In my anxiety I cried out to you. Psalm 116:11
Last week I told you that we were taking our last family adventure before school started. What I didn’t tell you was that leading up to the trip my anxiety was nearly debilitating.
One year before, same time, same place I carried my Azaiah in my womb. I anticipated him coming with us this year. I envisioned him sitting at the creek side splashing with his brother and sisters. But this year no baby came on our trip.
I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to be there. I tried to suck it up and fain happiness for my surviving children. I didn’t do such a great job faining.
Little things that usually pass right by me dug into my nerves instead- the noise of the children, the crumbs on the table and floor, the chaos of six children and two parents in a cabin in the woods surrounded my mosquitoes. OK, that one probably would have pushed me to the edge on a good day. But this year it just made me want to run away.
At night when everyone was asleep I was restless. Little noises jarred me. The walls of our little room squeezed me. The darkness aggravated me. I was not having fun. I was not even surviving it all that well.
Several days into the trip three of my dearest friends texted me in a matter of an hour or two. One who was thinking of me. One who was praying for me. And one who said God simply put me and Azaiah on her heart a lot the past few days.
These women dropped what they were doing the moment my son died. They left their homes, their lives, their own children and came to me. They carried me in those first days and seven months later they haven’t put me down.
They are truly the best friends I have ever known. But in the big picture it’s not even about them. It is about God using their willing hands and hearts to speak to me. It took me a minute to get the message God was sending the other day. But he spoke it clearly.
“I see you. I know. You don’t have to carry this alone.” He said it again and again. “I see you. I know. You don’t have to carry this alone.” He said it louder.
“I SEE YOU! I KNOW! YOU DON’T HAVE TO CARRY THIS ALONE.”
As I struggled in my anxiety and my fear and my loneliness, God was packing little bags with my burdens and passing them out to the women who told him they’d carry it for me. The ancient prophet Isaiah passed on a message from God that holds an unyielding promise. Isaiah 43: 1-3 says:
Listen to the Lord who created you.
The one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God…
If you find yourself struggling, like me, with anxiety let those words of your Creator speak to you. Don’t be afraid. You are ransomed. You are his. When you are in the middle of your anxiety, he is there. When you feel like you are drowning, the truth is he won’t let you. When you feel oppressed by the fiery trials that surround you, the bottom line is you will not be destroyed. You know why?
For the great I AM spoke it. Claim it. Live it. And when I forget, go ahead, someone remind me.