Friday, September 12, 2008

Understanding Love and Fear

An Anonymous Commenter on the last post wrote the following, "Thank you for this post. I love the precious picture, and the sweet sentiment. You posted before about there is no fear in love. I have thought about it since the first time you posted about it, and realize I don't quite understand what that means. I fear several things, and losing one of my children is the main one. Does this mean I don't love them enough? Does it mean not to worry- there is a plan for all of us, so we don't need to fear? I'm sorry to ask these questions to you, but you seem to understand the concept, better than I."

For what they are worth, here are my thoughts on the subject. Perfect faith and fear cannot occupy the same space. Fear is not of the Lord. I do not have a perfect understanding of this concept because it seems logical that with great love there should be great fear of loss. But perfect love is Eternal. It does not die. It does not fade. It fills us with hope and ... well love. When we are filled with this love there simply is no fear in us. Imagine being in the presence of the Savior and his perfect love. If your love for Him is also perfect there should be no fear in your heart. There would just be so much love that there would be no room left for fear or doubt. I can only say that when my heart attached to that PURE love that I knew I had for Camille and my family, all the fear left me. The fear was the worst part of the experience. When we have perfect faith in the Lord and his plan for us, we feel his perfect love and there simply is no fear. We know all will be well, even if things turn out contrary to our desires. I do not think you do not love your kids enough. I think you are just human like the rest of us and do not have the perfect faith required to eliminate all fear of losing them. I do not fear losing my children anymore. I did before. I am not sure why this changed. Maybe because from this side of that experience I know how eternal the love is and how eternal the family bonds are. I don't want to feel this pain again and would fight to not have to feel it. But I know the Lord will not give me more than I can handle. I know His plan. I feel daily of His perfect love. When I keep focused on that, even in the painful moments of sorrow at the separation, there just isn't any room for fear.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

If I may also add....when we have a perfect love for the Savior then our actions will be in line with his will. This is not saying that we won't make mistakes, we will. I have been fearful of the future at times but have learned that when I have truly repented I no longer fear. At those times I am able to feel the unconditional love and support of my Savior and in turn am able to more freely love.

Amy said...

Hi I hope you don't mind if I jump in on this discussion. Part of the question asked was, "Does it mean not to worry- there is a plan for all of us, so we don't need to fear?" The first part of the question regarding a plan for all of us -- yes, there is a plan. A wonderful plan centered on eternal families.

About the worry & fear (I classify those as the same) they are the opposite of faith. Mind you, we all struggle with worry & fear & there are few who have a "perfect faith" but I think from Stephanie's perspective an eternal family has become tangible. She has a child on the other side of the veil & has experienced these things personally, thus strengthening her faith in the Lord's plan for us & our eternal families. I think that is why she doesn't fear it anymore, while those of us who haven't experienced it may.

So I suppose the challenge is for us to gain knowledge & experience through Stephanie's experience that our love may increase & our fear decrease, because she is right, they cannot co-exist.

Jake and Heidi said...

I know you don't know me but I wanted to say THANK YOU! I am not sure that anyone could explain that better! I have had the feeling that the anonymous commenter felt...that maybe I don't love my kids enough for fear of losing them. Like it is hard to make that total attachment with that fear. But through reading of your experience and sadly of others who have gone through similar situations I have had a more profound if that is even the right word...love for my children. I feel like I try to embrace each moment a little more now. THank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with everyone.

Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous poster from before. Thank you for your explanations on this subject. I truly have been pondering it, and feel now as if I understand a little better. I feel as if I have complete faith in the eternal plan, but maybe it is the pain I know I would face, that I fear.(I'm not sure I am making complete sense to you!) Thank you for answering my questions and for your faith. It is humbling to me that you would take the time to help me out.

Joey said...

that was a wonderful post! I don't know how I came across your blog, but I'm glad that I did. I hope to attain that level of faith that you have. Thank you for sharing.

Rachel said...

I want you to know that this blog has literally been an answer to prayer for me. I have been pondering this very issue and your words have helped me understand and progress on my own journey toward that perfect love. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, reading them has truly been a blessing for me.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this posting. through my own experiences, i testify that you can overcome fear. i lived in paralyzing, irrational fear for years. you name it, i feared it. overcoming fear and living with more love & faith has truly changed my life.

