Tag Archives: Anxiety

When the Stess Becomes Evident

Our living situation, or should I say our comfortable empty nest has changed. I have always thought of myself as fairly adaptable and willing to flex and change to accommodate those things life throws into our comfortable mix. However, I recently learned how I too can be in denial.

Almost four years ago on July 4th, after discussing at length, the options for our mom, I told my sister–after discussing with my husband–that living up north with us might be a workable option. I said yes and my sister said okay and brought her up for what mom thought was her annual three-month stay in Minnesota. She always enjoyed pleasant summer temperatures and her lovely trailer tucked beneath the trees beside our home. Independent living at its best. Mom always said it was the best of both worlds. Orlando for nine months of the year and International Falls in the summer months. Life is good!

It didn’t quite turn out the way our little momma thought it would when asking my sister to make her return flight to Orlando. My sister had to be the bad girl and tell her that she wouldn’t be coming back. Bam…the first blow. We did work it all out however and our poor, little lady had to face her first winter with–us as one of the coldest in many years blew through the winter months. Apart from some physical issues she really did do fairly well. Along with her friends, we made sure that she was set with clothing to keep her warm. My little momma is only 4’10” tall, weighing in at 80 pounds. Yeah, how does that work without fat on her body to keep her warm. However, she did make it!

Blow two came in the summer when she was looking forward to moving into the trailer for three months or so. “Mom, you aren’t able to live in the trailer anymore. It isn’t suitable and you can no longer see well enough to be alone. But maybe we can find you a place in town where you might get a meal with your living plan and I can even bring you meals.

That plan softened the punch a bit. However, there wasn’t an apartment available at that time but she could be put on a waiting list to call when one became open. Summer came and went and nothing opened up until later in the fall of 1014. By then we just couldn’t see her living by herself at all. Yup, the third blow.

As we rolled into 2015 we realized we were at a crossroads with our mom. Her independence dwindling as she basically resided in our daughter’s old bedroom and our living room upstairs. “Well mom, this is home!” Our hopes were that she would be able to resign herself to being comfortable with us. But a few issues got in the way of that, including health issues and trying to make her comfortable.

I am so not a drug person. I don’t like to take them and for me, they are a ‘last resort’. With our mom, she has to use a few which I understand is pretty good for an 86-year-old today. She started itching like crazy when she was with us and we did the derm and allergist thing and you name every cream, pill, and salve in the book, all to no real avail! What were we going to do about this?

Almost every night I have helped load her skin up with of cream all over her little bony body so she can sleep through the night. She would sometimes wake up itching like crazy and be very angry. I have often wondered how much of this was brought on by her disappointments? I guess I will never fully know the dynamics. From a tiny, elderly lady who awakens to puff a half a cigarette, eat a few bites of some sugary pastry (oh how she loves her sweets!), and seldom drinks any water, I’m amazed at how well she is doing. So needless-to-say, her skin issues may never get better at this point, it is so hard to retrain a person in their 80’s!

I have shared prior to this post of how I have had to let go of some of my dreams because this momma is my top priority right now. However, there are times when you have a V8 moment and realize you have been harboring resentment and to top it off, not dealing with it! Ouch, that is a reality that I really didn’t think I would ever have to deal with.

Last early spring I started losing my hair. Now I am on a fabulous nutrition product so that isn’t the problem. I studied and looked and pondered and prayed as to what in the world was going on. Thyroid? Diet? Vitamin deficiency? Or dread, maybe…stress? Well after doing all the ‘right’ things I could think of, this was the only thing I could conclude as my issue…stress...oh how it doesn't do the body so good! It can literally destroy us when we aren't willing to deal… Click To Tweet

So I again when to my mantra of Philippians 4:6-7 and asked the Lord to show me what in the world was going on. On one of my walking routes one day it all came pouring out of me. I had to admit some things to the Lord that I really didn’t want to out of the fact that I was sort of ashamed I had harbored these feelings. After all, didn’t He tell me I was supposed to write that book and speak all over the place? But as I had to give up my space, my time and all those things that gradually took me away from my dreams, I guess I got angry. Ever heard it said that anger turned inward is depression? Makes sense doesn’t it. We harbor bitterness that grows and makes us a very angry, unhappy, unhealthy person.

Argh, I walked and cried like an idiot that day on my walk. I’m sure people driving by were wondering what my problem was. However, getting it all out on the table so to speak was so the right thing to do! I was then in for a huge blessing.

Now, you might think that when you get a dozen roses that’s pretty special right? You bet it is. But better than roses–even though I couldn’t bring them home with me–there along the road in the ditch (where I walk all the time) low and behold…a perfect dozen Pink Showy Lady Slippers (our state flower, btw.) It was just like the Lord blessed me for my honest walk with him!

I really can’t tell you just how much that meant to me. They were absolutely gorgeous! It was as if He confirmed my forgiveness by giving me this incredible gift!

Oh, friend, God is so kind and gentle, and I love this from Psalm 145:8…

“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

You see, I had to let go and let God fill me with His peace!

You know what? I did quit losing my hair within a few days! That is just proof that stress destroys. I believe we aren’t meant to carry bitterness and anger. And when we choose to ignore it, we will suffer because it has taken up residence in our hearts!

Friend, sometimes you just have to let it go and when you do you will be flooded with the ‘peace that passes all understanding’! I’ll take a dose of that any day…how about you?

 

My Home, My Sanctuary…

Birdnest on CrossI remember the days of chaos in my home. Screaming kids and stuff everywhere. Discontentment does that to our homes! I was not happy with anything, complained about everything and joy was superficial. This is not a happy home!

