Tackling Fearsome Obstacles


Evelyn Bence shares how she overcomes feeling overwhelmed.

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path.... —Psalm 142:3 (nkjv)

On her eighth birthday, my neighbor girl with special needs invited me to her family’s celebration: cake, soda, and balloons. Five adults gathered around the table, sang the traditional song, and urged her to blow out the candles—eight thin stubs encircling a fat figure eight. With big brown eyes, she stared, silent as breath. Her mother, grandmother, and I coaxed. We modeled technique, blowing out one candle at a time. She laughed when her grandmother ran a finger through the icing and slathered it across her cheek. Still, the girl watched the burning candles, speechless, until finally an adult blew out the last flame. After lots of clapping, everyone ate big pieces of cake. A nice little party.

Or so I thought. Fifteen minutes later, she and I sat out on our shared front stoop. “That was a great birthday, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” she stammered, “but I didn’t get to blow out my candles.”

“Were you afraid?” I asked.

“Yes. Too many people.”

“Well, let’s try again,” I suggested.

Days later it was my turn to feel unnerved; the week’s demands over­whelmed me. When I heard the school bus brakes and watched my friend trudge into her day, I remembered our workable solution to her birthday dilemma of too many people, too much pressure. Identify the problem and bring a fearsome obstacle down to a manageable size. As I scaled back my to-do list, I made room for God’s peace.

Lord, when my loved ones and I feel overwhelmed, help me see options that point us away from fear and toward peace.

Written by Evelyn Bence

Digging Deeper: Ps 4:8; Phil 4:7; Jas 3:18

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