By Jane Rattray
Who doesn’t love the “city that never sleeps”? Though I do appreciate my sleep, New York City jumped to the top of my favorite cities list when my daughter and her husband moved to town. Once they settled in, my husband, my son, and I jumped at the chance to experience the Big Apple. Jessica and Jeremy enthralled us with NYC history and culture while we wandered down infamous city streets. The grand finale was our stroll down Wall Street to view the iconic “Charging Bull” statue, a symbol of America’s wealth and strength. As I stopped to snap a photo like every good New York City tourist, I felt Jessica’s hand on my shoulder, gently nudging me forward while saying, “Don’t turn around. Let’s keep moving.”
In that moment, my decision to ignore my daughter’s wise counsel ushered me into the arms of one of my greatest fears. Turning my head, I froze at the sight of a gigantic, ghastly, yellow Burmese python hugging his human’s neck!
Screaming, crying, yelling (perhaps cursing), I lost control! This time I clung to my daughter like a drowning man to a life raft as she led me away from the aforementioned monster. That was the fall of 2011.
Fast-forward to spring 2018. With ghosts of past snakes slithering through my memory, we entered the same NYC financial district, reminiscing and jesting at my former phobic, anxiety-ridden self.
I realized that Fear, like that giant snake, though potentially dangerous, could be tamed. A myriad of fears plagued me that day in 2011, but as we approached the “Occupy Wall Street” tent site, the fear of strained family relationships claimed center stage. Underlying tension simmered among family members with differing political and social views. How would our family thrive as we all lived out our own values and beliefs?
Maintaining healthy relationships has always been challenging, in every society and in every time, but the key to success remains steady. John tells us in I John 4:18 that “perfect love casts out fear,” a love that is unconditional, never failing, and pure. When living in the confidence of that love from God, we have the freedom to love others. As that truth filled my heart and my head, I began to let go of my agenda to make everyone “just like me.” I could engage in discussions with my children, my husband, and my friends on topics we disagreed about. Love led us to find common ground and learn from one another.
Fear is a big, ugly bully! It attacks and paralyzes, as evidenced by my anxiety attack in the middle of New York City, but it can be tamed. When we choose to watch with expectation and delight as God takes each one of us on our own separate, personal spiritual journey, fear is replaced by peace. In the power of His Perfect Love, our hearts find rest.
Jane Rattray loves her roles as the mom of four adult children, Grammie to two adorable grandsons, and wife of one wonderful, godly husband. As a retired homeschool mom, she is learning to embrace an empty nest. With a fully packed suitcase, she stands ready to travel wherever the next adventure awaits, whether visiting family along the I-95 corridor from Maine to Florida or exploring new territory with her jet-setting husband.
Jane is also one of our featured speakers in the by design Speakers Directory. If you are looking for a Christian speaker for your special event, please visit our online directory or contact us to request a hard copy.