Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Living in Fear?


I have had my fair share of job interviews. At the age of 14 I started working for Reed Gold Mine in Midland, North Carolina as a tour guide. I am currently 33 and have worked over 20 different jobs, many at the same time so that I could make rent. I have applied to dozens more and have had nearly 50 interviews for jobs in my lifetime. One of the most common questions during these interviews is "what is your greatest weakness?". Friends, my greatest weakness is fear. 


I am not afraid all the time but when something happens that could change the trajectory of my life or the life of my family I have debilitating fear that consumes days of my life. I am still capable of going to work and functioning but I am not enjoying life. Instead I am in constant panic and usually on the internet looking up every possible piece of information I can about whatever "thing" I am fearful of. Which I do not recommend as nearly almost every search will yield either great news (you have a cold) or horrible news (you are dying). 


I was not always fearful. Of course, I had the occasional childhood fear of the dark and I've always been afraid of someone trying to break into our house...at this rate they'll get some kid toys, dirty diapers and a lot of bills. Trust me, our belongings are not being targeted. 

So when did my greatest weakness start? In 2008, I had several sinus infections in a row and the doctor ran some blood work. Unfortunately, my blood work was not great as my white blood count was extremely low and I was referred to a hematologist. It was recommended that I have a bone marrow biopsy which I put off (stupid idea!) until 2011. 

By the grace of God I didn't have anything too serious as my biopsy was normal and we just waited to find out what "this" is. Time passed, I had a baby and my spleen grew to nearly the size of a two liter bottle. I had very little functioning blood products and my platelets were dangerously low. In 2015 my spleen was removed and it was after another bone marrow biopsy in 2016 that we discovered I have neutropenia. Neutropenia is a condition when you do not make enough neutrophils, a specific type of white blood cell that is most important in your immune system. Since then I have been diagnosed with Ig3 and Ig4 deficiency, selective antibody deficiency and welcomed our second child in July of 2017. 

I have a very limited immune system and I catch just about everything. I've been told that the slightest infection could end my life. I'm severely allergic to most antibiotics at this point so when I get the slightest fever I let my mind go to that dark hole. The one where I play the scenario of being admitted and being too sick to ever leave. Now, I'm a positive person and I have a lot of faith in both my doctors and God's greater plan, but it doesn't mean I'm not afraid. 


 My son and I narrowly missed stepping on a copperhead on July 4th after a family walk. Incidentally, July 5th our daughter was born so I credit the copperhead for inducing labor. We had just gotten back from a family walk and removed my barefoot son from his wagon. His foot was within three inches of its head, as was mine. It wasn't until my husband saw it that we knew it was there...I cried the whole day thinking about what could have happened, but in hindsight I was 40 weeks pregnant--I hadn't seen my feet in nearly 12 weeks so I think I get a pass for not seeing the snake. It's a great story now, no one was hurt and I will always remember it as part of our daughter's birth story but I have to admit I'm afraid. This is our first copperhead at our home in decades and I'm afraid that there are more in our beautiful yard. I'm afraid that one day we won't be so lucky.


Our beautiful children! 

Most of all I'm afraid for my children. The world we live in is scary. I'm afraid for them to watch the news because everything seems tragic and wrong. I'm afraid of all the natural heartaches that they will experience as they get older. I'm afraid I won't be able to protect them. I'm afraid that with technology these days that they won't let me protect them. I read an article recently about an eleven year old that had a secret cell phone given to her by someone (a predator) so that he could communicate with her without her parents knowledge. He had brainwashed her against her own parents. That is scary! 

So what do I do with this weakness? I acknowledge it. I trust my faith and I realize that living a life in fear might let us live to 100, but are we really living?  We take precautions--we wash our hands often to prevent illness, we check for snakes, and we teach our children about "tricky people." More importantly, we love one another, we serve others, and we live as much as we can while we are here on Earth. Anne Frank said it best "how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world".

What are you most afraid of? 

~Stephanie~

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