When Fear Holds Us Hostage

When Fear Holds Us Hostage

As a teenager, I lived a pretty sheltered life. I believed nothing bad would ever happen to me. Then one day, I found myself in the middle of a really bad situation.

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a pistol put to my head. A robbery that was a sudden and terrifying scenario for this naive teenage girl.

“Don’t move or I’ll shoot!” The sharp words of my abductor rattled me to my very core. Shaking uncontrollably, I could feel the cold, hard surface of his gun pushing against my pulsating temple.

As my heart raced, thoughts ran through my mind: I’m going to die. This is it … my life is over. I wanted to run, but saw no way out …

{I’m sharing this story at Proverbs 31 Ministries today. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion and lets meet up back here so we can continue the conversation. I’d love to encourage you today!}

Photo Credit: Phyl Brown

Photo Credit: Phyl Brown

Has it ever happened to you?

An ordinary day turns into anything but ordinary. Something tragic steps right into the center of your life, turning it upside down and leaving you bruised, battered and gasping for breath.

As life marches on and others return to status quo, you are left holding shattered pieces, unsure of what to do next.

A broken heart. An unraveled mind. A soul held hostage by fear.

As I shared in my story … it is the Word of God that heals and restores.

His life giving words breathe hope, encouragement and refreshment to our scorched bodies and weary hearts.

His powerful words break the chains that keep us bound in fear. Releasing us so that we can experience true freedom in the midst of our unwanted circumstances.

Praying God’s promises helps us operate in His strength, not our own.

Sweet Friend, are you in that place today? Feeling like you’ll never recover? Wondering why this has happened and feeling all alone? Wanting life to return to “normal”?

God doesn’t want to give you normal. He wants you to experience extraordinary revival. He wants to restore you and mend the broken pieces of your life.

Will you trust God with your tomorrows? Will you allow Him to care for you today?

Healing is found in His Word. Peace is found in His presence. Assurance is found in His holy embrace.

Father, I lift up my friend to You today. Her heart is hurting and she needs to experience You in the midst of her difficult circumstances. Let her sense Your presence right now. Let her feel Your loving embrace. Assure her that You have not forgotten her. Remind her that You promise to provide and take care of her. You will never leave her or expect her to carry this burden alone.  And You never break Your promises. Bring joy to her heart and peace to her soul today. Release her from the chains of fear so that she can walk in Your freedom and experience true revival. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

{Note: I’m traveling today and may not be able to respond to your comments right away, but know that as I read your words I will pray for you by name. Your comments are very important to me and I will respond to them as soon as I can.}

{P.S. Looking for daily encouragement and great graphics for your Pinterest boards? Check out my new Facebook ministry page and join the community there.}

In His Love,



  1. Leah, that promise you showed me from Revelations saying that there will be no more mourning; well, it can’t be true because I will be mourning the fact that God so cruelly wasted my life on earth :o(

  2. Thank you for your prayers, Leah. Personally, I’ve given up praying after I realised that God doesn’t even bother listening to me (or if He does, He chooses to not do anything about it) but hopefully it stands for something to have someone put in a good word for me. :o)

  3. No mourning, crying or pain, sure, just bitterness and regret for a life wasted.. :o( *sigh*

  4. Leah; I cannot express in words how much I needed this today. After already having an emotional breakdown last night after dealing w/ a broken heart “again” for the past (almost) 6 months. This also came after leading our Sunday school class at my church in what I’ve been taught over the past few weeks about having faith. I was actaully filling in for the girls that are usually the leaders because they were on vacation with their families & they asked if I would do it. Your words reminding me that God’s Word being the only way to free us from hurts has made me even more aware that I’m not in God’s word enough & I’ve been so convicted that I need to be. Thank you so much for sharing your heart & reminding me to trust Jesus as the healer of mine!! Thanks again!!

