What If

I am a fearful person.  I can fake it pretty well, and I act confident much of the time.  I’m usually able to engineer circumstances so I’m taking as little risk as possible.  But at the core of it, I’m a trembly mess.

Add to this an over-active imagination, and you have a recipe for some very vivid, irrational fears.  Think "Ally McBeal", except without the law degree, tiny waist, pouty lips and dancing baby.

Scratch that, I even have the dancing baby.  She’s sleeping upstairs in pwincess pajamas.

I’ve learned to cope with this over the years by verbalizing these fears (usually to Hubs, the poor man), and then I can see how ridiculous they are.  We get a good laugh out of it.

As you might imagine, this Africa trip has kicked my imagination into overdrive. 

What if we’re driving toward a village miles across the desert and our jeep breaks down and we’re kidnapped by a band of marauders (do they really have bands of marauders these days?) and we’re headed to their village but are intercepted by a hungry horde (troop? tribe?) of elephants and I am trampled to death, with my last thoughts being the looks in my children’s eyes?

And that’s on the good days. 

There are plenty of fantasies involving the plane trip, as well.  I’d rather not even verbalize those, if you don’t mind, but they generally involving plunging from the sky in a fiery ball of death toward the Atlantic ocean. 

When I spoke about not being the adventure sort, I wasn’t lying.  And I do not mean to make light of Africa or the people that work there, or the people who are facing their mortality in more serious and immediate ways.  I know my fears are silly in the grand scheme of things.  But to me, they’re a real stumbling block. 

The other night Hubs and I had a real-live honest-to-goodness date, and it ended where all truly fantastic and passionate dates do:  walking the aisle of Wal Mart Supercenter, hand-in-hand, picking up some Pull-Ups on the way home. 

As we walked through the baby section, we passed the little girls’ pajamas.

"See?!" I said suddenly.  "This is what I mean."

"What?" Hubs said.

"If I die in Africa, how will you know that Corrie prefers gowns to pajamas, but it’s hard to find gowns anymore, so when you do find one in her size, you need to go ahead and buy it."

I am sure this is a date that will live in his sweetest memories for a long time.

"Well," said my rational man, "first of all, you’re not going to die in Africa.  Second of all, if you did, pajamas would be at the bottom of my list of concerns.  And third, ultimately we’d just manage."

"But life would be very, very hard for you, wouldn’t it?  You’d barely be able to go on, right?"

"I’d be a shell of a man," he assured me.

I was satisfied for a moment, and we continued our shopping–until something else spurred my thoughts.

"I know I always tease you for watching those survival shows, but what if I get stranded on the plains of Africa and I have to actually implement some of those awful Bear Grylls techniques?  Wouldn’t that just be so ironic?"  [Nervous laugh].

In a moment of sudden seriousness he looked me square in the eye.  "If you get stranded on the plains of Africa, I will come for you.  I will find you."

I think I need to go kiss that man again.

The truth is, I know that this trip is not about me–not at all.  It’s entirely about those sweet African children, and doing whatever we can to gain more sponsorships to improve their situation. 

But as it often happens, God is using a primary thing to work a secondary purpose in my heart.  It’s like he’s grabbed my brain and is wringing it until all the fearfulness has bubbled up to the surface.  It’s ugly.  It’s even funny.  But it’s terribly necessary.

Many of you asked how you can pray for us.  Of course, pray for the kids of Uganda, and that hearts all over the place will be opening up to sponsor one.  But if you think of it, pray that this silly housewife will learn a thing or two about stepping out–really stepping out–to trust in God’s plan.  Marauders, elephants, and all.

98 thoughts on “What If

  1. Jean Stockdale says:

    Faith walking is all about doing what you are afraid to do, but doing it anyway, in the power of the Holy Spirit. During your particular faith walk to Africa, God is bringing to the surface issues that could not be fully addressed while you lived in your comfort zone in the States. He is pushing you to face down your fears and rise above your natural tendencies, in order to enbrace all that is already yours in Christ Jesus. I can understand how frightened you are and how fear is gripping your heart at every turn. I will pray that you can take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, identify and crucify any thought that is not of Him and walk by faith. You are doing a great joy. And you have a jewel of a husband! Blessings.

  2. Lysa TerKeurst says:

    Many years ago I quipped to God, “I’ll do anything but don’t send me to Africa.”
    God kind-of quipped back, “Really princess? Okay, I’ll send Africa to you.”
    And He did.
    And I was terrified of adopting my boys.
    But it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. And this will be for you as well. Many are praying sweet sister- many! Including my sweet boys from Africa.

