From Fear to Freedom

by Penelope Carlevato in Leading Hearts Magazine

WATCHING THE NEWS FLASHES OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL (AND MY NURSE FRIENDS) DRESSED IN BUBBLE HELMETS AND PROTECTIVE GEAR, I remember many times in my nursing career when I had to gown, glove and mask before entering a patient’s room.

A little chill ran down my back as I thought, Am I protected enough?

Am I safe? Even though I have carefully followed all the protocols to prevent the transmission of disease, am I still at risk?

As we travel this time of unchartered waters, I think back to those days when I worked in a large innercity hospital in Los Angeles. They were troubled times. They expected us to show up and work our shifts. Frequently I wanted to stay home and play it safe.

May we find God to be our strength for the days to come. Only our Father in heaven can relieve us of our fears.

I spent most of my nursing career in Southern California, where earthquakes, mudslides, riots and 911 were part of the early ’90s. Many days driving to work took me past buildings on fire or traffic lights swaying back and forth over intersections during an earthquake or aftershock. Freeways and significant roadways were blocked, and I had to find alternate routes to my home.

The outrage and protests of the trials of O.J. Simpson and Rodney King turned to violence and looting. Twice in a very short span, I encountered long drives home because of these riots.

Yes, I had many times of fear of the unknown, but I also knew I had a Heavenly Father who was with me and would guide me home safely.

Looking back on those scary times gives me peace and security for today. God will see us through this coronavirus crisis. Knowing His provision for times in the past is comforting and gives us hope for tomorrow.

Each of those situations was totally out of my control. Just as today, nothing is the same as it was several weeks ago. Our grocery store shelves are bare, the economy tanked, the virus is gaining in numbers of cases and death and it’s getting closer to home. Yet, there is one constant hope.

“The Sovereign LORD is my strength;” Habakuk 3:19

When will this end? In our finite minds, we want to have control over our timetables and predict if our summer plans are going to work out or not. But God is calling us to patience. With this time of slow-moving uncertainty, I pray we replace the fear of the unknown with praise. May we find God to be our strength for the days to come. Only our Father in heaven can relieve us of our fears. His perfect love will envelop our fear.

First John 4:18 — “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”

I believe all of us are praying for a spiritual awakening in our country. This time of pandemic will be over one day. Until then, reach out to others with love and grace. Let’s not waste this crisis.

“Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has.” —Billy Graham

My friend Robin dropped off a gift of cookies on our front porch this week. It was such a treat, and I felt her love and care. We kept our social distance and waved at each other from the porch. The cookies were so enjoyable. Maybe this could be a family project.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

1 ½ cup sifted flour 1 cup sugar ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon nutmeg ¾ teaspoon cinnamon ¾ cup shortening or butter 1 egg 1 cup mashed banana 1 ¾ cup quick oats ½ cup chopped nuts

Sift flour, sugar, soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening, then add eggs, bananas, oats and nuts. Beat thoroughly until blended well. Drop by teaspoon 1½ inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately and cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

Thank you, Robin.

Find great recipes like this in Penelope’s book: The Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic. Available autographed from

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