Something that I struggle with is anxiety. My husband always tells me not to name it, but when the fear and stress levels rise, that's all I can think to do. About 14 years ago I started having severe panic attacks to the point where I would pretty much pass out, and, sometimes, I would stop breathing for a bit while I was out. It was bad. My mum once found me slumped on our church bathroom floor after an attack and my dad had to carry me out to the car. Most people didn't know what had happened and just assumed I had been slain in the Spirit. "Oh, how wonderful," they said, "She's been touched by Jesus." Well, I Can tell you something; it was certainly not wonderful and it was more like touched by the enemy!
I learned not long after what it was that was setting off these attacks; and they were just that; attacks of the enemy! The relationship I was in at the time was anything but healthy - unhealthy enough to give me the guilts, because I knew what was going on was wrong. Sneaking around behind my parents backs, saying I was at university, but then ditching to spend time with him, telling my parents I was at youth but instead was with him...sure, I showed my face at youth, to make sure I had an alibi, but I didn't stick around long. He had a strangle hold on me and my life, but I just couldn't see it. The Devil knew this, and used it as a foothold into my life, setting off these panic attacks. It was not until after I broke up with my then boyfriend and saw for myself the detrimental effect that he had on me that the panic attacks began to dissipate.
I didn't have another attack for 13 more years.
Then my darling husband started having to work away from home. Now, I know that a lot of people live this way and have done so for a long time, but you have to understand something: We've been married 11 years now, and for 9 of those precious years we had barely spent a night apart. So, our whole family dynamic and way of living changed completely in 2013.
I was okay for the first year or so, he was only away 4 nights a week, but in 2014 he started going away for longer stints, only home 4 days a fortnight. In about August of 2014 my world came crashing down around my ears.
The panic attacks started again.
Now that's not to say I had not had anxious times before that; oh there were plenty of those, but I had always managed to control it. However, the longer I tried to control it, the more I wouldn't let God help me control it.
My husband had never witnessed one of my panic attacks before, and this time, he had to witness it over the phone. I was hysterical; sobbing like a baby, unable to get any words out. I knew that what he was saying to me to try and calm me made sense, but my brain had just shut down and nothing could get through. I couldn't breathe. And worst of all, I had the children home with me. I did something stupid; I threw them in the car and drove around the corner to my dear friends house...I knew she would be able to help me. She is one of the most godly women I know...and I was right to do so. She let me get it all out, she gave me tea and biscuits, and she prayed with me. It was one of the kindest gestures anyone has ever shown me, especially when I rocked up at her door at about 9 o clock at night!
The attacks became few and far between once again. I still had a couple of meltdowns, but my wonderful husband walked me through them and got me through to the other side. I now know that I cannot control these fits of emotion, but God can. God can give us peace that passes all understanding.
Recently I started feeling anxious again. Our little church was going through a little upheaval and things were changing. Change is good, but it still makes me anxious. Then, in my Bible study (I'm studying about how to manage my moods...haha), John 14:27 came up...
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
and the next day, the same verse popped up in my Facebook feed. Well, I think God is trying to tell me something, so I decided to turn it into a small wall art to remind myself of the Father's amazing, everlasting, all understanding peace...
I encourage you, if you are feeling the heat, feeling anxious and stressed, meditate on John 14:27. God's peace is immeasurable and all understanding. God gets it, He really does and He wants us to understand that His peace is ours if only we will ask for it!
P.s. I don't know if any of you have heard of Bible Journaling, I hadn't until a couple of months ago when I found it on Instagram. I encourage you to google it, it is truly amazing. Did you know that worship is not only singing and raising your hands? Whatever we put our hands to can be worship if we do it intentionally to please God, and Bible journaling is just that.
Today I finally got my first journaling Bible...isn't it pretty???
It has wide, lined margins, especially for journaling. Some people write sermon notes and prayers, others embellish and paint their favourite scriptures. It is truly an amazing form of worship.
I can't wait to join in!
Let me know if you Bible journal, and if so, put a link in your comment so I can have a looky! I love to see how everyone uses their journaling Bibles :)