Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When Anxiety Sets In

I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back now I can tell I had some definite struggles with post-partum anxiety after I had Isaiah. This anxiety bled into my pregnancy with Maci. I remember worrying about whether I'd love her enough and I also remember being afraid of Darren dying. It was so weird. I feel like this is something not a lot of people talk about. Everyone talks about the joys of pregnancy and then cautions you about post-partum depression and the baby blues. But not many people talk about anxiety. The thing is, post-partum anxiety is also very real and it doesn't look how you'd expect because a lot of the time, it's internalized.

It took some soul searching and many meetings with Jesus for me to come out of the cloud of anxiety. First it took me a while to name it and then to replace my worry with trust in God. The more I cultivated my walk with God, the more I understood His sovereignty. This allowed my post-partum recovery to go much more smoothly with Maci and also helped my parenting and now this pregnancy. 

I have been way less anxious this entire pregnancy. But as I near the end, I still get different flashes of anxiety. While reading, "You and Me Forever" by Francis and Lisa Chan, this sentence jumped out at me:

"If you worry about what would happen to your children if you were gone, you don't understand the providence of God."

As a control freak, I happen to know how easy it is to worry. Since so much of pregnancy and child birth is beyond my control, I can replay a million different scenarios of how things are going to go when I go into labor with Emmie. Will she be okay? Will I be okay? Will Isaiah and Maci be okay? Dear Lord, if things move quickly, please don't let my kids witness it and be freaked out.

I understand the providence of God. I know that worry will get me nowhere. I know He is a God that provides. But the control freak in me struggles to actually grasp the providence of God. Logically, I got it. In practice, I struggle. Why? Because I want to know all the things all the time.

The more I talk and listen to God and read the Bible, the more I am filled with peace and the more I am able to grasp His providence. If my Bible stays closed, I do a lot more talking at God and not a lot of listening. This is how my anxiety and worry and doubt builds.

Ultimately, the health of myself and my family is not up to me. The outcome of each day is not really in my control. When I start to feel out of control and anxiety starts to creep in, these are my go-to verses (I have them tabbed and highlighted for easy access):

Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him... Romans 8:28

Why, you do not even know what will have tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

How amazing is it to serve a God who loves us? A God who knows we worry and that we want to be in control. A God who paves the road to our future and makes our paths straight. A God who knows us fully and calms the restlessness in our hearts and minds. A God that reminds us to come to Him with our worries and anxiety so He can handle it. Because prayer triumphs panic every time.

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