Philippians // Fear and Trembling

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Bible verse 1: Philippians 2:12

Bible verse 2: Psalm 2:11

When God called me to have children only months after getting married it wasn’t at all what I’d expected. We live in a world that includes five-year plans and Pinterest articles named "5 Steps You Should Take Before Having Kids!” Oh how I wished during that time that I could ignore God! And I tried. I didn’t feel ready, my husband was still in school, I was working at Starbucks, and we were living in another country far from family and friends. I remember staying up late at night, unable to sleep because I was afraid of what God was asking. But continually, whether when I opened my Bible for personal study, or the readings and homilies at Mass, God continually called to me, telling me what, frankly, I didn’t want to hear.

I’d love to tell you that I got pregnant, won a million dollars, and became mother of the year after saying “yes!” to God, but that wouldn’t be true and it wouldn’t get to us to the point that I feel led to make.

My “yes!” was more of a reluctant “fine.” I quickly got pregnant and miscarried early in my pregnancy. Months later I suffered a second miscarriage. It was a confusing time for me. How could I mourn something I wasn’t even sure I was ready for? Why would God ask something of me and then allow me to suffer?

It turns out that God never promised us a life free from suffering. Paul tells us that we must work out our salvation with “fear and trembling”. Christ tells us that the path is narrow, tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. Psalm 2:11 tells us to “Serve the Lord with fear; exult with trembling”. That isn’t always easy, it isn’t always what we desire, but at the end of these difficult roads there is joy beyond the suffering.

Sometimes it takes having our faith challenged to make it grow. I learned to depend and trust on God during this period in my life more than any other. And it turns out that God does deliver on his promises. My desire for children became stronger, my trust in God deepened, my ability to let go and let God has helped my faith to blossom. God has allowed me to share my story and encourage women in similar situations. He has allowed me to share in the grief of others through my own, and, I hope, participate in their healing. This wasn’t an easy place to get to, but I now understand what Paul and the Psalmist are asking of us. 

In October of 2016 God blessed me with my beautiful daughter. I still think of the babies I lost, but it is with joy rather than sadness. When I look back over the road God has led me on, and when I look at my daughter, I realize that it was all leading to her and to Him. 

No matter what is going on in your life. No matter what you are working through with fear and trembling, know that God is near. 

Reflection question 1: Has God ever asked you to do something you were afraid of? How did you react to that situation?Reflection question 2: What does it mean to you to work out your salvation with “fear and trembling”?

Act: Take some quiet time with God today to ask what he wants of you that might be out of your comfort zone. Write down what it is he is saying to you and then write down your fears about that situation. Find a verse that can encourage you to do God’s will despite your fears!