  3. The Thrifty Blogger says:

    Wow, you’ve got my vote just for agreeing to go! There’d be something wrong with you if you weren’t scared! lol They say to visualize everything first, even the worst, and then hope for the best! I can only imagine the range of emotions you are going through, but remember you’re not going alone, everyone here is with you in spirit too. We will be praying for you and cheering you on, every step of the way. 🙂

  4. Corey says:

    I’ve never been to Africa, but have been to Haiti several times. It’s okay to be scared… this will be the MOST foreign you’ve ever experienced. Just try to remember that you are in God’s hands. He loves you. He’s not going to ask you to go to Africa and then let a lion eat you…

  5. Ronnica says:

    Praying for you! It’s not easy to step out somewhere unfamiliar (just look at how many times Joshua and the people are told to be strong and courageous as they enter the Promise Land)!

  6. deborah says:

    ok, I stopped right after the first “what if” and you were driving, cause you ARE me! I’m the same person at the amusement park, watching my kids on the rides as they are flying out across the park to their deaths in the crowds – because nobody checked THEIR seats!! OR in traffic, my car is the only one who has the bad air bags, car doors, etc….. was built on a mon or fri…. you see where I’m going. I simply could not continue reading – I’m literally sweating just from my own fear and yours. I feel you, sister. We are equally and completely NUTSO!@!
    Sadly, there are many, many more of us. Rather, not enough, by the looks of it

  7. Fran says:

    Absolutely praying for you, Sophie and your families. God will show up in ways you’ve never seen before. Tell us the dates again.
    Blessings and peace,

  8. Deborah says:

    Just remember this, you’re not doing this for the Lord, the Lord is doing this for you. So let Him work, even if you dream of a pack of lions surrounding your car… tee hee… in that case, think of Daniel! 🙂

  9. Ericka says:

    I had already started praying for you, from the time I heard you were headed to Africa, but not so much for your safety as your spiritual growth. With this post I will definitely start praying for PEACE in your heart.
    I’m having lunch with my Kenya friends that I mentioned earlier and I can hook you guys up so you can alleviate some of the plane fears, nuts and bolts kind of stuff.
    Your hubby is WONDERFUL! What a comfort!

  10. kelly says:

    Place your fears in the hands of God. Once you get there you will want to stay. You will be humbled to your inner most being. Africa is beautiful and the people are amazing. They do great things with literally nothing. I have traveled all around the world and Africa is where I desire to return. You are making memories, memories that you will have a life time. Make it special!

  11. dcrmom says:

    Girl, I have to pop an Ativan just to read about your future exploits. Not to add to your anxiety, I’m just saying that I can totally relate to your fears. That said, I will never forget what my pastor’s son told his father when he took off on a dangerous mission assignment to parts unknown. “The safest place I can be is in the center of God’s will.”
    And that, my dear sister, is the truth. And I know you know that. ((Hug)) And I will certainly be praying for you!!!

  12. Jenny from Chicago says:

    Anxiety is also an issue in my life. I find it helps if you picture yourself as a child in the palm of God’s hand. And singing “This little light of mine” at the very tippy top of your lungs in the shower helps too.

  13. Kim says:

    We are cut from the same “worry” cloth! I just had to laugh out loud because I would be thinking of all those “what-if” thoughts too! Scary thoughts aside,the Lord will use this time to draw you closer to Him as you learn that He has total control and all your worry adds nothing. Give it all to Him! He will bless you through this trip! We will be praying for you too!

  14. Rachel says:

    Print out Psalm 91 and keep it in front of you. Hang it in the kitchen and in the bathroom and in the bed room! It will help. And just remember that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind! I can’t wait to read about all the awesome things that God is going to show you!

  15. Pamela says:

    Just regarding the plane – I have taken numerous plane trips to South Africa and it really does seem amazing that those big planes stay up in the air for such a long trip, but they DO! I also always feel your type of anxiety about it anyway. There have been hundreds of thousands of flights without one falling into the Atlantic.
    You are doing such a wonderful thing. God WILL be with you.

  16. Antique Mommy says:

    Bear Grylls taught me that if I get stranded on the savannah and have to drink elephant poo poo or sleep in a camel carcas to live, that I’d rather die. Maybe I could just painlessly “go walk with God” the way Enoch did.

