I could not have asked for a more beautiful October day. Sunny. Breezy. Mid-seventies. The girls had a great morning. After a week on fall break without naps, arguments, tears and hurt-feelings had become a daily occurrence. But today was different. There was a grace in the air that was bound to be releasing. Refreshing. Invigorating.
Yet, no matter the freshness. The pure joy and giggles from the most precious beings on Earth. Its grip was as ever-present as always. Suffocating. Disappointing. Thieving.
For anyone who has ever struggled with anxiety, you understand. How such a tiny moment in a day. Such a miniscule event. Even looking at an inanimate object…can trigger those feelings. The worry. The uneasiness. The disquiet. The persistent thoughts racing around-and-around on their continuous closed-circuit of your mind.
What those who have not suffered from anxiety might not realize is just how. in-tune. anxiety-sufferers. are. with. their. surroundings. Noticing something that n.o.o.n.e. else would ever even give second-thought to. Observing. Taking in. Letting those fears build. All the while, fully aware of how irrational the thought may be. Still, not having any control over it.
So, when something so trivial sparked an all-out flood of restless feelings on this most gorgeous of days, I. was. furious. How in the world was this thief able to strike again? In the glory of my own backyard. While watching the innocence of three incredible beauties. Enjoying all-things-Daddy.
I just couldn’t.
So I fought back.
I walked myself directly into the ring of laughter. Surrounded by our majestic forest of “pokey” (pine) trees, a favorite play-area rolling through the flat-land fields of our precious acreage. And breathed in. I prayed. I used every. ounce. of. energy. To just “let it go”. And it worked.
It was not going to win. Or consume even one more thought. Not today.
I took the deepest breath possible. And simply inhaled the beauty surrounding me.
My greatest anxiety triggers have to do with something harming my family. What others might brush off as “silly” or “not worth the worry”, consumes my every thought. And it can stem from anything. Anywhere. Anytime.
A few months ago, my mom was preparing for a second major surgery in six months. Naturally, a huge anxiety-trigger for me. What very few know is just how down and filled-to-the-brim with uneasiness and worry that I actually was. Just diving into the wonder of all-day pregnancy nausea. Feeling like the worst mama in the world for having zero energy during summer break to do much of anything with our girls. And preparing to pray overtime for such an incredible mother, who had already endured too much. The tears came daily. And poured out abundantly.
So I bought us each a book. My mom and myself. Since she was expected to be in the hospital for nearly a week recovering, I thought this would be the perfect way to keep her spirits (and mine) has high as possible. The problem was, we had literally just moved. And I had. no. idea. where. my. copy. was.
Until this day.
Isn’t it crazy? How things don’t play out as we may envision. Or wish. I wanted that book. Needed it. But I didn’t want to buy another one. So, I reread some other amazing words of wisdom through other outlets.
But when I opened the cover on this beautiful autumn morning, from God Will Carry You Through, my lost gem…the first pages and soul-filling words, could not have hit home at a more perfect time:
“You fear you won’t. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave . . . We wonder: Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? We feel stuck, trapped, locked in. Predestined for failure. Will we ever exit this pit?
Does God guarantee the absence of struggle and the abundance of strength? Not in this life. But He does pledge to reweave your pain for a higher purpose” (~Max Lucado)
Those last invigorating words…”reweave your pain for a higher purpose.”
So much “yes”!
Does suffering from anxiety stink? You bet. It is a daily battle. Some days, the load is feather-light. Other days, anchoring me down, with very little movement. But as ironic as it may seem, sharing my struggles with others. Through words. Support. Messages. Offers me such an incredible sense of purpose. Peace. Knowing that He is speaking through me to calm the waters in others’ lives:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (~John 14:27)
You see, at that moment of panic, all-consuming worry, drained energy, I felt the urge to surround myself. With joy. With sweetness. With untainted happiness. And in my doing so, I found myself right, smack in-His-presence. Encompassed from top-to-bottom. From above-to-below. And from side-to-side.
I asked for His love. His protection. And His grace. And He granted me those exact powers. To combat this enemy of mine. So that it did not rob this soul-quenching moment with my family. Or consume and paralyze me yet again.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
And on this day, He most certainly did.