March 13, 2013

Held Back by Fear: Guest Post (and Giveaway!) by Katie Ganshert

In 2011, I stumbled across a website by this writer named Katie Ganshert. She was on the verge of having a book published. I thought we had a lot in common, and decided to email her. I was new to the online writing world and was shocked when she actually took time to write me back.

Since then, Katie has been such an amazing example of what a writer and friend should look like. And her latest release, Wishing on Willows (which come out next Tuesday!) is just as beautiful and poignant as her first, Wildflowers from Winter. See the bottom of the post for your chance to win an advanced reader copy!

Katie was kind enough to post today about a theme that plays a large role in Wishing on Willows: fear. Take it away, Katie!

My husband was watching an online sermon the other day and the pastor said something that surprised us both.

The most prevalent command in the Bible is Fear Not.

I don't know about you, but that wouldn't have been my guess.

I thought it would be something about love or obedience.

But no.

It's about fear.

I don't think that's a coincidence.

I don't think God got lazy or forgot to edit out a few redundancies.

I think all of us deal with fear. And I think more often than we care to admit, we let it hold us back from experiencing God's best for our lives.

Just look at the Israelites.

They spent two years in the desert before God told them to turn and take their journey. They wandered through the wilderness and when it finally came time to take hold of the Promised Land, they hesitated.

They were afraid.

What lay ahead of them was scary and unknown and foreign.

The desert was safe, familiar territory. After two years, they knew how to survive.

But man, God wanted so much more for them than survival.

He wants so much more for us than "good enough."

Yet how often do we miss out on God's best because we'd rather play it safe? How often do we miss out on fully experiencing Him because we're afraid to let go of the familiar?

The Israelites said no to God and spent the next forty years wandering in the desert. An entire generation of people missed out on the Promised Land because they let fear rule the day.

A year and a half ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a similar position. God was nudging us toward adoption, but the whole thing felt very daunting and scary. Life was good with our son. We were comfortable. We had a routine. Did we really want to mess that up?

We found ourselves in the same place as those Israelites. The same place as Robin Price in my second novel, Wishing on Willows. Staring at the mountain, afraid to step out of the familiar. Afraid to consider the possibility that perhaps God has a blessing out there for us in those uncharted territories. A blessing that would only be ours if we stepped out in faith.

Thankfully, we read our Bible.

We know fear is not from God.

So we have taken our steps. We're in the middle of an adoption and I won't lie. Quite often, it feels like I'm on shaky ground.

But in the midst of all that is uncertain, one thing IS certain.

We wouldn't trade where we are for the world.

God has been with us every step of the way. Pruning us. Sanctifying us. Drawing us ever closer to Him. Showing us daily, sometimes hourly, to fear not. To let go. To trust Him.

Come what may.

Your Turn: Do you let fear rule the day? Or are you trusting God to take whatever scary steps He's asking you to take?

**Lindsay here again. We are giving away an advanced reader copy of Katie's second novel, Wishing on Willows. The drawing will be random and is only open to U.S. residents. The drawing closes at midnight on Saturday, March 16.

**Those who pre-order Katie's book will receive 7 free devotionals, which includes a snippet from the book and touches on a theme from the story. Just go here to register once you've pre-ordered.

Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?

A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa,  she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.

As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.

With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances.


  1. I have to fight fear a lot.

    And I happen to just love that woman up there!

    1. And I love you right back, Wendy Miller!

  2. Katie, your posts always leave me hungering for more. This one is no exception. Love this line: Yet how often do we miss out on God's best because we'd rather play it safe?

    So excited for your second book and for your family's adoption journey! You're in my prayers, girl!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I know I'm guilty of letting fear hold me back more often than I'd like to admit! Thanks for those prayers!

  3. I love Katie and her books and her blog and definitely this post. Loved it. (Oh, you can leave me out of the drawing as I already have her book!)

    1. I can't wait to read YOUR book, Melissa! I know it's going to be a hit!

  4. The book looks great! Fear chased me down for the better part of my 20's. I just now am learning to push back. You are exactly right, playing it safe holds back so many of the dreams God has for us!

  5. Interesting that is the main command! I find that fear sometimes sets in when we step out on faith and follow God in some incredibly risky direction. We obey, then we sit there wondering if we HEARD Him right and if we were crazy to do that thing. And then, He comes along and verifies it and blesses us. Might take time, but He does! Great post today, Katie!

  6. Loved this, Katie. Thank you for sharing your heart. We continue to pray along with you as you travel the adoption road-- such an exciting, at times frightening time... and I love that you choose to stand on those "fear not" verses in them! I've also read that there are 365 occurrences of phrases centering on not fearing in the Bible... one for every day of the year.

