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From Lighthouse to Lighthouse: Facing Fears and Trusting God

14 Jul

From Lighthouse to LighthouseSince our return to the Boston area in 2009, every other year my family vacations in a different Canadian province. We started off at a KOA cabin near Niagara Falls, then two years later spent a few days in Québec City, and this year we are in a tiny cottage on Covehead Bay, which is fed by the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the beautiful Maritime province of Prince Edward Island. Currently, we are looking for Anne of Green Gables.

Board games, bike rides, drives through potato farmland marveling at old countryside churches, grilling steak tips, and walking long trails with the dogs are how we unwind. Vacations don’t have to be frantic, expensive, or fast-food unhealthy. I’m so glad we made a deliberate choice to get our serenity on and breathe in the salty Atlantic water as we walk around the bay.

This week has been a time of getting reacquainted with the kids, reminding them we are more than just taxi drivers, moneylenders, and activity cheerleaders. The best of ourselves is reinvesting in the best of ourselves. It’s so good to replenish and fill up again. I hear that still, small voice whispering into my heart lessons to take away from breathing in deeply and not being busy.

And sometimes, it’s when we’re in vacation mode that we feel freer to conquer our fears. My youngest, Little Man, is now biking like a champ all over the bike paths of Prince Edward Island because he pushed through the anxiety and saw where he could soar once he stopped being afraid. The carrot dangling in front of him?

If you want to get to the beach, you need to bike there.

Where do you, or I, need to stop being afraid today and feel the wind on our faces and victory in our leaps of faith?

Pedaling around this island has taken my husband and I back to our years as a family in the Marshall Islands, when we rode our bikes or walked everywhere—no cars to fill with gas! We are remembering, as a family, how it felt to have the atmosphere whisper rushes of God’s goodness into our ears as we attempt to fight wind with our own might and forge ahead through the forces in the air that simultaneously push us back and hold us up.

We have to trust that the efforts of our legs will propel us forward to the beach, like Little Man. He knew the beach was ahead of him. He had to trust himself to ride without falling and end up at his desired location.

We found the same to be true when we went looking for lighthouses. On a day with drizzly, overcast skies, we decided to pack up the dogs, grab a few food reinforcements, and drive the southeastern coastline of the island. PEI is blissfully absent of tourist-pleasing gift shops or beachside restaurants. There are a few, but consumer tourism isn’t the point. Beauty is. And so our goal was to hop from lighthouse to lighthouse and catch a few pictures and scenic views.

At the first one we encountered, which was the oldest lighthouse on PEI, I met a Scottish woman right before I faced my fear of small, constricted places and heights to climb to the top. When I came back down from navigating several flights of anxious descent and dusty hands, and I confessed my fear (since I knew I wouldn’t be able to process anything she tried to tell me until my heart rate returned to normal), she said:

Well done, you!”

I felt as if I had jumped into a Dr. Who episode! Fantastic!

But it struck me:

  • How we were blindly following maps through rural country with very few landmarks to speak of to see if we could find the next lighthouse in dreary skies
  • How even climbing one to find the light took so much belief that it was there, that we could someday reach it, and that when we found it, it would light our way

We had to fight fear and believe we were headed toward the prize—and that it would be worth it.

I feel that way about Christ and my faith in God. The Bible says God’s Word is a lamp to my feet. I have to put my faith in that and know that even when I don’t always understand it, like the air holding us up as we ride along windy paths, it is there to protect me, to keep me safe, to deliver me from my fears. It is shining a path out of the dark I sometimes find myself sitting in. It lights my way.

Psalm 119:105, ESV, (Believed to be) David writing 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Little Man had to believe he was getting to his beach, that we weren’t deceiving him.

I had to consider the flashing lens at the top of a very narrow ladder to be valuable enough to trust God to get me there.

And on our journey along winding, narrow roads with little view ahead of us, we had to believe that we could get from hidden lighthouse to hidden lighthouse.

Isn’t that ultimately the faith journey we enter when we say “Yes, Jesus, I believe you”? From that point on, aren’t we living out each trial, each confusing moment, each burden or worry, and each fear, going from one lighthouse to another lighthouse at a time?

We seek the lamp of His Word and express the prayers on our hearts to find the next instruction, to stretch beyond the next fear holding us back, seemingly paralyzing us—but for His Light.

As we yield to His lead, we find a beautiful truth:

We become His light, reflecting His glory and lighting the path ahead of others, who, like us, may be stuck and unsure of their next steps.

Matthew 5:14-16, ESV, Jesus speaking at His famous Sermon on the Mount

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

And I imagine as we start to shine, as we find His light and conquer the fears that formerly gripped us, there is an audience waiting for us, inspired to take their own steps of faith—as well as a still, small voice calling out to us:

“Well done, you!”