This is what chaos means according to Merriam Webster:

Complete confusion and disorder; a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything

So sadly, my heart and home were a real disaster area where one would rather depart from than be welcomed into!

If you want to put stress on your family, drive away your spouse, wonder why your kids are hanging from the chandelier, this may give you a clue. I truly understand because I was there once upon a time.

I did not have peace in my heart. God was not even welcomed in my dysfunctional  environment and there wouldn’t have been room for Him anyway. For years I existed in this disarray becoming more and more miserable.

Then at age thirty I was introduced to Jesus Christ. God used Christian media to show me what it could look like on the other side of my whirlwind. In my desperate state, getting ready to flee, unable to take many more days of utter confusion, I said yes to Jesus because of the testimony of a couple who were living much like I had been. When they received Christ, they found the Prince of Peace! You see, I was desperate and I wanted that peace!

Over the next 20 years the Lord began to redirect my life and turn it right-side up to where home looks completely different than it once did. His perfect peace filled my heart gave me a resting place within instead of that heart of discontentment.

As God’s peace infused my being I realized that my environment was beginning to be more orderly and complete. Dare I say that our environments reflect our souls? My home has become a sanctuary and a place of welcoming. I know God is here because of the peace I feel when I walk through the door. No, I don’t have altars set up but the environment is for the most part a welcoming place.

I am still working on my minimalizing to help me with clutter tendencies but it is coming along. This place is where my husband desires to be and on those hectic days out and about I long to retreat into because God’s peace is present!

So do you struggle with finding peace in your home?

Is it sometimes difficult to return to when there is disorder awaiting you as you open the door?

The most important element can be the state of your heart. Be willing to look inside and see what it is that may be out of sorts and begin to purge and rebuild from the Father’s perspective so that your heart and your home will exude His peace that passes all understanding.

Take a moment and visit Philippians 4 to help you in your pursuit of a “peace that surpasses all understanding…”

Father, I am going to refuse to succumb to chaos any longer and I ask for Your perfect peace to fill me and guide me as I learn to walk in it. I want to lay down all areas that bring confusion and chaos and I’m asking You to replace the messes inside of my heart and home in exchange for Your peace. I am trusting You to rebuild me as I hand over to You my surrendered heart…in Jesus’ Name.

Do You Fight Anxiety?

A flat tire on a Mercury Villager van.It was back in February that we said goodbye to our older Bonneville and welcomed a Fusion into the family. (When the kids leave, vehicles and animals become your kids — sort of.) I had only driven the new vehicle a couple of weeks when while I was driving to town the low tire-pressure warning came on. I thought I would just go to the post office and then stop to get air when I returned.

But when I parked at the station and looked at my right rear tire, it was flat. How in the world could a brand-new tire be flat? I asked the attendant, Davey, to put enough air in the tire so I could park and he could fix it for me later. But the tire wouldn’t even hold air, and that’s when he discovered there was a hunk of metal in it. When I picked up my car, he said there was a utility knife blade stuck upright in between the treads and there was no holding air. But he got the job done.

It was only a week later that I went to get in my car and saw the low tire-pressure warning again — another flat tire. What’s up with that? Well, last year we re-shingled our house and garage and a leftover shingle nail eventually found that tire. God, why in the world are we dealing with this stuff? Oh, how He must laugh when I say things like that. Of course, stuff is going to happen, always. I am not exempt from difficulties; I live in a fallen world.

In the fall of 2011, I began speaking for an organization called Stonecroft. Most of you might recognize the name if I say Christian Women’s Club or Connection, which is what many of the clubs are calling themselves today. My trips take me on some pretty far journeys since I live at the top of Minnesota in the “Icebox of the Nation” and to go anywhere seems like a journey of several hours. My longest trip has been to the North Dakota circuit of Harvey, Minot and then down to Bismarck — lots of miles.

Naturally I prayed that my tire would hold its patch job since I would be in the middle of unfamiliar territory and alone. After six days I was set to return home and was pretty anxious to see my husband after he had gallbladder surgery while I was gone. I was rolling right along from Bismarck early one morning when suddenly my low tire-pressure warning once again came on. I started to get nauseous and fretted because there was nothing that looked like a gas station as far as I could see.

I am thankful that God reminded me of Philippians 4:6, which I immediately put to practice: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

As I recited that verse, I felt God’s presence and care for me. I didn’t stop but began to pray for a station that would be alongside the freeway so I could check the tire. I looked with my mirrors to see if the tire looked really flat, and it didn’t, which puzzled me. But I made the choice to trust the Scripture I recited instead of giving in to my anxious thoughts. Philippians 4:7 says: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I relaxed in knowing that God would provide for my request, and I had an unusual peace that also flooded my uncertain thinking. It wasn’t right away, but a nice truck stop appeared fairly soon afterward and I was able to check the tire (not the rear patched one but my front driver’s side.) and put in air. I then praised my God for His immediate care for me, all alone in North Dakota on a big freeway. Isn’t God just so good to His children?

I made it all the way home, only stopping two hours from home to check the air. None had leaked out. Well, our neighbors repaired that tire and found another nail. I guess it is inevitable when you work next to the transfer station road where all kinds of construction waste are hauled.

But I’ve used those two verses often recently to conquer fear and anxiety and to strengthen others who are in situations of similar uncertainty. Write those verses down and memorize them. Just get them in your heart so that when times of unrest come you will have some ready ammunition to defeat the enemy’s tactics of fear and anxiety. To all who are in Christ: You are armed and dangerous. Now use it.