Remedy for Anxiety

Hurricanes, threats of attack, environmental disasters, fatal accidents, higher taxes, overpopulation, traffic, violence, hatred, racism, disease…these words flash at me when scrolling my local news app on my phone. Heart rate quickens, breathing becomes shallow, mind races.

Rather than continuing the pursuit of the local news, I turn to God’s Word for a remedy for anxiety. An answer to the unrest all around. Peace in the turmoil.

Studying Psalm 23 this week, led me to realize this is a passage of scripture that I have known for a long time. It was the only scripture I memorized as a kid at vacation Bible school. The words have always drawn me in and painted a beautiful picture in my mind.

IMG_1553

But, this week, the Lord brought greater understanding through slowing down, verse by verse and allowing His Spirit to unlock the words for me.

Each day this week, I took one verse of Psalm 23 and journaled about what the Lord was saying to me through His words.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell[a] in the house of the Lord
Forever.

Psalm 23

And, Psalm 23 in my own words:

God is my loving guide; I am in need of nothing more.

He provides what I need to be fed; He guides me to quiet rest.

The Lord brings back to order my life; He guides me in the right way I should go because of His name.

Even though I go through low times even close to death, I will not be afraid, because you train me, support me, and bring encouragement to me.

You bring peace and nourishment to me even when those who despise me are near; You fill and empower me each day; I am content in You.

Without fail the Lord’s favor will pursue me every day of my life; And I will live in heaven with the Lord forever.

IMG_1635

A Girl and Her Purple Guitar

She’s relentless.

“Can I just look on Craigslist? Please, mom?”

“Yes, you may LOOOOK. Did I say we are buying? No. We are looking. Your sister just turned 12 and she just got a guitar. You are learning piano and that keeps you busy. You may look and see what’s on Craigslist, but we are NOT buying a guitar for you right now.” My long, drawn out explanation was in one ear, and you know the rest.

Our 9-year-old, Abby, was already entranced in the beautiful instruments she saw flash on the computer screen. “Oh, mom! Look at this one! It’s so beautiful!” Her eyes lit up and she clapped her hands together with excitement.

“Yes, that is really nice,” I say while passing by on the way back to the oven to check on dinner. “But, again, we are not buying one.”

After dinner the daunting topic returns. “When can I get one, you guys? I have enough money. I want a guitar so bad! There’s this one that has numbers on the top. It’s for a little kid. I don’t want that one. But, there’s this other one. It’s purple and really shiny. I would love to have a purple guitar.”

“Let’s just wait. You just started talking about guitars a few days ago. I am sure your sister will let you borrow hers when she’s not using it. Besides, I know you don’t believe this, but it’s actually really good for us to have to wait for things.”

Again, my words were tuned out while the daydreaming began.

Abby big guitar

Days passed and this pattern continued. It seemed that an hour couldn’t pass without the word, guitar, entering into the conversation. No longer was it just guitar. Now, she was very specific, purple guitar. She was set on getting a purple guitar.

She’s relentless.

And, I am exasperated.

Finally, it got to where we had to ban the word, guitar.

“No more. We will tell you when we think it’s time to buy one of those, those, those instruments. But, until then, no more talk about gui…those instruments!”

She walked away defeated and I walked away feeling uncertain.

Hasn’t my prayer every day this week been for my girls to draw closer to the Lord? Haven’t I been praying for them to find their own ways to connect with God, apart from me or anyone else? Haven’t I played a large part in instilling a love for music in my girls? Constantly having music playing? Taking them to music class weekly? Insisting they practice the piano?

The next day, in my prayer closet, I realize, I have not even prayed about this purple guitar. It’s been a daily topic. A regular source of contention in our home, but not once did I seek God for wisdom. I answered, “no” before ever bringing it before the Father.

“Lord, you know her desire. But, Lord, I don’t want to spoil my kids. I want them to know how to wait. But, Lord, she loves music. She loves to worship and talk about your love. Please, Lord, give us your wisdom. Give us your heart and your eyes to see what this desire of hers is really all about. And, Lord, if it’s your will that she gets a guitar, please make it clear to us.”

Finally, the peace I needed, rather than the constant irritation around the subject. I still didn’t have an answer but I knew that I was open to what the Lord wanted and wasn’t going into this decision alone.

