Fear and joy. Can you recall any time you've embodied both emotions at the same time? Was it your first day of school, first sleep-over away from home, first date, your wedding day, the day your children were born, their first date, the first time your child drove your car, the day you dropped your child off at college? All of these experiences call on the best of both our fears and our deepest joys, don't they? These are days we all look forward to with great anticipation throughout our lives. They're milestones that mark a readiness, a right of passage into the next level of maturity. We fear the unknown, yet we feel overwhelming joy for the promise of hope these days represent. But, how do we experience the joy with the fear?
We see these dualing emotions of fear and joy in the women who went to Jesus' tomb on resurrection day. In Matthew 28: 2-7 we're told an angel of the Lord had come down from heaven with an earthquake to roll away the stone in front of Jesus' tomb. His appearance was like lightning and he frightened the guards so much they fainted like dead men. The two Mary's at the tomb saw this angel as well and the angel gave them a mission to go to the disciples and tell them what they saw and heard. Matthew 28:8 says "the women hurried away from the tomb afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples." They were frightened at the sight of the angel; frightened at the missing Jesus; frightened at what the others would think of their news. Yet, they moved. They did what the angel told them to do. They didn't let their fear overtake their joy in the promise of the risen Lord.
I've been living within the same dualing emotions since July.
While vacationing this summer I was able to squeak out a bit of solitude.
I was journaling that morning and my mind wandered to times spent with my great niece. She's two years old and everything beautiful embodied in a curly, blond-haired, blue-eyed child. She's as much fun as she is beautiful! As I thought of my play dates with her, a little verse rolled around in my mind. I finally jotted it down on a scrap of paper. I played with the words awhile until they formed a lyrical rhythm. After reading it for the umpteenth time I thought, "God, that's a children's book!". He was listening and answered, "You're right. Now publish it!" I didn't know God was listening to my thoughts! I chuckled out loud at God and folded the verse into my journal. I was "afraid yet filled with joy" in knowing God was moving me toward what He created me to do.
The summer ended. I'd shared the "book" with my husband and a couple of family members. They were very supportive and encouraged me to move forward with publishing but my fear paralyzed me for two months. One night my husband finally said the tough words, "Dawn, you need to get over the fear and take your writing seriously! You know God's called you to write. Now, trust him!" His attitude was more like "I've heard you talk about writing to the point of ad nauseum, now get on with it or don't ever bring up the subject again!" without actually saying those words. It was time. A few days later, I sent an inquiry email to a prospective publisher.
It's now been five months since I sent that email. My book Auntie's House is in production ready for release on Valentine's Day! I'm awaiting the arrival of my galley copy today. I am filled with joy for God's love gift to me! I chuckle again even as I write this today. The book is about trust! Ironic! Do I still embody fear and joy? Absolutely! I still fear the unknown but I'm learning from the Mary's to run in faith and with joy to that which God has asked me to accomplish.
(To order your copy of Auntie's House go to www.halopublishing.com or www.amazon.com.)