Wow! That was a reminder of a time in my life, nearly twenty years ago when I was all but crippled by worry and fear. To the point that I was hospitalized and no doctor could figure out why I was having such severe abdominal pain. It subsided in about 48 hours and I was released. I have no doubt today that it was a physical symptom of pain and brokenness in my heart, soul and mind.
Yes, I was a Christian at the time. Before the hospitalization I sought Christian counseling, prayed and read scripture looking for the answers to the problems that were destroying me and my family. Some of the scriptures the counselors and I used then are still some of my favorites. These are just a few:Matthew 6:34-
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.
Unfortunately after speaking with someone, praying or reading scripture I was right back to the worrisome and fearful thoughts that plagued my mind every waking moment. I would even find that my thoughts had wondered to the worries while I was in counseling, praying, reading, talking to a friend, cooking dinner or giving my baby a bath. I could concentrate on nothing. It seemed as though I could not escape them for more than a few seconds at a time. This affected every aspect of my life.
Then, by the grace of our almighty Father I met a group of women who became and still are today my angels on earth! I believe the Lord saved my life, my family and my marriage through them. They taught me how to live out those scriptures. I was desperate and willing, so I did what they said had worked for them.
My prayers changed. I started by only asking God to help me. Those “angels on earth” were sometimes rather rough. They basically told me I was such a mess that I really didn’t know what I needed or wanted, so to simply ask that He would help me and give me the strength and peace to live according to His will. In the past I would tell him what I needed Him to do. I began praying that He would give my husband the same peace I wanted for myself.
It was suggested that every night I write down five things I was grateful for in that day. After a while I decided to always make sure at least one of those five was something about my husband. I eventually added a prayer of thanksgiving for those things each night too. This one act was crucial in changing my attitude.
My biggest obstacle was my thinking! I was told to read scripture and/or from one of my inspirational daily readers each morning. Here was the key part to that morning routine…After doing so I was to choose a part of what I read to repeat to myself alllll day long! For example if I read John 14:27 I may decide to “think” on “do not be afraid” for that day. As the day went on and I would realize I was worrying I would just start saying to myself, “do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid…” I sometimes repeated it out loud if I was alone. I learned that it was possible to control my thoughts and therefore I had control over my serenity. This behavior allowed me to begin to understand and feel the peace Jesus had left for me.
Although it’s been many years since I began to make these changes, I do not live a worry and fear free life. However, I can confidently say that even through some tough times that followed I am no longer controlled by worry and fear. No matter what may happen I trust the Lord’s will in my life today. My life is His anyway!