Faith verses Fear

As I struggle with my anxieties and fears this song has spoken deeply to my heart. It tells me to believe God’s truth over the lies I hear in my head.

So often I hear from others that being anxious or fearful is a sin. I absorbed this and believed this. I caused me to condemn myself and go deeper into my pain. It did not draw my to Christ but separated me.

Until one day I went to CR. I heard people being authentic with pain and struggles. I heard it was ok to be broken. I recieved hope that I was not alone. I got to know a counselor who led CR. Eventually I learned to trust him and others with my story.

I still have people tell me it is a sin to be anxious. I still struggle with my mental illness. Yet the more I study about my anxiety and depression the more I realize my brain is sick. It is an organ that needs medicine, counseling, redirection of thoughts and faith in God. It is not a sin to be afraid. It needs healing from God through the ways he provides of mental health.

A friend, Erica, talked with me about this on messenger one day. (You can read about her journey here.)She pointed out to me that when people are being told to “Fear Not” is often when messengers from God are sent to people. Who wouldn’t be afraid of an angel appearing? Or even God Himself like He did with Moses? I would be. I have since gone and looked up many of these stories in the Bible. Condemnation is NOT from God. Love and grace is from God. I am amazed so much that time and time again he freely gives this to me. Let your faith build you up not rip you apart.

I pondered the words to Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams. I saw hope. I saw redemption. I saw truth that God works in my weakness. He gives me his strength. Believing what God says about me is a struggle but it has deepened my faith and relationship with him. I have also found a 5 day Bible study on YouVersion Bible app using this song. A friend and I started it together.

Today’s truth: I am STRONG because Christ gives me his strength in my weakness.

What lies are you believing today? What truths do you need to replace them with?

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Trust …

Wanted to write this out for two reasons. 1. It helps me process. 2. I want you to know I don’t have it all together. I want to be authentic.

Tonight after a great weekend and day I had a panic attack for me it came out in overwhelming anxiety, tears, and yelling.

I could not do anything to stop it but it happened. All I could do was let it happen. I started deep breathing like in yoga that I have been doing. In between the yelling. And more after. That is when the tears started. More deep breathing and tears and all that comes with tears. Eventually I calmed down.

Eventually I was able to talk things over with someone and let them in. Sometimes all you can do with panic attacks is let it happen.

My fears are real. They matter. God sees them. He saw each tear. He knows each of the fears and prayers my heart said without saying or thinking a word.

I also texted a couple of friends. It is late and even if they don’t see until tomorrow I know they are praying.

Trusting a process that has helped me in the past. Trusting that God is in control.

Being fearful, strong, and courageous

We are going through Genesis as a sermon series right now ar church. This was not the focus of the sermon but it is what stood out to me today during the reading of scripture and part of the sermon.

Since my words for the year are strong and courageous I have been looking at fear and anxiety in the Bible also.

Fear came to Adam and Eve after the first time they sinned and listened to the serpent.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:8-10

They were afraid of how God would react. What I see is yes they suffered consequences just like we would discipline a child, but they were also provided for. God sacrificed animals and used the furs to cover Adam and Eve.

21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

God still loved and cared for them. It was the first sacrific. Which foreshadows the ultimate sacrifice for us of Christ coming and taking our sin upon himself. The ultimate sacrifice.

Yes being afraid is a sin in the Bible but having a chronic anxiety or depressive disorder or any other mental illness does not make you sinful. It makes you human. Each one of us struggle with something.

Trusting the Lord with my brokenness and mental illness just gives God time to shine His glory, His strength, His courage.

I see the confession of Adam and Eve as repentance and covering them as redemption due to love and sacrifice. I am not a scholar. I just see the grace given by God in His love.

It took strength and courage of Adam and Eve to tell God what they had done. It takes someone with mental illness strength and courage to reach out for help of God, loved ones, professionals, doctors, counselors, and friends.

I choose to give my fears and concerns over daily to God. Sometimes it is the silent tear that the hears. Other times I can put words to them. I choose to share parts of my journey with you seeking more strength and courage.

I have several friends who have recently on social media let others know a bit about their journey. I am so proud of them. Trusting the doctors they have gone to for help. Trusting the social media world that easily could have chewed them up and spit them out. Instead they are choosing to shine and share. They have so much more courage than they realize. I am grateful social media has embraced them with encouragement, love, and grace.

How are you sharing your story? How are you treating those around you?

