In the Middle of Chaos


1 John 4:18-19 (NIV) 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.


There are two basic emotions, love, and fear-the root of all negative emotions.

In the midst of fear can we feel love instead?

I have.

Thirty years ago, when hubby and I searched for the perfect building to move my therapy practice, God gave me a three-part vision; a road name and a fenced back yard with a large tree with three trunks. The picture was so vivid! I thought God was leading me to build a therapy room for children in the middle of the trunks…but because of insurance, turns out, He used the vision to lead me.

With a real estate agent, we looked at lots of properties. But if road, tree, and fence weren’t there, I often refused to get out of the car. I did not doubt my vision.

Then one day a “zoned business” sign went up on a location with all three! That very day we pulled into the driveway and I said, “This is it.” We made an offer that afternoon.

On the day of closing I left the bank and called the city manager’s office to transfer my business license to the new address, only to hear him say, “Lady that’s not zoned business, you just bought yourself the Brooklynn Bridge. It failed an attempt to re-zone last year.”

I became dizzy I was so stunned. But deep within I also knew, because of my vision, this too had to be part of God’s will. Our Christian agent guaranteed he would walk through a rezoning attempt with us.

I began the grueling process of asking for signatures from neighbors and talking with a church that voted against rezoning the year before. With shaking knees, squeaking voice, documents on structural and parking lot changes, traffic flow statistics, budgets, business plans, projections, and pictures, I went before an open city council meeting to seek approval to request a zone change. The council agreed and arranged the last step, meeting with twelve city planners. That was where the former request had died in the water.

On the day of the meeting I sat alone on a hard bench outside the board room my lap piled high with my documentation. I was disappointed to learn that our mayor, the one person who knew me, had to abstain. While I waited, I prayed. But to my amazement, what I heard from the Lord was… not to open my files. Instead, go in and talk about love.




But I knew what I heard. I was mystified. There was no doubt I would follow what the Holy Spirit instructed (at the last minute BTW), but it meant I would be giving an extemporaneous presentation on love. I was clueless where to even start. Although I was too anxious to recall chapter and verse, I meditated on the fact that the Bible promises the Holy Spirit would speak through me if I needed it.

Luke 12:11-12 (NIV)  When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.

I might fail at re-zoning, but I would not fail at obeying Him. I felt blessed that either way the vote went, my hubby would understand and support my decision. So, I walked in there, looked at those stern folks around the table and started with, “I’m here to talk about love.”  At that moment, my fear vanished. I felt the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through me. My own words surprised me. Despite their frowns and looks of confusion, I looked from one to the other individually as I shared how hurting people need loving helpers to heal. Love would be the healer there, counselors the conduit.

As I spoke, I felt that love. I embodied it. It was as real as my breath.

My fear had turned to love.

I was directed back to the bench outside while they voted. I thanked God for the courage to obey and for that powerful feeling of love that had grounded me as I spoke, validating that He was with me. I felt joyous and peaceful. Even if rezoning failed.

The mayor came out and said, “Well we all agreed, that was stunning. No one has ever heard a petition like yours…and it passed unanimously.”

Love won. Teaching me that in any crisis or huge “mess,” God is in the middle. If I allow it, He will turn fear into love.


Please share when you have found God in the middle of a crisis.

In our world right now, do you feel strongly, like I do, that God is in the middle of it?


The Conversation

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    The Conversation

  1. Tammy Elliott says:

    Wow what a testimony! I would have loved to have heard that speech. I can only know that it was remarkable. Regarding these times, I do know that God is in the middle of it all. Due to the stress of numerous chronic illnesses, the stress of the pandemic and the fallout into other areas; I chose to start counseling with a Christian counselor. Although I started for those reasons, our sessions gave had very little emphasis on those fears. I have spoken things to her and not known where they came from or that I was going to say them. I know for a fact that it has been the Holy Spirit guiding me in my walk. It is truly amazing and I could have those talks for a lifetime.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Oh what a great thing to find a person “in the Spirit” that you can open up with. For sure you are experiencing “where two or more are gathered.” That’s an awesome testimony!

