Journey Reblog 5 – Stepping Stones in the Valley

Reblogged August 14, 2019

God gave me “stepping stones” amid the muck of physical symptoms, doubts, and fears in Anxiety Valley. They didn’t make me feel any less anxious, but they helped me get through the days of struggle. Here are a few I wrote down:

  1. Psalm 116:1, 5, 7 (New Living Translation): “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” “5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!” “7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.”

I will believe God’s love. Then my soul can rest because in believing I remember God’s goodness and His presence with me. I choose to believe Him instead of listening to the lying anxiety feelings.

Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

  1. I love God. I want to love Him more. I want to grow in knowledge and discernment and depth of insight so I can know what is best and what really matters. (Philippians 1:9-10 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return” New Living Translation.)

 

  1. Father, You have sent help. Praise music and Your Word offer comfort. You said that You will never fail or forsake me (Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5). You have promised, and You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23). You sent the pastor and the counselor. You even provided a calmative medicine to help me get through this. You gave me friends and family and church family who love and support me. And the devotional readings! Some seem especially appropriate on the particular days they show up in my e-mail.

Thank You, Lord, for all these expressions of Your love and grace. Amen.

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Chosen – Part 1

“Jacob…whom I [God] have chosen…You are my servant; I have chosen you….” (From Isaiah 41:8-9)
Lord, You chose Jacob (Israel) and You have chosen us also. You chose us to go and bear fruit for Your glory. Thank You. Please help me serve you well today. Amen.
Jesus said in John 15:8 and 16, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last…..”

In Colossians 3:12, Paul calls us “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.” Wow! Holy—set apart for His service—and dearly loved. Not just loved, but dearly loved. What encouragement to live seeking to please God and joyfully serve wherever He directs! Why do I forget so often and start whining? I want to form a new habit. When I hear myself whining or complaining, I want to remind myself that I’m part of a holy people, chosen and dearly loved.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” –1 Peter 2:9

How wonderful to be selected, called! And we’re called for a purpose—not to be pampered or play games. We’re called to serve God even in difficulties, fit into His plans whatever they are, and bring Him glory. It is the path to real life. I didn’t learn this when I was young, but I believe God gives me each new day so I can learn it now.
Thank You, Lord.

[All Scriptures are NIV]

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Journey Reblog 4 – God Sends Comfort

From the beginning of this particular struggle with anxiety, God sent me comfort in Scripture verses. For example:

Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.” Psalm 116:5 and 7 “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.”  “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Romans 8:39 “[Nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (All New International Version or NIV) I often went back to Isaiah 41:10 in the Amplified Bible: “Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.”

I wrote these and many others in my journal, but I also wrote:

“The feelings of anxiety are so strong that my mind can’t seem to grasp this comfort. In anxiety mode, I feel unable to believe or trust. I feel like I can’t hold onto truth.”

Maybe I couldn’t hold onto truth, but God held onto me. When I believed in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and committed my life to Him, God made me His child. (John 1:12-13 says that whoever wants Jesus and believes He is who He claimed to be—that person can become God’s child. God becomes their Father.) At that time, God took me in His hands and has never let me go. He has promised that He never will, and He keeps all His promises. Hebrews 13:5—“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”  Jesus said, “No one can snatch [My sheep] out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (from John 10:28-29). (Both verses NIV.)

My feelings can’t change the truth of God’s Word. Neither can my self-doubts, sweaty palms, trembling body or overwhelming panic change the truth of God’s secure hold on me. Because I had trouble believing that in my journey through Anxiety Valley, I’m thankful for our pastor who reminded me of the truth when I needed to hear it. And since I’m feeling better now, I offer it as hope to those who are feeling the way I did.

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Speak Words of Blessing

“Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” (Proverbs 15:30 NIV)
Light in the eyes means the messenger brings good news. That news brings joy to both the bearer and the hearer.

<p class="wp-block-syntaxhighlighter-code brush: plain; notranslate">Whether I'm bringing good news or just contributing to conversation, I want my words to help and bless.I can see that I need to choose my thoughts wisely since the things I say result from the thoughts I think. (Luke 6:45 NLT–“What you say flows from what is in your heart.”) </p>

Lord, please help me think about what is right and true and excellent and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) Then the words that come out of my mouth will build others up and bring blessing. Holy Spirit, thank You for persistently reminding me to practice wise thinking. The more I do that, the less I fall back into old habits of self-pity, anger, jealousy, and criticism.
Today let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart please You and bless others. (Psalm 19:14) Amen.