God loved Adam and Eve enough to sacrifice for them. Are you loving those around you?

Trust God with your story!

Anxiety and Faith

I am going to continue to explain parts of my journey with mental illness and my anxiety. So know this is my perspective and experience. Yours may look different. It is ok.

First let begin by saying for much of my walk in college onward I heard from some followers of Christ (not all) was that my fears and anxiety were sin. Fear was the devil tempting me. This caused me so much struggle with my relationship with Christ. I would question was a really a believer if I had fears, doubts, questions and struggles. If I just had faith it would go away. If I just prayed more and believed more. If I did x, y, z…. This lead me to perform and try to be perfect or at least pretend I was perfect to save face with others. Performance based faith takes away the GRACE that God lavishes on is with His love.

As started to learn more and get help with my depression and anxiety I learned was an illness of on organ in my body. It was an organ that needs medicine to help it be healthy. It needs exercise to be healthy. It needs counseling to learn healthy thoughts and habits that help battle the negative thoughts. It also needs my faith in Christ and His Grace.

My faith still plays a significant role in my mental health. I have learned to trust God and for to Him when my heart is hurting. To cry out to Him for help in the midst of my anxiety. I have learned over and over to give myself grace when Christ does. To not judge myself to harshly. (Let’s be honest I do still struggle with all of this at times). To shut out all the voices that give me an easy formula to help. To trust God with the process. To see where the journey takes me.

To those who don’t know the battle of mental illness please be patient with me. Please listen when I share my hurts and fears. Pray for me.

Did you know throughout the Bible God tells his followers not to fear? He is not belittling them or dismissing their feelings. In those times He gives them His presence and strength and courage. He works through those still scared. He works through me even when I am filled with anxiety.

Here are a few tips to help yourself if you are struggling. There are so many more. Keep searching because what helps one time may not help the next. Just remember you are not alone.

It takes courage to seek help. Start with your doctor to see if medicine is right for you. Find a counselor you trust. Find a community of believers who will lift you up instead of weighing you down.

Above all reach out to God.

Share your story with someone today.

My Hope…

I texted a friend to pray for me one day when my anxiety was overwhelming. This friend sent me a link to the song Even If by Mercy Me. Honestly I did not take the time to look it up right away.

Then the next time I as at church someone sang it. I cried during the whole song while singing. Deep within my heart it struck a nerve. It doesn’t matter what I was anxious about it just felt like I was breaking inside and nothing would ever fix it.

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
These words penetrated my heart when nothing else could. It broke me in a good way. It allowed me to realize if the things that cause my anxiety never go away my hope is still in God. My hope comes from a love that loves me deeper than I can imagine. His love doesn’t require me to have everything together or to be perfect before I come. I just need to come sit and share the tears and anguish with him.I went forward just to cry at the feet of Jesus that Sunday. I found myself not alone. A friend came up and prayed for me to experience the love of Christ more. I cried my heart out to him and he answered by giving me a friend to physically be there to hold me and hug me and pray with me.

What brings you to the feet of Jesus? Do you allow others to see you when you are broken? More importantly do you let Jesus be your Hope! He loves you and me so much. Let him be there. Don’t run and hide.

Even If by Mercy Me Full Lyrics
They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is with my soul

My Word for 2019

For many years now I have had a word I took into the coming year that I felt was from God. Some years I wasn’t sure what it was until I looked back on the year. Other years I felt God give it to me before the new year started.

This past year I have been told I am stronger than I think but so many friends who know me well. Even when I thought I was failing they would urge me to keep going reminding me yet again.

The last several weeks I have felt the word strong but it wasn’t quite right. Something was missing. I knew deep inside me there was more than just “strong .”

The more I thought and prayed I felt like God was saying be strong and courageous. I looked up many verses with strong and courageous or variations of one word or the other.

It is no secrect I struggle with mental illness of anxiety and depression. I feel weak all the time. I am so grateful that God is there in the midst of the storms to calm me and tell me not to be afraid.

To realize I am listed with so many others who were told not to be afraid like Adam, Eve, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Mary, Joseph, the Shepards, the Disciples and the list goes on. And all of these are people I see and hear about who I think about as great heroes of the Bible. Yet really they were afraid and anxious like me. They needed the same reminder as I do to take heart and be courageous through faith in Christ who gives me His strength.

My words to help focus 2019 are Strong and Courageous.

What is your word or focus for 2019?