Towards the end of her piano lesson, I hear the topic come up again.

“Do you know how to play the guitar? I really want a guitar. Mikayla got one. But, my mom won’t let me get one.” I hear her spill it all out to her beloved piano teacher, Lindsey.

Talking from the other room continues, until Abby runs into where I am, breathless and wide eyed. “Can I mom? Please, mom? Come on, mom, please?”

Lindsey, seeing my confusion, explains, “I was just telling Abby about my guitar. I just got a new one last week. I have my old guitar at home. If my sister doesn’t want it, it’s all yours!”

“Really? You just happen to have a guitar at home? Well, it sounds like you need to check with your sister. And, I will need to check with my husband. But, it sounds like it may be a possibility.”

“Oh, just out of curiosity, what color is the guitar?”

“Oh yeah, it’s purple.”

Really, God? I just prayed this morning. I finally just handed this one over to you. Here you are bringing the answer right here to us. We didn’t have to search online and wonder what your plan was. No, you walked that purple guitar right on into our house!

Abby guitar

Now, of course I have no idea if Abby will ever really learn to play the guitar. I don’t know if this is a phase or if she’ll be a lifelong guitarists. I don’t know. And, I don’t have to figure that out. What I do know is that when left on my own, I had anxiety in my heart regarding what to do. I handed it over to the Lord, was flooded with peace, and He provided His answer.

A purple guitar brought right to our doorstep.

Once again, He proved to me:

He knows and cares about every detail of my life.

He desires for me to come to Him with everything.

He loves me.

 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:30-31

 

Peace on Election Day

Many Americans woke up this morning feeling anxious, uncertain about what this day would hold. Many have professed they will be moving to another country depending on the results at the end of the day. Some of have been holding on to November 8th, full of dread.

My question is, how is this day really any different than any other? Which of us knows what any day ahead of us holds? If we are facing this day with fear and hopelessness, we must be facing each day that way. 

When my husband and I went to see the movie, War Room, my heart was opened up to the power of prayer. I saw how Miss Clara approached God with boldness, both with her words and her stature. While in her prayer closet, she used scripture to claim God’s promises. Miss Clara was never doubtful when praying and she was never surprised when God answered her prayers. Prayer was her lifeline.  It was her first defense as well as her first form of attack against trouble.

war-room-quote

Wow. I had been missing opportunity after opportunity to communicate with the King of the world. I had been praying weak prayers. This had to change.

I went home that afternoon, took a look at my walk-in closet and immediately began bagging up clothes I no longer needed. 5 bags later, I had plenty of space to begin creating my very own War Room.

“Don’t you need those clothes?” my youngest daughter asked.

“No. I like some of those clothes, but I really like the idea of having a special place to talk to God even better.”

I hung pictures of my family and Bible verses on the walls. I placed some cozy pillows on the floor, as well as my favorite blankie. My daughters painted me some pictures. One is of a beautiful sunset with a cross on a hill. Another is of the night Jesus was born complete with the star of Bethlehem. And, another has the acronym PUSH, Pray, Until, Something, Happens. I have devotionals, study Bibles, and notepads. I love my space. But, what I love the most is how God meets me there.

This morning, November 8th, election day, was no different. I walked into my closet for my morning appointment with God and He met me. When I woke up, I didn’t stop and think about it being election day. But, once I got in my prayer closet, I saw my note that read, “Pray for wisdom, respect, humility” my note reminding how I want to pray for the candidates. My eyes wandered to the verses I have taped on notecards on the wooden shelf in my closet.

Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Isaiah 6:3, “And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

James 5:16, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

When I approach each day, reading aloud about where my strength comes from, about God’s reign over the entire earth, about my need to confess my sins, and about the power of my prayers, I am equipped to face what lies ahead.

Today was like no other. I woke up a human being, full of pride, weakness, and sin. But, before jumping into my day, I asked God to fill me with His Spirit and I spent time in communication with the King of the world.

Whether I am waiting to hear test results from the doctor, waiting on God’s healing for a loved one, or waiting to hear who the next President will be, I still have the same need: to be filled with His power, peace, and providence.

faith-votes