Monday, March 5, 2012

A New Life - Hope

I never expected any of this to be part of my story. I still can’t really even believe it as I share it. I remember when we miscarried our fourth baby last year and I could never wrap my head around that reality for my life and our family. I still can’t. This Anxiety Disorder that I now claim as part of my life is just one more of those things that has been totally out of my control.

After I initially met with my doctor who assured me and promised to run every test possible, we were 2 weeks away from Christmas and the plan was for me to drive 5 hours north with the children to my parents’ house for the holidays. Everyone was concerned about me driving alone with the children, but I was fine. The day we left everything was on schedule and the kids were thrilled for their road trip. About 2 hours from home everything was going well, kids quietly watching a movie, mountains to my right, ocean to my left and no traffic. Then, out of no where, it hit me. An anxiety attack invaded my body and I had no where to pull over as the shoulder was closed for construction and the next exit was 17 miles away. I was sweating, sick to my stomach and terrified for my children. By the grace of God I made it those 17 miles to stop and use the bathroom. I was shaking, crying and completely lost at what to do. Should I turn back? That would be 2 hours. Do I continue up North? That would be about 3 hours. I was stuck and prayed for wisdom and discernment but felt like none came. I finally decided to keep driving and called my folks and asked them to start driving to meet me. I was calming down, but the scary part was I didn’t know what might happen 10 miles down the road. My anxiety attacks hit without warning and always seem unprovoked. I had to protect my littles and make sure someone else was with us in case I was unable to care for them.

We made it to my parents’ house and the biggest Christmas tree the children had ever seen and all the festivities erased that traumatic car ride. We celebrated my father’s birthday and had a fun few days before Christmas. My husband flew in Christmas morning and we had fun tearing into presents.

That afternoon family friends were arriving for Christmas dinner. I showered, curled my hair and put on my black silk dress for dinner. As I sat catching up with an old friend I started to not feel well and excused myself. Once I made it back to my bedroom I was a mess. I could barely breathe, I felt weak and I couldn’t stop crying. What I felt next was something I’ve never experienced before and hope never to again. I literally felt like I was one breath away from going completely blank. I had no control over my mind and could not hold one thought captive. I knew I was about to fade away mentally and spend the rest of my life in an institution, unable to care for myself. I felt like I was chasing myself down a long hallway screaming, “NO. STOP. PLEASE STOP.” But I couldn’t catch up and was completely out of control. Literally. I was on the floor begging my husband to take me to the hospital. I desperately wanted someone to help me. He immediately said, “let’s go.” And I said, “no.” I couldn’t handle a car ride let alone a hospital waiting room. I don’t really know what happened after that except that my mom came in and sat next to me on the bed with a peaceful smile and rubbed my legs and told me that everything was going to be fine. All the guests were asked to leave and that didn’t phase me - that’s how out of my mind I was! Christmas dinner was canceled because of me and I barely batted an eyelash at the thought.
As I laid in bed with shallow breaths and lots of tears, God spoke to me. He said that I would share this story and others would be healed because of it. God gave me hope. If I were to share this story, than that meant I would come out on the other side still standing. I couldn’t possibly see how in that moment, but I was going to hold fast to God’s words.

So much of this anxiety disorder got revved up right after I decided to be obedient to God and follow my passion to speak publicly. I posted back in November that I had decided to follow God’s leading to start pursuing a speaking ministry. I didn’t know what that would look like now that I was no longer serving in a church where speaking opportunities were everywhere. I only knew that God had placed a longing in my heart and a passion in my belly to share His love and His word with an audience. It was just after I got the courage to post my dream publicly that my sickness took on new proportions that rendered me incapacitated. I could barely leave the house and sat one day crying with my husband saying, “there is no way I could ever speak at a conference in Ohio. I would be having a nervous breakdown in the hotel alone.” I felt like I would never travel again and the dreams of a speaking ministry might mean something local – very local! But my husband looked at me, without hesitation or fear, and said that he knew God made me for bigger things and this was not the end. With confidence he said that I was going to get through this and I would travel and live my dream. He holds out great hope for me.

In the midst of great suffering, there is hope for those who hold fast to Jesus. He is my hope for strength in the midst of fear, peace in the middle of chaos, joy in the company of sorrow, and ultimately life in the presence of death. I know that my momentary struggles are nothing compared to his suffering on the cross, yet the power that raised Him from the dead is the same power that dwells in me. I have hope. I have been assured by my therapist that I have a permanent membership in the high anxiety club. I will not be cured from this, but I will learn how to get through it. Part of this new life that I’m discovering now incorporates a permanent thorn that drives me to hold fast to the hope of Christ everyday.


Seems odd to transition into a fun date night idea! But as part of the Intentional Marriage series I promised to throw out a date challenge on the first Monday of every month and here we are – the first Monday of March! Go here to check out the details of the Make Out Monday challenge.
A Sweet Treat
This month the challenge is to go on a date for a sweet treat.
I decided to have our date in our new playroom  for a fun change of scenery!
(before and after pics of the playroom will be coming soon!)
I laid out my vintage California table cloth on the table to spark some fun conversation (my husband has lived all over the state and has fun stories to share from many cities and towns).
And I made some yummy ice cream sundaes.
Candles added a little romance!
And let me tell you what added the magic to the sundaes… Good old Trader Joe’s did it again with Toasted Coconut Cookie Thins and Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce. Back off! This was SO good!

Now go out and create a fun sweet treat date with someone special.
 You have a whole month to make it happen – ready, set, GO!
*If you want to share about your fun date this month, leave a comment here


  1. You have been on our minds all week! We were wondering what the worst to come was and now you've shared. You are right, someone will be healed by your sharing...there will be full redemption! "Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption." Psalm 130:7

  2. Not to be a silent reader...I'm grateful for your openness.



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