November 19, 2014

I woke today with the familiar feeling of my heart starting to beat too fast and my mind racing. I know this feeling. I know what it means. I know that, as a recovering anxiety addict, it means that today will be a day when I have to fight for peace. These days are rare now- the result of the gift of healing. But they creep in on occasion, threatening my soul and demanding more attention than I desire to give. It happens, even to recovering anxious people.

Anxiety was a trademark of my childhood, though I am not sure how often people knew it. The remnants of a child hyperaware of others feelings and thoughts. The residue of a little one so fearful, who would lay awake nights mulling over the slightest thing that might have occurred… or not occurred. The jumbled up heart of a person who had been taught early to people-please and that love was attached to how pleased people were. And as any of us who struggle with anxiety in our own ways will say, anxiety leads to more anxiety leads to more anxiety. It becomes this dark rabbit hole journey, spiraling earthward. Some of us learn to live so skillfully in that rabbit hole, we never return to the surface in all our years and instead inflict our anxious spirits on innocent passersby. Some of us grow so cynical in that place, we refuse to recognize the pernicious lies that speak into our hearts. Some of us get so tired of the anxiety, we jump to the other extreme, living with a reckless disregard for all things and people. The journey out of chronic anxiety is an arduous one. A dying to the things that keep our survival instincts in tact, and a sometimes painfully deliberate choice to let our whitened fingers be pried apart.

For a long time, I did not like the Philippians passage that speaks to anxiety and joy. I despised it because it seemed so simple. Too simple. And the people who spoke about it in my younger years seemed to press the point that somehow if you did this magic formula of prayer and controlling your worry in these simple steps, poof! life would not longer feel so sharp and panicky, and you would go on your merry way with a smile on your face and a skip in your step.

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Not a Mystery

November 14, 2014

My goodness, where does my time go!? It doesn’t feel so long since I was last here. Since I last found my fingers dancing across the letters with words that pour from heart, sometimes dribbling and sometimes gushing. But when the days are accentuated by careful tending to a tiny sick soul, while shepherding the souls of pastors and leaders and congregations, while trying to manage a school and work and life schedule, these fingers grow too quiet on the keys.

I have been writing. But it is sermons and emails and lists and notes and short, stuccato  texts. And yet in the absence, God is still speaking tender thoughts into my head and heart, not at all daily, but certainly in moments when I most need to hear the Shepherd’s voice and know, know, know that Voice again.

Last Saturday was one such day. At Christmas, nearly a year ago, my husband won a gift card. A big one. To a women’s clothing store. So naturally, that gift card went to me- one of the advantages of being the only woman in the house. But with life being what it is and the journey of challenge we have faced with our son, the card was put in my wallet and promptly forgotten. Until recently.

So I got a few hours last Saturday to myself- no pastors to call, no sermons to write, no 3 year olds to entertain, no meals to prepare. Just breakfast with a dear person and shopping. In many ways it was so strange for me to experience such a day. They are not normal.

But with that day came time. Time in the quiet of my car to think, to reflect, to listen. And immediately, my soul moved into that place of processing all that had occurred in recent weeks.

Almost 4 weeks ago, we talked with our son’s doctor again. Labs had come back, updates had to be reported. Amid the whirlwind experience that is talking with this doctor, he said this: “You need to plan on this taking 2-6 years for recovery.”  Read the rest of this entry »