Tips to Overcoming a Panic Attack

If you are anxiety sufferer, you know the classic signs of anxiety. Tightness in your chest, palpitations, headaches, tummy upset, trembling hands, and week legs. These are all classic symptoms of anxiety. I should know. I’ve had them all before.

I’m so thankful that I’m not new to this story, and that I know what to do when I feel a panic attack coming on. I thought I would share with you some tips that can help you overcome a panic attack.

1. Know your symptoms. Everyone is different. For me, I know I’m about to have a panic attack if my chest starts feeling a little tight. At that moment, if I take the time to do the steps below, I can avoid it.

2. Breathe deeply. At the first sign of a coming panic attack, stop what you are doing and focus on breathing. Breathe in through your nose counting to 5 very slowly. Then let the breath out slowly through your mouth, counting to 7. Repeat this five times.

3. Quote scripture. Everyone should have a verse of scripture that they call “theirs”. Something that can bring comfort to an anxious mind. Here’s mine:

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

4. Distract yourself. The worst thing to do when you feel a panic attack coming on is to focus on how you feel. Go outside for a few minutes and take a quick walk. Start up a conversation with your husband, or call your mom. Break the cycle of panic with distraction.

5. Essential Oils. I don’t sell oils, but I’ve been using them since before they were ever popular. I found a blend from Young Living called “Peace and Calming”, and I love it. I don’t know if it’s just a placebo for me or what, but the scent of this particular oil really does help me feel calm. When I feel anxiety coming in, I rub some over my heart, on my wrists, and under my earlobes.

6. Pray. If you know why this anxiety attack started to come on, share your burden with Jesus. He really does care! Leave your cares and worry at His feet. Pour your heart and tears out before Him. He’s listening!

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

7. Reflect. Once you are past the tense and anxious moment, think back on why you think you had it. Maybe you need to slow your schedule down a little, or change your attitude about something. Search for a Biblical and practical solution to whatever is causing you stress. Sometimes, just talking to a like-minded Christian friend can be enough to encourage you!

I hope these tips help you the next time you are about to have a panic attack!

You Matter to God

I’m a city girl. I find comfort in the sound of rumbling trucks, car horns, and trains. Kids playing, dogs barking, and neighbors fighting are often heard through my open windows. Sometimes, on foggy mornings, I can even hear large ship horns from Lake Erie. At night, streetlights cast their glow across my front window, and I’m OK with that. I’m a city girl, and for me, this is “normal”.

My husband, however, is from a remote town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Ontonagon is located on the shores of Lake Superior and home to the beautiful Porcupine Mountains. The first time Gabe brought me to his home-town, I was amazed at how quiet it was. There were no traffic jams or busy streets. No police sirens echoing off of tall city buildings. And it was clean. Despite the moving water on Lake Superior, I could see all the way down to the bottom of the lake. The water was crystal clear. At night, it was so dark outside, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. The biggest difference between living in the city and living in the country was when I looked up at the sky. The stars! I had no idea there were that many stars in the sky! The more I gazed into the sky, the more stars I saw, and I realized there were layers upon layers of them. I felt very small and insignificant!

Have you ever been struck at the wonder of a beautiful mountain range or the powerful sound of a waterfall? Maybe you’ve looked up at the vast number of stars in amazement or stopped to enjoy the cheerful sound of birds outside your window. How many majestic sunrises or sunsets have you watched with appreciation?

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

– Psalms 19:1

The same God that created all of the earth’s astounding beauty, created you. Have you ever stopped to wonder how the Creator of all things in existence, views you?

God thinks you are beautiful. Scripture tells us that God created all things beautiful. How dare we criticize ourselves for things we can not change! It really doesn’t matter what we think about ourselves, God thinks His creation is perfect. (“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:31) Don’t criticize the size of your feet or the shape of your nose. Stop hating the color of your hair or the sound of your voice. In doing so, you are criticizing God’s masterpiece!

