Don’t be afraid: In which we eat a lot of ice-cream

So in Zanzibar we celebrate ten years and Murray says he thinks we need a verse for the next ten.

A vision to hold us.

Like, knowing everything’s going to be ok because we’re heading home from the beach with ice-creams.

He says he feels the next ten years are about staying the course. Digging ourselves into the prayer trenches. We’ll parent from toddlers to teenagers in ten quick years and what happens in this next decade – it’s the big thing. We need to be heart-soul-mind-strength present on purpose.

We mustn’t – must not – drop our ice-creams in the sand.

We settle on Galatians 6:9 –

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

I laminate it and stick it on our bedroom mirror – ’cause I’m kind of cheesy like that –

And all hell breaks loose.

(Literally. Maybe?)

Five courses of antibiotics are consumed by this family of four in less than ten days. There are staph infections and spider bites and recurring bouts of flu and Scott decides one night to shave his legs. It doesn’t end well. There are publishing curveballs and infuriating Wi-Fi connectivity lapses. We have toast and tantrums for breakfast most mornings and tears at teatime on long hot difficult afternoons and I watch the days melt like so much mess of caramel swirl. There are insecurities and intimidations that really I should have dealt with by now. Well-meaning threats from those who cling too tight. Like, give them a lick and they take the whole ice-cream.

But our Scott turns four this week so I’m savouring what’s left of chubby baby days like last drips of sticky from Friday afternoon ice-creams on the kitchen step. I’m celebrating him and his soft heart heading brave into Big Boy.

And I want to say to him and mostly to me:

Don’t be afraid.

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Scott sang me his fruit of the Spirit memory verse this week. And I remembered what a friend had said, that, ‘Satan doesn’t have the Holy Spirit. So he doesn’t have the fruit. Patience is one of the fruit. So he’s not patient. Eventually, he will give up. You have the Holy Spirit. So you have the fruit. Patience is one of the fruit. Be patient.’

I want to say to my Scott,

Don’t be afraid to feel. And forgive. And ask forgiveness.

He asks me one night from the bath, ‘Mom, how’s it going in your heart with Jesus?’ I want him to keep asking. I want him to understand that sin breaks relationships. That we need to keep on finding each other in the soft strong circles of mercy. That no matter how violent and sweaty the tantrums that he and I others throw – we need to keep asking the hard questions. Keep feeling. Keep forgiving. Keep asking forgiveness.

I want to tell my boy,

Don’t be afraid to try.

At the school carnival the water slide is way higher than his assessment of the fun-factor. He leans into me reticent – but in the end he does it. Just once. And just once is enough because he sobs scared and startled.

And I want to say to him that he doesn’t have to love everything in life. He doesn’t have to love crowds and noise and new things. But sometimes he has to slide anyway. Try. At least once. And I will be cheering proud from the side, hoping to be splashed by some of his courage.

I want to say,

Don’t be afraid to lead.

He stands up in the trolley as I pile groceries around his feet – fist pumps the air and tells me jubilant, ‘I learning at school ‘cause I going to be a leader!

Murray tells me he’s convinced God is doing something big – with boys – in this generation. And I think how it’s the leaders who are mostly filled with fear. Because it can be terrifying out front. Pushing. Back. Boundaries.

And I want to encourage this little one to face his fears – not shrink easy from challenge or discomfort. Because those who make the greatest advances face the greatest fears. Those who are afraid are likely living on the edge – which is the most fertile place to cultivate faith.

So I want to tell him,

Keep scooping the ice-cream. Out of the sand, if necessary.

And don’t be afraid.

. . .

This is Scott singing his fruit of the Spirit memory verse this week:

Thanks for reading today. It’s seriously wonderful to share the journey with you. Please feel free to leave a comment, or share this with a friend who is facing fears. I’ll keep you posted with the final launch date of Dragons and Dirt. You can sign up to receive these posts by email, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” Daniel 10:19


  1. And so it is with most of our lives.

    But there are not many who are willing to make themselves vulnerable and humbly share the intimate details of their everyday life.

    Yet, isn’t that exactly what is most encouraging as we read a post like this: to realize that it’s not just our life that may suck at times; to understand that we all live in the same imperfect world and interact with imperfect people. Isn’t it, perhaps, this very imperfection that frustrates us, that somehow also grows our character; refines us, makes us more like Jesus when we allow Him to mould us through our circumstances?


  2. Great post. I have to regularly remind myself that we’re raising strong, bold, courageous and swimming-against-the-stream-of-the-world leaders when I’m overwhelmed by the task of raising two strong-willed boys. All too often I lean on my own abilities but I’m learning more each day to lean on God and trust His guidance in helping my treasures become all He has planned… Thanks for your inspiration. 🌸


  3. Great post. I have to regularly remind myself that we are raising bold, courageous, faithful, swim-against-the-current-of-the-world leaders when I’m overwhelmed with the task of parenting two strong-willed boys. All too often I lean on my own ability but thankfully I’m learning to lean on God’s wisdom more and more each day. Thank you for your inspiring posts. 🌸


  4. Seriously??!! Where do younger this stuff? Ok, from the Bible, obviously, but your gift for writing is amazingly fantastic!!! I am just so touched and humbled and excited after reading that. I have three kids 5 and under and I feel like saying- bring on the next 10 years! God bless you, Dalene! You rock and your obedience to God and the fact that you don’t hide your light under a bucket rocks even more.


  5. Dee, it has been so many years. I saw your post on Facebook and usually never have time to read things in detail, just a glance is all they usually get…but the comment ‘celebrating 10 years’ made me read it-as you know we are doing the same soon. Anyway, digressing here. Thank you for your post. The last year of our lives since Dad’s death especially, it feels like we have been trying to scrape up the ice-cream out of the sand. With 3 small children and our lives turned a little upside down, it’s been a bit hectic. I love your Galatians verse…love it! Lately we have asked God so many times, why. But you have yet again reminded me not to give up, we are working on the next generation-what an awesome calling that is! Not to give up as God is not finished yet….sometimes I feel like walking out at the interval yet he reminds me the show isn’t over yet..wait for the ending-it’s going to be a good one! He always gives us the strength we need to keep going on the path He has set for us. Anyway, now it’s turning into a sermon, I just wanted to thank you for your encouragement…it’s meant a lot to me especially now. Keep up the good work! God bless.


    • Wow, Lee, thanks so much for that… We think so often of you guys. What an insane time it must have been for you. Standing with you and trusting that God will sustain us through difficult seasons. Love the idea of not walking out at the interval…. Yes! 🙂 Much love xx


  6. Congratulations to the two of you. I just cannot believe how the time has flown.It never ceases to amaze me at the joy I get in reading your precious, wonderful emails.
    So inspiring and uplifting. I wish that I had access to these and experiences, words of encouragement, beautiful scriptures when I was a young mommy.
    Carry on with the wonderful work. God is using your
    talents in an amazing way. Good luck with your book and enjoy every moment in your forthcoming trip to
    Atlanta. With fondest love, Judy xx


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