I have shared that my second-born daughter has taught me so much—especially about myself—because she is my mini Jenni. I usually know what she is thinking. I understand why she does things, and she is usually the one person who can read my mind when I can’t find the words I am looking for. She and I also have another thing in common—fear.
My daughter has been afraid of different things throughout the last seven to eight years ranging from death, the fear of losing friends, germs, losing her salvation, spiders, and heights. As we visited the Grand Canyon last year, I was surprised at how nervous she became when my five-year-old sat on the wall so I could take his picture. She was within feet of him and, as soon as I took the shot, she grabbed him off the wall. I thought her fears would pass as she aged; some have lessened, but some have increased.
I, too, have fears of losing friends, letting my family down, snakes, and death. I no longer fear death because my sanctification in Christ has increased. My fear of death stemmed from the fact that I was afraid of what would happen after I died. I came to Christ as a kid because I was afraid of Hell. It was not until I was twenty-nine that God regenerated my heart and granted me faith so that I was able to put my trust in Him.
As my daughter has matured over the last year, she announced that she wanted to take a ropes course at a training facility that we like to attend. This course has a five-story rock wall, with a zipline to come down, a rope bridge that extends seventy feet across a one-hundred-foot canyon, and a tower of ropes and challenges you must achieve to reach the top. Only those who reach the top can sign their name in the guestbook up there. She can’t take this course by herself and her dad and older sister had no desire to take it. Wanting her to test her fear of heights (and hopefully overcome it), I agreed to do this course with her. This agreement was made last year and things can change in a year.
You see back in January, I turned forty. I was eight months pregnant with our daughter, and I had gained seventy-five pounds with my pregnancy (I had never gained more than twenty-five). I was also planning a vaginal birth after having three C-Sections. The medical community labeled me as being too old and too big. Having had three C-sections before, they said I would probably not be able to give birth the way God intended. I struggled with this for several weeks.
I was not afraid of death, the rare uterine rupture, or something being wrong with myself or my daughter. I was afraid of being labeled. I know it sounds silly, but it was a real fear. What I know about fear is that the more fear we have, the less faith we have. Faith and fear cannot be together. You will have more of one and less of the other. Fear can also make you sick and cripple you mentally and sometimes physically.
I knew I could not remain in this state, so I did the two things I knew to do. First, my girls printed out scripture verses for me that talked about God’s strength and verses to help with fear. These were plastered on my bedroom wall. Second, I sought out godly counsel and encouragement from those who would be able to help me through this. My husband was number one on this list. Because of all of this, in February after twenty-two hours of labor, and minimal pain medication, through Christ as my strength, our daughter was born the way God intended. I was ecstatic that I was able to finally give birth vaginally.
Fast forward six months. As I stand on the cusp of this course, that label keeps trying to pop back up. I am too old, too tired, and weak (new baby), and too big (I have lost fifty of the seventy-five pounds). I must fight this battle again because we have taught our kids that we can’t give up when the going is hard and we can’t quit because we are afraid. We have to put our faith in Christ.
- Jenni Zimmerman
Jenni is a homeschooling mom. She and her husband, Chris, live in Washington state with their four children. The entire family are earnest students of Biblical law.