Since my mom’s passing in July 2015, I have found myself on unfamiliar ground. In many ways I have never felt so out of control in my life. As hard as I tried to do the best I could for her and her care, in the end she still died. There was a moment when I said to my husband that when I saw her again someday, I wanted to find out what it was that finally took her. My husband responded with something that has stuck with me; “she was 84 & people just die”. I realized then that it doesn’t matter ‘what’ caused it, it just happens. And I think I realized then that ultimately I was holding on too tight to a burden that wasn’t mine to carry in the first place..
Something new has developed & taken shape these past months as well. I have found that even the smallest things like the dog throwing up from eating too much bird seed fills me with anxiety & worry. (what if she doesn’t stop, how do you do the heimlich on a dog, it’s a Friday and the vet is closed...What bad thing is going to happen next!!?) I know, crazy right? And REALLY annoying, I might add!!! I think it’s because of the past 4 years of late night phone calls from the nursing home, meetings with doctors over medications & care, and other very stressful situations too numerous to detail, I am constantly trying to prepare myself for something ‘more to come’. It’s my inner fight or flight mechanism run amuck! I would like to think perhaps this is just a by-product of my grief & those feelings of out-of-controlness?
Well, it should come as no surprise that God has been so very faithful in helping me brave this storm I’m in. Shortly after mom passed, I decided to make an appointment with Him each morning to go over his life manual. I’ve been trying to make sense of things, understanding that I needed to give myself some time to figure out my new normal of daily life. I am learning that the same patience, grace & mercy I aspire to give to other people, I need to give that to myself too!
Not knowing what else to do but knowing I needed to fill a void inside me I decided to take advantage of a lesson I found online about the Names of God. I wasn’t sure if it would help but it certainly couldn’t hurt. I soon found out that during times of storms it is good to be mindful of Who God is and how much he loves us. As I studied the meaning of His many names I was surprised at the impact it had on me. Yes and the impact it had on my anxiety/worry. Even the words alone give you insights; Provider, The Lord is my Shepherd, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, God with us, Yahweh saves, just to name a few. You are not expected to brave these things alone!
In that study it stated, How we act reveals what we think about God.....Think about that a minute.
Strong words? Maybe.
But listen, when you and I continue down the road of anxiousness, we communicate to our hearts and to the world that our God isn’t big enough, trustworthy enough, or wise enough to provide for us in His way and in His time. Alternatively, when we rest in the Lord and turn to Him in thanksgiving and prayer, we preach to ourselves - and to every around us- that our trust is rightly secured in the grace, sovereignty, and goodness of a God who sees and provides.
And how do we accomplish this? Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If this all sounds easier said than done, then believe me I’m right there with ya!! If I could just flip a switch and never have another anxious or worrisome thought, I’d do it. If you notice though this is a command to not be anxious-pray about everything!! In the fine print it doesn’t have a disclaimer of 'except if you think it’s too small or unless you don’t need ME because you can handle it on your own” But we are never left to our own devices having to figure things out all alone. He gives us the tools all we have to do is pick them up & learn how to use them! We are human though so we won’t always get it right and sometimes we will forget these lessons.
For me reminders & encouragements have come in the form of ‘words of focus’ which are chronicled in previous years. Since I’m working at figuring out this new normal it comes as little surprise to me that the 'words' would take on a bit of a different form this year as well....hmmm...until next time...