Monday, August 27, 2012

My Battle with Anxiety: A Gift from God Part 1

I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. Three years ago I started having panic attacks. As a result of theses attacks I started having irrational fears; afraid I was going to quit breathing, my heart was going to stop, I had a brain tumor, and that I was just going to all of a sudden keel over and die. I also feared that because of these irrational fears I was going to go crazy and end up in a mental institution or worse, kill myself. I struggled with depression because of these fears, feeling like I would never overcome them. Some days I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day because I felt so overcome with fear. I kept thinking “I never used to be like this. I used to be normal. I just want to be normal again!”

I kept asking my husband, my mom, and my counselor if there was any hope for me. I wanted to know how to fix this anxiety that had now become apart of me and make it go away. I even tried several anti anxiety medications in hopes that they would fix me. They only made me feel worse. This made me feel even more hopeless because I felt I had no other options left but to be stuck this way for the rest of my life.

You might be wondering at this point how on earth I could call all of this a gift! Well actually I didn’t, at first. I called it a curse. I wanted God to heal me, and I wasn’t going to accept any less. But God had other plans. He wanted to use this trial to open my eyes to some things I wasn’t seeing before.

First of all, He revealed to me where I was putting my trust. It is in my circumstances and not the Lord. If my circumstances are good, I feel good. If they aren’t what I want them to be, I am anxious and downright whiney!

Second, I realized I am very afraid of suffering and death. I struggle to believe that dying is gain as Paul says in Phillipians ,or that my present struggles can’t even begin to compare with the glory that is to be revealed to me.  My focus has been very much on the temporal and not on the eternal. I’m clinging to tightly to my earthly home. I struggle to fathom how one can rejoice in suffering. It ruins my fun!

Third I realized that I wanted health, wealth, and prosperity more than I wanted God.  I want a nice cushy life where everything, or at least almost everything goes my way. I don’t want to be bothered with problems. I want to have fun! I want to be comfortable!

Finally, God showed me my misconception that his healing me is the only way I could bring him glory. What glory could I possibly bring God if I have to battle anxiety for the rest of my life? How does that display his power? Aren’t we more wowed by God when He preforms miracles in our lives?

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be addressing all these revelations and how God is transforming my heart. I’m going to share how He is working in my life to replace these lies with the truth. I will share why I believe (or I’m starting to believe anyways) that my trials are a gift. I hope you’ll stick around and find out what God has been doing in my heart. I hope that what He has taught me can also be an encouragement to you.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And so the Journey Begins

This week we put our house on the market. The first step on our journey to Omaha. I hate being on the selling end. It’s so stressful with children to have to constantly keep your home clean and neat for it’s prospective new owners. Makes you feel like the house is no longer yours.

We are comparing this move to the Parable of the Treasure in the Field found in Matthew 13:44. We see a greater value in attending the church in Omaha than we do in staying here. The treasure we see there makes it worth the hassle and costs of moving. We want to say with Paul in Phillipians 3:8 that all of our earthly gain is counted as loss in comparison to gaining Christ. We believe that we will gain more of Christ when we are hearing the word of truth preached and are surrounded by others who see Christ as gain too.

As with the man in the parable, we also have to give some things up in order to gain The Kingdom. We discovered when we met with our realtor that we may lose some money on the house when we sell. This is discouraging. We were hoping to at least break even. But again, we realize this loss won’t matter in a few years. It especially won’t matter at the end our lives. We trust that God will provide for our needs and make up for the loss we suffered. Maybe not monetarily, but we trust that this loss will turn out for our gain.

Is counting all things loss in order to gain Christ easy? Heck no! Nothing the Bible tells us to do is easy. In fact, it’s humanly impossible. That’s why we need Christ. We need to depend on Him constantly and remind ourselves of His promises throughout the whole day. Otherwise we will want to give up and take the easier route. The route that requires less toil. The route that doesn’t lead to Christ. I’m thankful that during this process of moving I have a God who has told me in his word that I can approach his throne of grace with confidence, that I might find grace and mercy in time of need(Hebrews 4:14-16).

