As I have mentioned before, I struggle with an anxiety disorder. Sometimes my mind is a continuous loop of fears about the future. Here is an example of how my mind works. First, I get some numbness and tingling in my fingers. Next, I’m googling my symptoms and diagnosing myself with a tragic illness. Then, I’m picturing how I’m going to say goodbye to my kids. I’m not kidding, this is how anxiety grabs a hold of me and doesn’t let go. It’s not all hypochondria though, any worst case scenario in my mind will take me hostage. My anxiety is truly the “thorn in my side”. What happens though, when our fears actually do become reality?
My mind has conjured up just about every awful thing that could possibly happen to my family and I but the interesting thing is, the most heartbreaking events in my life never even entered my imagination. I had often thought about losing one of my parents, but I never imagined my mom being diagnosed with stage 4 sarcoma cancer at 57 years old, just 5 weeks after my first child was born. This news was devastating to me. Here I was with a newborn, and we were moving into our first house. It was supposed to be an exciting and happy time of life. I’ll never forget my mom calling me and saying that the doctors thought the cancer was on both sides of her lungs and basically, she was dying. I hung up the phone and screamed that I hated God. When we lost John, I always said, why not us? But with this, I just kept thinking, not again God. I can’t do this again. Outside of my husband, my mom is my best friend and I couldn’t imagine navigating the rest of my life without her. I didn’t feel like I had the strength to watch her body wither away or the strength to sift through her belongings after she was gone. Sometimes I think going through one trauma in life makes the other hurts and trials almost that much harder. You know you can make it through but you also know the searing pain and the long journey ahead. However, I got through my anger with God and I knew we just had to take things one step at a time. No matter the outcome, I knew God was going to get us through this.
After a long journey of prayer, a major surgery which included taking out most of her left lung and even part of her pericardium (the lining on her heart), intense chemotherapy and numerous trips back and forth to M.D. Anderson, my mom’s cancer was gone. Here we are three years later and my mom is still cancer free. I thank God often for the extra time I’ve gotten to be with my mom. She’s gotten to see our first child grow and welcome two other grandkids in the meantime with another one on the way. I’ll be forever grateful to God. Why did God choose to heal my mom and not others? I don’t know. Why did God save some students in that Columbine library and let my brother die? I don’t know. I do trust that God is good though. I trust that God is good no matter what circumstances are happening in our world, no matter how hard it is to understand why God allows certain things to happen.
My fears are overwhelming much of the time. I struggle oftentimes daily with my anxiety and fear.This morning I played the song, “In Christ Alone” probably 10 times straight. I feel God telling me that no matter what the future holds, I will make it through. Not by my own strength, not by a long shot. No, I can walk boldly into the future with confidence because I can stand in the power of Christ. I have a long way to go but I take comfort in knowing my God can and will get me through whatever is ahead. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time, or as my mom has said, sometimes you have to take it one minute at a time.
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
I can’t get enough of this Christina Grimme version of “In Christ Alone”. She was a Voice contestant and was tragically murdered this year after performing one of her concerts.