  7. Someone counted and found there's a "fear not" for every day of the year. And I DO need my daily dose!

  8. It's funny how God works. I wrote this guest post a month or two ago for Lindsay and here I am reading my own words and everyone's comments and being ministered to. This adoption truly does have us in the midst of a waiting period like nothing else before. A waiting period that is of the pins and needles, losing my insanity, can't-focus-for-the-life-of-me variety. I find myself feeling desperate. Feeling crazy. Feeling like I want to throw a temper tantrum of epic proportions at varying times throughout the day. Being in a place of not-knowing is so very hard. And involves SO much trust. I really think I ought to look up every single one of those "fear not" verses and start meditating on them each and every morning.

    1. Katie, I feel that ache with you as I remember our adoption waiting periods. Truly, your heart to approach this season by rooting deeply into His word, His purpose in this season, is such a blessing to so many. I scribbled some thoughts down during one of our waiting periods over here-- and I share just in case there's any shred of anything in there that might be an encouragement to you during this time. Hugs!

    2. Thank you Amanda! Going to check it out!

    3. Oh my Amanda - you can't possibly know how much I needed to read that this morning. Thank you, friend.

    4. You are so welcome. I know I'm still learning those lessons, and I am praying every step of the way! I so know the ache-- but also the beauty-- of the waiting. So blessed to call you friend.

  9. Oooh! Two of my favorite people in one place today. Love ya both!

    I didn't realize "Fear not" is the most common command, but it makes sense to me. All too often I let fear, doubts, and insecurities creep in. Yeah, I'm a charter member of the Worry Warts club, although I wish I weren't. I do my best to remind myself of those important truths: God is in control, He wants the best for me, and I don't have to go it alone because He's always there. Talk about reassuring fear-busters.

    Please don't enter me in the drawing. I won a copy of Katie's book(!) and have another ordered on Amazon, so I'm good to go. I'd much rather see Wishing on Willows go to someone who might not have sampled Katie's writing before. I have, and I'm totally hooked--in a very good way.

  10. Fear not. *groan*

    I've also heard that Fear Not is the most common commandment in the Bible and it makes me think about two things: One, the reason God made this commandment so clear to us is because He knows Satan if the Father of all lies and he would be tempting God's Children to turn away from God in fear. There are two great emotions that all other emotions stem from, and they are faith and fear. We cannot allow both to rule - only one has the power to be in control. It's up to us to decide which one will rule over us.

    The other thing that comes to mind when I think of God's commandment to Fear Not is this: if He's commanded it, then I know we can do it! God never tells us to do something we cannot do. The thing is, we need His strength to do what He's called us to do. His strength is perfected in our weakness. Go to Him, admit your weakness to fear and ask Him to strengthen you against it - then walk in the promise that He has heard you and answered your prayers. (Like you, Katie, I'm preaching to myself today, too!) :)

    I can't wait to read Robin's story. She's been on my mind since I closed Wildflowers from Winter last year.

  11. I sure wouldn't have guessed that Fear Not was the most prevalent command in the Bible. Man oh man have I feared a lot in my life time and very ashamed to admit that if I would have just let go of that fear and let God, my life would have been so much easier. The latest of my heart thumping Lord what are we going to do now fear was in October of 2011 when my husband was out of a job. I was so gripped with fear that I was beside myself. Lord what are we going to do I cried out. We have no insurance...I have a history of breast cancer, what if it returns? How will we pay the list went on and on. When I finally released it into God's hands amazing things begin to happen. We have been blessed beyond measure.

    I would love to win an ARC copy of Wishing on Willows but please do not enter me. I gave up entering book contests for Lent. I just wanted to share with you how I learned when you give up your fear to God amazing things can happen!


  12. I can't wait to read this book! Pick me! :)

    Fear is so powerfully persuasive and deceptive. I struggle with it like everyone else. It's when it start to cross over to my actions that I really notice that it is pulling me in. And that's when I remind myself that "Perfect love casts out fear." We don't have to be afraid. We will. But we are never alone. Never abandoned. Never to far to be saved. Great post!

  13. Oops-- Lindsay-- I forgot to say, I also already won a copy of Wishing on Willows, so don't enter me. :) Thanks for hosting Katie today! You are two wonderful gals!

  14. Thanks Lindsay for having Katie here. I think he is a good one to look up to . Katie, I would love to win your book. We don't have to pre-order to win, right? Please put my name in for the drawing. Maxie

  15. Sorry Katie. I know you are not a he. LOL Forgot to edit. MAXIE

  16. Well, let's see. Of all the scary things He's asked me to do, never once has He walked me to the edge and yelled "Haha! Sucker, you're on your own!!!"

    And He never will.

  17. I'm trying to be brave but am fearful at times when I take my eyes off Jesus. Good to be reminded of where our focus should be.