  17. Marion says:

    I, too, struggled with fear for many years…and frankly still do–hence the grizzly bears chasing me in my dream last night. But, by living through some not-so-peachy events in my life, I’ve come to know that He cares about my life, more than anyone, even more than I do. Just remember, out of everyone, He chose YOU. So, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” He won’t let you down.

  18. Jenn says:

    So I am not the only woman who knows who Bear Grylls is? Ah, the freedom I feel right now!
    Sometimes I wonder if God allows us to feel fear so that we can feel his embrace of peace. We might miss it otherwise!
    We flew out of the country 2 weeks after 9/11 happened. Our group that was to be 20 plus dwindled to 6 and we wondered if we were doing the right thing. I was fearful as we didn’t know if another 9/11 would happen on our flight. Fear is easy to feel. But the feeling of God’s arm wrapping around you is unbeatable. I will pray for that feeling for you!

  19. Coralie says:

    I had a comment all thought out about God’s sovereignty and His pleasure and good will . . . but after reading what everyone else said before me, I’ll just say this:
    I was jealous when I read that you and Sophie were being asked to go to Africa, and now I feel guilty for that jealousy. I didn’t realize what a genuine challenge this was for you, and therefore how faithful you are being in going. That is a God thing, and I believe this trip may be the beginning of something completely new, not just for you, but for your entire family.
    Blessings and prayers from my family to yours.

  20. Sarah says:

    A wise woman (my mom) once laughed in my face and told me that the things I imagine are worse than anything that will ever happen…I can’t wait to read your posts from Africa.

  21. Melissa Markham says:

    I am the same way and worry about things real and imagined. Trust God to watch over you and your family and that whatever his ultimate plan is that it is to benefit all of you.

  22. Aunt Murry says:

    It might not be a bad idea to ask the doc for some mild tranquilizers…just to take the edge off. There is Traxene and Xanax. I have a script for just in case. I take .25mg when I have to fly or do something like stand up and give a speech. Things that would not normally paralize a person. It would be for just in case. Truthfully, I haven’t filled it in months!But I have it just in case.

  23. Kristin says:

    Look at it this way….when you choose to take an adventure like this you think you are going to help THEM, but in reality it’s YOU that learns all the lessons. I think you are learning them already. By the time you get back from the trip you won’t have to learn any for at least the rest of the year!

  24. Cathy says:

    Listen to the song “The Voice of Truth”. It helped me tremendously when I, with much fear and trembling, was about to move to a faraway place that had no doctors, no flush toilets and no familiar faces. Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest) also helped me while I was there.
    PS–This will be our fourth year back for the summer. God has caused me to fall head over heels for His children there. Go figure!

  25. Sarah Williams says:

    Not that it helps…
    But I hate hate hate to fly. I would rather do almost anything than fly! But I have flown to Africa twice. And its actually a much easier flight than a domestic trip. The planes are enormous, so the amount of turbulence is way less.
    So maybe in planning your survival for escaping those elephants, you can put the fear of flying aside?

  26. Robin (the pensieve one) says:

    Favorite line? “God is using a primary thing to work a secondary purpose in my heart.” Loved that :).
    Sweet, sweet love story post, on multiple levels.
    If I was going to Africa, THIS would be the post I’d write (sans the pull-ups, praise God!).
    And…a group of elephants? A herd (or my favorite) or parade.

  27. Auburn Gal Always says:

    I’m crying. My hubby would come get me too. But he’d turn it into his dream big-game hunting trip.
    “you’re safe, right? do you need some orange juice? no, good. now do you mind if I go and kill that wildabeest? what do you mean it’s too ugly to put in our house? All of God’s creatures are beautiful. Well, not snakes, but we all know they’re the devil incarnate. You remember Genesis, right?”

  28. Jenni says:

    Shannon, I will be praying for you, your trip, and its purpose in the grand scheme of things!
    And, by the way, the thing I worry about if anything happened to me would be the fact that my littlest ones would probably never bathe again. DH, with his terror of standing water and toddlers, would just decide that a thick coating of filth is a protective, good thing.

  29. oh amanda says:

    Wow, what a candid post! I am praying for you guys. I know your life will be changed while you’re there and you’ll not even be thinking about those elephants! I can’t wait to see the miracles God does with you!

  30. Julia says:

    its funny the things that scare us. I also have a ridiculous sense of imagination and get scared TOO much about things that don’t exist. I am also going to Uganda in July – – my fear though, is not that something would happen while I am there… but that this might be my last trip for a while! I cried last night because of this fear! I loved this blog – so many of the same emotions… for similar yet opposite reasons!

