Y’all, I am so excited. Because today, you get to meet my childhood friend, Cara Yakel. (Actually, she is my sister’s age, and she was technically more like my sister’s childhood friend.) (And Cara’s description of me would probably be more like, “…oh yeah, Amy is Julie’s obnoxious older sister.”
But let’s not spend too much time with that.
Meet Cara Yakel.
Cara is married to Matt, and they have three kids: Keagan (8), Kate (6), and Caleb (3). Cara’s life is real life proof that there is one great God, who saves us, and changes us, and is faithful to deliver us from ourselves. And that isn’t just the appropriate Sunday school introduction. Because one year ago next week, Cara’s whole world was turned upside down by a deadly Oklahoma tornado, and she still bragged about God’s faithfulness. And that inspires me. Her story encourages me to believe God in big ways, and to sink my roots down deeper into Him.
Her family may have lost their home and every last possession inside of it, but one thing is certain, they did not lose their faith.
Cara is going to share a bit of her story with us in a two-part series, and my prayer is that God will use her words to challenge you to uproot your fears, and set your faith right down into Him.
Part One: Fear Draws Us Near, written by: Cara Yakel
Fear has long been part of my story. As a little girl, I feared so many things—cows, big dogs, car rides. And as much as I wish I could tell you that I’ve been beautifully freed from them, the truth is I haven’t. I am still afraid of those very things. They look a bit different now as a 30-something year old, but they haven’t moved out entirely.
And you know what? I think that’s okay. I’m not saying we should live in fear of everything. Not at all! Scripture says that God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). But the truth is, I also still have this human side that, despite my best intentions, still fears. So I want to focus on what good God can bring out of our fears.
Think about those moments when you are fearful. What do you do? To whom do you shout? For me, these are actually precious moments that I have with my Savior. I don’t want to be with anyone else; I want HIM to wrap His arms around me and protect me. I beg Him for His protection, for His mercy on this moment and even on my doubting heart. I don’t try to hide my fear, because the Psalms tell me that I can’t hide from Him and that He knows my every thought from the moment I get up to the moment I surrender to sleep (Psalm 139:2).
After the storm of May 20, 2013 took everything we owned from our hands, we relocated out of desperation to a rental at least 20 miles from where we had called home. We spent last summer adjusting to a new world and trying to heal our family. It was the tiniest of things during that summer that could bring relief from the nightmares, the memories. One hot day—just one month at best after the tornado—we decided the healing for that moment looked like sno cones.
The sno-cone stand sat in front of a car wash, and as we sat waiting for our order, with no warning whatsoever, a siren began to blare and my heart seized. I literally jumped and looked out the window. The sky innocently shone baby blue, painted with crisp, white clouds. I looked at the young man making our sno cones to see if he, too, was panicking. He wasn’t. After what seemed an eternity, the blaring halted and to my right I saw a woman replace the hose of a car vacuum on its hook.
My face flushed red hot as the sno-cone guy leaned out his window to hand me our treats. All of a sudden, strawberry cheesecake didn’t seem too appetizing. I knew right then that I had a problem, and if I didn’t reach out to someone for help, things would only get uglier.
Before we lost our home in Moore, I would run in our neighborhood almost daily. The network of streets were perfect for a hearty workout. After moving to the north side of the city, I had not ventured out in our new neighborhood for a run by myself; I used the gym instead.
That is, until last night when I decided I would bravely head out for a quick, solitary run. Most of my venture was smooth and refreshing. But during my cool down, I decided to walk past our home and down to the other end of the street. I heard the stupid thing far before I saw it—a big black dog standing on the top edge of a wooden fence! Standing! I pivoted immediately to head back toward the safety of home where my husband could protect me. I thought, “Surely that dog can’t jump off from that high up,” and I kept a calm walking speed, not daring to look back. And then I was proven wrong. The dog apparently could jump from such a great height because it was now chasing me!
You know what the first thing I did was? Okay, technically the first thing I did was spew a teeny tiny expletive. But after that, I cried out to God to help me. I figured He’d overlook my foul language and help me anyway! And He did. The dog suddenly halted its pursuit and turned the other direction. But did you see what happened? A moment of deep fear for me turned into a desperate need for my Father to take care of me and rescue me.
I wanted to share these two stories because I think it’s good to talk about fear. I know we all have it; you know it, too. But no one wants to talk about it. Some of us worry that if we speak our fears aloud, Satan will hear them and act upon them to our detriment. Some of us just don’t like to think about it, so we don’t. We drown our intimate thoughts with funny shows to medicate the pain of what’s really going on. We laugh to keep from crying. Sometimes we do both. The Bible says that the dark places aren’t healed unless they are brought to the light (Ephesians 5:13).
I truly believe that our fears, if we permit them to, can accomplish two things:
1. They can reveal our need for help.
2. They can draw us near to the One who can bring that help.
The sirens showed me that I needed help, and I needed it now. So, I enrolled the kids and myself in counseling. The dog drew me near to the Father because all I had was a bottomless desperation to be rescued. And maybe the more time we spend with Him, the less rattled we’ll be from the next blow.
Peace of Christ to you,