By nighttime I am hanging on by a thread. The cloud of anxiety having grown darker as the day wore on and now my tank is running on empty. How will I make it tomorrow, when I’ve got nothing left tonight? What about work and the appointments and all the rest? It’s hard to see a way. When its dark it’s hard to hold on to hope. Maybe you are there too? With the empty tank? Let’s turn together to the promises that stand when we cannot. These are the lifesavers.
You don’t need to have to have the strength to go on. You just need Him. -Ann Voskamp
Truths to hold on to
- there will be NEW mercies for tomorrow. Me and the Israelites, we are two of a kind. I want to hoard up today’s mercies for tomorrow, you know…just in case there aren’t enough tomorrow. But He promises there will be. New mercies tailored for tomorrow’s day. Cling to the promise of new mercies and do not despair at your empty tank.
- there will be wisdom. Those decisions that need to be made, meetings that need to be attended? how? Well He has just the thing for you: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5) He gives generously. And I think its one of those instances where we don’t get because we don’t ask. Lets ask, because He will give the wisdom that is needed for the day and he wont think less of us for our lacking. Thank you God for grace!
- there will be strength: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa 41:10), ”I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13), and “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Ps 73:26)
Now let us approach the throne of mercy and grace, and our Father to help us believe these truths and rest in them tonight.
She approaches me after the chuch service had finished and lowers her voice.
“What you told me about, a long time ago? The anxiety? Do you still struggle with that?
Why is she asking me this? Why now?
“Well, all week I have been feeling God telling me to pray for you regarding that, and I wanted you to know.”
I nod and say thank you and hug her. She moves on to talk to someone else.
But me? I am replaying her words in my mind. How could she have known? I had not spoken to anyone about it, about the anxiety that had resurfaced this past week. The racing thoughts that suck everything out of me.
And in that moment I knew. I knew all over again that God loved me. So much so that He moved her to pray for me. He was listening to my cries, even when I felt differently. It amazes me, when the God of the Universe so tenderly reaches down to let me know that He knows.
And on the hard days and weeks, giving thanks is all the more important…and when I am freshly aware that I am broken? I can see Him everywhere…
473. god whispering to her to pray for me
474. My mother, on her knees, praying for me
475. Friend who says “I am here”
476. the constant connection with God through prayer…how had I forgotten?
477. Strength to get up, strength to go, strength to do
In the school yard at lunch time I could hear their snickering. One breaks away from the group and makes his way towards me. I want to disappear. To be invisible. He blurts it out when he reaches me “You look like a refugee from Africa!” then runs away.
I retreat further inside myself.
And so I learn that what I see in the mirror is not okay. Over and over it is confirmed by cruel remarks of children who cannot understand the long-lasting damage they are causing.
While others have wished to trade spaces with me, I had to endure years of bullying and being made fun of. Always “too skinny” and nicknamed everything from Olive Oyl to E.T I wanted to hide my skinny legs and knobby arms, to be able to buy clothes that don’t have to be taken in. Wanted to be normal, to blend in so no one would notice me.
The years passed and the children grew. But the little girl? She was still in me. She hated swimsuit season and squirmed at male attention. Don’t believe them when they tell you you are pretty, they are only making fun of you, she whispered to me.
She never wore shorts. Show off those chicken legs? No thank you. Thanks goodness for capri pants. Show just enough leg to get by in the hot summer. But anything above the knee? Absolutely not. I know what they are thinking when they stare.
But you know what? I got tired of listening to the little girl and I started listening to my Father. I am a masterpiece. His masterpiece, created to look like Him. How dare others criticize the work of the Maker of all? How dare I?
This past summer I went in the store and bought a pair of shorts. Probably the last time I wore some was when I was 10. Went home and shaved past my knees! Wore my shorts….in public!
And I smiled.
Smiled because I felt free. Free from the voices that taunted me for so long. Free because I now know I need not listen to them anymore.
I don’t know what that small critical voice tells you (because I’m not the only one who hears it, right?!) but I do know there is only one Voice that matters. That of your Father. He has fearfully and wonderfully made you. Celebrate that. You are beautiful! Whatever you have used to hide, it is time to come out from hiding because you are glorious.
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
And I am Yours
What does that make me? -David Crowder Band
You wouldn’t know it here in Florida, but according to the calendar, Fall is here. Its time to tuck away summer, my favorite of them all.
Before I close that door though, a few pictures from my vacation in Savannah, Georgia in July. I fell in love with this Southern city!
God’s blessings this past week
461. paperwork completed for my professional license
462. B turning 1 year
463. celebrating her birthday
464. her grandmother able to be there despite health problems
465. her little head on my shoulder
466. a safe road trip
467. the love of friends
469. renewed desire to read the Bible
470. that I know how my story ends, because He is the author
471. dog barking waking me up for work
472. sun peeking through the morning sky
Sometimes God is silent and it feels too long since the last time I heard his small voice. I hear of others close relationship to God and I’m mad. I thought he had no favorites? I’m praying and asking for some sign that this is not a one-way relationship. I need to hear from him some way.
Our church has been helping a ministry in Haiti since before Haiti was in everyone’s radar. A group of us have been planning to visit in October and I was assigned the task of purchasing teh airline tickets. And this morning, after months of checking prices and them only going up I go ahead and get ready to purchase the tickets because time is running out. Price still the same since yesterday when I checked. I become distracted and the website message tells me my session has expired. Two minutes later I’m back on and …I double and triple check. The price is now half of what it was 2 min ago. I purchase the four tickets in lightning speed afraid that at any moment this fluke will be over.
