It’s all in the PLANNING…(right?)

By: Ms. O


I am a planner…as in, I like to MAKE the plans. If I am not the maker of such plans, then at least I would like to have all the details so I know what I am doing….what to expect.

I am not a good “surprise” person. It catches me off guard….I am sure that has a lot to do with why we call it “surprise”….and I am off kilter. I end up wasting time, trying to get my bearings and then I am behind. Way behind. Not something I like…at all.

Maybe that is why having the first child is hard. You have no game plan…no play book to go to…at least one that you trust…that makes sense…that covers ALL the bases.  Each day is a new experience…make that each moment that first week or two…and I never seemed to get ahead of “it”….the plan. When I had my second it was simply modifying previous strategies. (mind you…some worked…others…maybe not)

If I try a new recipe, I am not one to serve it. I want to make it first so I have confidence if I plan to bring it to staff lunch, a pot luck, or get together with friends. Even after my first attempt, I still find a way to taste test it before I present it. After a while I am good at modifying, adding, or taking away to make it my own.

I love roller coasters….after I have ridden it a time or two. I need to know the dips…the drop offs…if it goes upside down…sideways…or backwards. If I know what to expect…the fear is lessened…to a point. I can brace myself…actually be prepared…for what is ahead.

The unknown is…plain and simply put…terrifying. I need to make sure I have packed the right things…practiced what I will act out…have the right ingredients….brace myself for the rough times that are ahead.

I am all about quotes…especially ones that make me laugh. Woody Allen has one about plans…and it truly made me lol.

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

But perhaps the better quote comes from scripture…..

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

When God told Solomon He would give him anything, Solomon was pretty wise….he asked for wisdom. Not knowledge of what was to come…what will happen…but more the wisdom knowing that God has this covered. Our wisdom comes from knowing God…placing our future…whether that be tomorrow…or next year…in His hands…and know with all certainty…that He will do the groundwork for us.

Does that make it easy for me?…hmmmm…NO.

But it truly gives me a new perspective…offers me a sort of relief…that I don’t have to have it all figured out. What I need to do is lean in towards God…to sit in His presence…and simply wait for what He knows is best.

Sure it would be nice to know what is coming. At times I have a frank conversation with God, trying to convince Him how much more effective I could be if only He would let me in on His plans….because I can offer some great imput…in which I know I can hear Him laugh…out loud. Putting my trust in Him means getting on a new roller coaster each and every day…strapping myself in…and realizing He sits beside me…hands held high…encouraging me to trust in Him and do the same. I wonder if if counts if I close my eyes on that first big drop off….hmmmmm.


Back to School Anxiety: 30 Days of Fear-Fighting Prayer

By: Amy Dalke

30 Verses for Fear-Fighting Prayer

During my school age years, I was ecstatic for every first day of school. Which probably comes as no surprise to you.

This thrill was based on a love for new clothes, a fresh box of crayons/markers/pens, and a fashionable TrapperKeeper. (And not much has changed, except the TrapperKeeper.)

When I became a mother, I assumed my child would automatically share this excitement for school. But no. Not at all.

Therefore you can understand my chagrin when school supply shopping fails to conjure up any sort of happy feelings in Luke. In fact, he would rather clean toilets than shop for anything (also puzzling to me); and the very mention of the first day of school brings a wave of anxiety.

This annual event is officially #74 on my list of Things I Assumed About Motherhood That Are Actually Just the Opposite. So when Luke’s first day of Kindergarten rolled around, his fear was absolutely foreign to me. I had NO CLUE how to handle his mega-anxiety about school.

Technically, his very first day of Kindergarten was great. We took his picture in front of our house, posted it on Facebook per the usual, and eagerly walked into the classroom to greet his teacher and find his seat. (The only tears shed that day were mine because that’s how I roll sometimes.)

The second day all fear broke loose, and by the third day, my sweet 5 year old had to be peeled from my arms by a teacher’s aide. I distinctly remember his heart-wrenching, terror-filled cries as she carried him away from me, “Mommy, please. Please don’t leave me! Please…!!!


Needless to say, I sobbed all the way to my office for five straight days which was just awesome. And thus, the first day of school officially became my least favorite day of the year.