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time”

– Ecclesiastes 3:11a

God thinks of you all the time. Why is it so easy for us to believe that God doesn’t really care about us? There are days we wonder if God even knows we exist. Yet the psalmist tells us that God thinks of us as often as the grains of sand on the earth. Do you know how many grains of sand there are on the earth?! Scientists estimate there are over seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains of sand on the earth. Umm…I can’t even write that number on paper. I think it’s safe to say, that God thinks of you in His every waking moment. Which, by the way, God doesn’t sleep. (“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” – Psalm 121:4)

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.”

– Psalms 139:17 & 18

God thinks you are 1 in billion. Stop and think about it. There are over 7 billion people on the earth today. Yet, God takes the time to know every little detail about you. He knew your name before you were born (Jerimiah 1:5), He formed you specifically while you were in your mothers womb (Isaiah 44:24), He knows when you sit down, stand up, or lie down (Psalms 139:2&3), and He hears every word you say (Pslams 139:4). If that were not enough, God has a book with your name on it where He keeps track of how many fingers you have, and every other little detail about you. (Psalms 139:16)! Oh, and let’s not forget that He collects your tears (Psalms 56:8), counts the hairs on your head (Luke 12:7), and is always watching what you do (Proverbs 15:3). In no way does God find you insignificant!

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

– Psalms 139:14

God has a purpose for your existence. I don’t think there is a human on this earth that hasn’t ever wondered what their purpose was. The world actually calls it “finding themselves”, but the Bible tells us that we can know exactly what our purpose is. In fact, we don’t even have to go away to find our purpose we just need to read the Word of God! Our main purpose on this earth is to glorify God in every word we say and in every deed we do (Exodus 9:16). Sometimes we go through storms in our lives and we struggle with understanding why God is allowing us to suffer. Yet we know that every trial has a purpose and meaning (Romans 8:28). God does not make mistakes with our lives!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

– Jerimiah 29:11

God thinks you are priceless. God created this earth, and the heavens. Everything that we find beauty in was the handiwork of our God. Not only that, but God created man and woman and gave all of that beauty to them with just one restriction. Yet, instead of obeying God, man decided to break that one rule. Ever since that day, sin has been passed down through countless generations. It broke God’s heart. He gave man many chances to be forgiven of that sin, but man failed continually. God knew that there could only be one sure way to save His beloved creation, and that was through the blood of His only Son, Jesus Christ. If you want to hear the entire story of God’s plan of redemption, go here.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

– John 3:16

God is not going to leave us alone. No matter how alone you might feel, God never leaves His children. There are days our flesh and the Devil will lie to us, and tell us we are alone and that God doesn’t really care. On those days, we need to trust the Word of God and not our feelings! God is walking in our future, He can be found in our past, and He is in our today, resting His hand on our shoulder. We can never out run God, and we can never hide from Him. No matter how deep our pit is, no matter how far we run, God is with us!

“Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

– Psalms 139:5-10

This city girl will never be able to walk a sandy beach again without thinking about God. I will never watch a sunset, or gaze into a starry sky without being amazed at how powerful my God is! When I’m in the depths of despair, and begin to doubt how God really views me, I will not trust my feelings. I will cling to the Word of God and know that God views me as priceless.

No Fear In Death

There is no doubt in my mind that I will one day walk on a street of gold. One day, a hand that was once nail-driven to a wooden cross will reach out to me, and lead me Home. I will see my Savior face to face, and I will enjoy eternity in Heaven with Him.

I am not afraid of what life-after-death holds for me. (If you don’t know where you will spend eternity, go here to read how you can have that assurance.)

Once upon a time, I used to worry about how I would die. I’ve never been diagnosed with a terminal illness or told I only have a short time left to live. Yet there were nights I used to lay awake long after the rest of my family would be sleeping, and I would wonder how I would die. These worries at times would leave me frozen with fear, allowing anxiety to get a grip on my mind, debilitating me. Would I die in a car accident? I began to have panic attacks while driving. Would I die of a heart attack? I began to struggle with chest pains. Would I die of a stroke? I began to wonder if I had blood clots. Would I die of cancer? I began to question every twinge of pain.

