Be Still: Facing Fear Prior to Traveling into the Promised Land

Preface to our trip to Israel, written the week prior to leaving in October...

You know those nights where you lie awake under the covers, endless thoughts colliding in your head without hesitation?

The Lord says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.

That beautiful verse is one we hear over and over again; yet the repetitiveness may sometimes develop a callous over our hearts, creating an antithesis against it.

“Just be still and be silent, Whitney,” I remind myself.

God echoes back with, “Yes, Whitney, let even your thoughts be still.” 

God knows that it is merely impossible for me to be still. He created me as a woman with passion and determination. I feel guilty if I take a lunch break and watch TV or even when I’m down for the day with a migraine. As I am a stay-at-home-wife, I feel a deep burden to ensure that our home is constantly moving, and it must always stay clean in the process. Because God programmed me this way, I once thought He understood why I didn’t take time to journal while seeking out His Word or why I didn’t continue to journal my prayers as I did in high school. Serving as a busy housewife – cooking, creating, sewing, cleaning, writing blogs, making videos – this is my responsibility now.

Did I fail to remember my covenant between God and my new, handsome groom at the altar? God first. Husband second. Home third. How naïve was I to forget that?

Our God is a God of Truth, not excuses. He is a God of Conviction; and that God of Conviction spoke to me with a peaceful voice, the kind of peaceful voice you hear from your parents that go beyond the spankings, beyond the yelling. The soft voice of disappointment. God wouldn’t take His creation of the “passionate Whitney” as an excuse for my busyness. He reminded me of my fear. He reminded me why He created me to be a passionate woman, not only a passionate wife.

Be still. It’s a tough feat for some, including myself. Yet, sometimes God speaks to you and you have no other choice but to be still. We’re frozen – nay, paralyzed - in awe of what our Savior just said.

I experienced that feeling last night.

As my husband and I prepare to leave on our journey to a war-endangered territory, both of our minds and hearts have been a bit uneasy. He has been quite restless the past two nights. I’m not sure if it is out of worry for our safety on the trip or out of protection of our home in case the creepy photographer taking pictures from his car outside of Barnes and Noble may have actually been a spy. [Just kidding.] I feel his uneasiness - his restlessness – the same way he feels my emotions and knows that something is up.

However, I have also been somewhat restless with the typical “what if?” thoughts: We’re Americans - what if everybody will have a plot against us? What if we are captured and persecuted? What if we never see our families again? What if a foreign enemy bombs the hotel and my husband isn’t there with me? Or worse, what if something happens to my husband and I lose him forever?

Over a course of one week, our excitement and expectancy for God to create miraculous movements in our lives and in our marriage transpired into a dark cloud of fear.

As I lay restless in bed at midnight, God spoke. I had no choice but to be still.

My daughter, I know you’ve struggled in the past with understanding what it means to fear Me. Rest, dear child, and know that to fear Me is much different than being afraid of Me. I know your thoughts. I hear you. You are afraid of what will happen if you continue to follow me with steadfast perseverance, especially in this nation you are about to enter. You hear people remind you that when you follow Me, the enemy will try to destroy you. Why are you afraid of that? Do you not remember My Power, My Strength? Do not lose sight of that. Do not lose sight of My Love and My Hand over you. I am your Protector. All that happens to you will reflect My Glory. We’ll talk more about this during our time in the morning, shall we?

You better believe I woke up this morning on my knees in prayer. As I sought out the Lord and asked Him where to start in my study of His Word, He led me to Jeremiah. I grabbed our family's ESV Study Bible and started reading the introduction to Jeremiah’s writings.

Many authors have called Jeremiah the “weeping prophet.” While he does occasionally weep for Israel’s condition, and this depth of concern speaks well of him, this emphasis on his weeping may mislead readers regarding his toughness. Jeremiah was a determined, dedicated, longsuffering, and visionary follower of God. His courage and stamina serve as examples to even the most faithful of all God’s embattled servants. The apostle Paul certainly viewed his own ministry as being like Jeremiah’s. Thus, Jeremiah’s weeping hardly summarizes his character. He could perhaps more accurately be called ”the persevering prophet.”

Well, God, here we go...

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We are truly excited to share our stories and adventures from Israel with you over the next few weeks. From anticipation to exasperation and joy to fear, an ebb and flow of emotions presented themselves throughout the entirety of the trip. Please don't criticize our moments of weakness and fear, for those were the times where God truly proclaimed Victory as His Power succumbed all. The documentation of this trip will most likely create a very transparent image of vulnerability. It is our prayer that, through what Christ revealed to us, you will be encouraged and draw nearer to Him.




Photo taken on our way back from the Mount of Beatitudes. Can you see the Presence of God declaring Himself in the clouds and the sunset, reigning over all creation? Amen to that! 





Weekend Update

We've had very busy weekends!! JD went to Tupelo for his soon-to-be brother-in-love's bachelor party weekend (it was tame, don't worry) and I stayed in Georgia to host Theresa's (JD's sister) bachelorette party weekend at All Fired Up in Atlanta. I made some His and Hers "mocha mugs." :) We both had amazing weekends but prior to the weekend, we were DREADING it because of the mere fact that this past weekend set the date of the first night we spent apart from each other since May 29. Ugh. I thought that I would be tossing and turning all night with nightmares, but the Lord really saw me through it and instead gave me some pretty pleasant dreams. (If you don't know me very well, I have a tendency to have some pretty vivid nightmares so it's not out of the norm.) Gosh, it was such a joy to see him drive up last night. Fortunately, I had some chocolate covered cheesecake and strawberries left over from Theresa's party so we celebrated our return into each other's arms with some delicious dessert!

If you're married, do you remember the first night you spent away from your spouse and all of the emotions you experienced? If so, we'd love to see a comment from you below. :)

Thankfully, I stayed at my parents' home Friday night so I wasn't completely alone. I would have had a terrible time sleeping at the cabin by myself. Why, you ask? The blinds probably would've fallen down and I wouldn't have been able to get them back up... just like this video.

Falling Blinds from Whitney Todd on Vimeo.



In other news, prayer is immensely powerful. Thank you for all of your sweet prayers for my grandparents. Papa is still in the hospital but we're hoping that he will be coming home this week. Please, please continue to be praying for them. They need A LOT of rest!!