‘Fraidy Cat Confessions is moving!

Hello again, faithful confessers! It’s been a long time since I posted an affirmation, and I’m sorry for the lag. But I want to let you all know that I’ve moved ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions to a dedicated website. I’m still feeling my way around – HTML is not yet my friend – so I ask your patience with the changing layout. But the content is the same!

Please go sign up for new posts and encouragement to live outside of fear. Leave comments, prayer requests, and confessions at shelleyring.com. I look forward to seeing you there!

Keep confessing the truth!

I will call on the name of the Lord

I’m a strong believer that faith in God is far-reaching. Farther than we can begin to comprehend, in fact. I’ve talked to so many people who seem to believe that God’s help is limited to the spiritual realm. Salvation, grace, mercy, all that intangible stuff.

I disagree.

The Psalms are full of confessions that God saves, that He is a very present help in time of trouble, that He watches over us. While we put our trust in Him for the afterlife, not many of us put our trust in Him for THIS life. And we get caught up in bad decisions or poor thinking that seems to rule every earthly action. (I’m so talking to myself here.)

Negativity and depression want to rule my life. Wallowing in poor decisions of the past, I’m in danger of missing the glory and power He has for me today. What a perfect time to give those decisions, mistakes, and regrets to Him! Today’s confession, from Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13, relieves me of the guilt and shame of the past.

I will call on the name of the Lord.

When I doubt His promise to deliver me, I will confess this truth. And I’ll turn to Psalm 121 for reinforcement. Especially meaningful to me is verse 5: “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.” It gives me visions of being hidden in His shadow. The enemy passes right by, never even seeing me, because the Lord hides me in a protective shade.

I will call on the name of the Lord today. I will not fear because He stands beside me.

Do you believe God’s help is limited to spiritual things, or does He ever intervene in a tangible way?


Nothing is impossible with God

The last two weeks have been an interesting time in my house. For the first time ever, I’ve battled panic attacks that threaten to lay me flat on the floor, gasping for air, sure my heart is going to come to a dead stop. Or I’ve nearly climbed the walls with anxiety that sends adrenaline soaring and blood screaming through my veins. The only thing that keeps me from showing this panic to my children is reciting Psalm 23. I’ve also watched my four-year-old son scream, unable to catch his breath, and almost throw up in fear. I have no idea what he’s afraid of, but it seems to control almost every move.

I make light of my own panic because there’s really no reason for it. (Not that the realization stops my fear, but it is true. Forget what seems to be real; the truth is that I have not been given a spirit of fear. Realizing it and confessing it is the first step to making it real for me.) But seeing it in my child is a different matter. Fear – and overcoming it – is hard enough inside my own head. How do I teach my son to recognize the truth and fight against the fear?

The only way I know is to speak the truth over him, over our entire family. We move forward with normal activities, and if I have to leave him with a Sunday school teacher or a Bible study teacher, I pray and trust God to take care of him. Doing this, I’ve seen the fear we both experience recede. I love today’s confession (the ‘I’ in our alphabet of confessions) because it speaks to the myriad of reasons I battle breathtaking fear.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Do you really believe this? We serve the God of the impossible. What are your dreams or goals? What are your wildest prayers? Here are a few of mine, and what I think of when I pray them.

Establish a successful storytelling career? Impossible.

Raise happy, healthy, Jesus-loving children in a world of pride, excess, and indulgence? Impossible.

Banish all forms of fear, and embrace the future and the hope He plans for me? Impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 says so. For that reason, I’ll continue confessing the truth over myself and my family. My God will make a way, and the impossible will become possible. Beyond that, the possible will become achievable. Nothing is impossible with God.

What impossible things have you seen God do lately?

He is the Lord who heals me

I told my sister this morning that being an adult is far harder than I thought it would be. Must we choose between our dreams and reason?

When I was younger, I watched my mom and dad do the things parents do. I never wondered if they had dreams, but I wonder now. They went to work, probably paid all the bills, cooked meals, cleaned the house, set healthy boundaries for us, and generally gave me a wonderful, wholesome, sheltered childhood. They argued, but they laughed too. I remember game nights (Scrabble from the vantage point of Dad’s lap, anyone?) and bacon waffles for dinner. I remember feeling safe. Loved. Unafraid.

Then I grew up and realized I had to do what they did. And I might have to choose between my dream or living responsibly.

