Stones of Remembrance
Testimonies of God's faithfulness through the years
Written by: Holly Schmidt
"You have not been given a spirit of Fear..."
Several weeks passed from the night the tornado lifted over our house at the name of Jesus. Tom and I were in a spiritual boot camp of preparation in learning to trust God. Another storm hit Georgia. This time 25 inches of snow trapped me in the mountains of North Georgia at a retreat center with my very southern 'church lady friends'.
Brand new pregnant with my second child, it was time to deal with this overwhelming fear that controlled much of my thinking. Throughout my pregnancy, I was going to learn that God did not give me a spirit of fear but rather peace, love, and a sound mind. He was going to deal with fear in my life in three specific areas: boogeyman fear or being scared of the dark; fear for my developing child; and fear that I would misrepresent Him.
I had always been a nervous kid, especially at night. I was terrified of the dark. God didn't want this creepy fear to control me any longer. He used an event that happened and my spiritual mom's discernment to deal with it. We lost electricity for several days and this boogeyman fear continued to creep up on me. It felt like something was following me in those dark hallways without electricity. That weekend I learned that the power of prayer not only could be applied to physical storms but also storms of the soul. With Peggy Cochran leading the way, we prayed that those demons tormenting me would be silenced and leave. For 28 years prior to this time, I suffered from horrible nightmares. Many of these nightmares were birthed in real experiences, like my bedroom curtains catching fire during the night when I was little, but most of them centered around this evil man chasing me.
As I have walked with God more and dealt with various experiences from my past and learned to lead my thinking these nightmares have virtually stopped. I recognized that fear of the spooky or spiritual forces was not coming from God. He wanted to fill me with peace. The fear was coming from a place of me not really knowing or understanding my position and relationship with the One who created me. 'Perfect love casts out fear.'
Most parents will relate to fear regarding their children. I was not and I'm not immune to that fear either. Many of our 'stones of remembrances' over these years have dealt with an almost crippling fear that something bad was going to happen to one of my kids.
Five and half weeks into my pregnancy with Simon Peter, I was exposed to and contracted a virus -parvo b19- that is a simple childhood virus but can be very dangerous to pregnant women if they aren't immune to it. Every two weeks during the first half of my pregnancy, I had sonograms to check the baby's progress. At 17 weeks, I asked all the 'what if' questions. When the doctor responded that I could consider my choices referring to abortion, I never went back to him.
Wouldn't you know he was the doctor on duty when I went into labor!!??!! Thus began my journey of natural childbirth using a midwife for delivery. Looking back now, I don't remember struggling with fear that the virus would do all those horrible things to my baby once I was faced with even the suggestion of terminating the pregnancy.
Tommy, born almost four years earlier, had been delivered by emergency C-section after 27 hours of grueling labor. Either due to losing a twin early on in my pregnancy or because of the complications of the birth, our first child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months.
Yet, it wasn't fear of birth defects that had me on my knees praying. Rather it was concern that I would misrepresent God during the birthing process. That first birth experience was like a birthing horror story. No pain medications; in a hospital for indigent women; med students practicing on me; and I was out of control crying and moaning and cussing like a sailor.
In those four years from my first birth experience, everything about me had changed. My potty mouth was one of the first changes I noticed after I surrendered my life to Christ. I remember it like yesterday. I stubbed my toe and a foul word didn't come out of my mouth- it pleasantly shocked me.
The question that rumbled around in my mind those last few weeks of my second pregnancy was, "But what if I couldn't control myself - and I cursed?" This question haunted me. It stole my peace. I did not want to go into labor and have my baby because I did not want to cuss.
Looking back now 24 years later, I'm amused at my young self. I must have forgotten the pain of natural non medicated childbirth.
"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by God's word." Romans 10:17
It was this verse that tilted the scales for me. Instead of worrying about all the bad things I might say, I concentrated on all the good things I had learned about God. I replaced my 'stinking thinking' about myself with right thinking about the nature and character of God - He who began a good work in me would be faithful to complete it. Philippians 1:6
Wouldn't you know that when I did finally go into labor, it turned out to be one of the most beautiful memorable experiences of my life. I labored in the bathtub with praise music on and lit candles around the room. The sweetness and peace of God filled the hospital room.
It still was one of most painful things I experienced as a ring a fire burned through my body upon delivery of my second son. I cried and moaned but praises of God also came out of my mouth.
Upon delivery, the midwife declared, "You have good karma." My response, "I have good Jesus!"
A tech was looking on from the corner of the room asked what was so different about us. I invited her up to my room after shift. 2:00 am rolled around and in walked this gal. She went home a new person as she prayed to God that night asking Christ to fill her with that same peace she had seen evidenced in that hospital room earlier.
When I allow fear, anxious thoughts or worry to play out scenarios in my mind then I am hearing self talk that is contrary to God's word. Rather I am to hear the word of Christ in my mind and that will build my faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6)
How is your self talk? Filled with fear, anxiety, doubt or worry? Or filled with reminders of the goodness of God?
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8)