    • Leighanne, I’m sorry to hear about your recent breakup and I know how rejection can leave a deep wound in our hearts. I’m so glad God promises to never leave or reject us. He loves us no matter happens in life. He will always be our constant guide. I’m praying for you today and hope that you will commit to spending time with God each day. Let Him remind you how much He loves you. 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I really need this. I have been struggling with fear, anxiety and depression for the last 5 years. I am so tired of being held down by these emotions. I worry so much about what could happen that I miss out on the joys of each day. I am so afraid something bad will happen to my daughter – she is heading off to Kindergarten this year and I worry about so much, kids being mean, tragic events that I cannot protect her from. It keeps me up at night – sometimes I feel like I could put her in a bubble – however, I don’t want her to live like that and I really don’t want her to struggle with the issues I have struggled with for so many years. I also have a step-brother that has a drug problem – he has broken in my mom’s house twice and stolen things from her – he is out of jail right now, and has already started his bad habits again. Anytime I call my mom and cannot reach her I panic for fear that something has happened. My mind seems to torture me ,if that makes sense. I can sit and think about all these potential situations that “might” or “could” happen and talk myself out of going somewhere. I have suffered from horrible nightmares my whole life as well – sometimes I sit up all night, because I am afraid to go to sleep for fear of the dark and fear of nightmares. I hear every little noise and am convinced someone is out there coming in to harm us. These are horrible feelings to be chained down to – and I am so worn and weary from struggling.

    • Beth, thank you for being so honest about your struggles with fear and anxiety. I can understand how your circumstances can make you feel anxious and worried. And I’m guessing the more you think about these things the worse the anxiety gets. I can relate. Ignoring fearful thoughts doesn’t always work. We have to replace them with God’s truth which has the power to heal. Try writing 2 or 3 Scripture verses on an index card so that every time those fearful thoughts come to mind you can replace them with God’s truth. It really works!

  6. I have been trying to overcome the fear from nightmares and flashbacks. I have turned to scripture yet I still live a life of fear and anxiety. I just want to stay home and avoid everyone so I will be safe. Although God says He will never leave us… mere mortals can do a lot of damage and He doesn’t stop it. After that it is hard to see Him protecting me. What if He decides to let others hurt me too. So even when I try to trust and choose to rest in Him, I am overwhelmed by fear and anxiousness. I just want it to go away.

    • Fearful, it could be that you need to seek Christian counseling to help overcome those nightmares and flashbacks. Getting help is nothing to be embarrassed about. God has designed each of us with special gifts and talents to help & encourage one another. We are created for relationships and isolating ourselves from others will only make those anxious feelings increase.

  7. Samara (in England) :

    Gosh. I’ve just read your words on fear, and they really struck a chord with me. I’m really glad you shared those very personal words, and you’ve allowed God’s words to help heal you. Thank you. Over the past year and a half I’ve suffered with breathlessness, and had countless tests, but doctors can’t find what’s wrong with me. Back in February last year it got so bad, I had to go to the hospital. I think it had got so extreme, I got scared and it developed into a panic attack. Anyway, since then, I’ve suffered with a mixture of genuine ill health, and fear and anxiety. I believe God works all things for our good, and he has a plan and purpose for us all. I also believe God can use His words to heal us. I think I’ve become a bit lost in my walk with God this year. So thank you for your words today. I’m going to make more of an effort to spend time with God, and read and declare His words. Thank you, with love x

    • Hi Samara, as I read your comments I was reminded of similar symptoms (shortness of breath) I struggled with when anxiety had a grip on me. Your comments already hold the key to overcoming your anxiety: spending time with God each day and reading/declaring His Word over your life. I truly believe that if you make a commitment to do this every day, you will see a drop in your anxiety level.

  8. Leah,
    I too, was robbed when I was young and single, but with a knife not a gun. Fortunately, the guy was caught 45 minutes later by the police and later sentenced to 5 years for armed robbery. It was very terrifying and as you described can cause you to live in fear if you let it. That’s when we have to cling to God’s promises! Whenever I share this story of how God rescued me one scary night I’ve noticed that people listen. Then it’s an open door to share how they can know my God too! So God can use even a bad experience for future good!

