Jude and I last Christmas- right before my usual worrisome self turned to straight out anxiety
For most of my life, I have probably been prone to worry about oh everything. I could (and still can) be very self conscious, not about myself physically, more the inside person. I would dwell on all the what ifs and fears and possibilities. Thankfully, it was partly anxiety that led me to Christ. However, as I've come to realize, Christ was never a quick fix. He is, however, a steady and faithful fix.
Fast forward, the years of a traumatic marriage, a difficult delivery, a traumatic divorce, and the reality of single parenting/extreme title 1 teaching/a lack of family, and the usual worries that I struggle with turned to actual anxiety attacks. Panic attacks. Last year about this time, I began to really struggle with just absolute panic related to being alone and what if what if what if something happened to me. Praise God, I reached out to my doctor and humbled myself enough to get a prescription, which when needed, helps me immensely. But the other beautiful thing, is that it allowed God to bring me to further trusting him. That kind of panic can really, truly feel like the shadow of death.
I've been doing good for the last year, and then the other night, it just hit me. I couldn't sleep for the sheer fear. I'm not even 100% sure what I was afraid of. Partly being alone. Partly it just felt like an attack. I have literally nothing to complain about in life. And it just hit me out of nowhere. Normally, its been like a snow ball that builds and becomes huge. Not an ambush like it was last night. And I kept thinking "if I can get this paralyzed by fear, how could I ever think I could go to Turkey, or Morocco, or Guatemala?" Which if that is what I'm doubting, that is a spiritual warfare attack.
I asked for prayer yesterday via facebook, and was wonderfully humbled by the # of people praying for me. I have truly felt covered today. This morning I felt like there was so much darkness and I just couldn't feel God's presence. This was so hard for me. I prayed that God would just show me He was there. I went to get my roll of index cards. (Back when I was struggling through the shame of divorce, I would write promises on these cards and carry them with me everywhere. Anytime doubt crept in, and it was often, I would go to these verses and just read them over and over.) I turned to one randomly in the middle this morning just to have something to meditate on. It happened to be the verse I know my pastor used to survive depression :) Isn't that just like God?
You hem me in- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me... even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
~ Psalm 139: 5, 12
Anxiety can feel like darkness closing in, but praise God, it's not dark to Him. He has me surrounded on all sides with His love, and He sees it all so clearly. He knows the way out, and I simply just have to fall into his arms and let Him carry me. I felt so comforted after He reminded me of that verse. And the rest of the day went well, to his glory!
In other news, I finished Joshua and Titus this morning. I was flipping through Joshua and I just don't know where to start because it's just so full of good applications. Look for that in the next days. And then also one on Titus. But for now, I leave you with two of my favorite promises from Joshua that fit so well with anxiety.
Be strong and courageous, Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9
You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. ~ Joshua 23: 14
For those of you who read this, while today was a good day, anxiety is a constant struggle. Both because of my own self, and because Satan knows this can get to me, and he seeks to destroy. Please know your prayers are coveted daily. Let me know how I can pray for you too. Do you struggle with anxiety? How do you find God helps you through it?