When God Uses Fear as an Agent of Hope


Two weeks after I graduated from college, I moved to Orlando, Florida. I knew three people who lived there and I set off on the adventure with only the items I could stuff into two suitcases (in 1996, airlines still allowed passengers to check up to two pieces of luggage for free). I didn’t have a job, a place to live or enough money to pay my first month’s rent.

It was an honest-to-goodness leap of faith and I knew with all the matter making up my flesh, bones, and soul that everything about the journey fit perfectly into my life.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t harbor any reservations. I worried some about the big unknowns, such as where I would live after I wore out my welcome at my friends’ home, or if I’d really land a job as easily as people predicted.

I also had a few concerns that some might find superficial: namely, alligators and super-sized bugs.

Yep. That’s the kind of gal I am. Give me a one-way airline ticket and some hopeful words of encouragement, and I’ll make a new home more than a thousand miles from the one I’ve known since girlhood. But toss a spider in my direction and I’ll scream loud and high enough to shake glass. And I’m not even going to write anything about what I’d do if faced with a real, live, toothy gator, because friend, I’ve got some issues with reptiles. Especially the ones that want to eat me …
Read the rest of this story and (in) Courage to see and how God now uses bugs to remind me that Hope isn’t a feeling. It’s a promise from the Giver of Life.

Why Womb Woven and What about Becoming Me?

Four years ago, I created a little blog called Becoming Me. The title fit perfectly during such a tender season of my spiritual journey. When I started blogging, I was – to put it gently – fragile.

Want the less gentle version? I was a mess and on my way back from emotional bankruptcy. I was surviving and recovering from a severe postpartum mood disorder (by now, almost everyone who knows me from the blog world has read my PPMD story, but if you have not, you can find it here). It was through my recovery … my survival … when I started to learn about who I was in Christ.

Although I had accepted Jesus into my heart as a young child, I really had not realized the significance of my life. I did not understand that by under-valuing my worth, I was not giving others the best of me. I was not giving God the best of me.

Becoming Me developed from the process of learning my identity in Christ and wanting to share the beautiful truth that I was finally accepting.

One truth that repeatedly pierced and motivated my heart is the truth found in Psalm 139; 13 – 14 (Version below is NASB).

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

These words actually blessed me earlier today as I held my dear friend’s 6-day-old baby boy. After all, one cannot (can she?) cradle a precious new life within the crooks of her arms and not be overwhelmed by the gift of life.

During the past few years, I have come to realize that I take God’s breath away (figuratively speaking) in the way that one loses herself in the scent of a newborn.

I was woven into formation by the Creator of all matter. I was … I am … wonderfully made. And nothing can change that. Not how I feel about myself, nor how anyone else feels about me can minimize the cold hard fact that burns wild in my soul.

I cannot say that I have BECOME, because that will not happen this side of heaven. But I can say that I am no longer searching for who I was meant to be.

I am Angela Nazworth … a flawed and forgiven wife, mother and writer … an ordinary human girl who is nonetheless a masterpiece. And I want you to know that you are also someone of amazing worth. You are beautiful. You are special. You are meant to be.

You … are womb woven and wonderfully made.

>I Want Less

>It’s a new decade, but I’ve been thinking a lot about the previous one…mostly the beginning of the previous one. Ten years ago I was a new wife with a list of wants larger than Manute Bol’s wingspan. *

Whenever I looked down at the three sparkling, yet small by my standards at that time, diamonds on my engagement ring I thought about how I’d like an upgrade by my tenth anniversary. I was ready to trade in my white gold for platinum and more than double my caret weight.

I loved every minute of our Jamaica honeymoon, but kept thinking about the luxurious accommodations we would occupy once we returned.

Instead of fostering a heart of thankfulness for shelter, clothing, and modern conveniences, I wanted more. I sighed disgruntled when I walked into my small apartment in an old run down building. I wanted a house…a large house adorned with beautiful furniture, no more hand-me-downs. I also tired of counting pennies at the grocery store and dreamed that one day I would fill my kitchen with fine wines, cheeses, and gourmet ingredients. Only the best.

My wants numbered many and each one labeled justified. I rationalized that a large home with fine foods would enable me to demonstrate hospitality toward others. It wasn’t just a want, it was a need. As far as that extravagant anniversary trip and two-caret princess cut ring…those were items that I deserved. After all, financially and emotionally supporting one’s spouse as he earns his PhD is not for the faint of heart.

Ten years ago, I wanted more. Today, I want less.

Less stuff. Less to trip over, less to manage, less to fret about, less to want…less to waste time wanting.

Less drama. Less conflict. Less schedule management. Less stress.

Less of me. Less insecurities. Less worrying about whether or not I measure up to the standards of others. Less time spent agonizing over how others (ahem) *make* me feel.

Less wanting. Less of trying to have the perfect life. Less of trying to make the perfect impression. Less conforming. Less wondering how to get more from others.

Less. I want less so that I can be more…be whole..be active in living…in giving…in loving.

I want less.

*For those of you unfamiliar with basketball trivia, Manute Bol was a former NBA center with an 8ft 6in wing span, the largest in NBA history

>Distilling Love

>As I headed out of the kitchen, trash bag in hand, my load suddenly felt lighter and my feet felt wet and sticky. Jabs of pain radiated down my thigh.

Earlier that day I had hastily tossed a broken wire hanger into the trash can. I didn’t think it was a big deal, but apparently the metal stick landed in just the right spot to tear open the bag and simultaneously gash my leg.

I stood surveying the stinky mess that blanketed the floor I had scrubbed two hours prior. What was once pristine was covered in filth.

In that moment I did a lot of futile wishing.

I wished that I had never thrown that hanger away.

I wished that my leg wasn’t throbbing.

I even wished that my name was Carol Brady and that a trusty housekeeper named Alice would clean up the mess for me.

But none of my wishing altered my reality. There was a big ugly mess on my kitchen floor and I was responsible for cleaning it up.

As I examine my life, I can recall many messes made in the corridors of my heart, spirit, and mind. Like the gunky monstrosity caused by the broken trash bag, some of my messes were created by my negligence, sins, and mistakes.

—–Please visit me here to finish reading this story and to learn more about the hope that exists for cleaning up life’s ugliest messes.