Heather Von St. James read my blog and thought I might be interested in her story. I am. And I think you will be too. Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Heather’s cancer journey included intense treatments and the removal of her entire left lung. The surgery took place 7 years ago on Feb. 2 when Heather’s baby girl was only 3 months old.
Heather dubbed Feb. 2 Lungleavin Day and made it a day to celebrate freedom from fear. Each year, she gathers a large group for a bonfire. Each person takes an empty paper plate and one by one they place their fears on it. When the plate is full of real and imagined fears the person throws the plate onto the fire symbolizing that their fears are burned up by God.
I once read that the words “fear not” appear in the Bible 365 times, once for every day of the year. I haven’t counted them to find out if this is true but I know there are dozens of references to fear in the bible. God knows that fear is our relentless enemy. He reminds us often that He is the One who equips us to handle our fears. Heather writes, “God is the one who gives me tremendous peace. I find that prayer and reading His word, writing scriptures that speak to me and keeping them in a little notebook keeps me grounded.”
Fear can overwhelm. It can terrify our days and steal our sleep at night. Fear puts us on a screaming rollercoaster and makes us believe that we can’t get off. Fear is a liar. Most of the things we fear will never come to pass. When we do experience something horrific, as Heather has, fear fills us with dread and tells us there’s a line-up of calamities knocking at our door, ready to consume us. Fear lies all day, every day.
Heather says, “Fear is crippling. The anxiety it causes makes my life miserable and those around me even more so. It is something that I have vowed to work on this year, to not let the fear get out of control.”
Are you afraid? Jesus addressed our fear many times. Here’s one of those –
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:27-31)
Take time today to consider how precious you are to Jesus. You’re not a mere speck of humanity on the planet. You’re His treasure, highly valued and precious. You matter.
Prayer: Father, help us to put our trust totally in you because you are the only One who can burn up our fears.
You can read more about about Heather Von St. James here.