I’ve been editing my second novel and trying to get started on the path of public speaking while taking care of two littles who are by nature demanding, loud, and cuter than anything I’ve ever seen. Is the responsible thing to continue pursuing my dream, believing God will show favor? Or am I to abandon it and the faith that I can do all things through Jesus Christ? Life is uncertain. I struggle with depression, discouragement, anger, and a boatload of disbelief.

But I don’t have to live with it.

Today’s confession is important because it proclaims the truth about God’s power and promise in light of my struggles. Exodus 15:26 says, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

The first part of that is important because it leads to the second part. It tells me what I have to do to get the promise. If I listen carefully to the voice of the Lord my God. Do what is right in His sight. Obeying His commands and keeping His decrees. The promise is protection. And today’s confession is deliverance.

He is the Lord who heals me.

Whatever my struggle, He is the Lord who heals me. Uncertainty, depression, discouragement, anger or doubt, none of these things are bigger than my God. He is the Lord who heals me. Whatever you fight today, know that God is capable and desires to heal you. Confess the truth and keep the faith that He loves you and wants to bring bountiful blessings to you. Then step out in that faith and expect them to happen.

What is your big dream? Are you doing something to make it happen?

The Lord is my deliverer

It is late and my family sleeps. (Well, my littlest little fusses in bed, but she’s supposed to be asleep.) The night is dark, quiet, seemingly peaceful, but I know…

Women in my own city – in every city across the world – are held in bondage.

Children lie terrified in their beds.

Men sit with their hands fisted in their hair, fighting the urge to do something drastic to make a little money for their families.

We need deliverance, and it feels more urgent now than ever before by listening to people. We’re looking for someone to rescue us from the pain, hopelessness, and fear.

My husband and I watched The Hunger Games movie today. I’ve read the books, but one line from the movie reached out and snared me. I don’t remember if it’s in the book. President Snow says, “There is one thing stronger than fear. Hope.”

Like many people, it is at night that fear grips my heart hardest. With an unrelenting hold, it flashes my worst nightmares in front of my mind’s eye. It tells me I’m not enough, I’ll never make it, and my family will suffer unspeakable pain. I might listen but for the still small voice that nudges me to hope.

What a powerful drug hope is. It encourages us to keep going, to fight against all odds. It picks us up by the bootstraps and kicks us in the pants. That still small voice carries the promise of hope to my spirit. It reminds me that the Lord is my deliverer, and He is coming.

Psalm 18:2 makes me think of someone who has nothing left, someone who is holding on to the last thread of hope with all his might. He holds on, knowing the truth in spite of appearances. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

The Lord is my deliverer.

I don’t know why people suffer, why children are abused, or why God doesn’t just smite the offender where he or she stands. I only know the truth I choose to believe. Yahweh, God Almighty, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is my deliverer. A day will come when we don’t suffer. Children will be loved and cherished. Justice will prevail because my deliverer is coming. Will you confess it with me?

How will it change your life today to believe God is your deliverer?

You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety

Happy Friday, Confess-ers. Today we have a special guest post by Beth Vogt, author of Wish You Were Here, a May 2012 Howard Books release. Beth talks about personal fears that authors hide in their fiction writing, and the truth we can all realize by reading fiction. Enjoy!

Here’s Beth:

The Truth Hidden in Fiction

It’s said that novelists weave little bits of themselves into their characters. We’d never put a footnote at the bottom of the page cluing readers in: The main character just recreated a moment in the author’s life. So distracting, right? But rest assured, you’re catching glimpses of the author within every novel you read. And why not? We know our strengths and weaknesses so well.

In my debut novel Wish You Were Here, I gave my heroine, Allison, one particular personal characteristic. Not my hazel eyes. Not my love of jelly beans. Not my size ten feet.

My fear.

Fear and me? We were companions for far too many years. I know what it’s like to be afraid … and to find blessed relief from unrelenting fear.

Rather than share a time when I was anxious, I thought I’d share a time when Allison battled fear.  But remember: you’re catching a glimpse of me.

Setup: Allison’s off-kilter since pulling a Runaway Bride redux on her wedding day. In this scene, she’s scared she’s about to make another disastrous mistake. She’s crawled into bed and is talking on the phone to her best friend.

“. . . I’m going to bed. I’m tired, that’s all. It’s been a long day. A long week.” Allison twisted onto her side, moving her legs back and forth, trying to create some body heat.

