By Constance Fink
Their missionary career began as newlyweds in Nepal and ended abruptly two years later when their second child was born critically ill. Their unexpected relocation back to the U.S. forced a test of their faith in God as well as the strength of their new marriage. They had no job, no car, no house, no health insurance, and a newborn in the NICU ward.
JBU: Is this the situation that prompted your book, Moving From Fear to Freedom?
Grace: Yes, our daughter was born with hydrocephalus (an excess of water on the brain). Since the Nepal doctors lacked the necessary medical equipment, our only option was to leave our new missionary work and return to America. But the airline refused to issue me a ticket because I’d had a Caesarean section. So, I stayed back with our 20-month old son for a few days, and my husband and 3-day old newborn traveled ahead. I did not know if I would see her alive again. This situation had all the trappings of a perfect storm but it also made a perfect opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness.
JBU: In what ways did God meet you in your fear?
Grace: I was lying on the bed crying while holding my young son (who was also crying) and wondering what our lives would look like. I asked God what He wanted me to learn. He filled my mind with the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” renewing my hope that He was faithful no matter what the future held.
JBU: How is your daughter now?
Grace: She is 25 years old and married. She had 11 surgeries before age 2, and survived meningitis at 11 months. She still requires a shunt in her head.
JBU: How does a person move from fear to freedom?
Grace: We can focus on the “what-ifs” or we can fill our minds with God’s Word. Understanding God’s character is vital to moving beyond fear, for in His character lies our peace and security amidst life’s scary situations. Fear has two sides – an upside and a downside. The downside is that it can hold women hostage, robbing us of joy and preventing us from experiencing life as God intended. But the upside… that’s a different story. The very fears we face can become catalysts for personal growth and opportunities to know the Lord in a more intimate way.
JBU: Describe how to recognize a woman who functions from fear.
- If she fears inadequacy, she will refuse to accept new opportunities.
- If she fears rejection, she might be a perfectionist, or fall into an unhealthy relationship to find acceptance.
- If her fear is not dealt with, she may become a chronic worrier with physical problems.
JBU: What was your missionary experience?
Grace: We lived in a mud hut in a remote Hindu village in Nepal for two years in the mid-80’s. My husband was a civil engineer and I taught health care. When we returned to the U.S. to care for our daughter, we settled near Seattle. In 1996, God called us back into career ministry where we worked at a year-round Christian camp on an island off of British Columbia. Then in 2007, our lives took another amazing turn.
JBU: What is your current involvement?
Grace: International Messengers asked us to launch a Canadian office. We are the national co-directors responsible to recruit, train, and lead short-term volunteers and missionaries to Eastern Europe. My husband and I also teach parenting and marriage workshops, and I speak at women’s conferences.
JBU: What advice would you give to an individual who feels God is calling them to the mission field, but faces resistance from a spouse or child?
- Try to discern the cause of the fear: daily life in a different culture, learning a new language, raising finances, etc. Reassure them that fear is a normal human response but God’s character and promises are bigger than any fear.
- Consider a short-term family trip to the field. This often calms fears and captures the vision for God’s work.
- Be patient, allowing God to change their hearts. Do not force them or they may blame you in the difficult times.
JBU: What other books have you written?
- 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms is for mothers. Each devotional focuses on God’s character, and teaches moms to pray Scripture for their kids.
- 10-Minute Time Outs for You and Your Kids is for parents with children ages 6-13, with devotionals to help kids understand the character of God.
- Peaceful Moments to Begin Your Day: Devotions for busy women.
JBU: As a subscriber to Just Between Us for years, how has the magazine benefited you?
Grace: JBU is a regular dose of encouragement for me. The articles have depth and substance that teach and inspire me.
- Favorite Scripture passage: Ephesians 3:14-21
- Favorite Song: “It’s Time” by Brian Doerksen
- Favorite Hobby: Spending time with her 3 grown kids and 2 small grandchildren (#3 due in October)
- One fun thing she likes to do with her husband: Riding their Gold Wing motorcycle
To contact Grace:
- Website: www.gracefox.com