My dearest friendʼs sixtieth birthday is in a few days. We have been friends for over 35 years! You could say we (my hubby and I) grandfathered her into our existing friendship with her hubby, who has been our friend since 7th grade! But, that would never do justice to why I am most thankful for Nancy Foster and her husband, Jerry! Let me explain:
As I grew up, my Mom would constantly tell me I was a “worry wart." She was absolutely right. I fretted over many little things, as well as the biggies. And, letʼs be honest, worrying or fretting is just another way of saying I was afraid. I did my best to live safely, not take many risks, stick close to home, yet nothing quelled the fear. Fear invaded my life even more in college. I was overwhelmed with fear and could not sleep at night. I would find ways of keeping myself awake. By the way, we had no internet, no cell phones, no VCRʼs, and no cable TV, so mostly I read or found someone in the dorm to talk to. There were days I was awake 24 hours or more because when I fell asleep I would experience a nightmare. It would feel as though something was hovering over me, trying to take possession of my inner self, and I couldnʼt wake up to stop it. I came up with two solutions: To not sleep and to wear a cross at night.
Shortly after graduation, I got married, which meant not being alone at night, but it didnʼt stop the unseen enemy who kept me in the grips of fear. Can I just say, I am thankful for Godʼs protection over me, even when I didnʼt know it was Him protecting me during this spiritual battle.
I was on a road to becoming a very bitter person, when God did something wonderful! He brought back into our lives a dear friend, Jerry. He was moving back to Des Moines, and bringing his lovely wife, Nancy, with him. One night, they came over for dinner. They knew Jesus. Let me regress just a bit. When Debi asked me to write a blog post, she asked me to share how my life changed after I MET Jesus. I loved that word - MET! That is exactly what happened the night Fosters came to dinner. They introduced me to Jesus. They sat with my husband and me scouring the Bible to show me how to win my battle, because Jesus had already won the war! They answered every question that popped into my mind. They showed me scripture after scripture about fear. So, I MET Jesus and asked Him to be my Savior. When I did that, I learned about another kind of fear.
The definition of the fear I felt as a young woman was a “spirit of fear”, a tool of satan, of being afraid and keeping me from trusting God. In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” My spirit was not filled with love or a sound mind!
The fear I have experienced since having MET Jesus, is about fearing God. There are many scriptures in the Bible about this fear. One of my favorites is Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...” This type of fear is beneficial, and I truly believe it can overcome all other fear. This fear is being in AWE of God, and all that He is. It is knowing Him and His attributes. This fear brings joy, love and peace. The Bible is sprinkled with scripture from Genesis to Revelation about fear. The best way to conquer being afraid IS by trusting God completely. Galatians 5:1 (The Message) says: “Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand (trust God)! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery (fear) on you.” Now does that mean I am never afraid? No, but it does mean I sleep well at night, in the dark! It means my soul is safe. It means I pray and seek after Jesus. It means I fly on an airplane, though I turn on worship music and listen to it over and over on my IPod! It means Jesus won the spiritual battle a long time ago, before I knew it, and because He did, the minute I met Him and gave my life to Him, He won it for me. In Psalm 56:11 (The Message) it says, “Iʼm proud to praise God, proud to praise God. Fearless now, I trust in God; what can mere mortals do to me?” Knowing Jesus transformed my life.
The first scripture Nancy ever had me memorize was, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, all things have become new.” That is what happens when Christ becomes the center of your life. Now you can see the most important reason I hold this birthday girl close to my heart. So if you happen to see her, or know her, wish her a Happy Birthday. She has the heart of an Evangelist, and would love nothing better than to hear your stories!
Linda is a native Des Moinesite! She has happily lived here all but a few years of her life. Her heart for Women's Ministry encompasses all generations of women with a strong desire for the women of Valley Church to become mature followers of Jesus Christ. It could be said her passion is hospitality and planning a party with a purpose "trips her trigger"... one where women feel special and have the opportunity to hear of God's love and truth! Linda (who is fondly called Lala by her family) and her husband Mike love spending time with three couples who happen to also be the parents of their seven grandchildren. Linda's other passion is photography which she practices on her family and at Women's Ministry Events!