“Okay, Allison. I can only imagine the stress of putting your life back together after canceling a wedding … Are you going to be okay? Do you want me to come over?”

“No, I’m good. It’s late. We’ll talk tomorrow. ‘Kay?”

“All right. Tomorrow it is, then.”

“And Meggie?”



“What are best friends for? Talk to you tomorrow.”

Allison flicked her phone shut and tossed it onto the end of her bed. She turned her back toward her bathroom, wrapping her arms around a pillow.

Just stay in bed. In peace I will both lie down and sleep . . . in peace I will both lie down and sleep . . . just stay in bed . . .

What helped fictional Allison resist the oh-so-strong pull to give into fear and make a wrong choice? The same truth that very-real-me clung to when I laid awake in my bed: Psalm 4:8, which reads “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”  (NIV)

Sometimes it’s not about being brave enough. Sometimes it’s all about resting in the sweet assurance that we can crawl into bed, too tired to fight the battle, knowing God is awake all night long. Trusting He is standing watch over us – and that we dwell in supernatural safety.

Beth K. Vogt’s novel, Wish You Were Here, debuts May 2012. (Howard Books) Beth is a nonfiction author and editor who said she’d never write fiction. She’s the wife of an Air Force physician (now in solo practice) who said she’d never marry a doctor–or anyone in the military. She’s a mom who said she’d never have kids. Beth’s discoverd that God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” Join the conversation over at Beth’s blog, In Others’ Words.


A big thanks to Beth for standing in for me today! I’ll take a note and begin confessing Psalm 4:8, one of my favorites because it’s gotten me through many terrified nights.

You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Whether I’m afraid of the dark (and what seems to be hiding in it) or afraid of the daytime and the living I must face, the Lord makes me dwell in safety. I’ll be confessing this into the weekend as I meet with someone who will challenge me to confront my fear of speaking – and of being found lacking. “You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

What fear will you confront this weekend?

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Day two of my alphabet of affirmations, and I’m forced to choose again. It’s a difficult position to be in. How do I decide between confessing my own blessing, salvation by the blood of the Lamb, God’s bountiful work on my behalf, and His glorious beauty? Let’s not forget to bless the name of the Lord.

I can’t do it. I can’t choose just one of these, well, beautiful affirmations. We might have to begin confessing multiple truths a day while we go through the alphabet, people. Don’t complain. There are worse things – like not recognizing the abundant nature of our God and His love for us.

One of the things I love about searching for an affirmation and confessing it all day is the song God puts in my head as a result. I’ve had two of them lilting through today, keeping my perspective and attitude where they should be. (As I write this, He puts another into my head. How awesome is He!)

Chris Tomlin’s version of Blessed Be Your Name. This comes from Psalm 113:2: “Blessed be the name of the Lord now and forever.”

And this song by the David Crowder Band. “You make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?” Ecclesiastes 3:11 in The New Living Translation says, “Yet God made everything beautiful for its own time.”

I love this version of Jeremy Camp singing Beautiful One. “Beautiful one I love. Beautiful one I adore. Beautiful one, my soul must sing.”

You can’t go wrong with any of these confessions. For myself, I’ll be blessing the name of the Lord, and maybe doing it in song if no one is listening. Care to join me?

Blessed be the name of the Lord now and forever.

I’ve heard it said that I can’t outgive God. Does that mean if I bless His name, He’ll bless me more and more? Possibly. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 spells it out. But that’s not why I’ll do it. I will bless His name because He is worthy of blessing. And if I happen to get through the day without fear, well, that’s just a BONUS.

What is your favorite song to bless His name?

God is almighty

I found a very cool post last week where the writer made an alphabet of affirmations. Check it out here. I liked it so much, I thought I’d love to do one myself. It’s the ultimate craft that will serve everyone. And I can make more than one, using each for a month and rotating or turning them into calendar gifts.

With that thought, I’ve been pondering an ‘A’ affirmation. There are many. Authority. Abundant joy. Ask anything in Jesus’ name. Anything is possible if you believe. Then I landed on the one that spoke volumes to my spirit: Almighty.

I began this blog to confess the truth about my power in Christ. Only by focusing on Him can I move past these fears. His authority over all creation and His love for me determines how I live my life. The truth is that Jesus is truth. All He is, all He did and does for me, all His love for me; it’s truth that transforms. So today’s truth and the beginning of my alphabet affirmations focuses on His nature.