Journey of Hope

Last August I realized I was tail spinning with my depression and anxiety going out of control. I have been on this journey long enough to know it and get help.

I already see an amazing counselor helping me deal with variety of issues. I already was exercising regularly but something still seemed off. I have been a leader in Celebrate Recovery and Delta another recovery group my church offers. Although I have stepped out of leadership role I do still have my training. I asked myself and a trusted friend what she thought about me going to get medicine (along with my counselor). It is what I would have suggested to someone else. Both suggested I give it a couple of weeks to see if it stuck or if it would pass. My counselor said if it hadn’t by my next appointment in two weeks she would recommend I do it. I thought and prayed and just made the appointment. I did not wait.

The medicine made me feel off and sick but I stuck with taking and talking to my doctor about it and my counselor. Eventually the side effects went away. After side effects went away I started my exercise back up. But then we found the growth on my thyroid and the whirlwind of tests that led to surgery which took half my thyroid and eventually to say I did not have cancer. But I digress let me get back to the other part of my journey. All this took a couple of months and by then my body had adjusted to the medicine and all of a sudden I felt more like me than I had in a long while. Longer back than I realized in August. Guess I had been spinning farther back than I thought.

I started back at my roots of learning to deal with my depression and anxiety which is CR and Delta. I reread the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. Not the short part that you see everywhere but the full version.

I am afraid all the time and anxious. Yet I find peace in repeating this same prayer everyday. Reminding myself that God was the one in control not me. I could trust Him on this journey.

I have several friends who keep telling me I am so strong and stronger than I think I am. I don’t think I am strong. I know how weak and fragile I am. Any strength I have is totally from God.

I have used this verse to help motivate me in exercising but I am realize all the strength I have is from God. Yes I still have mental illness. Yes I struggle with life but these are two things that have helped me back to a better place.

What helps you? If you need help reach out to those around you. Don’t suffer alone.

Realize you are not alone even if you feel alone.

Christmas 2018

Christmas was low key due to me getting sick with cold. We spent Christmas eve watching shows together and cuddling on the couch.

Christmas day we did venture to see family. But due to Matt not feeling good we left early. We did get to see some nephews open presents.

Sent out Christmas texts today instead of cards. Here are a few of them.

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season!

More of 2018 healthier me

So often during the last year I have struggled to keep going with my journey into a healthier me. It started with me exercising to relieve some stress and anxiety. My counselor suggested for me to take care of me.

It ventured into me being willing to make a doctor appointment for yearly checkup that I had put off. I asked for medicine to help my anxiety and depression. While there the doctor found a lump on my thyroid. For those of you who read and know me my husband had thyroid cancer two years ago.

Fear set in. Overwhelming anxiety.

I was blessed with a fast acting doctor who ordered immediate tests and got me in to another doctor to go over the results. That doctor decided we needed surgery immediately. It was the fastest and surest way to know if it was cancer or not.

My good news is NO CANCER! Praise God!

Through it all I have had love and support from my loving and wonderful husband, friends, coworkers, church family, and my family. God loved on me from so many people to help me calm down when I got anxious.

The medicine combined with continuing counseling, and exercise has continued to help my mental health.

I have also been practicing being grateful. Grateful for the trials. Grateful for the struggles. Grateful for God’s love and faithfulness no matter what is going on good or difficult

My year of health 2018

It has been a long time since I wrote anything. It seems life keeps me away for far to long. This last year I have been focused on my own health journey.

I had a hard time even considering getting healthy and losing weight. My counselor wanted me to exercise to help my body with all the stress it was going through. It was part of my homework but really I did not think it would help but maybe I should give it a try. What would it hurt to try? Right?

I reached out to a friend who is a coach with Beachbody. I could not afford the online access but I saved up money and bought DVDs of a program Slim in Six. With her encouragement I started slowly to focus on one thing instead of all of it at once.

I learned I can do hard. I can lose inches and weight. I can release the stress built up in my body. It is helping me on my journey.

I have had set backs. I stopped and restarted so many times. But I get up and start over.

The picture on the left is November 2018. The picture on the right is September 2017.

I went from size 20 pant (not pictured) to the picture on the right a size 18 pant. Then I went to a size 14 pant (picture on the left)

I can do hard things. I can do things I never thought possible.

So can you! Don’t give up.

My new goal has been to save up for online access to all the workouts. Almost there.

I am so grateful for my friend who believes in me. I couldn’t do it without her.