  2. Susan Seavers says:

    I was reading this and thinking of the hymn, “Trust and Obey!”
    Spirit lead lives have the best stories, because they are God stories! Thanks you for sharing. This encourages me in ways your can’t imagine.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I so love that hymn, “Trust and Obey,” it was one of my grandmother’s favorites as well. I would love to hear one of your spirit lead stories!

  3. Evelyn Johnson-Taylor says:

    I love this! It’s amazing what happens when we obey God. In this season with everything that’s going on in our world I feel the love of God covering me every moment. In times of crisis when I don’t know what to do I sense his presence and his love and it keeps me moving forward. I’ve had to make a lot of big decisions lately it is because of God‘s love that I know that he will be with me regardless of the outcome

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Thank you, Evelyn. What amazes me is how many crises we have on so many levels right now. Folks can get so beleaguered and hopeless. Sometimes it takes a crisis to get true clarity. I know you are a Godly woman and you know that you will be led in all of your big decisions.

  4. Jeff Ostrander says:

    Great story, Deborah! Well done.

  5. Also Deborah says:

    I find this stage of my life interesting and somewhat baffling at times but it keeps me moving. I find that trusting and believing that God is in control is a choice and where I chose to spend my energy instead of going to fear. I sometimes try to go to fear, then remember that too is a choice and so I chose to go to love. I now find that asking for intuitive insights on how to navigate life is what I prefer to do than to ask for solutions. I have learned from a great guide in my life to stop putting expectations around how God leads or speaks to me and to understand that my job is to be open to that still small whisper that if I am too cluttered with angst or other emotions, I can totally miss.

    Sometimes I want to rail that how is it someone happens at the last moment of conversation say something that gives me intuitive insight was barely said or barely heard and want to be frustrated or angry of how I could have missed that or why has someone else not given me that information then I remember that intuitive insight, what I chose to call the Holy Spirit leading me, comes as that still small voice and not as blaring sounds of trumpets. I am finally learning my only job is to be open to listening and then doing what I am being shown. Sometimes I want burning bushes, but you know, that is not how God has worked in my life. Not that God cannot work that way, but I do not want to put expectations on God as then I have learned I am limiting how God may want to work or chose to work in my life.

    I love that God spoke to you to speak of love. That is just like God, to jump way over our thoughts and expectations of what I am thinking I need to do or how to solve a problem and turn my world upside down but always in a great way that blows my mind and makes life so much better.

    I am going through so many transitions right now and that is okay too as I am watching to see where life goes at this point. I was tremendously disappointed that I did not spend more of my life in serving others but find that best gift I have to give is what I know and so I am helping others where I live for free to solve problems in areas that I can help. That is what I know and what I have to give, that is my gift. I also find that my other gift is to try to lower other people’s fears and angst in the area of my knowledge and to remind them that they are smart, they just do not have the information in this area and that does not make people dumb, that just only means they lack knowledge. I lack knowledge in so many areas, but this one I do have some knowledge so I try to share that. I am learning to let go of things that do not have meaning for me and to focus on what brings me joy and happiness and when I do that I am in a better place to bring joy and happiness to others.

    I cannot wait to read your first books and many more books to come. You have wonderful spiritual insights and this blesses me when you share your experience, strength, and hope, especially when it is so centered on God.

    • Deborah Maxey says:

      Wow. Just wow. What a beautiful post. I feel the Holy Spirit just reading it. Your walk sounds so much like 1 Kgs 19:12 After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.
      I think only the closest of relationships involve whispers 🙂 God must love you drawing close to hear. No flaming bush (right now) for you, he wants you close! I just have to remark on your thinking you have not been a helper all along. If I had a field of wheat and I wanted to feed the hungry, I would first have to plow the field, sow it, harvest the grain, grind it and bake it before I could give it away. It sounds like to me the Lord has had you busy in the fields and now you are at the feeding stage 🙂 Thank you so much for this beautiful reply and God bless you as you lean in to hear the whispers.