You know the saying “when it rains it pours”? Well if you struggle with anxiety and/or depression you also know that when life rains on you, it becomes a struggle to keep your head above the water.
This is where I am at right now. I’m treading water trying to keep my head above the waves that keep crashing down on top of me.
Last Wednesday at 7:30am I was in my chiropractor’s office getting my weekly adjustment. My doctor asked me what was awesome that day? I replied that everything seemed well so I couldn’t pick out one specific awesome thing. But that I suddenly had a feeling that wasn’t going to last. Deep inside I always know that valleys come after I’m on the rise of the mountain. Sometimes I just don’t know what will bring me tumbling down into it. Fast forward to 10:45am and that’s where the tumble started. I received some pretty devastating news about our house and some trouble residing in the furnace. I sort of laughed it off and thought well…here it comes. However, little did I know that the tumble was going to take over the family.
As the female head of my household I juggle a lot of responsibilities. But no one seems to teach or share with you the emotional side of those responsibilities. When my husband is in a valley at work how emotionally taxing it will be to keep stress to a minimal around the house. To keep myself and the children from agitating situations at home which is suppose to be a place of relaxation and refuge when times are rough. But then this tumble into my valley hit hard because after Wednesday, the waters got really rough. The emotions of seeing your children struggle with school, sports, and people’s bad choices. The emotions of trying to figure out our house issue and how we can add this unexpected financial expense to the two large ones we “chose” to make when we first made our move. But its very hard to try to hold together the emotions of supporting your husband, helping each other make big decisions, and trying not to go all “mama bear” (on the school system, other parents, and other children) all while trying not to fall back into the deep abyss of anxiety and depression that the valley brings me so close to.
This past week has been emotionally difficult to say the least. I’ve been spending a super amount of time talking to God. Reminding myself that it’s not my fault and that I’m not a bad person – it’s just some difficult things and times in our lives right now. That God has a hold of me and my family – he’s pulling on the reigns of my life trying to take it back into His control. You see when my anxiety and depression come on, I tend to blame myself and so feel the need to take life into my control. That I need to not just make the telephone calls but also make the decisions without the help and consult of my Father. That I need to make the results happen. That I need to control the outcome. But that just spins me deeper into dangerous waters of lies and false accusations about myself.
I’ve fallen into valleys before that have taken all I’ve had to climb out of. Valley’s where I’ve lost a little of myself and my life in the process. I have these two prayers that I pray often in my prayer journal:
- Help me to never let the enemy speak horrible things to me again. I am a good child of God who is forever loved and always forgiven because Jesus died for me.
- I pray for my true identity! Lord may I never forget my true identity in You. That you made me to be a person to shine your light and glory. May I not get wrapped up in the evil one’s plans to keep me down and forgetful that I am worthy and beautiful and loved! For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. – Isaiah 49:16
I’ve been trying to look at the positives. Trying to search out God’s blessings provided to me each day. In this way I find moments of peace to remember that God it here with me. He loves me. He cares for me. He wants good for me. My entire family is not defined by the situations happening to each of us. I’ve been playing For King and Country’s newest album a ton. It’s speaking to this season of my life. It has helped me not to succumb to the anxiety that is gripping at me while I tread this water. This is my favorite song right now:
Need You More – For King & Country
In the blink of an eye – Life flashed – Right in front of my eyes – Never knew that the fear – Could cripple my chest – In the blink of an eye – The light left – So lonely it is – So lonely tonight is – And I wish I knew why – I need You more – Yeah, I need you more – More than ever before – Yeah, I need you more – Prepare for the worst – Hope for the best – Won’t you steady my heart – For whatever comes next? – So holy it is – So holy tonight is – Oh, now I know I – Now I know I – I need you more – Yeah, I need you more – More than ever before – Yeah, I need you more ….
I’m much better now at identifying when my valley is threatening me. I’ve identified this week that I’ve been close. I know I say this often, but I’ve prayed a lot. There were times this week when I felt like I couldn’t do it alone and I asked some close prayer warriors to specifically pray prayers with me for members of my family. And we’ve prayed together. A few times this week I’ve prayed these verses out loud over one of my kiddos:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. – Ephesians 6:10-17
Last night I was talking with my husband and I told him that I was struggling to keep from blaming myself and thinking bad about how all of our families issues are my fault. And because of that we could spend no more time in bitterness, anger, blame, or hurt. That our situations with our house, jobs, kids, schools, ….. suck. They do. But it doesn’t mean we have to sit and dwell in it.
Today I was back in my chiropractor’s office one week later. He knew what was going on and he asked me today to find something good that was happening. I explained at the moment that it was really hard to find good in anything. But that I didn’t want to spend my time there anymore. That I was ready to start thinking about my blessings and positives instead. As I left his office he reminded me that the sunshine is so much sweeter after the rain.
You know – he is completely right. Every mountain top is so much sweeter after I’ve spent some time in the valley. As it says in Thessalonians, that they sent Timothy:
…to strengthen and encourage you in our faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. – Thessalonians 3:2-4
God knows that we will have trials. I know that I will have trials. I must not be unsettled by them. I must not be anxious for them. I need to know God is near and will keep me full of his peace during them. I can be confident in “dancing in the rain” – I don’t have to wait for the sunshine!
God bless you!