Hello, my name is Carrie. I’m a mother of 4 crazy kids between the ages of 7 and 15. I’m also married to a wonderful man who has just recently battled a stroke thyroid cancer. This last year has been very stressful to be sure. God was with me each step of each day. The times I wanted to fall apart and throw a huge temper tantrum, God’s overwhelming peace would flood through me.
I never would have gotten through the last year without God’s precious promise of peace. And I never would have claimed God’s promise of peace without the journey through anxiety He brought me through several years before. I want to share my story with you, because I want you to know that I understand. I really understand. Here’s my story.
One beautiful spring morning I woke up feeling as though I had the stomach flu. I kept getting adrenaline rushes, my heart was palpitating, and I thought I was going to vomit. I felt better in bed, so I went back to bed. My husband stayed home to help with our kids getting to school and to take care of the baby. For several days I struggled. I would get up each day, try to eat, then go back to bed. Finally, after five days of this, I went to the doctor, thinking maybe it was my gallbladder or something.
“It sounds like you might have anxiety.”
“No, I’m a stay-at-home mom. I don’t have that much stress in my life. Besides, I’m a Christian. I don’t believe in anxiety.”
“Even stay-at-home moms can have stress in their lives. Even if you don’t believe in anxiety, I really believe this is what you have.”
Later that day, my husband took the kids to the park. I came along, even though I felt I was in a fog. I felt like I wasn’t even really there. Watching my kids play, I called my sister and sobbed on the phone. Terri is my rock. She not only listens well, but she has great wisdom and our common faith in Jesus Christ has made me very close to all four of my sisters. Terri confided something to me that made my mouth drop open. She had struggled with anxiety before, too.
The next day, I got out of bed. I got dressed. I did my hair. I dry-heaved. I took my kids to school. I cried. I had panic attacks. I cried some more. I prayed and begged God to take this feeling of anxiety away.
Over the next year, I literally fought a battle with anxiety. I was stubborn. I wouldn’t take medication. Instead, I went to a local herbal and vitamin store and talked to the owner who guided me to many supplements and vitamins. I started exercising, and changed the way I was eating. I began drinking healthy green smoothies and eliminated caffeine. I had to take care of myself physically, so I could take care of my family. I realized, though, that healing from anxiety was not all physical.
Taking care of myself mentally was not something I even realized I was doing at the time. I had a friend who knew what I was going through, who remained in contact with me through it all. Looking back, I could not have gotten through that time in my life without my friend. I also began to realize I had to stop focusing on what I was feeling and the only way I knew to do that was to focus on other people. I began to write cards for sick church members, bake bread for neighbors. I made it a goal to do at least one thing for someone else every day.
The most important and effective change I made in my life during this time was to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. Being a second generation Christian, I grew up memorizing the scripture and hearing it preached and taught from the pulpit. All those precious promises spread throughout the Word of God was something that felt foreign to me. I had never had reason to claim these promises. Promises of unconditional love, bountiful peace, and endless joy.
Most mornings I woke very suddenly – the adrenaline rushes would begin as soon as I woke up -and very early. Suddenly, reading my Bible took a different meaning. I LIVED to read my Bible. In the beginning, I only read through Psalms. I read them over and over. I kept a notebook with my Bible and wrote out the verses that I felt God was giving me. That He was using to comfort me. Then, I would take a walk very early. Before the sun was up, I would begin my walk around my neighborhood, talking to God. Usually crying and begging Him to heal me, or at least help me get through the day.
Physically, I was dealing with some serious symptoms of anxiety. Heart palpitations, shaky legs, dry mouth, headaches, severe nausea. I had lost 40 lbs in just a few months. I had separation anxiety issues. I would cry and throw myself into my husbands arms when he would come home from work.
One day, I reached a pivotal moment. It had been 9 months, and I was still struggling. I was on my morning walk, and had ended my walk by going to my back porch. Our back yard is beautiful. The city made a sanctuary out of a piece of land behind our house that has a large pond on it. I can see it very clearly from my back porch, along with lots of tall grasses and beautiful trees. As the sun came up, it’s rays filtering through the tree branches, tears streamed down my face.
“Lord, if You want me to have anxiety the rest of my life, I accept it. Please just be with me to help me bear it. You are Good, You are God, and You are Holy and Just. I praise Your Name. Thank You for giving me this anxiety.”
After that day, I slowly began to get better, and now, today, I can say that God healed from anxiety. I no longer endure sleepless nights or wake suddenly at 5 am. I no longer have my legs shaking at all times of the day. I haven’t had a panic attack in years. Do I still have moments of anxiousness? Yes, but now I know that it’s going to be OK. That God is on my side. That there is HOPE. I have PEACE. JOY is always within reach.
I have a new life verse. Philippians 4:7 says “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The picture below was taken last summer when our family went camping at Lake Huron. I am in no way a photographer, but this sunset was so gorgeous and so beautiful. It is just an example to me of the great things God has done in my life, and how He has blessed my journey through anxiety. The purpose of this blog is to help encourage other Christians who struggle with anxiety. God can bring you through to the other side, and you too can have peace.