I’m struggling tonight.
I’ve actually been struggling for a while. It’s been a difficult month. It’s been a difficult year to be honest.
At the start of the new year, I wrote an entry about a word I believed God had put on my heart. The word was “trust” and I knew God was wanting me to work on trusting Him more. Because trust doesn’t come easily to me, and because I knew that trusting God was something I really needed to do, I took the challenge to work on trusting God. At the time I could not begin to fathom just how many “opportunities” God would put in my life to force me to work on this important issue.
It seems that, since January, there has been multiple stressors that have attacked me. Some of those things, like my daughter’s wedding, were good things but still stressors none the less. Most of them, though, have been heartbreaking, gut wrenching, painful, and they caught me off guard. Some drove me into a deep depression–a pit the likes of which I haven’t experienced in some time. Some put a strain on important relationships and I wondered if those would ever be restored. I’m still waiting for the answer for some of those. Some forced me to face long held fears and found me cowering in fear of what lay ahead.
This is where I am currently struggling. The last few weeks have brought anxiety and panic attacks daily. Each evening I find my mind gripped with fear and wonderings. I play the what-if game with different situations, and, of course, my what-ifs usually tend to the extreme. If you have never experienced an attack such as this, count yourself blessed. Most nights have found me unable to do much of anything except cry myself to sleep. They are debilitating.
Last night, as I waited for kids to come home from work and my husband had long since gone to sleep, I sat in my chair in the living room with tears running down my face. I didn’t want them there, yet they continued against my will. I snuck into our room and grabbed my Bible off my desk. Returning to the living room, I muted the basketball game I had been watching and turned to the book I always turn to when life is wreaking havoc on my heart–the Book of Psalms. As I turned the pages, reading those most familiar and comforting to me, I paid close attention to the colorful highlights throughout the chapters. Next to some, I had written why I had highlighted that verse or a date or both. One was March 2012. At that point, our marriage was practically over and divorce was imminent. I remember turning to Psalms at the advice of our pastor at the time. I didn’t believe God cared but was desperate for something to say otherwise. Looking back, God did more than just save our marriage. He gave us joy and a different love than we had ever had before. He led us to a place where we could heal and He put people in our lives who cared. Some of those people are still part of my life.
The next week is going to be one of the most difficult I have had in a while. I’m sure this is a contributing factor to the nightly panic attacks I am having. I know God is in everything that is happening–the pain, the fear, the uncertainty. I believe that He is using all of these things to help me learn to trust Him. After all, I really don’t have much control over many of these issues. They are a part of life and being human in a fallen world.
I just hope I pass the tests and come out the other side a stronger person who is more like Jesus than I was in January.