Sue said...

A beautiful explanation, thanks.

I would like to ask your permission to use a couple of quotes from you in teaching my RS lesson tomorrow on Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death. I would like to be able to share some of your wisdom and eloquence with my RS sisters, if you feel comfortable with my doing so. Please let me know your answer either here or on my blog. (Just click on my name above.) Thanks.

Elise said...

I agree and feel you have shared a great truth. I felt some similar feelings when my husband was in Iraq. When I read all of your thoughts concerning love and fear there was a sure burning in my heart and mind that what you shared was true. Thank you. I agree and hope I can attain such perfect faith.

Mandi said...

Loved the way you explained it. i live in fear most of the time, and have recently realized it's time to let it go and have faith. The explanation was perfect. i hope you don't mind me copy and pasting it into word, i want to keep it. Thanks so much!! Love your blog, it really is an inspiration, I love how you comment back and help others. I want my faith to be perfect like you stated. thanks!!

happy mommy said...

I remember understanding no fear in perfect love when my niece died at 3 months old.

My husband and I were asked to dress her little body for her viewing, and it was to us a holy experience. The Spirit was so strong, I felt that if I could simply blink my eyes hard enough, I could see angels and the Savior himself standing by in that room.

As we left to go home, I turned to my husband and I said, "I don't ever want to go through this experience with any of our children, but I know I could get through it."

Something about the close, almost tangible presence of the Spirit (which to me, is that "perfect love" you are talking about) made me feel strong. Made me feel held up and as though no matter what, everything was going to be okay.

I think prefect love is being in the presence of the Savior, which we feel in some measure in special and sacred times in this life. And in the presence of the Savior, there is nothing but love.

Thank you for making me remember a tender and important experience in my life.

The Hansens said...

Your thoughts came out so beautifully. I can't imagine what you have been through and hope to never have to, I don't think I could be as strong as you have been. You are truly inspirational and continue to change my life, everytime I read your thoughts. You always give me something to think about. Thank you.

Sherrie said...

I've been "lurking here" just a month or so myself. It's so interesting to hear your point of view. My 5 year old son has a rare genetic disorder and although most who live with it, have a normal life expectancy, he has had some complications. His entire life we have been prepapred for the worst making the most of our time and trying to give him a normal life. I almost feel like I was led to your blog to help me prepare a little bit more. Thanks for all your insights, it's been very eye opening.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the thoughts that have been expressed, but I have to say I disagree. Heavenly Father knew that not one of us would be perfect living on this earth. We are constantly learning and constantly tested. I don't think having fear makes you less faithful than someone else. I know and believe in the Plan of Salvation and I am grateful for eternal families. But I still want to have my children with me here on this earth. Does that take my faith away from the Plan of Salvation? I haven't ever lost a child, but I have lost someone close to me in an unexpected manner. I think to say that you don't have enough faith and don't understand real love if you have fear, makes us jaded and callused. When someone dies that is close to you, you do feel an overwhelming love from your Father in Heaven. It is an amazing feeling and a huge comfort. You do understand the pure love, but even after that I still fear losing someone close to me again. So am I supposed to say who cares who dies around me because eternal families can be together forever. I'm confused.

Stephanie said...

Dear Anonymous,
I think you misunderstood. I do not mean to say that those who fear or rather we who fear are less "faithful" I only mean to say we do not have perfect faith. Frankly, I don't know anyone who has perfect faith. Probably because they would have been translated already. But in those moments when you are filled with faith to the filling of your frame, or filled with the perfect love the Savior offers to the filling of your frame, there simply isn't any room left for fear in your heart.

That being said, maybe an hour after this moment you will not be so "filled" and fear may creep in again. But this is only because we are not perfect in our faith. We must in fearful times seek the Lord to fill us with His perfect love and with faith so that we can overcome fear and conquer the trial before us.

Stephanie Waite

brittani c. said...

I just want to say thank you for your words...a friend of mine told me about your blog recently, having gone through some very difficult challenges. I admire your faith and strength.