By Esih Efuru
As a preacher’s kid, life had its moments to remember. I loved to hear the familiar songs and mantras coming from various pulpits and tents. I needed to believe the words I heard; I needed to hold on to the hope. It was the only thing that hadn’t been taken from me. Being exposed to various forms of abuse undoubtedly scarred me and left me in a state of constant fear, and I wondered if I’d ever be safe again. I kept good grades and behavior, but internalized the fear that plagued me as I grew up, and continued hoping and searching for God’s presence. I was certain he’d lost sight of me.
I would awake to a sunny day of possibilities while holding a cloudy mist in my mind. I forgot all of the songs and sermons of endurance and triumph I knew as a pre-k. Consequently, I created a life routine of “negative expectancy” and thought things were as good as they would get. The laws of karma rewarded me by giving me back a mediocre life.
Years later, in my early thirties, I was forced into an unexpected and life threatening C-section delivery. While under an array of wires, tubes and medication, I promised God that if I came through, I would abandon fear and live a life of purpose. I’d already died a dozen times over as a child; I wanted another chance.
My daughter Judah (whose name means praise) and I both survived, thanks to God’s grace. (Last week, she celebrated her 10th birthday.) The experience gave me a new perspective on life and the presence of God. From that moment on, every word, song and lesson imparted to Judah was a testament of what God revealed to me in that fateful season: he was there the entire time. I realized that through my trauma and other challenges, God was there, navigating the course of my life so that I would end up on the other side of that operating room with Judah in my arms. I had the benefit of seeing fear destroyed and God expanded. It’s a miracle to behold, and every day has been a new mercy to give praise for and share with Judah on the 15th of August as she completes her first decade of life. (Continue reading after the video.)
Fear is a monster that can destroy dreams, goals and legacies if we grant it permission. The one power I know that is sure to defeat it is the power of love. When faced with fears, place God’s love in front of you and believe the best for yourself. God won’t fight all of your battles or move all of your mountains, but will give you the strength and courage to conquer them on your own, so that you can feel the power of evicting fear and rejoicing in the aftermath. I am no longer that fearful young girl praying for a better day. I am now the 40-something woman warrior who awakes to adventure and is poised to conquer fear’s ups and downs.
Esih Efuru, a 43 year old writer, artist and minister, is raising a daughter in Charlotte, NC. Email her email@example.com.
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