  31. Audrey says:

    Oh Shannon…you sound just like ME. I could talk myself right out of just about ANYTHING that is out of my immediate comfort zone with all kinds of crazy, hypothetical “what ifs.” However, my husband also serves as my rock of logic and reminder to trust in God for strength. Although I have never stretched my comfort zone quite as far as you are about to, it would make me feel better (if I were in your shoes) just knowing that God will be with you the entire time, BooMama will be by your side, and your husband will come personally rescue you if need be. Take care and good luck!

  32. A&EMom says:

    Incredibly sweet man of yours. My 4 year old woke this morning crying because she dreamed of my demise. “Lions again?” I asked. I got a teary nod. We live in the mid-west for crying out loud! Sure we have a lion at the zoo – but I promise she didn’t see or even hear of the CA tiger incident. Poor kid.

  33. Jenn says:

    Oh Shannon, I know all too well what you must be struggling with. As someone who has been forever fighting anxiety and panic I totally know the scenarios in your head. They are in mine too…only I haven’t gone to Africa so I haven’t gotten to make up any like that 🙂 But believe me, I understand and I’ll be praying for you.

  34. lylah ledner says:

    You know . . .there’s just something So God about a western thinking woman spending a moment in time in a place like Africa (for the sake of the Kingdom) that changes the heart forever. I, too, a few years back had the privilge of going to South Africa (Jo-Burg and then a tiny rural place called Willowvale). I spoke at a women’s conference about the love and puruit of The Savior. It was an experience of gratitude that has forever shaken my heart to remember what it’s all about. I remember calling my husband (when the phone wires did work) and asked him, “Why am I in Scottsdale, AZ?) Being in SA opened my eyes to see more of life than I knew really existed.
    I’m so jazzed that you “get” to go – for Him.

  35. Melanie says:

    In all seriousness, Shannon, you are not alone with the fears and doubting. I would be feeling the same thing- Anxiety through the roof.
    HOWEVER, I want to encourage you as a sister in Christ and say get out of that boat, take His Hand, Sister and get on that plane.
    Whatever happens, the good, the bad, the ugly, will all be in His Name.
    God Bless,

  36. Makeshift Mama says:

    i kinda know how you feel. I spend a lot of time thinking about making things will run smoothly around here if something happens to me. Writing down directions for washing the laundry. Typing up my recipes in the simplest language possible. I want to make sure that DH will be able to smoothly take over if something happens to me. I don’t know why I’m so preoccupied by this…

  37. misschris says:

    It really is a gift, to be able to *feel how alive you are* and to embrace the awareness of a new experience … Your Africa trip will be so memorable. Embrace your doubts and tell them they don’t have a choice. It’s adventure time.
    Easier said than done, of course. But you get the idea. Prayers for safe travel…

  38. kel says:

    I work for a Christian non-profit…similar to Compassion, and have gone on a few trips to remote “dangerous” places. It will be ok. First, know that you are one of the safest people there while travelling with the non-profit. You will be with staff who are locals – they know what is truly safe or dangerous. They have contingency plans and lockdown plans…should any horrible things happen in the area. Really – this is a very different situation than just showing up somewhere as a tourist. More so, the nonprofit will do whatever is needed to keep you safe… it’s a HORRIBLE PR situation for something to happen to you while in their care. Nonprofits success or fail based on their reputation. Honestly, they can’t afford for something bad to happen to you. Finally, I’m would be that they have a paid “insurance” plan…where you can get airlifted out of anywhere with just a simple phone call. Someone on your trip will have a satellite phone, and you will be fully rescue-able.
    If you like, I’d be happy to email you a list of things that you might want to take with you (or how to pack) that they may neglect to tell you. They forget what it’s like to travel like this for the first time.
    That being said… you will feel completely vulnerable, and this is a good thing. You will be changed on this trip, and not in ways you can plan for or prepare for. Just go, and don’t pre-think it too much. Honestly, the people who go and won’t let themselves be changed are the ones who are missing out. Go. And know that if some freak thing were to happen to you, then God allowed it, He knew about it in advance, and He will take care of your children. It would be a privilege to die helping mothers and children who face this type of death every single day. Your husband and your children would be proud.
    May you be forever changed.

