Anxiety and Community

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Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

In the world of Christianity, you will most often hear, just give it to God. You will also hear, these scriptures 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” and Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Here’s one more many recite in times of crisis, it’s found in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Although, these scriptures will give you peace (when you receive them) for all your concerns, they can also come across cold and churchy at times too.

My anxiety level for the past four months has been all over the place between trying to sell our house in Georgia, looking for a home church here in Florida, having one vehicle for our family of six, and wondering where in the world we are going to live.

It’s a weird place to be. If there was such a place as purgatory that is where I feel I’m at. Everything is on hold and I’m just sitting here waiting.

Cast means, to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction. Yes, I’ve done this and peace comes, but after a week or so when I see no movement and no answers anxiety creeps in again!

I’ve learned when the feelings of anxiety overtake me I turn on worship music and pray. When the music isn’t penetrating my thoughts like I need it to I send out a S.O.S. to a few of my family members.

Don’t try to battle anxiety on your own! God did not create us to walk alone. He desires us to hold each other up when our brother or sister is too weak to stand.

My mama sent me this story a couple months back. It really shows the power of support.

When a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of fierce bodyguards.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through forty tons of female aggression first.

When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.

Wow, what a visually….and in the subject line of my Mama’s email, “I’ve got you Sissy.” Talk about the water works flowing!

God knew I didn’t need another scripture, I already knew His promises, but they weren’t piercing through my thick scull. Instead, I just needed to know someone was going to battle for me when I was down and too weak to fight for myself.

I’m sharing all of this to say, the next time someone shares their fears and worries with you, don’t be quick to blurt out a scripture. Instead, pause a moment. Only God knows what that person needs. Yes, it could be a Bible verse or it might just be open ears, closed lips, and a tight embrace.

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Facing Fear with a Thankful Heart

img_1041Overwhelmed is not even the word to described the feeling that came over me this morning! It was the first day of Classical Conversation (basically a homeschool co-op)! Lunches and backpacks were packed the day before, fingernails were painted, and outfits were ironed. I had us set up for success, or so I thought.

My oldest woke up with a headache for the third day in a row. No worries, I knew what to do. I quickly measured out her Motrin and prayed it worked! Ten minutes later she was up and ready to start her day, Thank God! Things were going well…two of the kids were finishing up their cereal and the other two were getting dressed. As we went to gather our things to leave, my oldest went down to the floor! The excruciating pain had come back to her head and this time she couldn’t open her eyes or walk. I ran to the cabinet to now measure out some Tylenol, again praying the medicine would work. Finally, we were able to get everyone to the car. The sky was blue and there was no traffic, which is always a miracle when driving around the Atlanta area!

We pulled into Church where we were to meet the group, ten minutes early at that! I prayed over the kids and their nerves before getting out of the car. Everyone was stoked that this day had finally come!

As we walked in the building there are women and kids everywhere! We followed one family down a hall, but we had no idea where each of the their classrooms were. With kids running around us everything started to spin! Right about the time I was going to ask for some help, I heard a bell! They were calling all of us to gather in a small hallway to listen to the announcements and upcoming events. As we stood there listening, my oldest started crying, I asked if her head was hurting.

“Just a little,” she said.

I asked her while looking at her sweet face, “Then why are you crying?”

“Because I don’t want to go to class, she replied as her voice cracked.”

Meanwhile as this conversation is going on, my four year old is wrapped around my leg, begging me to stay with him!

I felt helpless! There is only one of me and four of them!

img_1046The group dismissed in prayer and tutors started walking to their classrooms with their students behind them. They were naming the tutors so quickly I couldn’t catch who was a tutor and who was a parent. So again I stood there with all my little ones looking at me for guidance, and I was lost.
Thankfully, a mom saw my frantic face and offered to assist me. First we dropped off Kayla, next was Victoria. When we made it to Josiah’s room the parents and kids were already sitting down introducing themselves! Then here we come disrupting the tutor, walking in a few minutes late! I encouraged Josiah to take a seat so I could go talk to his sister, but he wouldn’t let go of me! He had a grip on me like an alligator on a hippo in the Savannah! So here we go again disrupting the class to leave. As I walked out with my leach, I calmly said, “it’s his first time in a classroom setting, please give us some grace.” With that I walked out grabbing my daughter’s hand and jetting straight to the bathroom!

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I couldn’t hold back the tears! I knew my daughter didn’t want to be in her class, but I wouldn’t allow fear to paralyze her. She needed to be strong! Even though I knew this, it didn’t make it easier on me, mama. You better believe I wanted to wrap her up and drive away from that church as fast as I could, but that wouldn’t help her to grow, it wouldn’t help her to face her fears.

Three seconds after entering my safe haven place, the bathroom, the director walked in! I had never met her in person, I had only spoke to her on the phone and through a few emails. She asked if I was okay. “No! I feel overwhelmed, I said.” As tears ran down my cheeks.

“I know I haven’t met you, but can I hug you, she asked?”

In which I replied, “yes!”

Let me tell you there is nothing better than a hug! The human touch is so powerful and healing!

After sharing with her a little in the bathroom, Alayna came out of the stall tearless! I encouraged her that she could do this.

We went to her class and tok a seat in the back of the room. She was able to warm up and relax at the same time. A few hours passed and it was snack time. I was able to motivate her to move her chair to the table with the rest of the kids. She finished the day strong, answering questions and participating in games with her classmates.

As for Josiah, he didn’t give a presentation like all the other kids, but he did listen and learned he must raise his hand if he wants to make a comment.

I cannot say it enough, God is stretching our family! We were so comfortable in our happy little lives that growth was a joke and dependence on him was pretty much nonexistent!

When we lift weights, we make small tears in our muscles which usually brings on pain and soreness, but after awhile our muscles heal and we become stronger. Our family is spiritually working out, we feel sore and we are experiencing pain at times, but I know God is also healing and strengthening us and for that, I AM THANKFUL!
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