Isaiah 41:10

I have only a few memories before Balmorhea, Texas, but I do have one or two lasting impressions from the town and house we lived in previous to that. Balmorhea was small, but Toyah was tiny.  My dad pastored the Baptist church there, and my mom taught school.  We lived in a modest little house – strike that – it was a hovel. This desert village was depressing in every way. Even as three-year old, I knew this. In an effort to keep food on the table for three little ones, my folks had a chicken coop with about half a dozen laying hens and one rooster.

I’m normally not a fearful person, but there are a few things that give me pause.  For instance, I had an ambivalent relationship with chickens. There’s something about the way they suddenly morph from menial, docile, bug-pecking cluckers to fly-in-your-face talons of terror.   Of course, when I was growing up, “chicken” was a moniker no boy wanted to earn. It ranked right up there with “fraidy cat.”  The metaphor is supposed to be based in the idea that a chicken will retreat and flee when it feels threatened. That was not the case with these birds. They were full-fledged attack chickens.


Mamaw knew how to deal with such beasts, though.  In her day, she could make light work of a frying hen.  I remember how she would go in the back yard and slap a broomstick across the bird’s neck. She would then grab its body and give a firm yank, detaching the head from the body.  Again, a headless bird running straight at me, blood spurting from it’s neck, traumatized me.  I was running and screaming, as the Ichabod Crane of the fowl world was chasing me.

Finally, the chicken accepted its fate and surrendered.  I can still see the plucked and dissected offender, coated in flour, submerged in grease, and sizzling in the deep cast iron skillet. After my morning of fear, a new emotion began to emerge – joy, pure, unadulterated joy.  There is something extremely gratifying about eating your defeated foe.  I have loved fried chicken ever since.

We all face fears of some sort. Sometimes our fear makes sense, and sometimes it doesn’t. Most often, we fear things we have no control over, or we fear things that never happen.  Over 60 times, the scripture instructs God’s people to “fear not.” The only thing we are instructed to fear is God himself. I know, that’s easier said than done, but once we see how God intervenes in our fears, and even uses them to strengthen us, we can learn to fear less and be fearless.  After a while, we are surprised to realize we no longer fear the thing that once terrified and paralyzed us. We become more than conquerors.

Years later, when I was in high school, I landed an after-school job with Kentucky Fried Chicken. On my first day, they informed me no left-over chicken could be kept overnight, so it would be divided among any employees who wished to take some home. I was ecstatic! The manager laughed and said, “You are going to get so tired of chicken, you will hate it.” He lied; I took chicken home every night, and I never, ever got tired of it. My battle with bird-fear has long since been won, and I enjoy the spoils of war as often as I can.



Published in: on April 16, 2018 at 10:38 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Really liked this!

    • Thanks!

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