  39. Sincerely Anna says:

    I’m praying for those things you asked for. I totally can relate to the mind-boggling fears that just come out of nowhere right before you step out to do God’s Will. It’s good to have the sense of humor you do about it and your husband seems like a perfect match for you!

  40. Melissa says:

    I know it’s hard to really really think this way but you are absolutely no safer in your home than you are on the plains of Africa. You are in the hands of the Redeemer and not one hair, not one, can fall without his ok.

  41. lomagirl says:

    Just so you know- I really, really wish that I was going to Africa in your place. That is SOOOO cool! But I’m also scared everytime I get on a plane. I didn’t used to be, not really, but now I have two little ones who would be really messed up to grow up without a mama- or, since they are usually with me, are way to young not to keep going. But my life would be so small if I didn’t get on a plane to Africa every year or two- or to another state, or to South America. My point is- if God wants you in Africa, then you’re going to be there and be fine. And my other point is- let the envy of those of us who aren’t going, buoy you up.

  42. Alyson says:

    I feel your fear, Shannon, really. I know in your situation I’d be in full on panic mode by now (read: eating everything in sight :)). At the last Women of Faith conference I went to Patsy Clairmont talked about her trip to Africa with the Women of Faith Team – she had so many of the same worries you are mentioning. But it was so, so worth it for her to face her fears and see the beauty God had in store for her. It really was a great story, I tried to find it on youtube for you but no luck.
    Your husband sounds like a very sweet man, but I’m sure you know that already.

  43. skiplovey says:

    Your husband sounds like a pretty terrific guy. Fear is a hard thing to tackle but it’s sounds like you’re doing a good job of it. It may not be easy but it’s definitely worth it to make that trip. Trust that everything is going to be ok.

  44. Marian says:

    I understand!
    You are safer walking IN God’s will than any other place, including tucked under your comforter in bed out of God’s will for you. “Safe” doesn’t always mean physical safety, true, but you– and all you care about– will be in his hands.
    Someone once said this to me: A believer is immortal until it is God’s time to bring them home forever.

  45. Anonymous says:

    You will be fine, yo will be safe. The marauders will not hurt you because you are going there in love, to bring love, to spread love, because love is in you.
    Two verses to memorize:
    “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear….” –1 John 4:18a
    1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (NASB ©1995)

  46. Liza's Eyeview says:

    You will be fine, yo will be safe. The marauders will not hurt you because you are going there in love, to bring love, to spread love, because love is in you.
    Two verses to memorize:
    “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear….” –1 John 4:18a
    1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. (NASB ©1995)

  47. LeeAnn says:

    I also struggle with the “what ifs?”. Just today I was reading about Jesus walking on the water, he tells Peter to come. Peter does OK until he takes his eyes off Jesus and focuses on the wind and waves instead- then he begins to sink. He gets caught up in the “what ifs?”…
    God says “Fear not for I am with you”. The cool thing about it is that God isn’t just with us now, in the present. He doesn’t just see what’s ahead, but because God is omnipresent and timeless- He is already, there in our future!
    Keep your eyes on Jesus, when you are tempted to ask “what if?” choose to focus on Jesus’ presence with you now and in whatever comes in the future instead. Remember he promises “never to leave or forsake you” and that promise includes your husband and children too!
    I’ll be praying for you!

  48. Darlene says:

    I got chills reading that, because as a mom I can understand what you are thinking.
    You are stepping out in true faith, what an awesome experience.
    I will pray for a hedge of protection around you and Sophie and all that are involved in this trip.
    God bless,

  49. Tiffany says:

    That comment he made about coming to get you/find you is made for a movie script! My husband always says that movie writers make it impossible for guys to impact us girls because we have seen it all. Your husband just shattered that theory! (Not that my husband does not do things that are amazing, too, but that is just his theory.)

  50. Anonymous says:

    On Saturday, I finished the Beth Moore DVD Bible Study called “Wising Up” (HIGHLY recommended by the way), and we studied Proverbs 3:25. I encourage you to go there and read those verses in Proverbs 3. Claim them for your trip to Africa and have others pray those words over you.
    You are God’s and because of that, no one else has power over you like He does! What great news!

  51. Kirsten says:

    On Saturday, I finished the Beth Moore DVD Bible Study called “Wising Up” (HIGHLY recommended by the way), and we studied Proverbs 3:25. I encourage you to go there and read those verses in Proverbs 3. Claim them for your trip to Africa and have others pray those words over you.
    You are God’s and because of that, no one else has power over you like He does! What great news!