Frankly, it was more like the first weeks of school that I came to dread because they represented a string of of sad mornings filled with Luke’s pleas for home school (What-huh?) and red, tear-streaked faces for both of us.

And so it went through 1st and 2nd grade. Days and days of Luke’s fretful, anxious tears, coupled with my own emotions that boomeranged from sadness and defeat to frustrated anger. It was basically insanity all over the place, and that’s an understatement.

Then last year, Luke sheepishly (and tearlessly!) accepted the start of 3rd grade; and he only had a couple of random anxiety-ridden mornings all year long. (Thank you, Lord.)

Today…he heads off to 4th grade. And y’all, he’s excited. For the first time ever, he has confidently talked about the upcoming year. He’s even fixed his hair the last five days in preparation. (Which is a whole new thing in itself.) (Don’t ask, because I don’t know.)

So what changed? And why am I telling you?

Well I wish I could share a formula that spells out all the things Larry and I did right in parenting to overcome Luke’s anxiety. But that would just be a joke.

Instead, I can offer you real life proof that prayer really does change things. Every positive parenting effect I’ve had has come from the time spent in conversation with God. Not because I’m some super-holy prayer warrior, but because parenting literally drives me to my knees.

Over the last four years, I have prayed daily for Luke to overcome fear and anxiety, and I’ve begun to see the fruit of courage ripen in him little by little. (Thank you, Jesus.) I am flat powerless to fix Luke’s fears myself, but God is all-powerful to do that very thing.

You and I can follow methods and practice various therapeutic exercises with our kids to help them deal with anxiety, but there’s a point where our control (?) of a situation comes to a dead end. So we might as well hand over “control” to the only One who has it in the first place. Because this is exactly where God works wonders.

If your child struggles with anxiety, please know you aren’t alone. I want to give you a big hug and share some of the verses I’ve prayed over Luke specifically about Overcoming Fear. So I created a printable image that gives you one fear-fighting verse a day to pray over your child for 30 whole days. (Don’t miss that link below.)

My prayers are mostly scripture-based, and I’ve given you 3 examples of how I pray these scriptures, with hopes that you’ll print them out and pray them back to God in your own words.

Praying with you,


Scripture-based Prayers for Overcoming Fear

God, I know you have given  _(child’s name)_ a spirit of power and love, and you’ve given him a sound mind. Cause him to lean into you when he’s afraid so that he won’t be overpowered by fear and anxiety. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Lord, you are with _(child’s name)_ everywhere he goes…so I pray that you would fill him with courage and strength. When he faces scary situations, let his heart well up with your holy bravery. May _(child’s name)_ never let fear or discouragement get the best of him. (Joshua 1:9)

Father, may your perfect love cast out every ounce of anxiety in _(child’s name)_ heart. Cause him to be so rooted and grounded in the love of Christ that he lives fearlessly by faith. (1 John 4:18, Ephesians 3:17)

Click here for the printable (pdf) document of 30 Days of Fear-Fighting Prayer

30 days of fear-fighting prayer

What’s Holding You Back?

by: Gail Armatys

Life Purpose Coach/Facilitator

HeartSong Life Purpose Coaching Center

Is Fear Keeping You From Living Your Best Life?

Is there something you have in the back of your mind, on the tip of your tongue or deep in your heart that you would like to do, learn, give or be that you haven’t done, learned, given or become? What’s holding you back? Is it fear?

That’s not surprising. There is a lot of scary stuff going on these days: wars, sickness, disease, financial collapse. And let’s not forget the more intimate fears such as giving a speech; stepping out of our comfort zones; loss; loneliness; rejection; failure; success…and the list goes on. What’s a girl (or guy) to do?

What Happens When We Live in Fear?

It’s interesting to me that there are numerous occasions in the bible where we are told not to fear. Of the 25 scriptures I read relative to the words fear(s) and afraid, 7 of them referenced fear in general, fear of man, and fear of evil/terror*. The fact that God tells us – actually, commands us – not to fear presumes that we will fear or that we are already afraid.

God knows us well, doesn’t he?  He commands us not to fear because he has good plans for us and knows the damage it can do.

