Today, I am going to mesh together two separate journal entries for you and pray for an inspiring outcome (we will see what happens - don’t get your hopes up).
A few weeks ago I read a post on Mundane Faithfulness called The Unimaginable Power of Truth. One line (or idea) stuck out to me:
I learned to use peace as my measuring stick to Truth. If I lost my peace, “What lie am I believing?”
This has been flashing in my head almost constantly in the past few weeks as felt less joy filled. I have asked myself “What lies am I believing?”
And the answer is and has been: This is all going to end - something is going to happen.
In one word: Fear
If you know me than it is not a shock to hear that one of my biggest battles in life today is anxiety - I’m a worrier - I blame my Meme who passed this trait to my mother who passed this trait to me. (I feel like I’ve written that statement before) We are told over and over in the bible (I think actually about 21 times - at least that’s what google told me) to not fear. I know this, but still I struggle and I am telling you the struggle is real!
I live with a battle against anxiety and the one thing that will throw me into a full on panic attack is the thought of losing my life or any of my children (and yes, Matt, too). A few weeks ago I had two incidents that really pushed my anxiety to it’s limits (are their limits?)
It was a Thursday afternoon as I sat at my computer while the girls napped and I heard a thumping sound from the washing machine. I sat thinking, “it may be my sheets lumped together”, then I decided to see what was causing the sound - maybe it was a princess toy or even a shoe (it’s happened). I was horrified a I dug through wet sheets to find our iPod. In our house I have had the best track record with my apple products (knock on wood) and have had this iPod for five years. The girls had been using it in their room to play music while they slept. I remembered Morgan bringing it in my room and sitting it on my bed. I was so mad at myself for not seeing it as I pulled sheet off my bed and threw them in the washer. I pulled the wet iPod out, shook it off, and saw that it was still on (that was promising). I ran downstairs and frantically dug through the pantry (which is actually very organized at the moment - just saying). “How do we have no rice!” I exclaimed.
Flash forward to bedtime. The iPod was still working, but the speaker was dead. My blue tooth speaker saved the day and the girls were able to have music while they slept. They actually never realized anything happened, but my “something might happen” anxiety was on full tilt. I hate to say I didn’t believe Matt’s response when I asked, “Do you think it will catch fire?”, but nope I didn’t believe it for a minute. (Fire is a huge fear for me) I did my best to breathe, but I was wide awake at 1 am. I got up grabbed the iPod out of the girls’ room and here is where I sound crazy (you’re asking - oh, everything before this wasn’t crazy? Ok, Dana)
I stood in the hallway holding the iPod thinking, “Where can I put this so if it does burst into flames we can all get out safely?” You know, not in the hall, not downstairs (living in a two-story house makes my “we are going to die in a fire” fear worse). I wound up placing it in a far corner of our bedroom then I could sleep.I am happy to report the there was no fire in my house, but the iPod is officially dead - Which means it won’t blow-up, right?
So, since we survived perishing in a fire, I moved my thoughts to the four hour car trip ahead of us later that week. I always battle anxiety (true that!) when I drive Shelby half way to North Texas to meet her dad. Lately, it felt worse I think because she’s entering high school. I told Matt through tears, “I’ve got her this far and I don’t want to lose her now.” I normally leave the littles with their grandparents and borrow my father in-laws car because Shirley (the mini-van) is becoming less reliable. Unfortunately, my in-laws were not available this time. No worries, we pushed back the meeting time back and Matt joined me. It was going to be a quick trip (if you can view two hours there and two hours back as quick). I still had fear, but having Matt with me always helps. The first hour of the trip was great and I was in the driver’s seat, then as I was changing lanes we heard a thump like I hit a metal pipe. I wish it was a pipe - it was my front right tire blowing out. I automatically heard David Eckles (my drivers-ed teacher) saying, “Do not step on your break, coast to a stop.” And with all of the horrifying news stories I have read, I pulled WAY of the highway into the grass. Matt rolled his eyes (as he is doing now reading this) and said, “I cannot change the tire in the grass.” After I moved over some and Matt started changing the tire a scared voice in the backseat (Bekah) said, “Daddy is going to get dead.”
This is where I put my head in my hands and think, I cannot pass my crazy anxiety onto my children. Seriously, as I type this and it can be funny to re-tell, but I have to get a handle on my fears.
After her statement we prayed. All the girls still in seat belts held hands and all three repeated after me as we prayed for daddy, for the other motorists and for Shirley (because that girl needed some help). I felt such relief after that prayer which really did confirm that prayer was the way to handle this situation and reminded my of friend Stephanie from high school.
When I was a senior in high school I did not have a car of my own (which looking back was such a smart move on my parent’s part because I would have run off to California if I had my own set of wheels) (why is it that California is always the place you think you are going to run off to as a child - or is that just me?). Anyway, I would catch ride with my friend, Stephanie, home from school and to events. The first time I rode with her she got in the driver’s seat, shut her door, then paused with her keys in her lap. I was like, “Are you okay? What’s wrong?” She was praying. That girl prayed every single time she got in that car. Back in my late teens I thought she was crazy, but as an adult I sit here thinking, “That was so smart.”
Back to Shirley on the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere - we made it safely off the side of the road, but my spare was bad, so we wound up three hours from home in a hotel for the night. The Littles thought it was a great vacation, but really it was a very expensive “short” trip.
The past four days have brought even more fear, which I am sure people in my community understand.
I remember the morning of September 11, 2001 I sat on the sofa glued to the news. As I rubbed my very large, 9-month pregnant belly I thought, “What kind of world am I brining my daughter into?” Absolute pure fear raced thought my body as a mother to be (probably similar to what most felt that day).
This past Saturday morning, almost 14 years later a very similar feeling flooded my mind as I sat with my iPad reading the details of what happened just six miles from my home. Even today, as I write this I still ask, “What kind of world am I raising my daughters in?” I feel scared, angry and completely helpless all at once which only leads me to one place - prayer. I pray for our police officers, I pray for their families, I pray for the hearts of the people who feel the need to kill to get their point heard, I also pray for the families of those people as well. I pray that the Lord will bring peace to our nation. I pray for our government. I pray that we will have strong leaders that can guide us to becoming a peaceful nation. I pray for the safety of my family which includes a law enforcement officer. I pray for the Lord’s healing peace to reside in me and for the tears of fear to end.
What is stealing your joy today? What lies are you believing?
Are you like me and find yourself taken over by fear? Have you given those fears to God through prayer? Take time today to pray, pray out loud even - it’s very comforting.
Take it from someone who battles the anxiety demon, it takes effort to change our thought patterns, but it can change - at least I’m praying that it will.