*This blog was first a featured column at Your Tewksbury Today.

**It has also been shared at any link highlighted here: Mom 2 Mom Monday Link-Up, Make a Difference Mondays, Pick Your Pin Tuesday, Women With Intention Wednesdays, Grace & Truth, A Little R & R, RaRa Link-Up, Me, Coffee & Jesus, Dance With Jesus, Blessing Counters, Coffee & Conversation, Saturday Soiree, Tell His Story, Find Stability, So Much at Home, Faith-Filled Fridays, Reflect His Love and Glory Link-Upand Christian Mommy Blogger.

More anecdotal stories about an everyday relationship with God can be found in Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day (includes Book Club Discussion Questions).

 

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12 responses to “From Lighthouse to Lighthouse: Facing Fears and Trusting God

  1. Sharon

    July 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Bonnie, you can’t possibly know how much this has helped me today. In the past week, two things have happened in my life that have sent me spiraling into paralyzing fear (again). I have fought anxiety my whole life, and I am so tired of the battle. But, I just have to tell you, your words today have provided me with a *lighthouse* along the way – a heartening and fortifying reminder that God is there. Today you have helped me *re-find* His Light.

    Thank you.

    GOD BLESS!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 14, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Sharon….Thank you so much for sharing this with me. You have encouraged me so much by telling me that. I’m so sorry about the anxiety spiral. I know it well myself, and I watch my youngest child battle it. That anything I would write would be considered one of His lighthouses makes me so happy! I can often barely see the light in the distance of the next one, but I’m learning it is always there. He always provides a way out. He always holds our hands when we ask. I felt your pain a little as I read your words because I know how easily that spiral can happen. Praying for continued fortification for you. The enemy lies to us and tells us God isn’t there. He is always there…and eventually He shows Himself. Sometimes He is so near to us, we are in the shadow of His wings. Much love and many blessings!

      Like

       
  2. ginabad

    July 14, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    This is me, what I need – His leading and guidance. I feel very all over the place after the events in my life since December and I’m still trying to find footing. I feel like every time I do, IT’S NOT where He wants me to be, although I am uncertain. Just plowing through, reading His Word, praying and working through the fears. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      Gina, I’m so glad you were so specific, so I could specifically pray for His leading and guidance for you. I hate it when our footing is still so unsure. He has much to teach us in that rocky place, but it’s not fun being there! I know it feels like you can’t quite find your way, but He is so faithful and true to lead you. You will get to where He wants to take you. You can count on it. Sometimes, though, the best healing work can be accomplished in us when we are the most yielding and willing to follow Him anywhere, like a puppy dog. Sometimes my Humpty-Dumpty Self gets a new remodel when I am on unsure ground. Once He rebuilds me, then He leads me besides still waters and refreshes my soul. Then, He takes me to mountaintop experiences where I am on higher ground to testify after He has taught me something new. Ask Him if you are in a teaching place right now. Praying for you for endurance and for facing down fears with your Giant, Powerful, Only God beside you. The other side of this current stream of trials and uncertainty will be so beautiful once you get there.

      Like

       
  3. Coupon Diva (@RealCouponDiva)

    July 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    still tryin to find my way back 😀

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 14, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Coupon Diva….Thank you for stopping by, reading, and commenting! I know the feeling! The worst days are when I don’t think I can see the light, but even when I can’t, it’s still there. Praying for you in a general sense. Feel free to message me if you would like anything specific prayed for. njos_at_bonnielynsmith_dot_com

      Like

       
  4. holyvacationqueen

    July 14, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    This is such a beautiful meditation on place, family, vacation, and faith! You write so well, I felt I was along with you, drawn deep into my own faith, and into the light! Gorgeous! I love this, too.. got a chuckle out of it: “reminding them we are more than just taxi drivers, moneylenders, and activity cheerleaders”..my life right now!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 14, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      LOL, holyvacationqueen! My life right now too! Thank you so much for your beautiful encouragement. I really appreciate it. Sometimes we write something and have no idea if it will touch anyone’s life besides our own. I’m so glad you came by! Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  5. bigvoicepictures

    July 15, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I look forward to continued sharing as we juggle motherhood! My son at 17 just got his permit, but still wants me to drive the car when I take him places. Go figure!

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Bonnie Lyn Smith

      July 20, 2015 at 10:12 am

      I was the same way at 17, bigvoicepictures! I was in no rush to drive. LOL

      Like

       
  6. MaryHill

    July 19, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I love how God uses a challenge to propel us to overcome our fears. I am glad your son was able to overcome and pedal to the beach. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

     
  7. Bonnie Lyn Smith

    July 20, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Thanks, MaryHill….I appreciate your reflections and that you came by to visit! Challenges are blessings waiting to happen. 🙂

    Like

     

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