Fearless and Free

Afraid, or fearless and free?

Unexpected circumstances, including the Coronavirus resurgence in our state, clouded my thoughts. Photos and social media stories of recent Fourth of July celebrations dared to disappear like the arrows my children shot across our front yard. Though few and far between this year, memories of family gatherings linger. Catching fireflies, the irresistible smell of gooey s’mores, and my grandchildren’s laughter pierce my heart, threatening to ignite a flood of tears—the way bits of kindling sparked our blazing campfires. Maybe it’s because we were where we wanted to be, or maybe, the children reminded us how to be fearless and free.

Let the children lead the way

I loved how, like the children, we lived in the moment. Things like ice cream, counting wheat-back pennies, and a horseback ride stretched our smiles until they glowed in the shadows of every sunset. Along with the laughter, each moment gifted us with life lessons. Simple things like my grandson lending a helping hand to his dad or grandpap, my granddaughter and I planting flowers from a neighbor, or how the kids shared their last sour gummy worm with me. Within those fleeting moments, negativity, sickness, and world events melted away like snow flurries in the spring. Hope for tomorrow took their place. God used the children to show us: Blessings are everywhere if we choose to see.

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:3

Fearless and free in his refuge and strength

No matter what comes our way—We’re not alone. If we pray and seek him, we will not only find him, we’ll find a peace that surpasses all understanding too. Although I know it’s not always easy, I want to leave my worries with him. God is my refuge, hiding place, and the only way I can have the strength to be fearless and free these days.

Like arrows, they’re gone

Once again, I remember the arrows we shot at cardboard boxes and how my husband and son repeatedly searched for mine stuck in the mountainside. “Where’d they go?” We laughed and ranted. Then, with arms wrapped around a red blow up boogie board, the kids ran, belly-flopped, and slipped and slid out of sight on a long, narrow piece of plastic. Fearless. Free. Their precious smiles, now gone…and I’m left to wonder when I’ll see them again.

Freedom = Fearing less + living abundantly

Who knows what tomorrow will bring us—poverty or wealth…sickness or health? Today, as we stand in line six feet apart looking like masked bandits in the grocery store, I remember when my grandson ran down a steep bank near my garden two weeks ago, and how days later, a mama and two baby bears foraged for lunch in the same spot. Sure I warned the kids about wildlife on the mountain. Instead of being afraid, they were busy enjoying life. Maybe that’s the way we all should be.

We experienced more joy and freedom in those moments than we had in months. It didn’t matter that it would be short-lived and masks would soon be mandatory. I hope to cherish those moments and never let them go, especially since we have no idea when we’ll celebrate like that again. The truth is, wolves, bears, people who act like monsters, and now superbugs and pandemics—will come and go.

Life doesn’t always follow the smooth course we set. It’s often riddled with lots of potholes. Unexpected circumstances might leave us disappointed or scared. Some events shatter us. We question God’s ways and his goodness—but, have we prayed and asked for wisdom and understanding? There were times when wordless groaning was the only prayer I had left in me. His faithfulness endured.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Mindfulness and answered prayers

Still cautious and skeptical, I recall how by mid-May the virus curve flattened in many states. Families who followed safety protocols hoped this was evidence the Covid-19 pandemic would soon be over. Now each breath taken without a mask brings the weight of the world on our shoulders.

Am I considering others health above my own? Is it wise to breathe in masked exhaled breath for long periods of time while working on clients at the salon? Instead of answering myself (although sometimes I do), or arguing these moot points, I choose to be mindful and do whatever I can to ensure the safety and wellness of others…especially my husband.

How can I ask for anything else when we’ve been so incredibly blessed to watch my husband recover from a near-fatal heart attack last January? We take two steps forward and one step back. Hikes in the mountains are now hand-in-hand strolls. The virus is a constant threat, but I try not to let fear steal his accomplishment thunder. I kneel by my bedside each night with hope my Heavenly Father answers yet another one of my prayers.

He giveth power to the faint; and to them who have no might he increases strength.

Isaiah 40:29

Let’s take another knee

God is Love. If we have love, it will be visible for all to see and the world will change. What if people treated one another with such love that instead of taking a knee for each other, we humbly take two?

So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:36

Dear friends,

In times of health crisis, social unrest, or political upheaval, there is still a way we can change the world. We can choose to be counted as examples who live and practice what the Bible teaches and Jesus Christ preached. His Father, God, calls us to honor every life and be givers of grace and mercy. Stand as men and women of integrity, and unconditionally love all people. What if we stop listening to news media for a day and look for answers from the one who hung the stars in the sky and calls each one by name? He knows our concerns and sorrows. In him, we can be more than we could ever think or imagine. And yes, in him alone, I believe we can truly be fearless and free.

Please don’t forget to join the conversation here in the Inspire A Fire comments section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. If you’d like to read more of my stories on IAF http://www.inspireafire.com/author/jclaypoole/ or look for my quirky Dreamdove’s Flights of Fancy blog: https://www.joannclaypoole.wordpress.com Do you know someone who is gripped with fear or anxiety during this trying time? If so, please feel free to share Fearless and Free with friends and family. After all, we can all use some good news these days. Wishing you love, blessings, and strength for your journey ~ Joann

Special thanks: Free use images from Pixabay. Featured image by Kalhh. Gallery #1 TL image by Gaertringen, TC image by Jill Wellington, TR image by Free-Photos, Bottom Lg image by Jill Wellington. Gallery #2 TL image by Samir Biscevic, TC image by Kranich17, TR image by Adrian Campfield, Bottom Lg image by Free-Photos. Single large Image by Oberholster, Gallery #3 TLimage by Kranich17, TC image by Prawny, TR image by Eric Leroy.

Joann Claypoole

Joann Claypoole is an author, speaker, master stylist/colorist, and former spa-girl entrepreneur. She's a wife, mother of four sons, “Numi” to four grandbabies, doggie-mom of two. The award-winning author of The Gardener’s Helper’s (ages 5-9 MJ Publishing2015) would rather be writing, hiking in the mountains, or inviting deer and other wildlife to stay for dinner near her western NC writing retreat. Visit her website: joannclaypoole.com and WordPress blog: https://joannclaypoole.wordpress.com/

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