  9. Hi Leah,
    This devotional today was so encouraging to me!!!
    I have walked with the Lord now for almost 30 years, and have still fought fear and anxeity for all 30. God has been doing an amazing work of grace in my life, but up until recently I have ran from facing the giant of anxiety and fear.
    I was raised in a home where fear/worry/anxiety ruled and reigned. I was sexually abused by a very trusted uncle, married at 18 to run from a very dysfunctional household, and my husband had multiple affairs t/o a almost 30 year marriage. Though I stuck with my marriage for many years, praying and hoping my husband would bow his knee to the Living God, 10 years ago the Lord gave me the green light to leave him, though I KNOW God HATES divorce and the consequences of it, (though I believe I was given the release to divorce) extend throughout the rest of your life, especially when children are involved. Anyways, 2 years after my divorce, my then 15 year old son began a life of drugs, and many other ungodly things. Fast forward to 1 year ago, I had to have my son leave my home due to his unwillingless to live in my home within boundaries. He moved to his dads (300 miles away) and God has begun a reconciliation between him and his dad though he continues to abuse his body with drugs. Anywayws, through all the years of trials and heartache fear and anxiety continued on, though the Lord has helped me keep it more at bay through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, I KNOW the Lord is wanting to set me free from this bondage/stronghold that has ruled in my life since birth really. What are the fears you may ask?? Well, the fear of living alone, loneliness, the what if’s with my son are the biggest. I LOVE the verse, “whenever I am afraid I will trust in YOU”. I have been claiming that and I know HE is working in me. It’s a slow process, but change is taking place. So again thank you for sharing this devotional. It really is a blessing to me, and knowing other believers are facing similar struggles.

    God bless you and keep sharing the GOOD NEWS of Jesus!!!!!

    • Cindy, you’ve been through a lot of turmoil and it’s amazing to hear how you’ve continued to persevere and trust in God through all the hard places in your life. You will reap blessings because of your faithfulness. Stay strong sweet friend and keep standing smothering those fears with God’s promises.

  10. Leah, I read what happened to you, and while I’m grateful you escaped physically unscathed, I can’t help but ask God why He didn’t afford me the same protection that He sheltered you with. See, back in the beginning of 2007, God smote me down with a brain tumour; complications left me with a stroke and many physical disabilities. I recall Jeremiah 29:11 and just ask God what future and what hope do I have now, now that He’s abandoned me so physically disabled … :o(

    • Emily, my heart aches for you and I wish I had just the right words to make everything better in your life. I don’t know why God choses to heal some people this side of heaven but I do know He never puts His children through trails or pain without great purpose and eternal gain in mind for them. I want to encourage you to not give up hope. Every day there are new breakthroughs in the medical industry and God still heals.

      • Yes, God still heals, but ‘in His time’. He’s got eternity, whereas I’ve only got a human lifespan! Say God decide to heal me when I’m seventy-five; well, what good’s that? Most of my life will be over by then already! :o(

        • Emily, the wonderful news is that you have much more time than you think. As believers in Christ, we will spend eternity with God in heaven. Our lives are just beginning here on this earth and the best news is … we get new and improved bodies when we get to heaven. 🙂

          • Yes, so I will get ETERNITY in heaven to mourn over how the cruel and unfaithful God WASTED my life here on Earth … :o(

          • Emily, I’m praying for you today ~ asking God to make this promise very real to you in the midst of your difficult circumstances:

            “He will wipe every tear from your eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for all these things will be gone forever.” Revelations 21:4

  11. Thank you so much for this encouraging devotional. I struggle with fear and anxieties at time.
    Three years ago my son was in a terrible accident and while driving under the influence, he hit
    a car head on and those 2 people died. He is incarcerated and doing time for the terrible negligent mistake he made. God has made some amazing changes in him, but a few months ago he was threatened by a gang. He has to stay in solitary confinement just to stay safe. He is always fearful and as a Mom, I have been also. It is a living nightmare that no parent would ever want to go through. I have cried more in the past 3 years than in my entire life. God has been there every step of the way though. Our hope is in Jesus and this devotional is such a blessing. I will send it to my son. Thank you so much for sharing! To God be the glory!

    • Dee, I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s accident and imprisonment. As I read your comments, I was reminded of how Paul and Silas had an incredible encounter with God in prison (Acts 16). God’s is omnipresent and nothing can separate us from His love. He is with your son … even in prison. I’m praying for you and your son today.

