On Narnia, Fear, & Bravery
Hi hello hey!
Be honest, did you forget about this newsletter? Don’t feel bad…I unintentionally left it hanging the last few months. Our fall season has been full of highs and lows, which I’m sure you can relate to. But now I’m ready to chat. So, with that, let’s catch up…
Earlier this week, Aven and I got settled onto the couch for school (#homeschoolperks) and picked up our Narnia series where we had left off: Prince Caspian, chapter 11. A few pages in, cut to me promptly crying into my coffee, as you do when a theological truth clothed in Narnia storytelling comes at you with a gut punch.
Let me take you there, if you haven’t read it before. (And if you haven’t, I truly cannot recommend the series enough.)
The children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) have been summoned back to Narnia to aid in a battle after many, many years away. Nearly lost in the Narnian woods on their journey to the battlegrounds, they decide to rest, but the youngest, Lucy, finds herself awakened by a voice calling to her. She follows the sound and ends up in the presence of Aslan himself, the great and majestic Lion-hero of the story. He instructs her to wake the others and convince them to follow too, so he can show them the way out of the forest and to the battle.
The other children reluctantly follow despite their disbelief in her story. As they traipse through the treacherous woods, only Lucy is able to see Aslan guiding them on the path in front of her. The others are blinded by their lack of faith. Of the group, the older sister Susan is the most skeptical and obstinate of them all, complaining and wanting to turn back the whole way.
As they reach their destination by Aslan’s guidance and Lucy’s persistence, all of the children are finally able to see Aslan with their own eyes. Susan is both embarrassed and heartbroken by her own disbelief.
Aslan speaks to her with kind insight, “You have listened to your fears, child. Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?”
“You have listened to your fears, child.”
BRB, crying again.
Fear. Is this not what we continuously resort to ourselves? Isn’t it the thing often hidden beneath our unyielding spirit?
I have not only listened to my fears but I have let them lead me. And in so doing, I am blinded, unable to see my Savior guiding the way. Then comes the spiral, because when I cannot see him (or refuse to) I am even more impressionable to my (real or perceived) circumstances. It’s a quick hop from there to discontent, irrationality, disobedience, overwhelm…the list goes on, with nothing good to show from it.
But conversely, the more I trust him, the more I’m able to trace his steps. Like Lucy, when I keep my eyes fixed firmly on the Father, whatever I’m walking through is less daunting. Everything else seems small in his presence. I can feel secure regardless.
Maybe your fears are grand-scale or a bunch of small ones that can snowball quickly. Maybe they’re full of real potential or completely fantastical. Whatever the specific flavor of fear we’re ingesting, it wreaks havoc on us. It makes choices for us. It directs our paths.
Is that how we want to live? Maybe the better question is: is that how we’re supposed to live?
And which of you by worrying can add a day to his life’s span? Therefore if you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about the other things? Luke 12:25-26
There are times when I find myself overwhelmed at the prospect of raising my kids in 2021+. I think about what’s coming at us at full speed and how I’m supposed to navigate through it all flawlessly. But here’s the thing: I can’t stop there. I can’t sit down in the middle of that forest out of fear, refusing to be guided by the only One who can lead me through it. I have to intentionally look to Jesus and keep following him. Only he is true and trustworthy, not my fears.
God did not place us in this particular generation for no reason. My life intersecting with this particular speck of history, within a distinct web of fellow image bearers - it is full of purpose. And if it’s purposeful, I can trust that he’s equipped me for the specific tasks I am going to encounter. That includes raising my kids.
Scripture tells us that our “children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Psalm 127). If that’s the case, then we cannot be surprised to find ourselves in the midst of a battle. We just fall in step behind our King, who only knows victory. Fear of having kids and raising kids is a tactic of the enemy. We can rest assured that the world needs more truth-seeking arrows and archers, not less of them.
A few months ago, I read this powerful C.S. Lewis quote from 1948, and I think it fits in perfectly here:
“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the 16th century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat at night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented… It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds…What the atomic bomb has really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and which, during the prosperous period before, we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, so far as it goes, a good thing. We have been waked from a pretty dream, and now we can begin to talk about realities...Let the bomb find you doing well.”
Yes, let it. Let us be brave once again.
That is to say: let us keep our eyes fixed on the Lord (who never changes), walking in his Spirit, letting him breathe his Truth on us as often as we have need.
Quick news + updates.
My fun, funny, gracious, and beautiful Gammy (my mom’s mom) was called home to heaven at the end of September. I’m grateful for how she inspires me to love my life and to love my people well. A truly beautiful legacy. (Also, I painted my nails red for her funeral…if you knew her, you know that her nails were always, always painted red.)
Our home is being framed! Guys, I will not lie to you, it’s a crazy time to be building a house when basic things like windows and doors are hard to come by. You can check our instagram for more home build updates.
Isaiah 41:10 tells us this:
Do not fear, for I am with you.
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Talk to you again soon! Thank you for reading - I know this was a long one, but we had lots to catch up on. ;) I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season.
Feel free to pass this on to a friend who could use it: