Controlling Our Thoughts

February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

My brother and his wife are flying in today to run my 1st 5K with me.

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Tomorrow morning at 8 am I will be at the start line!

I should be excited.

I should be waking up with grateful thoughts that they are supporting me.

I should be overjoyed by the fact that while only 19 months ago I could barely walk due to my weight

Now I am participating in a 5K.

200VictoryFinalRun.057

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And yet for the past week, I wake up each day with a sense of dread.

Each morning my first thought is that I will not be able to accomplish my goal.

That I’m not ready to do this 5K.

That I’m in over my head.

I will make a fool of myself.

Before I can even open my eyes, these thoughts are bombarding me.

In addition to this, my gynecologist said my pap smear was abornmal

AGAIN

Too much information….I know

(But you should be used to it by now!)

Over-sharing is a gift, right?!

“Nothing to worry about”,  my gynecologist says

Just some “pre-cancerous cells we have to watch”

So I’ll go in for a biopsy

“Totally routine”, he tells me, “No big deal”

And yet the anxiety sets in

 

Because it’s one more thing

But none of that can compare to what’s next

My daughter Annabelle has not been feeling well

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They have done test after test trying to determine the cause

They repeated her blood tests 3 times because of the results

And now we are being referred to the hematologist.

In fact they said they wanted to see her right away and squeezed us in on Monday.

This worries me as thoughts bombard me of what might be wrong.

And now all of this together threatens to send me into a tailspin

I can feel an actual physical anxiety in my body

Because of this crazy anxiety and panic disorder

When I start to feel too overwhelmed by life, things happen to me physically

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image17745420

Yesterday, my tongue started to go numb

This is something that has not happened in a long time

But it is the beginning of a panic attack

If it continues, I will start to lose feeling in other parts of my body

My throat is the scariest part because if I can’t swallow or I feel numbness there

I worry I will choke or not be able to breathe

This is the panic….the anxiety….

It starts in my head and continues to the body

I used to control this with food

LOTS OF IT

And I will not lie to you—it worked

Food worked

But it was a temporary fix and it left me with additional problems

So I no longer allow myself that option

But controlling panic without Peanut M and M’s and York peppermint patties

Is the dilemma I face

Thoughts of anxiety and fear surround my mind about this 5K

My biopsy

But FAR MORE importantly — Annabelle’s blood tests.

One of my biggest fears in life is not being able to control things that could happen to my children

And with the number of things that have happened to me in the past 7 years

I often feel like I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop

So I struggle with anxiety in this area

Before I can even get to my 1st cup of coffee, I’m under attack from the thoughts in my mind.

Do any of you have thoughts that enter your mind even from the 1st second you wake up

That threaten to steal your peace, kill your joy, and throw you off track?

Here is something I have learned.

We never stop going to war in our minds.

We have an enemy and the sooner we realize that the better prepared we will be.

The thoughts we wake up to are not necessarily our own.

They are often thoughts that were crafted specifically for us by an enemy who knows our weaknesses.

He will have those thoughts ready to drop in your mind before your feet hit the floor

Because if he can defeat you 1st thing in the morning then he doesn’t have to deal with you for the rest of the day!!

If he can get you to give up and go back to bed then he can move on to stealing someone else’s victory since he has already taken yours!

Here is my battle plan

-If you continue in my Word then you will know the truth

and THEN…

The truth shall set you free

John 8:31-32

The truth can’t set us free unless we know what that truth is

And even then we have to “continue in it”

Not just fill up one time and coast.

But continue…

I have to set my mind on it.

Soak in it.

Pour it in repeatedly until it saturates my every thought.

That takes some time and effort.

But that is my life

I can either spend my time drving to Walgreens

To load up my cart with 3 gallons of ice cream and 7 bags of Reeses peanut butter cups

Or I can spend my time loading my mind up with the truth that will set me free

Either way—it’s an investment of time

But I have to actively work at freedom from anxiety

Freedom from the mental anguish that attacks me

Because tomorrow I have to do a 5K that I’m not sure I’m ready for

Because next week I have to go back to the gynecologist and get a biopsy

Because Monday I have to take my baby to Hematology/Oncology and find out what is going on

And my lack of control over these situations

Is making me panic

I identify with a Mama Bear.

