This past week my Facebook Memories have been filled with pictures, videos, and stories from the trip to Hawaii my daughter, Dotty, and I took last year.  I know it is cliché to say but it truly was the trip of a lifetime. While I’m not necessarily a “beach person” (sea, salt, and sweat really aren’t my thing…I am a mountain girl at heart), I’m definitely a “Hawaii person.”  We stayed on the island of O’ahu and it was breathtakingly beautiful. 


The temperature was perfect, all the beaches were postcard worthy, the people were kind and gracious (and loved Texans), the food was fresh and delicious, and don’t even get me started on the flowers…a gardener’s paradise for sure!  I think I took more pictures of floral beauties than I did of Dotty, but sometimes I took pictures of my little beauty standing next to the floral ones so it wasn’t a total mom fail.

I seriously didn’t want to leave and more than once perused Zillow listings for possible home and store locations. 

I mean if we ever expanded the Pecan Shed I think Hawaii would be a great place to put in a new store.  I have a hunch the pecan could give the macadamia nut a run for its money.  At least I am willing to move there and give it a try!


Hawaii was everything I ever dreamed it would be and more.  I would hop on a plane tomorrow and go back if I could.  Now before you start thinking I am fishing for the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce to book me a free trip (I wouldn’t turn one down!) I will say Hawaii holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but perhaps the greatest one of all is because of my grandmother. 


Grandma went to 49 of the 50 United States before she passed in February of 1995.  Hawaii was the only state she never visited.  As a young girl, I loved to hear all her stories about the places she saw and the people she met.  I vowed to her way back then I would go to Hawaii myself someday as a way to honor her.  A little back story is needed here.  My grandma was my favorite person on this planet.  While I have often wished she could have met Dotty, I’m not sure my heart would’ve been able to hold loving them both at the same time.  I still miss her to this day and think of her often.


Grandma was old school.  She was hard core Church of Christ, never wore pants, cooked and baked better than any Food Network personality, and loved me like no other person ever has or probably ever will.  She was the mom of three boys.  She had four grandsons and (you guessed it) ONE granddaughter (see why I was so treasured!)  She put me in dresses with layers upon layers of petticoats and let me “twirl” for her until I got dizzy or until we were both pleased with how the skirt fluttered out around me.  She rolled my long hair in pink sponge rollers every Saturday night for church the next day and she bought me any doll I ever looked twice at in a department store.  (Side note:  To date she now has five great granddaughters.  I can’t help but think she has been hollering to Jesus “more girls…more girls” every chance she gets!)


My grandma also never learned to swim and she always claimed it was the reason she never went to Hawaii. Grandma would tell me, “If the plane crashed while over the open water I wouldn’t be able to swim to safety.” I would reply, “If the plane crashed you might have bigger issues than not being able to swim!” Her fear of water kept her from experiencing the awesome beauty of Hawaii (and other places that require trips across an ocean).  I know she would have loved the flowers, the food, the history, and the people.  Although I’m not sure how she would have liked a luau.  I am willing to bet she would’ve grabbed a tan elbow or two and suggested they might get bigger coconuts or a fuller grass skirt.  Heaven knows she commented on every swim suit I ever owned past the age of ten.


I never really understood Grandma’s fear of water.  Probably because I’ve been swimming since before I can remember.  I also don’t understand some of my friends’ fear of flying, but then again I boarded my first plane at the age of seven and I don’t enjoy long road trips.


The fact that Grandma never made it to all 50 states probably bothered me more than it bothered her.  But I often wonder if she did regret not going.  For this reason (and others) I pushed Dotty to do many things very young.  I wanted her to try new adventures before she learned to be scared of them.  Little did I realize my child is scared of very little and thus doesn’t need my pushing.  This trait alone has given me more than a few grey hairs already.


Before the age of four, Dotty had flown on a plane, was taking gymnastics, was enrolled in swim lessons, and was playing team sports.  Before the age of eight, she had been on any roller coaster ride she was tall enough to get on, had been snow skiing and zip lining, spent several sunny days being whipped around the lake on a tube (constantly asking to go faster), had been hunting, and had been put on many stages to sing, dance, and act.  Now as she finishes up the age of twelve, she has been on roller coasters on every coast and many in between, loves to practice driving (still wants to go fast), never shies away from any animal be it a kangaroo, stray dog, dolphin, giraffe, or anything else someone will let her feed or pet or hug on, still loves any stage (and the spotlight), tries to sign us up for every church mission trip regardless of where they are headed, will try just about any food you set in front of her, and can’t wait to go off to college someday. 