When I tell my mom she attributes it to the recent hurricane. I attribute it to God. Through this act I felt God confirm our decision to visit Haiti next month. He reminded me the truth I have learned over and over again, that he is always present regardless of whether I feel him or not.
When I look for God’s gifts, I start to see his footprints in my life and his presence is felt. It’s just that its a whisper that I cant hear if I am not quiet.
It’s hard to be quiet. But Ill shush and count the things I am grateful for…
448. rainbow in the sky
449. outreach event at work a success
450. dinner with co-workers
451. a new coworker I like
452. client doing better
453. star-filled sky
454. sunset while driving
455. ham & cheese sandwich
456. dad’s birthday
457. family together to celebrate
458. 7 lives baptized on Sunday
459. 24 year anniversary of our church
460. dancing and laughing under the stars
It has been a long time since I posted in my gratitude list. The truth is, in the process of keeping a list, it became one more thing “to do” and the purpose of it was lost to me. This past weekend was a slow one for me thanks to Hurricane Isaac’s threat to Florida and I had time to think about the blessings. Thankfully Isaac didnt get close and just brought rain and some wind. So here is my gratitude list: Hurricane Isaac edition!
434. weather forecasts that help us prepare
435. time to prepare
436. shelter from literal storms
437. 3 days cooped in with the parents
438. time to read the Bible
439. time to write this list!
440. text from her letting me know she is okay
441. God’s constant presence
442. hymns on YouTube
443. lunchtime walk
444. her doing better
445. God’s help
446. input from colleagues about hard case
447. anxiety gone
I don’t like those speed humps they have everywhere nowadays . I full out hate them. I am convinced if I could avoid them, my commute home would be 1.5 minutes shorter. But thanks to them, I have to slow down. (On a side note, I hit the bottom of my car because I did not slow down and it wasnt pretty). Last week as I was glaring at the “speed hump” road sign ahead, I thought about how much I need “slow humps”, as my friend calls them, in my day.
Most days I wince as I look at the clock and see it’s bed time. As I do a quick review of my day, I often have not taken the time to do any of the things that really matter. Instead dumb distractions like that darn phone with its gazillion apps or one more look online steal away the minutes and hours.
My name might be Mary with an “i” but really I am Martha.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41
I keep choosing the wrong things and I want to choose what matters.
I need slow humps to make me do just that, slow down. To slow down and take inventory of my emotions, my priorities, my purpose, my relationships, my God. Really, all of these can be taken care of with one action: prayer. Slowing down to pray, to express gratitude, to check my heart and intentions.
Sometimes I wish Christians were more like Muslims. I like how collectively they all stop to pray at set times throughout the day. That would come in handy for me! But I suspect if we did that it would become another task to do.
I am thinking of how to add these “humps” to my daily living, any ideas?
(I wrote this some days ago and didn’t want to post it because- what will others thinks ?! But I always advocate for showing ourselves transparent, and that’s what this post is. I am happy to say I am over this slump…but for those who can say “me too!” I share here…)
I log off Facebook after my daily “catching up” with sadness building up. An old friend announcing her pregnancy. Another old friend, posting a final update before her walk down the aisle. And I am writing “Congratulations” on everyone’s walls it seems.
But what I am really saying? Inside?
“Why not me?” I am angrily asking God. Are they better than me? Really God?!
And I know I have to rejoice with those who rejoice and all that…but honestly? I don’t want to. I want to stomp my feet and shout and cry. Sometimes I have to come right out and speak what is in my heart even if it is ugly, because God already knows before a thought crosses the mind.
My heart is ugly with jealousy today. With pain.
I go shopping to feel better. I pick up neon orange nail polish because I hear it will make me forget all of my cares. But after two coats I still hurt.
I do the only other thing I know to do. I pray. I ask God to help me rejoice. To help me find joy and surrender in my life. To trust that His plans are always best. To accept that my idea of what is best is limited and probably way off.
This is the space I am at today. Learning to trust God and His ways. To give Him my hurt so He can make something beautiful with it…and maybe take a little break from Facebook?!
I took a deep breath and began sharing in this space my struggle with anxiety with the hopes that may be of comfort and encouragement to others who are traveling that road. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.
Acceptance and Surrender
For a long time I was desperate for answers. For an explanation about why anxiety kept showing up in my life. Maybe if I knew the answer, a solution would follow.
There have been no simple answers in this road.
Is it genetics? Probably. My mother, her sisters, and my grandmother have all suffered with depression. Is it the environment? That is also a possibility. Was it my temperament? Likely. I have naturally a sensitive person. Have been that way for as long as I can remember. Or maybe it is my lack of faith? I believe that also plays a part in the picture. None of us have complete faith in God. Our faith is imperfect, cracked by doubts and fears.
What I have come to realize is that the why is not so important. This is one of my weaknesses, my thorn in the flesh. I am accepting that. That acceptance allows me to surrender this to God. To let Him do with it what He wills whether it be to heal me or to allow me to continue with this thorn. What I know to be true is that He has my life in His hands. He understands the depths of my mind and emotions that I myself cannot comprehend.
Somehow He has used this for good. Because unlike any other aspect of my life, it is this anxiety disorder that continues to take me deeper into my relationship with Christ.
Although the darkest days I have experienced are a few years behind me, this battle is by no means done. These days I am doing okay and when anxiety taps my shoulder I do not fear it as much. I do not feel condemnation because through Christ there is none. I face the anxiety head on because I know with Christ I can conquer it once more.
He can heal me with just one word. Yet if He has allowed this to continue then I can cling to the promise that His grace is enough in my anxiety.