Maybe you are reading this and are thinking about how silly and ridiculous I sound. A Christian afraid of dying?! Believe me, I used to think that of myself. Shame would fill me each time I struggled with this fear. Yet, I soon learned that I was not alone. In the last year, I received emails and private messages from other Christians who also struggle with anxiety, and have had the same fear of dying.

Over the years, I have learned that God has given us all the tools we need to overcome our anxieties. These tools are found in the Word of God. Once I realized that my fear of dying was beginning to affect me in a physical and unhealthy way, I turned to the scripture. There, I found exactly what I needed to turn my fear into peace!

Why I No Longer Fear Dying

God knows how many days I have left to live on this earth. In Psalms 39, we are told that God knows when we lay down to sleep, and when we rise for the day. He knows our thoughts before we speak them. In fact, God has a book with my name on it, and He is keeping track of every little detail about me, including how much time I have left on this earth. The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever.” – Psalms 37:18

God has already declared what my end will be. When God moved upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1, He was putting thought into His creation. He was thinking about the little details He would give to each and everyone of us. If God put so much thought into His creation, wouldn’t He put some thought into how His creation would end? From the moment I was formed in my mothers womb, God had a plan for how my life would end. Not only that, His plan will bring Him glory, and it will please Him! Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” – Isaiah 46:10

God is holding my years, days, hours, minutes, and seconds in His hand. I trust God’s Word. He said that the death of His Son, Jesus Christ would be an atonement for my sins. He said that I can stand before His throne spotless, and blameless. If I can trust God to hold my eternity in His hand, why can’t I trust Him to hold my life in His hand? God has a plan for my life, but I can’t live that plan if I’m consumed with worry about my death! But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou are my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” – Psalms 31:14-15

I will not live one second longer than what God wills me to live. God is not going to allow anything to get in the way of His plan for me! What comfort to know that my death will not be some accidental mistake, or afterthought! God has set an appointment for my death, and He’s going to make sure I keep it! “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;” – Job 14:5

No matter how I will die, God will be with me. Heart attack, stroke, cancer, accident, murder – it doesn’t matter how I die, God has promised to be with me! No matter where I go, I can never outrun God’s hand. When my appointed time is up, God’s hand will be there to lead me Home, in fact, He may pick me up and hold me until we get there! “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” – Psalms 39:8-10

These precious promises God left in His Word are for us to take a hold of, and apply to our lives. If I trust Gods plans for me, then I don’t need to fear death. Trusting God is not about feelings or emotions, it is about action. I have to choose to trust God’s Word. I have to choose to commit Scripture to memory. I have to choose to quote these Scripture when I feel anxiety or fear. Only then can God turn my anxiety into peace!

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” – Isaiah 26:3

“No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me.”

– Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

When Silence is Loud

Sitting on my couch, I watched the setting sun cast it’s long shadows across my living room wall. The silence in the house was so loud, it deafened me.

Yes, you read that right. I said the silence was deafening.

I come from a large, loud family. Even when we didn’t have friends over, our house was still crowded, and loud. As the middle child of five sisters, I was able to experience the joys of sharing a bedroom, bathroom, and even my clothes with a crowd!

Eventually, I moved out of my noisy house and into a noisy, college dormitory. There, I shared a room with 4 other girls. Our house had eleven people living in it. Talk about crazy!

After living my entire life with crazy, loud females, you would think I’d get my own place just so I could enjoy some silence. Instead, I met a really handsome guy and decided to get married. I went from sharing a noisy dormitory to living in an apartment with my husband. I worked a part time job until giving birth to our first child.

