|Posted on September 22, 2015 at 2:05 AM|
And there I was, right where I needed to be. Anxiety dull, but heart happy. Soul clinging to this moment and pushing all else away with every bit of strength the Lord equipped me with. Tears wanted to run wild, but I just breathed the emotion, the gratitude, in deeply. Closing my eyes, my hands pressed high, I worshipped my Jesus. My Father. My protector. My comforter. I looked over at my friend and the tears did begin to lightly fall, just sweet tears. She knows my story and I know hers, and stepping into this womens bible study was a hurdle. But there we were, in the midst of a room full of women, telling Jesus together that we were ready and our hands are open to Him. Ready to connect, to love on, to learn, to study together again. Moments of holding hands in prayer, lightly weeping in song, and smiling with joy and excitement... I knew this was a good thing.
That night ended and we filled out cards to join the weekly study that began the following week. She said she was in, asked for us to do it together, and without thinking I just knew I needed to say yes. This woman, my friend, has always amazed me and I just felt so blessed to be in church by her side again. I do know her story and yet after she jumped that hurdle and swung open those doors, it was as if she had been there forever. As for me, I still felt a tad bit like a cat in water trying to pretend I looked and felt ok, but with wet sticky hair flying in every which way as I panted through it. But right as we entered the sanctuary, she made a B-line to our friend who was sharing her testimony that night and said lets pray over her. And we did. Then we sat and got ready for worship. When the music began she said we need to stand, so we did. What a blessing to know someone like that.
The second week came and there she was in my driveway picking me up again. This time my anxiety felt thick. I was tense. I wanted to go, was even excited, but my body didn't agree. I fought through it, tried to focus, tried to ignore some familiar panic like triggers, and remembered the restful state I've learned through yoga and tried to melt into that pew seat. As the message ended and the group time began, I pictured myself having to run outside for fresh air because my throat felt like it was closing up. I told the Lord, just one step at a time. So I grabbed a seat and sat down. It was the last seat available and right next to the leader. That was not the comforting back row, hidden behind a taller woman position, I had imagined. But something funny happened next. I was asked to introduce myself, and then to answer the questions, first. That had every scoop on ingredients to make me run. And yet the Lord reminded me of how he had equipped me to lead a group so similiar to that one before. I loved that group and was with them for a couple years. It was a place of peace, not panic. And as I opened my mouth to speak, I felt like myself. Like my old self, my true self. Not like this scared, claustrophobic, new self. But like, me. I not only survived the group, I really loved it. I really loved getting to know how I could pray for each woman. I was thrilled over the homework they gave us. I left excited for the next week to come and I would have never imagined that would be the case.
The last question I answered was what my prayer request was and I answered with, "Well... if I was being very honest... I've been dealing with anxiety and I hate it and would love prayer for that."
Flash forward to the next day and I was at the park with another friend that I hadn't seen in months. She's also a woman I deeply admire, and no matter how much time passes, we just pick up where we left off. As I shared my struggles with her about this season and anxiety being emotionally draining, she poured wisdom and love into my life. We talked about chemical imbalances, stress, spiritual warfare, etc. I deeply appreciated her insight and her understanding without judgement. But one thing that made me feel so empowered was when she said how great it is that I'm talking about my anxiety because satan loves for us to feel alone, scared, trapped, stupid, inadequate. He loves to keep us in the dark. But in sharing, I'm bringing this struggle into the light. Giving it room and oxygen to heal and grow from the Lord and through prayers from my friends and family. I do actually feel like my anxiety is getting better, (more info coming on that in my next blog), but it's still there and just the fears it has revealed to me and left in me, need bathing in the Lords word and grace.
The night I got home from my bible study I went straight to my husband and said, "Please pray for me. I want to do this study and not have anxiety anymore. I want to be used by God and I don't want to be afraid. I want to love whole heartedly." We prayed. And then soon after he said, let's get down on our knees and really pray, and we did. And it was perfect and fun and beautiful. Just hope... sweet pure little bubble of hope, you are still there and my heart has missed you.