I have zero doubts these adventures had way less to do with me pushing her to try new things and are all about the adventurous nature God Himself gave my sweet girl.  But I never doubt kids are more fearless when mommas are standing close by to catch them (or to cringe and have an icepack handy and the local ER on speed dial).


All this to say (God bless your heart if you are still reading this) that I never want Dotty to fear things so much she misses out on wonderful opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime.  You might be asking, does she get her fearless nature from me?  That’s a hard no.  I have absolutely no plans of skydiving, bungie jumping, swimming with sharks, owning any animal other than a dog or cat, snowboarding, singing on Broadway, studying anything that has bodily fluids, water skiing, or moving far, far (did I mention far) away.  Dotty wants to do all this and more!


But these fears pale in comparison to some others I have:


I fear things like letting myself be vulnerable.

I fear failure…as a parent, business leader, and just as a person in general.

I fear getting hurt emotionally or mentally.

I fear having regrets.

I fear letting go of control.

I fear God won’t answer my prayers.

I fear God WILL answer my prayers.

I fear opening myself up to the Will of God. (What if He wants me to take a mission trip to some place without AC, clean running water, or Dr. Pepper?)

I fear stepping out of my comfort zone.  (Clearly.  See the point above.)

I fear being great because with greatness comes scrutiny, criticism, and all kinds of haters.  (You just sang that Taylor Swift song didn’t you?)

I fear walking down the street and asking my neighbors if I can pray for them.  (What if they ask me a Bible question I don’t know the answer to or what if they ask me to pray about some really hard issue I might not have the words for?)

I fear a lot of things Xanax and meditation would have a hard time dealing with.

I know fear is normal and serves in many cases to keep us from harm.  My fear of dying in a tornado caused me to buy a house with a storm closet built in.  My fear of skin cancer causes me to put on sunscreen.  My fear of ridicule from my preteen causes me to bypass all the pictures of ladies with bangs on Pinterest the night before a haircut.  These are all good forms of fear. However, fear can hinder us.  While some great programs, classes, groups, techniques, tricks, and drugs have been created to help people overcome their fears, some fears just don’t go away.  I am certain even if my parents had enrolled me in Toastmasters by the age of six I would still, 34 years later, be petrified to stand in front of a group to speak (nothing against Toastmasters.  I know several people who have grown greatly with the program.  I am just TERRIFIED of public speaking.  Like check my blood pressure I could very well stroke out kind of terrified.)

Fear is nothing new under the sun.  In the Bible, the phrases such as “fear not” or “do not be afraid” are used many times.  Often these were used before a person was called to do something they more than likely didn’t want to do or didn’t think they could do.  (Anybody just picture poor little Mary standing before an angel hearing she was going to be the mom to the next king?)  God knew they felt this way.  Over and over again God reminds us He is with us and with Him all things are possible.  On our own we can’t face down hungry lions, corrupt rulers on a power trip, giants with an even bigger ego, Red (green or blue) Seas, floods, famine, fortified cities, or friends who turn out to be foes. 

On our own we can’t face losing a job, a sick child, the death of a loved one, cancer, natural disasters, social unrest, and Satan himself.  But with God…we can face anything. 


I still have less than zero plans to swim with sharks or bungie jump.  Hot air balloon rides and dating again are on the maybe list.  Just typing the words “public speaking” makes my stomach flip upside down.  Thinking about raising a teenager and someday letting her go off into the world makes public speaking look easy.  A mission trip someday (at least one with the hopes of running water…AC and Dr. Pepper are negotiable) is a definite possibility.  A trip back to Hawaii is a must. 


In Hawaiian Aloha is used as a greeting and when parting.  Mahalo is used to express gratitude. 


In life fear will come and go and I am grateful for the lessons it will teach me and the blessed assurance and peace it will cause me to seek in God alone.  Mahalo, for reading this article to the end. 

Aloha to Fear
by Jill Montz

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