  52. Proverbs31 says:

    Our missionary family in Africa has the most AMAZING story about how God protected them when their jeep broke down in the middle of nowhere. And they had four kids. And one was a nursing infant. And God sent someone along their path to take them back to the city. But the most important part, whether on the plane, on the ground, in America, or Africa.. God is in control, and nobody and nothing can thwart that.
    I understand the plane thing, too. I had to get on a plane for the very first time ever two years ago, with my three children when Little Prince was about 8 months old. I was petrified. And my brain entertained the very same fiery thoughts. I knew God would protect me, but I worried about things like: “but what if it is my time? what if it is God’s will that I die in a plane crash?” I told my mom how afraid I was. And she, in her very candid truth-telling way, asked me: “And what if something bad DOES happen? Is God not in control anymore? The important thing to remember is that He is in control ALL the time. So whether something good happens, or whether something bad happens, we know that He is holding us in his hands through the whole thing.”
    It was something that I really needed to hear, and it really helped me put things in perspective before I boarded that plane. Don’t get me wrong, I was still praying through every single second of take off and landing!! But God granted peace in those moments so that I didn’t freak out and start screaming and cause a plane-wide panic attack. Cuz ya know,.. I felt like I could have! 🙂
    God is so good to us! 🙂

  53. Kris says:

    I will be in prayer that God will use this trip in the many, many ways that only He can fathom.
    And, as a side note, it’s nice to know that my dh and I aren’t the only ones who ALWAYS end up in Wal-mart on a date. 😉

  54. Dana says:

    For reasons I won’t go into here, I’ve faced many of the kinds of fears that are coming to the surface for you. Now, in place of those fears (rational, irrational and just plain silly), I have Stones of Remembrance. I faced a situation that could have taken me away from my family forever and I heard myself say aloud, “God has a plan for those children. If I’m part of that plan, it will be for His Glory. If I’m not, it will be for His Glory.” And you know what? I (surprising even myself) believed it. I still do. Now that Stone stands in the place where God met me and answered my fear.
    I have many more that no one really wants to read about here, but I hope you are encouraged, Shannon. Over and over, I’ve learned that God doesn’t pre-meet my needs, pre-answer my questions or pre-calm my fears. I’ve learned that many of my needs aren’t needs at all, that my questions are immaterial and that when my fears are fully realized, He is there.

  55. Heather@mommymonk says:

    Oh Shannon – this is going to rock your world! It’s going to be so awesome, even if you do board the plane with so much adrenaline you think you’re going to throw up before it even leaves the ground. Really, it’s going to be so worth it. And just in case something terrible does happen, you have a rescuer at hand. Now isn’t that reassuring!

  56. Heather @ Loving Our Homeschool says:

    I feel as if I’m reading about myself….except I’m not actually going to Africa. Our dates often end up at places like WalMart buying pull-ups and bananas and milk, and I am the queen of irrational fears.
    Thanks for sharing and being real.

  57. Stephanie says:

    Shannon…you’re in my prayers! You’re very brave and faithful to take this step. God will provide you with the courage you need. I can’t wait to read all about your adventures.

  58. Kim says:

    I’m convinced it is in our female nature to WORRY. Praise the Lord that it’s in His nature to calm those fears and give us peace!!!
    Before we went to Africa I worried about EVERYTHING (the list is too long to get into) but, one-by-one, God dealt with each issue and made me see that I simply needed to trust Him. Sounds simple but we know how hard it really is. So I’ll be praying that God will just give you ALL that you need emotionally for this big adventure.
    Aside from the traveling we’ve done as a family, our kids have also done quite a bit on their own, even overseas. Our son has gone to Argentina and our daughter to Uganda. Friends thought we were nuts, especially allowing our daughter to travel half-way around the world without us. But to be honest, God gave us such peace that she was seeking to follow Him and we would have been WRONG to try and stop her.
    I’m so glad you’re not letting your fear stand in the way of going through the doors God opens. Life with Him IS an adventure! Whether He calls us to stay right here, or sends us to one of those uttermost ends of the earth places 🙂
    And you are going to love, love, love Uganda and the people!!! Enjoy this special blessing from God and make the most of every minute! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂 And eat a fresh mango for me, okay? They just don’t taste the same here, after being shipped in refridgerator cars for thousands of miles.