John Lennon, a religious figure to some (not to be confused with the Disciple John), described well what happens when we live in fear.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life.”  John Lennon


It is in this ‘pulling back’ that the shadows become bigger and the living becomes smaller. Our light and life begins to shrink. Why?  Here is what scripture tells us:

God is love…There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. 1John 17 MSG

When we love, there is no room for fear. Conversely, when we fear, love is absent. Which means we leave God out of the picture. When we fear, we focus on ourselves and submit to our situation, lack of control, and whatever we imagine is coming down the road.

How do we move from fear to love? 


We change our focus.

Refocus and Move Forward 

Let’s look at just one example of someone from the bible that didn’t pull back, changed her focus, and overcame her fear. Keep reading.  This is a great story and legacy!

Esther, the Jewish Queen, overcame her fear of being put to death by King Xerxes (A well-founded fear, it seems to me.) in order to stand bravely before him and plead for the lives of her fellow Jews.

What caused her to do this knowing that to come uninvited to the king was to tempt death?  Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, suggested that perhaps she was made royalty specifically for this purpose when he stated,  ‘…And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’ Esther 4:14

Doesn’t sound like a yellow-brick-road-type path, does it? But once Mordecai helped Esther refocus, she stopped thinking about herself and the possible horrible, dark, and very final outcome.

Instead, she focused on:

  1. The One who was in control and;
  2. The role she was given to live.

Living a Better Life

In the end, Esther fulfilled her purpose and saved the lives of her countrywomen (and men). Quite a different ending than she originally anticipated.

As for you and me, we are no different than Esther.  In order to overcome our fear of circumstances, people, and things and live out the purposes for which we are called, we must refocus.

Refocusing makes things clear. It opens the door, makes room for love and allows us to hold God’s hand as we move forward laying our fears at his feet.

Once fear has moved out of the way, the dreams and desires God has written on our hearts can begin to unfold.  You know…the ones that are buried deeply because we are afraid they will never happen … the ones we acknowledge but never step into because we are afraid to fail.

Our focus on the One who fights for us…who is in control and who knows what’s coming next has a better life for us.

Now, we can move forward.  Now, there is room for his love.

Purpose Prayer

Father, I thank you that your love is bigger than any fear that I will ever encounter.  I thank you for the scriptures that tell me so. I know you are with me and that I can do and endure anything you have placed on my path.  I pray to be courageous like Esther and to look past myself to you when I am afraid so I may impact others for good.  For I know it is in this refocusing that I will grow, I will find fulfillment, and your purposes and my heart’s desires will be accomplished.

Purpose Steps

  1. Name your fears.
  2. What possibilities to move forward are revealed as you refocus on God and surrender your fears to him?
  3. We all need a Mordecai.  Who is yours?  (Thank him or her for the important role he/she plays in your life.)

*The other 18 scripture verses I read about fear related to the command to fear the Lord.  The translation for the word fear in this context refers to a positive fear – a desire to please, respect, revere, reverence.  It focuses on our best life now and to come.

Listen to your HeartSong

Whom Shall I Fear, Chris Tomlin


A prayer, just for YOU…

Written by: Amy Dalke

A prayer for YOU today…

Father, You alone know the way that we take.

And sometimes, we aren’t so sure where You are leading…or why we have to go that way.

Colorful sunrise on the sea. Sand beach and silent water surface.

Your unfailing word says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

Because You are FOR us, we do not fear. Even when we sit in the midst of uncertainty, we will trust You. We believe that You work every single situation to our good…to Your glory…and we know that Your glory is always – always – always for our good.

You created us to carry Your glory to all the world! So give us the wisdom to come to You emptied of ourselves, so that our glory buckets can hold every ounce You want to pour into us.

Bring light today where there is darkness in our hearts.

Where there is despair, replace it with hope and joy.

Plant Your grace into every corner where sin abounds.

Let Your unfailing love be our strength in the face of fear.

Let Your glory unfold in us richly today, so that everything in our presence is touched by pieces of heaven.

And Lord…more than ever before, let us grasp the truth that You are for us, not against us.

In Christ’s name, AMEN.