Be Not Afraid

31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 1 Be Not Afraid

Until Valentine’s day this year, my greatest fear in life was getting cancer in my twenties.  (I’ve always been terrified of cancer, and perhaps because of some sixth sense, or just because my mom fought and conquered cancer in her twenties, I’ve always worried it might also happen to me.  Not that the worrying made the experience any easier!)  But this year, just over two months before I turned twenty-seven and while 32 weeks pregnant with my first son, my greatest fear was realized.  I was told I had cancer, in a dramatic, unfortunate way (after going to the emergency room at 1 a.m. for difficulty breathing and having a chest x-ray the emergency room doctor said, “Well, the good news is you don’t have a pulmonary embolism.  The bad news is that you have an enormous mass in your chest, and I’m almost sure that it’s cancer.”  Excuse me, the good news???)

During the past seven months I’ve faced my greatest fear.  And the thing is, at the risk of boasting, I believe I’ve conquered it.  Technically I still haven’t been told I’m cancer-free, but I’ve conquered the idea of cancer.  Though it’s true that I’ve experienced suffering and seen darkness like never before, I’ve also experienced joy and seen more beauty than ever before.  And through it all, I’ve learned that choosing to live in hopefulness is the only way to live.  And why should we not live in hopefulness, even in the face of evil, even in the face of cancer?  For like Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ death, we too have been told, “Do not be afraid!  I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified.  He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.” (Matthew 28: 5-6)

Since I’ve started writing here on Be Not Afraid, I’ve discovered that there’s an amazing plethora of beautiful, inspiring, thought-provoking writing available on the internet.  One of the best blogs I’ve stumbled upon is Chatting at the Sky, where Emily writes about finding beauty in the things around her and giving thanks to God who has created such beauty.  Recently, Emily challenged her readers to try the 31 day challenge:  31 days to write and enter more deeply into a topic that has been on your heart.  I’ve loved sharing my struggles and joys on this blog, and in the process learning more about myself.  And so, today I’m beginning the 31 day challenge.  I hope that you’ll join me for the next 30 days as I challenge myself to continue to face my fears.  Each day I’ll push myself to face one of my many fears, and I’ll write about it here.  I’m starting today by facing a few fears.  I’m afraid to make myself face more fears after the past few harrowing months.  I’m afraid to continue to make myself vulnerable and share with others what my fears are.  I’m afraid of rejection and being misunderstood.  But in the face of fear I have learned to choose hope.  And so I enter this challenge repeating what has been my mantra and the mantra of my family through a cancer diagnosis, numerous days in the hospital, a risky c-section, 5 weeks in the NICU for my son, countless airplane flights and long drives for my family to visit and care for me, tears, tears, and more tears:  Be Not Afraid.

Facing my fears, cancer, bald, baby

As always thank you for all of your support.  The beauty I’ve witnessed in the past seven months is not only God’s love, but your amazing, generous, boundless, unending love.  For this love I cannot thank you enough.

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42 comments

  1. I haven’t walked your particular journey but I understand fear. I’m praying for you and your family right now, that God will give you strength for the challenges you’re facing, for healing and for rest in the midst of the storm. Sending a hug from one stranger to another!

  2. Dear number 573,
    I am honored to sit next to you; your courage is inspiring. Your story makes mine look trivial, but we all need something to dream about. Come over for a virtual cup of coffee one of these days and visit me.
    Number 574 — 31 Days in Europe.

    • Oh Jennie, thank you so much for your kind words. I am anxious to check out your blog…it sounds so fun and intriguing, and you are so right-we do indeed all need something to dream about!! I will absolutely be checking out your blog soon…a virtual cup of coffee…I love how you put that!

  3. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 3 Keeping a Faithful Heart in Light of Suffering | Be Not Afraid

  4. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 4 Facing Fears with Laughter | Be Not Afraid

  5. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 5 Listening to Your Heart | Be Not Afraid

  6. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 6 Daring to Love Myself in Order to Love Others | Be Not Afraid

  7. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 2 Fearfully and Wonderfully Made | Be Not Afraid

  8. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 7 Opening Up My Idea of a Remarkable Life | Be Not Afraid

  9. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing my Fears: Day 8 Giving Voice to My Fears | Be Not Afraid

  10. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 9 Being a Bearer of Joy | Be Not Afraid

  11. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 10 & 11 Give Everything (Plus Prayer Request) | Be Not Afraid

  12. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 12 Switching My Focus | Be Not Afraid

  13. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 13 Reaching Out | Be Not Afraid

  14. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 14 & 15 Letting Go | Be Not Afraid

  15. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 16 Giving Voice to My Dreams | Be Not Afraid

  16. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 17 Putting Fear into Action | Be Not Afraid

  17. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 18 Clear Eyes, Full Heart | Be Not Afraid

  18. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 19 Strength, Wisdom, Courage, and Clarity | Be Not Afraid

  19. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 20-22 Facing the End of Things | Be Not Afraid

  20. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 23 Showing Delight in Others | Be Not Afraid

  21. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 24 Embracing the Dawn | Be Not Afraid

  22. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 25 Saying No and Letting Go of the Guilt | Be Not Afraid

  23. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 26 Find Love, then Give it All Away | Be Not Afraid

  24. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 27 Doing what I Have to Do | Be Not Afraid

  25. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 28 Snow in October | Be Not Afraid

  26. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 29 People Should Know | Be Not Afraid

  27. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 30 Finding Myself Surrounded in Beauty | Be Not Afraid

  28. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 31 Keeping Faith and Hope Alive | Be Not Afraid

  29. Coming over from A Wish Come Clear. This is an incredible and inspiring series. Thank you for sharing so openly of yourself, and wishes for many good things as your journey continues.

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