bad idea.  By the time I reached my car I was hyperventilating and couldn’t catch my breath.  I had just run three miles the day before.  Running up a few flights of stairs shouldn’t have done that to me.  Still trying to catch my breath, I got in the car and proceeded to drive off – into traffic.  My heart was pounding – I have never felt it beat so fast and hard.  Terrified, I pulled over and parked my car at the mall and went in.  I decided I was too tired and needed more coffee – I went to Starbuck’s – still trying to catch my breath, and got a latte.  Another bad idea.  I drank a little off my latte – it wasn’t helping…why wasn’t it helping?  I was dizzy, my heart was pounding again and I determined I was having a heart attack or something else life-threatening.  I continued my walk through Macy’s – my breathing only grew worse and I hastily assumed I was officially dying in a department store.  I located the handbag department and found rest leaning against a display of beautiful purses.  Slowly I sank to the floor.  Several minutes passed and I still hadn’t died.  My heartbeat slowed back to normal – I began to be able to breathe normally again.  By this point, many people had started to notice the crazy lady sprawled out in handbags.  Someone must have alerted store management of my presence because soon a security guard came over to check out the situation.  Needless to say, I didn’t die; and, my mammogram results even turned out okay.  However, God took that opportunity to teach me a big lesson…

Ever since that day in the Macy’s handbag department I have been evaluating how I deal with fear.  I’ve always thought of myself as pretty fearless – I will try anything.  (So will my daughters, which terrifies me.  Strange how that works, huh?)  But, it’s not really that kind of fear I have issues with – it is fear of the unknown, what’s around the corner, what will happen if?  The ‘what ifs’ of life scare me!  What will happen to my daughters if they are still young when I die?  What will happen if one of them is sick or hurt?  What if I hurt them or family and friends again?  What if I am hurt by someone?  It’s the ‘what ifs’ in my life that have kept me from growing as a woman and growing in my relationship with God.  When I do not rely on Him to take care of the ‘what ifs’ in my life, I am not fully trusting Him with me and my family and I lose faith, little by little.  Oh, it can be so hard to just let it all go sometimes.  But, I need to…and I am beginning to want to.

Being fearless and brave for me is starting to look more like what I am letting Him do instead of what I am allowing myself to do.  All of my fears involve my heart – Who better to give it to?  1 John 4:18 says:

 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.

This first part of this year has not been what I expected.  Most of the time when I get content with life, God starts to work on me and I’m jolted out of my comfort zone and the past six months have been no exception.  I turned 40, and that birthday…that age…that year I dreaded, has been quite a pleasant surprise.  I never would have thought I would be okay with growing older…and wrinkles.  (I am not so okay with the random hairs I find growing on my chin.)  I am making new friends and taking on new responsibilities at work.  At the end of the summer, God is giving me an opportunity to share my testimony at a women’s retreat – talk about being out of my comfort zone – I am not a speaker, but I am excited about it nonetheless.

I read a quote from Andy Stanley last week:

 “When God initiated His relationship with mankind, it didn’t begin with a command; it began with an invitation:  will you trust Me?”

The day I had that panic attack, I was not trusting God—and when I don’t trust Him my relationship with Him suffers and I lose faith.  At times when I can see my faith getting shaky I am learning to recognize that He is working for my good – that is the only thing He can do!  When I can look for the good in every situation, I stumble on blessings I never even realized I had.  Choosing to see that He is doing something – even when the something might not be what I would have chosen for myself – is a sign of spiritual growth and ultimately that is my goal, to grow closer to Him.

Several months ago BraveGirl Stacey posted a song I had never heard on her Facebook page – it is called Here Goes by Bebo Norman.  I downloaded it for myself and love it now – here are a few lines that speak to me and challenge me to take steps in faith, knowing that God knows what He is doing (and maybe it is best that I sometimes do not):

And what good is change not taken? And what good is life not living?  And what good is love not given?

Here goes nothing.  Here goes everything.  Gotta reach for something or you’ll fall for anything.  Take a breath, take a step, what comes next God only knows, but here goes.

Giving God all of my heart and control of all of my ‘what if’s’ is just another step on my journey of faith.  He will take care of me and my family and show me I can be fearless in life and love.

What fears do you need to turn over to God today?



  1. I love you BraveGirl Beth! That chance encounter meeting you in North Carolina last year was no chance at all! It was a God thang! You inspire me! Thank you for sharing about melting in the handbag aisle at Macy’s and for be vulnerable with your story! I learn something from your writing every single time. Someone special introduced me to Bebo Norman, and I’m glad that that particular song touched you too! Keep pressing in Sister!

  2. I am sharing this post first thing with someone I love whom is also struggling with “what it’s”.

    Shortly after I got sober I had a panic attack and it was exactly like I would imagine a heart attack to be! Terrifying!

    Keep turning it over, it’s what HE would have us do 🙂

  3. Hi Beth- you are one of my favorite writers here cuz you tell it like it is. I’ve had a lot of these panic attacks lately. But I’m learning that it is okay cuz God has got me. Thanks

    • Hi Abby – I am so happy to hear from you! I’m still learning but it is a much easier ride now that we know God has our best interest at His Heart so we can trust Him with ours. Take care! beth


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