My original title was Anxiety, Depression and Stress. I have found that people don’t just struggle with one and not the others. We all are very aware of these three evils that creep their way into our lives. In fact, it is different for us all. They affect each of us in different ways, to different degrees. They make it hard to function. To do life. To enjoy our kids. To sleep. To worship the Lord. To (fill in the blank)….. I’m sure you can fill in that blank with how they have affected you! For me personally, I was at a wall. I felt like I had no control. What was wrong with me? Why could I not get a handle on these life destroyers?
As I started writing, I realized this was going to probably take many blog posts so I changed the title and will focus on one at a time.
I really started to notice the anxiety after my first daughter was born. I became very fearful. I spent countless nights sitting on the couch over her bassinet just crying and scared that she would die. I didn’t want to sleep because I wanted to lay my hand on her chest and feel her heartbeat continually. Eric came in one night and I shared with him what was going on and he prayed with me and tried to encourage me, telling me to trust God. It was hard for me to accept that I wasn’t trusting God. I thought I did trust God. In fact, I was scared because He was the all powerful God and He had complete control of everything. I knew that if He wanted to take her, He could. This fear continued into my second daughter but increased with the fear of myself dying and who would be their mother. I really felt like there were times I had no control over it.
The fear and worry was always there but there were times that it was worse than others. I dealt with it the best that I could. I wrote letters to my kids and husband telling them how much I loved them. Music was helpful …Worship, Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, Caedmon’s Call. These brought me such comfort. I knew all the anxiety verses and prayed for the Lord to take it from me.
After my son was born, I started having health issues. This made things even worse. My letters became more detailed to each of my kids telling them how much I loved them, sharing the gospel with them and encouraging them in their life. I was scared. I was convinced every sharp pain was a heart attack. I felt trapped in fear. I was missing my life. There were times it would take over and I could barely breathe. I even had a panic attack and ended up in the ER. I was so consumed by all of it and that’s when I started acknowledging it as sin. Problem was…I didn’t know what to do about it as sin. I was literally in a battle!!!! AND I already felt defeated. Phil. 4:6 told me to be anxious for nothing BUT in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make my requests known to God. Okay… So that’s what I did!!!!
The Psalms became a big part of my life. I began journaling. They were my prayers. I was very honest. I felt like my journal was my Psalms. David’s Psalms is my favorite book. It is real and relatable. I love that he is so honest about his fears, his worries, his doubts, questioning where the Lord is, etc. The thing that helped me most was that after he was done pouring out his heart, he praised the Lord. He acknowledge who God was and gave Him the glory. I made a point to do this at the end of every journal entry. This helped put my focus where it needed to be. This was the thanksgiving from Phil 4:6.
I also came across two books that were very helpful to me…Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety became my second Bible. Elyse Fitzpatrick drew me in with the way she wrote. I felt like she wrote the book for me. She made lists of verses and who God is to us. When I started struggling…I grabbed my Bible, that book, and my journal. I would just open the pages of the book I had tabbed and copy them in my journal. After writing these truths down so many times, they became a part of my every thought. They were being etched in my heart.
Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” became real to me. All of what I have written is part of my journey. I see that now. God knows the whole story of our lives. He is the Potter, I am the clay. God allows things in our lives to bring us closer to Him, to know Him and enjoy Him. I am still on this journey. He is continuing to mold me. I still struggle with anxiety but all the years of memorizing and writing God’s truths prepared me to value it, treasure it…To hide it in my heart.
Psalm 119: 9-16
9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways.
16 I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.
My blog took a different turn than what I had planned to write. Maybe one day, I’ll share more in the anxiety and I’ll get to depression and stress!!!!