  12. Your knowledge & guidance thru gods word & encouragement are so helpful, Thank you! My moms partner used to spy on me a lot & it became traumatic wanting to go to sleep. So I thought that by staying awake he wouldn’t have the power and I would be aware. I started creating a destroying habit that now 15+years later can’t break the pattern of, & he still spied on me during the day time, manage to put a camera in my room & althought I forgave him & my mom for knowing yet staying with him. I still can’t sleep at night! Your caring words & wanting to relate means a lot! 🙂

    • Lilia, I’m praying God will help you restore healthy sleeping patterns. I have another verse for you. Did you know God sings over you while you sleep? Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Since God does not sleep He is surely watching over you, so rest peacefully. Leah

  13. Dear Leah, you have been such a blessing to me today , as I had been struggling with a problem in my life and I really felt God was saying I want to free you from this and I prayed I would find some encouragement from my devotionals today and when I opened my mail there was your blog and the Proverbs 31 too, and I know I am being told to let go of constant issue with the scales and my weight which I have returned to after years , despite doing the made to crave study:( I need to realise I am set free from being in bondage and need to walk out that freedom in a healthy manner in my like.
    However when I read your blog and other comments I see that there are others going through far far worse situation and pray for them all and particularly dear Tammy on the loss of her husband.
    May we all know Gods Love Joy and Peace. God Bless you Leah 🙂

    • Lilia, I’m praying God will help you restore healthy sleeping patterns. I have another verse for you. Did you know God sings over you while you sleep? Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Since God does not sleep He is surely watching over you, so rest peacefully. Leah

    • Sue, I’m so glad God used my devotional to remind you that He sees your struggles and longs to help you overcome them. Jesus died so that you can experience freedom and walk in victory each day through Him.

  14. Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I really needed to hear them. My husband of 23 years has recently passed away and I have been so lost without him. From the date of diagnoses to the morning God took my Steve home was a total of 48 days. I am so glad he didn’t suffer, God is so good. I am asking for prayer. I need to know what direction God wants me to go. There are so many thoughts racing around in my head…I am so afraid and I don’t really know what I am afraid of. I am constantly second guessing myself. I don’t like having to make all of the decisions. In my mind the world has changed so much since I was a single woman I am afraid, truly afraid to face it alone.
    I am going to study the scriptures you have shared and try to shut out all of the negative thoughts the devil is trying to chain me up with. Please pray that God would clearly give me a direction to go…a job to support myself with and peace of mind. Though I know God is with me every second of every day, I feel so alone and lost without my Steve.

    • Tammy, I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. I’m sure much of what you’re feeling right now is due to grief and is expected, considering your difficult circumstances. I’m praying that you will sense God’s presence like never before and know that He is very near to you. That He will bring people along side you to help and support you during this great time of need. He will provide all of your needs. Leah

  15. I was molested has a child and told no one then to only tell a few people now has a adult. In my marriage, my current husband had a affair on me , that I forgave him for. Even though many years have passed and I look and seem to have it together – I’m not and I want to so bad!! I am determined to beat this and I know with God’s grace I am, just one day at a time. I want to be that whole person who is confident and not insecure, afraid because of what two men did to me. It’s been a long road and only God has took me this far and I know he will carry me to the finish line. I praise God and give him all the glory. Thank you for encouragement and Proverbs 31.

    • Nancy, your love for The Lord and trust in Him is evident and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as I know it will be a real source of encouragement to others.

  16. I long to break free of my anxiousness and fear. I am claiming joy, peace and hope instead. Thanks!

  17. Thank you….I am freeing myself from the past..

  18. Thank you, for your great encouragement and words of truth. I had to go to the ER this week with chest pains. I started my day babysitting for my 4 precious grandchildren (1 month old, 22 month old and 2 nine year old) when the pain began, I started calling family, I couldn’t reach any for awhile, but God gave me peace. When all the test began I still continued to have peace, I praise God for His Word and for the Proverbs 31 devotions I read each morning that led up to this day, encouraging me to Trust God in All Things. I thank Him for His Words that I do have in my heart that gave me the peace as each test started. I would have NEVER made it through the Cat Scan with out much prayer and repeating His Words back to Him. I, too, encourage others to hide His Words in your hearts and find peace that only He can give.

    • Susan, thank you for sharing how praying God’s Word and meditating on it during your health scare kept you peaceful and trusting in Him through the entire process. I hope you are feeling much better now. God is so good!

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