Hi sweet friends!
One of my favorite parts of my job is reading and responding to your emails. It feels like coffee date in my inbox, and I could not love it more.
The only problem is that you may have these same questions, or need some of these answers, and I never get to share them with you! So I’m trying something new today that (if you like it!) I might turn into a series: Questions and answers from my inbox. 🙂
One quick note on this: All identifying and personal information has been taken out or changed in both the question and the answer. When you email me with pieces of your story, those stay between you and me. Promise!
Here we go!
I’m getting married soon, and I can’t even explain how excited I am. But I’m also struggling with another emotion that’s stealing so much of my joy. I’m wrestling with a gripping fear that something’s going to happen to my fiancé before we get married.
I know all the right things to think…”God's in control” “He's got this” “Have faith” etc., but I also know terrible things can happen to anybody at any time. Do you have any thoughts or advice?
Hi sweet friend!
I’m so happy you brought this up. First because fear is one of those things that grows the longer we keep it hidden. I’m so glad you’re inviting people into this — bringing this fear into the light.
The second reason I’m so happy you brought this up is because this is a topic that’s been popping up a lot lately — in my own heart, in my inbox, on the phone, and over lunch. You are so not alone in this fear.
So that’s the first thing I want you to know. You are not weird, crazy, or alone in this. This is something so many of us wrestle with — the fear of losing someone we love.
And unfortunately, our fears aren’t unfounded.
You only have to watch the news for a few moments before you’re slapped with the terrifying reality that bad things happen to loved ones indiscriminately all over the world — and that yours (and mine) aren’t exempt.
While this has always been true — the process of getting married makes this truth scarier than ever.
Marriage isn’t like any other relationship. Marriage is the process of two becoming one — that person becomes a part of us in a greater love, commitment, and connection than we’ve ever known before. And because that love is so different, so unique, and so deep, the thought of losing that person is enough to unglue us entirely. (At least it is for me.)
So what do we do?
When it comes to the fear itself, unfortunately, as we know, there are no guarantees.
God doesn't promise us anything when it comes to the safety of the people we love — not in the put-them-in-a-bubble-and-don’t-let-one-single-bad-thing-happen-to-them way we want Him to anyway.
I think that's the hardest part about being human — knowing that our lives are so fragile and our loved ones lives are fragile too.
But here's what I do know: This kind of love is so beautiful, so life-changing, it’s worth any cost — even the fear of losing them, even actually losing them.
Tennyson said it best of course, he said, “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
So if we know this fear is worth it — that the beauty and holiness of love is worth the vulnerability it requires — what do we do about this fear?
I don’t have a cure, unfortunately. The fear of losing my husband is a real thing in my life, and I don’t know if it will ever actually go away.
But there are a few things that have helped me tremendously in keeping that fear in check, and in using it for good!
1. Tuck up close to God
This isn’t to bribe God, or to earn the safety of your loved ones. It doesn’t work that way.
But by tucking up close to God, we’re investing in our relationship with Him, learning His character, experiencing how much He loves us, and learning to trust Him. And when we know those things, we can lay our hearts, our lives, and the lives of our loved ones in God’s capable hands, knowing that no matter what happens, He’s good and we can trust Him (here's a resource to get you started).
2. Capture your thoughts
This is something I constantly have to remind myself to do, but when we find our thoughts going down that road, we have to stop them, change them, turn them around and make them obedient to Christ. (2Cor 10:5)
We need to do this because A. Fear is not from God. In fact, all over scripture He tells us not to fear, that perfect love casts out fear. And B. Because if we do lose our loved ones early, we don’t want to have wasted one single moment with them on fear.
And that brings us to number 3.
3. Soak up every second
A few months ago I was feeling totally twisted up in fear of losing Carl. Right around that time, I was in my car driving home when Meghan Trainor’s new song came on the radio. I sat in my car, gripping my steering wheel, and sobbing. She nailed it. She captured my fear perfectly and taught me what to do with that fear all in one perfect chorus.
I’m going to love you like I’m going to lose you, I’m going to hold you like I’m saying goodbye, wherever were standing I wont take you for granted, cause we’ll never know when we’ll run out of time. I’m going to love you.”
That, yes, exactly that.
The longer we’ve been with someone — our parents, our friends, or our husbands — the easier it is to take them for granted. They’ve always been there, and so we assume they always will be.
But we know that’s not the case. Life is fragile and finite, and this is the perfect reason to make the most of every moment we do have.
So that’s what I try to focus on when I’m feeling afraid. I let that fear remind me that even best case scenario, I wont have Carl forever. So I try to live each day with him knowing how precious they are — letting the truth of life’s fragility spur me on to love with everything I have.
So sweet friend, while your fears are completely valid, I hope you (and I) don’t allow them to rob us of the moments we do have with the people we love.
Tuck up to God, letting Him remind you that He’s good, that He loves you (and your loved ones!) and that you can trust Him. Capture our thoughts, making them obedient to Christ, and let the truth of finite time remind you to love that man to pieces every single moment you have with him.
I'm praying for you right now sweet friend. Keep me updated, and enjoy every moment of your wedding day. It's the beginning of a truly beautiful adventure.
All my love sweet friend!
P.S. If you need more encouragement in this area, here's a podcast episode that might help: Girls Night #51: How to Stop Being Afraid that Bad Things are Going to Happen.