I have spent the last 16 years raising 4 children. When it was time for my youngest child to go to school full-time, and for me to enjoy silent days at home, I found myself taking care of my sick husband.

Finally the day arrived. My husband was going back to work full-time after being home nearly two years. In my excitement, I made a list of fun house projects, stacked several books in a neat pile by my chair (pictured above), and filled my calendar with empty days.

Except, instead of leisurely resting in the sweet joys of silence, I became a tight ball of nervous energy. I had never truly been alone for more than an hour or two, and I wasn’t used to the silence. I soon learned that I was not a person who loved complete silence. I would much rather try to have a conversation with my husband over the craziness of our 4 loud children, than to be in an empty, quiet house alone. There is a lesson in the Bible for every phase of our lives, and I soon learned the benefits silence.

We need silent moments in our lives to remind us that God is still God. We get so busy in our day-to-day crazy, that we allow the noise and confusion of the world to creep into our hearts. We become weighted down over news of future wars, corrupt politics, and raging teenagers with guns. Yet, when we take time to shut the world out a few minutes everyday, and read the Word of God, we can find comfort in the truth that God is still God! Those worries are not for us to figure out. Just be still and see what the Lord can do! Someday, He is going to come and make everything that’s wrong in this world, right!

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalms 46:10

We need quiet moments in our lives so we can see God’s miracles. Four months ago, my husband was in the final phase of his cancer treatments (read Gabe’s cancer story here). During that time, my life was crazy. I pretty much felt like a single mom as my husband was often too sick to partake in normal “daddy duties”. During those crazy days, I was too busy to see the miracles God was performing. It wasn’t until it was all over, and I found myself sitting in a quiet empty house, that the reality of our situation really hit me. My husband had survived cancer – twice! And although we struggled more financially than we ever had, we somehow not only survived, but thrived!

“It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord .” – Lamentations 3:26

We need quiet moments in our lives so God can give us confidence for our future. In Isaiah chapter 30, God warns Israel to not seek help from the Egyptians. He warns them that if they do, it will be to their own detriment. God advised Israel that their safety relied not in running for their lives, but in staying in the quietness of where they were.

Sometimes, we need to rest in the quietness of where we are. The shadows of our future can easily alarm us, causing us to fear tomorrow. We become tempted to follow the worlds solutions, rather than following God’s Word. Don’t give in to that temptation. Instead, wait quietly in the silence of where God has you now. Listen to His voice, and follow His Word. In doing this, we can have confidence in our tomorrows!

“For thus saith the Lord God , the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” – Isaiah 30:15

They say that silence is golden. I have yet to experience the physical riches of silence! I have learned, however, that there are many spiritual benefits to having a quiet moment.

Meditation Monday – Get Off That Couch!

We all like to talk about what we’re “going to do”, but what are people saying about what you’ve already done?

Whether it’s getting a job, fulfilling a new years resolution, or accomplishing something for the Lord, you will only find failure and disappointment if you stay on the couch. Hard work and a little sweat will not only bring victory in your life, it will make you rich!

“In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” – Proverbs 14:23

Meditation Monday – Wise Lips

Have you ever stopped mid-sentence and wished you could take back your words? Unfortunately we must suffer the consequences of our spoken words! If you find yourself walking away from conversations feeling regretful for what came of your mouth, it’s time to start limiting your words. Give advice only when asked, don’t offer information about others not present, and set a limit on your words. In doing this, you are practicing the art of wisdom!

“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” –
Proverbs 10:19

Meditation Monday – Stand Still

When life turns crazy, we tend tend to turn crazy with it. We flutter from place to place, trying desperately to fix our own problems. When we come to the end of our own abilities we look around in panic and cry out to God, “help Lord, I can’t fix this!”

God wants to reveal His power to us in a great way, and He wants us to watch in awe! It’s only when we are standing still, our eyes fully on Him and not out problems, that we can see the salvation of the Lord!

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord , which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” – Exodus 14:13‭-‬14