A few weeks ago, I wrote letters to my children for their birthdays for the next 10 years or so. I spent a few hours, tears streaming down my face, pouring my heart out to my children, telling them of my love for them, encouraging them to continue to seek the Lord in all they do, and reminding them that they have hope in Jesus- even when times are hard.
Because I thought was dying.
Dramatic much? I think so.
A few weeks ago, I found a dark spot on my back. It was in a place that I couldn't get a good look at it. I was terrified.
I thought for sure I had stage 4 melanoma.
Remember how I struggle with anxiety? Ugh.
I don't really tell Shane when I'm struggling with anxiety any more. I am usually good at discerning when it's rearing its ugly little head in my life, but this time I was legitimately concerned.
After a few days of stewing about the spot on my back, I finally asked Shane to look at it. This was a big deal to me because I know sometimes Shane wishes I didn't struggle with anxiety like I do. He never makes me feel crazy or bad about it, but I know it's hard for him to see me struggle like I do.
Shane took a look at my back and told me that the spot was nothing but a scab. He knew I was struggling and spent the next few minutes trying to reassure me that it was nothing. I guess I did a decent job of hiding my continued anxiety, because he had no clue what a dark path my mind was going down.
A few days after continuing to worry, yet refusing to get it checked out, I began to feel like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was spending extra time loving on my kids, taking stock in what is important in my life, and assessing where God was. This was when I had myself convinced that I was going to die.
If you don't struggle with anxiety, let me tell you, it is awful. The smallest things get blown out of proportion and you go from having scab on your back to being dead and your children growing up without their mother. Your mind takes you to figuring out who you can set your husband up with in hopes of allowing him to remarry and have some happiness in his life again. You go to places where you feel the need to write your children and husband letters telling them how much you love them and are so sorry you are gone. You spend countless hours carrying the burden of fear, panic, and loneliness. It's a dark and isolating feeling with out any hope of finding your way out of the fog.
Did I know this was anxiety? Yes. Could I do anything to take my thoughts captive and focus on the truth? No. Did this lead to a feeling of guilt for not depending on the sufficiency of Christ? Absolutely.
Anxiety is no joke.
However, (I feel like I use the work however in my writing a lot) God was faithful. (Do I say that a lot also? I think I do...but it's true!) He continued to beckon me to Him. His Spirit continued to remind me to dig deep into His Word to find my hope. He gently called me to lay my anxiety down and trust in what is true.
He has been faithful to remind me of his promises for my life and that my hope can be found in Him. He has been faithful to provide me with a pastor and his wife, as well as a small group, who gently encourage me to continue seeking him when it feels like my world has turned to darkness. He has been faithful to forgive me when I lose sight of Jesus' death on the cross for me in all of it.
I'm still struggling, but I know there is hope. The anxiety is a powerful force in my life that I constantly struggle with, but I know that my God is bigger and stronger than that darkness. I just need to continue to rest in Him as he gently leads me closer to Him.