Looking Forward: Don’t Freak Out…

Last Sunday, I started a new Sunday offering on this blog, “Looking Forward”:

Grace for the next 7 days of our lives.
The minutes we’ve yet to live.
The memories we’ve yet to make.
The masterpieces we’ve yet to create. 

May we pause together tonight and ponder the future minutes, memories, and masterpieces the next 7 days may hold.


The first day of vacation and between the 4 of us, we have a gastrointestinal virus, terrible allergies, and an encounter with a jellyfish that left the youngest Branch with his right foot tattooed:


He was playing in the surf, trying to catch little fish with his net. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him leap out of the water and start running towards his mama who wears her heart on her sleeve when it comes to her babies. I bolted towards him after I heard him screaming, “OUCH, OUCH, OUCH!!!” over and over again.

We met in the middle of what seemed like 15 miles between us. I glanced at his foot, which was already red and starting to swell.

“Right there on top of my foot,” he gasped. “It feels like a wasp stung me, but wasps don’t live in the water!” My literal son…love him.

“No, but jellyfish do!” I informed him.

“WHAT! What’s going to happen to me?” he seemed a little concerned…

I helped him back to the house and gave him Benadryl while googling “what to do when a jellyfish stings you”.

While I was googling, Sean was sitting on the bed with his eyes closed talking himself out of a conundrum. He wasn’t crying, not even a tear. He talks to himself all the time, but it was what he was saying that caused me to stop my googling and whisper a prayer of gratitude in the midst of our adversity. He kept repeating to himself:

“Don’t freak out, Sean.”
“Don’t freak out, Sean.”
“Don’t freak out, Sean.”

He was truly focusing on calming his heightened emotions. Now, it’s a miracle I didn’t freak out. I didn’t panic. I knew we had Benadryl and I knew worst case, we would go to urgent care.

But, I learned something from Sean today, my youngest teacher.

When life stings you, it would be so easy to just give in and freak out. To work harder to make things happen. To lose sleep worrying. To panic and stop breathing. But, there is a better way.

As we look forward and pray about the upcoming week which will hold stings of all types, let’s follow Sean’s example and not freak out. Even if we have to say it to ourselves out loud over and over again.

Friends, let’s not freak out! Let’s pause, breathe, and pray for help.