  59. Need A Nap2 says:

    We’ll be going to Uganda (later in spring) so I definitely understand your worry. My husband went last year and LOVED it. Please e-mail if you have questions, would like more info, or anything. I’ll echo those above. 1) Like I told my MIL, the missions agency wouldn’t send you where you won’t be safe, it’s “bad for publicity”! 🙂 2) God is in control. 3) Once you’ve gone it will feel like “old hat” and you’ll wonder why you worried.
    Do you have any of those “worst case survival” books? That might help with the elephant, etc. issues. I’m really not sure there are many elephants in Uganda. Will you be able to “swing” past the equator? I think it would be cool to see the flushing toilets (one swirls clockwise and the other swirls counter-clockwise, you can learn a lot from the Simpsons).
    Do you have The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace? She has a chapter about fear that might be helpful to read.
    We have our passports but I haven’t had my shots which is the part I’m REALLY dreading. I’m mostly worried about getting lost in London if we have to stay there on the way back.
    God bless!

  60. Molly says:

    Oh, I laughed outloud! Why, you ask? Because I am just like you in the fear department and my hubby is very rational, too! It has been amazing the hidden fears I had that all came to light when we moved to a 3rd world country! Living in my comfy US of A, I never had to deal with them so I hardly knew they existed! God has used many experiences these last 4 years here to help me see just how much I relied on my hubby (and not my BIG God!) to keep me safe and secure! Of course, I would never have admitted that in words b/c it would not sound “spiritual”, but I was living that way everyday! God has used 1Jn.4:18 to change my heart, especially the part that says “perfect love casts out fear.” When we realize that fear focuses on self and love focuses on others, well, it really helps to put things in perspective! I will be praying that God will perfect His love in you on this trip in a way that will just blow away those fears you are struggling with as you focus on loving others!

  61. Shelley Hale says:

    Our God is so good! He gives us those situations that we need to grow in Him more, to develop “real” faith, and to become more like Christ! Cant wait to hear about it all 🙂

  62. Alesha says:

    At the risk of sounding “super spiritual” by giving you a Bible verse to memorize, I want to offer you this:
    II Corinthians 10:5 – “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
    I have used this verse MANY times in my life.
    Hope it helps,

  63. Joy says:

    I think it is kind of like the fear you have when you are pregnant with your first baby. You know your world is about to change, and you know that you will never be the same person that you were before. You aren’t sure what to expect, but you know that pain is going to be involved.
    This experience will change you, you will not be the same, it may hurt, and it should. Seeing human suffering should make our hearts ache, the ugliness of this world should disturb us because we are not at home on earth, but in heaven.
    Rest assured God will be by your side and will carry you when you need him to, and just like giving birth, the change will be amazing.

  64. Stephanie says:

    I don’t think my husband and I have ever been on a date without a Wal-Mart trip. I am so glad we aren’t the only ones.
    I will keep you in my prayers. Don’t worry God is always with you.

  65. Howdy says:

    When I was a Nanny several years ago I had a sweet 2 year old I was helping to grow up. Over the next several years when she had something she was unsure about doing – we discussed what to expect and then she would say to herself out loud – “I am a brave and powerful girl!” And you know what… she was!
    You need to start saying OUT LOUD – “I am brave and powerful” and I have no doubt that you will be. You will be just fine!

  66. Hotomom says:

    You had me laughing because I am EXACTLY like you. I always have irrational fears of things happening to me. Some days it’s all I can think of. But, they wouldn’t send you over there if they thought it would dangerous. Kind of like “God never gives you more than you can handle”. Hope that helps a little.

  67. Nicki says:

    You sure have an active imagination, but I can’t say I wouldn’t be the same way. I am sure you will be just fine and it sounds like your husband is a great encouraging and supportive man.

  68. janet says:

    he is a good man. and you fit perfectly together because you remember the good. have fun. it’s amazing that you have this opportunity!

  69. Genni says:

    Apparently there are a lot of us over-thinkers/worriers around. Fear over so many issues has bound me and rendered me ineffective at different times. I’m so proud that you have taken those frightening thoughts captive and proceeded in this journey.
    As you go, remember that you will be covered in prayer. God bless you.
    P.S. I have a post in my drafts that I titled “When Miss What-If Married Mr. So-What.” Matches made in heaven, aren’t they?

  70. lisa (lost pezhead) says:

    if they can get off The Island…then i’m sure you’ll be fine and make it back home in one piece!

