I recently relapsed in my fight with anxiety. I became so afraid that I began to let how I was feeling about an incident consume my every thought. I found myself planning how I could run away to safety, along with my family, and never face this scary situation ever again. I wanted to personally guarantee that my family would be safe— no matter how much joy, fun, or freedom I would need to sacrifice. As a parent, the hardest thing I have ever done is to release my fear of something bad happening to my children. When faced with a potential threat (or the idea of), everything in me says that I— as long as I worry enough, am proactive enough, and overthink enough— I can in fact guarantee my children’s safety. It all depends on me and only in my care will they find complete protection. But this time around, knowing what I know of God’s promises and his protection displayed already in my life, I was challenged by how I responded to my fear. Fear didn’t have the complete control that it had in the past. Because of how God has shown up in my life, I recognized his presence in this moment. Even though I was afraid. This feeling delicately urged me to choose a different route this time, to trust in God, fully. And to believe that he really is good, he really is faithful, and he really is all of the things I am always saying are true about him. It was time for me to physically step out in faith, and release control. In what seemed in the moment to mirror the story of Abraham giving up Isaac, I felt like I had to trust God with my children. And because of how he showed up for Abraham, I could know that God would also show up for me.
God always planned to provide the sacrifice, he just wants us to bring the faith.
So yes, God allowed me to stumble. But I wasn’t alone. I could feel his constant presence in the background of my fret. I felt the reality of the fear, and struggled with the very real temptation to run and hide. But this time I remembered what was at stake. A generational tendency of fear, worry, and anxiety. A sin that I vowed not to pass on. A temptation of the enemy that I have chosen to call out— and put an end to right here, right now. Anxiety, you will not be passed on to my kids. Fear, you will not steal my joy. Worry, you will not keep me up all night. I will show my children an example of a woman and a mother who is not consumed and controlled by fear or circumstance. A mom who does not back down in the face of the enemy— who does not sacrifice her present peace for a facade of security. At the height of the tension, when I had to choose to stay and face the fear or to run away and hide. I chose to be stronger. I chose to fight. I did something the old me would not have been able to do. But I did it. And I know that my kids saw me. And more importantly than what they saw is the lesson I taught them of what is happening that we cannot see— the real yet unseen battle that is happening all around us. And the strength we have as believers whose hope is in the Lord. Did you know there are warrior angels surrounding us, being commanded by God on our behalf? (Psalm 91:11) And if we believe as though it has happened, do you know we can ask for anything and it will be done? (Mark 11:24) And when we are disheartened by the darkness in this world, do you know that we can always find joy in the shelter of his wings? (Psalm 63:7) Do you really know all of this to be true? I do. And by knowing this, I am more than a conquerer.
“Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!” Romans 8:37 (Passion Translation)
*My mom has always been my greatest encourager. She pointed me to Psalm 91 as I laid awake at night in contemplation. I wanted to include that reference here for anyone that struggles with fear and anxious thoughts. These words brought me strength and peace in the midst of the storm.