Fear in love

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18

I have never understood this verse. To me, love has always seemed like the doorway to fear because with love comes the fear of loss. If nothing in this life was of any worth or value to me, would I really have anything to fear?

Still, I have returned to this passage many times. It seems critically important and I want to solve the riddle.

In fact, 1 John 4 was the passage of scripture I was reading the night before Brody died. I was praying that I would always love and accept my children regardless of their weaknesses. I was not confessing that I loved disease or sickness – simply that my children did not need to be healthy and whole for me to fully love them. I would embrace them regardless of their struggles present and future.

In the early days after Brody died, the memory of doing this was great comfort to me. Sometimes I would hear this awful lie that I wanted Brody to die – I let him die because having a child with a disease was too much extra stress and work. I could remind myself that Jensen and I did not see Brody as a burden and we always believed he was worth the challenges we had to overcome to keep him well. We were in it for keeps; for better or worse, sickness and health.

But as time goes on, the memory of this prayer, prayed just hours before my little boy’s death, brings me torment. I must have prayed something wrong. I must have offended God. Or, at best, it appears my prayer did not hold any power.

And that fear – the fear that my sincere effort to love well somehow screwed everything up – it is becoming a mountain in my soul.

I am more than half way through my pregnancy with what should be our rainbow baby, and I do not know how to love this little person – this great unknown. What if I fail him too? What if there’s something wrong this time, like last time? What if…? What if…? What if…?

All this to conclude that it is not safe to love this baby yet. I am too afraid. It is not worth the risk. I must wait to love him until I know that he will turn two, and three, and 45. I just don’t want to make the same mistake again. I don’t want to agree to love this baby no matter just to have that promise be tested in the most excruciating way.

And there it is. I see it in a way I have never seen it before. Fear is standing right in front of love and saying no. Love is not welcome. Love is not safe. I want indifference instead because love is too risky.

But indifference isn’t really doing the trick. Trying to say no to love hasn’t been any comfort. I am still afraid of loss. I am still tortured by all the unknowns.

I have kept thinking that the more I let myself love this baby, the more I will be afraid and the more pain I will feel if anything goes wrong. Even if that’s true, I’m not so sure it’s wisdom. I need to find a way to push through this fear and say yes to love, maybe even say yes to a little bit of joy. It feels impossible, but maybe I could stop being desperate for this pregnancy to be over and choose patience. Maybe I could do what love does and believe the best.

I’m honestly not sure how yet, but if I start looking, maybe I will find a way.

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