I survived my trip away. Brogan did fine and so did mommy ;). As I have often seen, God has a sense of humor. I spent weeks worrying about being gone for so many days: six long ones!!! We fly to Boston and what is predicted for the weekend…A Blizzard! So instead of six days our trip was cut short to three days. We had to fly out early so Adam could make sure he was back for work on Monday. Instead of being thrilled to be home early, I was disappointed that we didn't have our full vacation away just the two of us. The discontent of my heart rears its ugly head. Isn't it funny that no matter what happens we can easily find a way to be dissatisfied. I am thankful for our time away, and laugh with God that He answered my prayer of being home with my little one safely it was just a little earlier than I expected.
The weeks leading up to the trip were so good for me. I talked last time about my fears and anxiety about leaving. I shared my frustration of having this constant battle without seeing any victory. The Lord has graciously shown me victory and some insight into this struggle of mine. So here are some updated thoughts….
I have seen my anxiety increase with the birth of Brogan and then even more with this pregnancy. I have often read, heard, or even thought this is a normal part of motherhood. Mothers worry! We have a tender heart for our children and want the best for them. We know we can't control everything. So in creeps doubts and fears of all the "what if" possibilities. This is normal right? I'm a good mother if I'm thinking ahead or let's be honest worrying about the future, right? Well, maybe not. I think Scripture calls me out and rebukes me with a big, fat "NO". No, it isn't right that I worry or fear or be anxious. The Bible pretty clearly calls this sin. Yikes! I have seen this pattern of thinking over the last year and the sin that it is, but until I started reading that book I wasn't seeing victory. It was just a constant battle. I have seen over the last couple weeks much progress in this area. God's grace!!! He has reminded me of truth. Not just thinking truth, but applying it. Here are somethings that God has been laying on my heart in this area….
I know the answer to conquering sin: put off, renew, put on. Okay step one: "put off". I have done a decent job of that: stop thinking lies (the "what if" scenarios). However; the other two steps I was not doing such a good job. "Renewing my mind" was not a priority. I was in God's Word daily, but I was not spending time renewing/dwelling/applying the truths I was reading. God in His wisdom knew I needed a little push to see my sin. He gave me a trip to Boston. A trip where I couldn't control every detail. Isn't that what worry is often about? Our ability to control. We like to be independent. We like to think we have life just as we want it and we do not need any help. We control our destiny. Right? Wrong! The truth is even when we think we are in control, let's be honest, we really are not. This idea of control is not at all how God has life planned for the believer. So God gave me a trip to remind me that I need Him and His truths are enough for me. I begin to realize the importance of what I was putting into my mind. This meant also being very careful to not put certain things in my mind. I have come to realize t.v. shows, the news, even (gasp) social media will affect my thinking. I know I am not called to give up everything in the world and live a hermit's existence, but His Word clearly teaches what goes into my mind will come out. So I have been diligent in avoiding things that will cause me to be unnecessarily anxious. For instance: after Troy died I joked about only watching Law and Order because there was no romance. True, there was no romance, but there is a lot of death. That constant diet of death was not healthy in my thinking truth. Instead it was causing me to fear death and all the "what if" scenarios I had seen on t.v. were now playing out in my mind. I have had to "put off" several things that were not helpful in my thinking. I have begun to evaluate carefully what I am putting into my mind by Philippians 4:8….is it just, is it pure, is it lovely, is it commendable, is there any excellence? If so, then Paul says, "Think about these things." The second thing the Lord is teaching me is being diligent in "putting on" the things that I am learning in the "renewing" my mind step. I have a box filled with passages of Scripture on note cards. I call this my truth box, but I haven't used it since I got married. It is just not practical for me today. I knew I needed a new way of focusing on truths. So I have a Bible that had never been written in. It has become my truth box. I have highlighters that go with this Bible. When I read, I highlight truths: Blue-truths about God, Green-commands, and Pink-promises. I now have a practical truth box that works for me. I have spend much time in His Word these past weeks being reminded of who He is and what He promises. It has been so refreshing! I see my love for His Word re-awakened. I have seen the fears diminishing as I trust these promises and trust the One who made them. Not perfect, but by His grace seeing victory.
So trip is over and that impending doom feeling I was experiencing is gone, but my lessons of dependence have not ended. The Lord taught me something so beautiful this morning….I have often thought of the accident as an experience that will forever change my thinking about life. I thought it was a bit of a curse that I would always go to worst case scenarios in my mind because I knew those things could happen. In so many ways, I have seen God's hand at work and am so thankful for all He did through losing Troy. I just thought this was part of my new normal. To be honest, I was a little jealous of people who didn't struggle with this type of thinking. For instance, Adam does not think like this. I have often wished I could be like him: a little more optimistic! Today, God gave me a new vision of this thinking. It is not a curse. It is a blessing. What??? Let me explain….I'm reading through Deuteronomy right now. God is constantly telling the Israelites to not forget Him and His commands when they come into the land. He is reminding them when life is comfortable do not forget Who brought you here. Do not become independent. Remember who I am and what I have done….They did not and we can see the consequences as we read through the rest of the Old Testament. Losing Troy is a reminder to be dependent on God. It is my thorn. God is not going to remove because it keeps me dependent on His sufficient grace. It does NOT mean I have the right to worry or be pessimistic, but instead it reminds me to turn to the One who will give me strength to think, believe, and rest in truth. I know I can easily become independent in my way of living. So the accident is way of God keeping me constantly dependent on Him.
I am learning to be diligent in spending time with my God and believing His Word. I see promise after promise that I can rest in and that IS peaceful! Through the loss of Troy, He is ever reminding me of my need to be dependent on Him and that IS for my good!