  71. kim kauffman says:

    This post could have been written by ME. My husband is my sounding board with my fears too. Sometimes I hear then out loud and wonder why in the world I don’t give my mind a break once in a while. God has been working on me in this area for awhile now. I’m learning He’s always faithful. I’ll be praying for you on your trip!

  72. To Think is to Create says:

    You’ve received so many great comments already, what a blessing these readers must be to you. I feel silly adding to any of it, because all the advice and commiseration is exactly what I’d be saying.
    I will say this…no matter what happens, it’s all for His glory. There’s no need to fear what God is already in control of. Surrender that, and you will feel such a perfect peace!

  73. Sandy @Jesus and Dark Chocolate says:

    So it appears we can ALL relate.
    You are in good company, that’s why us women need to stick together, gather together and pray for you, and your family ( maybe we should pray that your daughter will begin to like PJ’s and not just gowns….you know one less thing to worry about :)!!!).
    I have found in my life, when God has taught and used me the most for His glory, I had the greatest fears!! Fear is not of the Lord, and it works so hard to cast doubts in your mind. I also think Satan is at work in our female hormones making our fears so much worse! LOL! Oh those evil hormones shifts.
    I believe I am the 89th comment, that is a lot of women standing in prayer with you as you embark on this trip.
    May God grant you peace amidst the storm of fears.

  74. Owlhaven says:

    Each time I have prepared to go to Ethiopia, I’ve had a mix of feelings, and fear is right in there. It is so hard to leave your children and wonder if you will see them again.
    But of course God can keep you safe just as easily in Africa as he can in your own bed. He has the very best plan for you life and He will see you through it safely.
    I am so glad you are going– it will be amazing. I will be praying for your safety. And I am betting that once you are there, the wonderful people there will put you at ease and make you so glad you came.
    Mary, mom to many, including 4 Ethiopians

  75. Nancy Jinks says:

    I’m praying for the trip and I can remember because you’ll be there approximately when some team members from my church will be there, but listen honey, I’m the queen of fearful fantasies, so I know what you’re going through! It’s a good thing God can handle things, that’s all I know!

  76. Amy says:

    “I am a fearful person. I can fake it pretty well, and I act confident much of the time. I’m usually able to engineer circumstances so I’m taking as little risk as possible. But at the core of it, I’m a trembly mess.”
    Interesting that you are writing about this fear subject seeing as God seems to be leading me to place my children in public school this coming fall. Some answers have come and I’ve asked Him, “Oh, really? Are you sure?” Several times. Over and over again. As if the answers would change or something. This is a big huge characteristic of mine-the fear thing-and it’s one I’d rather do without. How ’bout we simply (easier said than done) trust Him on this instead of fearing it. I’ll be praying for your adventure to Africa. You will have so much to contribute! Congrats on the call!

  77. Charlotte says:

    http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-an-Encounter-With-an-Ostrich I saw this on wikihow today and totally thought of you 🙂 check out the related ones too, like surviving a monkey attack! But, even better is this. Philippians 4: 6-9 Do not worry! By prayer and petition, turn it over to God and he will give you peace. So, whenever you have a worry, turn it into a prayer and He will grant you peace 🙂

  78. LeslieAnn Davidson says:

    Oh Shannon, I wanted to look at lightening pictures at 4am in the morning and stumbled into your post. I laughed with affection as I enjoyed how alike we women are in some ways. I used to be terrified God might ask me to be a missionary to Africa. I sure didn’t know my God very well, but I’m learning.
    I feel kind of wistful because I’d like to go and write about things like you are doing, but my body can’t do it (yet). I trust God more than I did and the fears that used to consume my life have eased up. If I get an opportunity for such a big adventure I know I will have to deal with fears too.
    All the other women said all the important things; I have nothing new to say. My comments are probably here to remind you that God brings absolute strangers along to pray for you, isn’t that cool? The continent of Africa is huge and you will feel so small – BUT you will always be in God’s view, carried in His hand.
    I don’t know how adventurous you are about trying new food. Everyone will want to feed you things and it is insulting not to eat, SO my prayers for you are going to be for you to be able to eat strange stuff and not get sick or squeamish! I will also pray that the bugs won’t gross you out, OK?
    I’m as proud of you, as if I knew you. It is a big thing to do and it is going to be such a cool adventure for all! God Bless You and all your family in this time!
    Love and prayers from Texas.

  79. mod*mom says:

    im so impressed you’re conquering your fears for the good of the children! can’t wait to live vicariously through your adventures 🙂

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