My brother, sister, and I found a walnut tree in the woods. We brought our mother back some of the nuts. They were black walnuts, and Mom was thrilled with our find. She did a lot of baking, and walnuts were getting to be expensive. It was not long before she was recruiting us to help her gather the nuts so she could make cookies and breads.
It was cold, autumn day, and the woods were wet and muddy. My sister, mother and I all bundled in our winter coats and boots went into the woods. Each of us had a brown, paper bag. To my mother’s delight, there were many nuts on the ground and no need to climb a tree to knock them down. But we had to move a ton of leaves to get at them.
The three of us kicked leaves around and picked up nuts for a good half an hour. I examined the walnuts to make sure they were good, threw them in a bag and swished the leaves with my boot. Boredom soon set in, and my sister and I started kicking leaves at one another. My mom told us to get busy because it was going to be dark soon. She wanted to shell the walnuts that night.
About that time, I bent down to pick up a walnut and happened to glance at the ground beside me, and a snake slithered its way towards me and slid under the heel of my boot. At first I was too shocked and paralyzed to say anything. Finally, I managed to scream, “SNAKE!” and took off running. There was a lot of high-pitched screaming. I never knew my mother could run so fast…she beat my sister and me out of the woods! My mother was terrified of snakes. She did not stop running until she got to the house. We were close on her heels!
My dad and my husband have told me that snakes are more afraid of us than we are of them……I don’t think so! When I think of that incident, I remember how easily fear can overtake us, and how it put an abrupt end to fun that afternoon. If we allow fear in, it can derail whatever it is we are doing at the time. We all have our fears, and not just things like spiders and snakes, but things such as, not being loved, getting ill, death, growing old…you know what your fears are. Mostly the things we fear, we have no control over. Spending time being afraid can just plain ruin a day or even worse, a good night’s sleep. It’s okay to be afraid; just do not allow fear to have power over you. There are some things out of your control, and it is essential that you accept it. When fear overtakes you, the best thing to do is hold onto your faith and the Lord to get you through the rough spots.
So do not fear, for I am with you; I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10