We have another beautiful #YourStory testimony of our God’s goodness today. Alisa Nicaud is an online writer friend. Our paths crossed when we found ourselves in the same critique group. It’s been a joy getting to know her. I hope you feel the same after seeing this glimmer of Jesus in Alisa. Enjoy!
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 NIV
I had always struggled with fear. Even as a little girl I remember the feelings of dread, worry and uncertainty that would dominate my mind. It was as if a black cloud of negativity followed me around, convincing me that something bad was going to happen. When things started to look up for me, tragedy would strike, leading me right back to the dark cloud. In a weird sort of way, it became a comfort. It protected me from expecting too much good, helping me to avoid major disappointments and failures. Or so I thought.
Because I experienced this at such an early age, I assumed that it was just “how I was made”. I would go to church and hear about how wonderful Jesus was and then return home wondering why I was so messed up. The messages I was hearing, conflicted with the feelings that stirred inside of me.
The battle to believe was not an easy one.
Don’t get me wrong, I knew Jesus was real. I just wasn’t sure that He loved me. I wanted to believe He did, but the condemning thoughts from any poor decisions convinced me otherwise.
Throughout jr. high, high school and even college, I struggled with where I fit in. Not just in “clicks” with friends, but in life. I thought if I just played by the rules, I would be fine. I would be accepted. Although on the outside I was a “good girl”, on the inside I was a picture of religious snobbery. I was a Pharisee. I would judge others according to my standards, which were set high enough so that no human being could reach them—including myself. I pushed myself hard, thinking that if I was just good enough, then maybe God would accept me. Perhaps He would take away the fears, the insecurities and worries. On the contrary, it lead me to be performance driven. The harder I strived and the more success I had, the emptier I felt. I was always waiting for the next big success that would fill that empty void.
And then I got saved.
It’s amazing how tragedy has a way of bringing you to a place of surrender. Soon after I got married, my father was killed in a car accident. It brought me to my knees. All of the fears and insecurities from my childhood amplified. There were days when I couldn’t get out of the bed. There were weeks when I didn’t leave the house. I was a mess. One day after months of misery, I begged God to show up and reveal Himself. And He did. Slowly He began to heal me and unravel the tangled web of fear and striving that I had created. God, in His goodness, refused to let me stay where I was. Instead He began to reveal Himself.
He drew me into the story of the Parable of the Talents from Matthew 25. As I read verse 24, I paused.
“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’ Matthew 25:24-25
My eyes filled with tears. It was as if in that moment, God gave me a clear picture of how I saw Him. It all became very clear. The heaviness I had been feeling all those years was stemmed from something I saw in church when I was five years old. He showed me that what I had seen, not only frightened me, but actually produced a seed of fear in me. From that moment on I became afraid of what God would do. I saw Him as a taskmaster who was “out to get me” if I did the wrong thing. That fear caused me to try to “do” better and “be” better, so that He would accept me and love me.
In that moment as I put my bible down, God began to tell me who He was. He began exposing lies and replacing them with truths. He lead me to study the Psalms and pull out every verse that showed His character. Although it was one of the hardest times in my life, it became one of the most beautiful. It was from that moment on that I began to cleave to Him as Father.
I was no longer a slave to fear, but understood what it meant to be a daughter of the Most High.
Life wasn’t perfect by any means. Some hard times came after this revelation. But I wasn’t alone. For the first time in my life, I was completely and totally surrendered to my God, who I knew adored me.
A native of Virginia, Alisa Nicaud currently lives just north of New Orleans, LA with her husband Philip Nicaud, their five children and their dog, Roux. She owns a boutique coaching practice and is the founder of the blog, Flourishing Today. Through her own tragedies, Alisa is intimately familiar with the struggles of anxiety, fear, insecurity and depression. Alisa’s willingness to be transparent gives her a unique advantage in relating to women from all walks of life and leadership. She freely shares helpful hints and practical encouragement rooted in Biblical truth in her posts and resources. Her passion is to equip women to overcome any limitations preventing them from leading a flourishing life. You can learn more by visiting her blog at www.flourishingtoday.com
You’ll find some good, old encouragement for problems & trials right here. I’m visiting Liz at My Messy Desk this week.