My prayer is that our journey will be an encouragement to you to seek Christ as your greatest treasure. To see that he is worth counting all earthly treasures as loss in comparison to gaining Him. Let’s treasure Him together!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Feeling a Little Bored

    I need a project. One of the reasons I started this blog is because I needed something to do. I feel like I’m going through a dry spell. I don’t feel like reading. I don’t feel like sewing. I don’t really know what I feel like doing. Quite frankly, I’m bored. I read a quote recently that said You'll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea.” I guess you could say I’m fresh out of good ideas. I hate feeling bored because it makes me feel like I’m just existing.  I don’t want to just exist. I want my life to have purpose. I want to be productive.

    I was reading an article the other day in Voice of the Martyrs magazine. It was a story about a man in Laos who spent 10 years in prison for sharing the gospel. He had no cell mates, nothing to read, nothing to do but sit in his prison and exist. I think of that story and I wonder how he got through it without going nuts. Granted he gained a deeper love for Christ and has a far better perspective on eternity than I do. Still, I can’t fathom going that long without anything to do.

    I’m discovering as I write this that I think I idolize activity. I need busyness to feel secure. I don’t know how to be still. Ecclesiasties tells us there is a time for everything. Apparently, it’s my time to be bored. God must have something to teach me right now. Perhaps He has a fresh idea He can only show me during this time of quiet. Whatever the purpose, I know it can be a time of prayer and Bible study. This just doesn’t sound very exciting to me. But I know it’s what I need. I know that man in Laos wished he had had a Bible to study while in prison. I am grateful I have the freedom to do that.

   I know my boredom is temporary. Like everything else, this too shall pass. It is somehow producing in me an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. One day, when I see Jesus face to face, I will never be bored again. I will spend an eternity enjoying Him and discovering more and more of His beauty. Help me Lord to see your beauty in this time of boredom. Help me to keep my eyes on you.

   What about you? How do you get through times of boredom?

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Beginnings

    This fall we will begin our 4th year of homeschooling. It’s hard to believe that my oldest will be in 3rd grade! It seems like yesterday she was a baby and kindergarten seemed like an eternity away. My how time flies!


    I wish I could say our homeschool journey has been all roses and sunshine, but it has not. There have been many battles of will and frustration. I started homeschooling with a lot of preconceived notions of how school at home should be done. This placed a lot of stress on our relationship as I tried desperately to meet these lofty expectations.

    This year I am determined to approach my children’s education from a completely different perspective. If I don’t make some changes in attitude and expectations, we won’t be able to continue to homeschool. I really do love homeschooling. I don’t want to quit, but I recognize that maintaining a good relationship is of far greater importance. The following is a list of the changes I am determined we will make to see that this happens.

 1. Focus on the basics

I’ve spent the past 3 years schooling under this crazy notion that I have to teach my girls everything they ever need to know all in one year! I realize now that that is impossible and unnecessary. What I can do is take one day at a time, one subject at a time. The most important skills they need to learn are the three R’s. Everything else will come with time.

2. Stop comparing ourselves to everyone else

This one will be the hardest to accomplish as I constantly struggle with feeling like I don’t measure up. I’m always looking at what others are doing and feeling like I come up short. This year I want to focus on the path God is leading us down and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I want to look at others’ homeschools for inspiration and encouragement, not as a measuring line I can never reach. My children are unique individuals who need to be taught according to their needs and interests, not someone else’s.

3. Be present in my children’s learning

I am a multi-tasker by nature so it is hard for me to just sit with my girls and help them learn. I have a tendency to say “here, do this worksheet” while I get up and go wash the dishes, make a phone call, do the laundry, etc… This causes great frustration when the girls don’t fully understand what they are working on. They also become easily distracted when I’m not there to help when they need it. This year I will be present and make sure they fully understand the material before I let them work independently.

4. See my children as adults–to-be, not walking encyclopedias

I’ve been viewing education as a process of dumping lots of facts into my girls’ heads so they look good in front of others. But this is obviously not the point.  The point is for them to learn how to solve problems. To be equipped with the skills they need to function as self sufficient adults, and to be able to think intelligently about what they read, see, and hear out in the real world.

God has been gracious enough to reveal these needed changes to me. I trust that by that same grace, He will enable me to carry them out. So here’s to a year of fresh starts, and new beginnings.