You are El-Shaddai, God Almighty.

By confessing the truth about who He is, I remove myself from the situation. Fear becomes irrelevant. This Hebrew name for God comes from Genesis 17:1, where God makes a covenant with Abraham and promises countless descendants. In doing so, He declares His awesome power and love. Who but the Creator of the universe could turn a ninety-nine-year-old man and a ninety-year-old woman into parents? And who but God Almighty could make them happy about it?

If He could do that, He can surely transform my life. He can take these fears, as big as they seem to me, and replace them with peace and assurance. He can make my life into something that pleases Him. And He can do it for you too.

Does it change your outlook to focus on God’s character?

He sets my feet on solid ground

When I was pregnant with the biggest little, I worked for a publishing company. It was nearly my dream job (not counting the best-selling author dream), and I knew everything would change when the baby came. Would I go back to work after maternity leave? Would I work full-time? How could I manage work AND a baby?

God continued to reassure me in those days. I remember walking up the stairs to my department floor and looking down at my growing belly. I felt Him telling me to trust Him, that He would plant my footsteps even if I didn’t know what I was doing. What a relief! And after the baby was born, I did indeed need Him to plant my footsteps. As if everything else wasn’t enough, postpartum depression hit hard. I turned to my Bible and prayer to get through those frightening, bittersweet days. This is just one of the pieces of Scripture I relied on:

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:1-2

What comfort to read that the Lord turned to me. I picture a loving, compassionate Savior opening His arms, offering solace and rest from the confusion. For months, I imagined Him actually planting my feet on solid ground and keeping me steady. I still picture that, especially when life looks a little too chaotic for my comfort. (That would be almost an hourly basis!)

This weekend I began chipping away at my fear issues, which brings back the need to realize how He sets my feet on solid ground. Even when I don’t know where I’m stepping or where I’m going, He knows.

He sets my feet on solid ground.

As I pursue potential leads and opportunities, I will come up against all manner of opposition. Fear is just the beginning. But He sets my feet on solid ground. Isn’t that what He’s been trying to tell me all along?

Where are your feet planted?

His grace is all I need

God is not the most powerful force in my life. Fear is.

Did you know many (if not most) people fear public speaking more than they fear death? More than they fear spiders? NO WAY. But it’s true, according to this very interesting fact sheet. It seems the root of this fear is related to self-presentation and can begin manifesting as shyness in childhood.

I’ve never considered myself afraid of public speaking. I’d much rather face a packed stadium than one lone, crazy-fast, skittering, deadly spider. (Aren’t they all deadly??) I can stand in front of a group and give a presentation if necessary, but I am absolutely terrified to dwell on how the audience received me. This goes back to my last post on grace and doing everything perfectly. I have a big fear of not being good enough.

Phew! I won’t ask how you received that… The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with my spirit. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with my spirit.

Now that it’s out there, it’s time to deal with it. Time to face my fear. It’s time to book a speaking engagement. Enter hyperventilation and numbness in the tongue. And enter today’s confession from 2 Corinthians 12:9.

His grace is all I need.

Paul is describing his plea with God to remove the thorn in his side in this section of 2 Corinthians. We never find out what that thorn is, but we don’t need to. God’s answer made it irrelevant. “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

I like the way Paul thinks. He can boast about HIS weaknesses because that’s not his focus. The success he’s gained is fully credited to God. But there’s more to the story.

Paul didn’t rest in his weaknesses. He didn’t hide in a dark corner and cry that the thorn in his side made life and ministry too difficult, too taxing, or too overwhelming. He took action in spite of his hardship and God gave him grace. It reminds me of James 2:26. “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.” I say I have faith, but is my faith strong enough to push past my fear of being found lacking?

It’s time to find out, fellow ‘fraidy cats. Before I can book a speaking engagement, I have to prepare. Even that takes faith – and heaps of grace – because my brain tends to freeze when I think about what to say. Still, I will step out in faith and prepare my topic. The next step is to call local organizations and ask about their speakers.

My heart is pounding so hard I think I’m going to pass out. But isn’t this what it’s all about? Doing the things I’m afraid of to show that God’s grace is bigger than my fear? Fear will no longer be the most powerful force. His grace is all I need.

What is your biggest fear?