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The Journey Begins

Journey Reblog 3

After a checkup, my doctor became concerned about my sodium level and suggested I discontinue taking my antidepressant medicine. I stepped down on the dosage until I was off that medication. I prayed, read my Bible, read devotionals, spent quiet time with the Lord, and asked others to pray for me (which they did).

           Nevertheless, sleeping problems started in the first week without the medicine. I woke up frequently in the night with sweaty palms and a feeling of panic. During the day, my insides felt like jelly, and my hands trembled constantly. Soon, fear and self-doubt took over my mind. My thoughts jumped onto a hamster wheel of failures, not good enough, should have, ought to, God expects better, others are better, and on and on.

I returned to my doctor who prescribed different medicines which didn’t seem to help. I finally checked into the geriatric psych unit of a local hospital. That gave me a break from my usual responsibilities. The doctor there got me back on the antidepressant that had worked before. The staff connected me with a nearby mental health clinic with which I could follow up after my hospital stay.

After I returned home, I felt overwhelmed by the simplest tasks. At night I slept only 2 hours at a time, waking up in panic between “naps.” At first I had to force myself to get up in the mornings because I felt overwhelming anxiety and thought I couldn’t face the day. But I did get up each morning and attempt to spend a quiet time with Jesus. I mostly wrote prayers in my journal, tried to read a little Scripture, and sometimes sang a hymn.

I wanted to feel better right away. I didn’t.  Throughout the 4-month long struggle with anxiety/depression, I continued to pray, write in my journal, read Scriptures and devotions, and attend church where I worshiped God with others, had fellowship with my church family and found spiritual nourishment in good sermons.

Sometimes the encouraging Bible verses I read didn’t seem helpful or encouraging. I didn’t feel less anxious. But God’s Word is true. My feelings don’t change the truth of His Word. I kept writing verses in my journal and hoped they ministered to my spirit even though my body and troubled mind didn’t seem to be paying attention.

“We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone”—Psalm 33:20-22. Without you, Lord, we have no hope. “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence”—Jeremiah 17:7. (Both Scriptures New Living Translation.)

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Love So Amazing

The One who put the stars in space
Prepares in heaven for me a place,
And someday I will see His face.
Jesus Christ my Savior.

On the cross unjustly slain,
He took away my guilt and shame.
For all my sin He took the blame.
Such love, my Lord and Savior!

My thanks and praise seem so small
Since You, Lord, sacrificed Your all
To redeem creation from our fall,
Mighty Lord and Savior.
(By Tricia 6/5/2019)

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
(Fourth verse of Isaac Watts’ hymn,
“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
)

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3 NASB)

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Introduction – Hope Amid Anxiety

Journey Reblog 2

June 12, 2019

In my “Journey toward Wholeness” blog, I shared mostly about the battle I faced when medication problems threw me into a bout with anxiety a few years ago.  Because many people struggle with depression and/or anxiety, I hoped the accounts of my feelings, thoughts, and the help God gave me might benefit someone. That is my hope with these re-blogs also.

I love God and have been a Christ-follower for many years, but that hasn’t prevented anxiety and depression from bothering me. In fact, I’ve had difficulty with depression and anxiety for much of my life. (They often go together.) For me, medicine, counseling, and other therapies have helped. God is to be praised for all the help I received because He is behind it all. He is the source of every good thing. I have tried at times to function without the medicine, hoping that extra Bible reading or more prayer would take care of my problems. But I couldn’t do it. Speaking from experience, I can say that drawing near to God is a wonderful thing, but getting chemical imbalances corrected with medicine can also make a big difference.

Tricia’s Journey Begins

I remarked once that God could just heal me, and I wouldn’t need medicine. My pastor reminded me that God could heal my eyes too, and I wouldn’t need glasses, but that wasn’t God’s priority work in my life at that time. So I decided to thank God that medicines have been developed to help with the problems I have. I’m also very thankful for the many people who prayed for me and loved me through that struggle.

Sometimes I have prayed that God would help me to more truly love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. One day I asked Him to help me be sure I knew the real Jesus and not a substitute or just an idea someone made up. My journey through Anxiety Valley helped answer those prayers.

Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.” Amplified Bible

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