I can barely remember a time in my life when I did not struggle with anxiety.
One of my earliest memories of my horrible anxiety was when I was younger, probably around the age of 10, when my mother was hospitalized due to problems with her gallbladder. Because of how close my mother and I’s relationship was, this was especially hard on me. To help get my mind off of things, my grandparents did what they thought would be the best thing to do, and that was to take me on a vacation to Wyoming. To this day, as much as I remember the fun things that I was able to do during that trip, and I have many hilarious memories from it, I still get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I recall making a phone call to my mother from a pay phone outside of Walmart during our trip. As the phone began to tell me that it would disconnect if I didn’t insert more money, I started to panic. My grandparents scrambled for change, trying to help me finish my call, but I remember yelling into the phone “I love you!” just after the phone had disconnected. I panicked, thinking “My mom didn’t hear my say I love her. What if the last words she ever hears from me weren’t ‘I love you?'” Even writing about this experience has me with tears in my eyes, and all I want to do is run to the other room and hug my mother.
Separation anxiety plagued me; it was physically traumatizing for me to be far from my family, and I would feel ill if I hung up the phone without an “I love you.” As time went on, I started to outgrow some of that anxiety, but when I got pregnant, a lot of my anxiety returned.
Another memory of my anxiety attacks showed up during my pregnancy. My then-fiance had taken me to a restaurant, and we were waiting to be seated. There were many people who were standing in the doorway waiting to be seated, and I began to get nervous. The exit was crowded with people; I felt surrounded, overwhelmed, like there was no escape from the room. I started to overheat, a combination of nerves, the heat of the restaurant, and the sheer number of people around me. At once, with no explanation, I bolted from the restaurant, running outside into the winter chill, and leaned against the hood of his car. I totally lost it; I dissolved into tears, got physically sick, and couldn’t bring myself to go back inside. I just felt horrible. My anxiety had gotten the best of me, again, and we weren’t even able to eat.
When my son was born, I had a pretty traumatizing situation with my heart, going into heart failure and cardiac arrest during childbirth. Without a skilled medical team, my mother’s insistence that the hospital continue to monitor me, and God on my side, I likely wouldn’t have survived my son’s birth. After his birth, my anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks, yet again. I couldn’t stand to be away from him. Because of my heart condition, I had to undergo extra tests, x-rays, and more, just to ensure that my heart would function suitably for my release, and to make sure that the fluid on my lungs was receding. This meant that every once in awhile, they would have to take me out of the room so I could get some tests done. Couple that with the fact that my son occasionally had to be taken to the nursery, just for his own immunizations, circumcision, and other baby-related things, and I was in full-fledged panic. Yes, after having a baby, some of this is normal, but it got to the point where I would shake uncontrollably from my anxiety. One time, as they wheeled me down to get x-rays, one of the x-ray technicians actually had to get an assistant to hold me still, just to ensure they could get the x-ray, because I was shaking so badly.
During these anxiety attacks, I couldn’t control my situation at all. My panic was deep-seated, and it was much more than I could handle on my own. I wished beyond all hope that my anxiety would fade, that I could get over it, the way so many people encouraged me to. After all, it was all in my head, these thoughts of panic and uncertainty. So why, then, were they so overwhelming? Why did I have such violent physical reactions to such “imaginary” issues?
To this day, I still don’t know exactly what caused such intense anxiety. I don’t know how my struggle with anxiety will be in the future. I do know that God is placing something very specific on my heart right now, though.
Every year, as one year comes to a close and I stand on the threshold of the year to come, just waiting for that door to swing open, I stop to consider what God is laying on my heart. The other day, when shopping with my mother and grandmother, I found a ring. This ring really impacted me on a very deep level, and I knew that it had to be the verse that would guide me through 2013. The ring was inscribed with a verse, Philippians 4:6.
God says not to be anxious. He says to cast all of those cares on him, to let him be in control of the situation. He says that, through prayer, we can be relieved of those things that are causing us to be anxious.
While I know that I will still struggle with my anxiety, I also know that focusing on Philippians 4:6 throughout 2013 will help me in my continued fight against my anxiety.
In order to remind myself of this verse, I designed the printable above to make sure that I could always have it in a visible place, so I could remember exactly what is weighing on my heart. But then, I realized that this verse may touch my readers, as well. It is designed to be printed to fit an 8×10 frame, and I’ve made it in four different versions: KJV, NIV, NLT, and The Message. If you click on the words below that say “Download this Printable,” you will be taken to a 4shared page where you can click download. From there, you can look in your downloads folder or wherever downloads appear on your computer, and located it. Right click on the file, and hit “Extract All” or something similar, and you’ll be able to extract them, select the version you want, and print it. Then, it’s ready for framing. You also have full permission to take the file and have it printed from a photo printer (or someplace like Walmart) if you desire a photo-quality print.
Do you have a specific verse that is guiding you into 2013? I’d love to hear it, so please share below in the comments! And let me know what you think of the printable I designed above!