 

My life is about protecting my children

And when I can’t do that, I feel helpless

And then my tongue goes numb

I’ve often wondered

Why my tongue???

But that is always where it starts

That is always the first thing to go

Maybe the enemy wants me silent

Because he knows

 The battle is won or lost right there.

In my words

“The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21)

So my tongue goes numb

So I can’t use it to fight with words!

But the thoughts are powerful too!

Colossians 3:2

So set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth

I must  choose my words

Choose my thoughts

If I don’t choose them

They will choose me

I’ll start with these

Romans 8:37-39 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Proverbs 1:33 But all who listen to me will live in peace,untroubled by fear of harm.”

John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

And know that while I may not be in control

I can trust the One who is

I will do that 5K tomorrow

I will get that biopsy

I will go with Annabelle on Monday to the hematologist

And I will walk by faith

Trusting in His perfect plan

And if my tongue goes numb

Then what does it matter?

I can still WRITE, right?!

 

***Today’s post is from the Friday message that I wrote to my online weight loss support group through Facebook called “Weigh To Victory”.  This is a group that uses faith and prayer to support one another in the journey

 If you would like to join, click here

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

kathy February 22, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Right there with ya sista!! The mind can be a terrible thing… if you let it be!!
You will finish that 5 k tomorrow.
Your biopsy will be fine!
And Your daughter will be too!
Clearly you are a fighter! we never get more than we can handle.. believe that!
good luck… I look forward to hearing some awesome news!

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Lee Ann February 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I hope you writing this helps with your anxiety. You will be fine for your 5k. I hope that as you walk/run your panic fades away. And I will be praying for you and your daughter and your health.
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Joy February 25, 2013 at 8:40 am

Yes I woke up today with anxious thoughts you are not alone. Just this past week my panic attacks were at an all time high. It is a scary place to be. But with the support of my family and the courage I keep deep down inside I make it through. Good luck on your race. I know you can do it!

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Jamie February 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Prayer and meditation are very helpful. But you may want to consider cognitive therapy to help you deal with the thought patterns that lead you into panic attacks. I had debilitating attacks almost twenty years ago – after an ugly divorce, my daughter getting sick, financial problems, and my dad’s sudden death. So I understand what you are going through. Two years of cognitive therapy truly “cured” the problem. I did take some medication, but not a lot. And get rid of ALL caffeine for at least the time being as well. I found I couldn’t have caffeine in any amount for a few years. I know therapy can be expensive, but there are any number of resources that provide help on a sliding scale. I went to Jewish Family Services in my community, and they were very helpful. Hang in there! You just need to get the right treatment for the problem, and it CAN be handled!

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Mimi February 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

You can do it! I did my first 5K in December and I was always the husky kid at school who was punished for not running fast enough! Just pace yourself and remember it doesn’t matter how fast you finish . . . just that you finish!

So sorry to hear about all your health scares. I’m going though that right now too. It’s hard to stay focused but be proud that you are using running instead of food to cope with it all!
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Jessica February 22, 2013 at 4:04 pm

You can handle this! I totally understand the feelings of anxiety about the biopsy, I have had to have several. You will be fine & I’m sure you will do great running your first 5K 🙂 It must be so nerve wrecking to worry about your daughter, but all you can do is trust God. I am praying for your daughter. Good Luck in the 5K!!

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16blessingsmom February 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Holly, fighting anxiety is the biggest battle in our fight of faith. God wants us to learn to trust Him, and cast our anxieties on Him. Jesus said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. When I get overwhelmingly tempted with different anxious thoughts, I think about God, how He already knows the answers. And He loves me, and sends all things for my good. It is a comfort to know that He has our best in mind when we love Him. You should check out http://www.brunstad.org because I think you will be really encouraged in your fight of faith. Thank you for your honesty. I will be praying for you and for your daughter.

Sincerely,
Della

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April February 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

“In EVERYTHING, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:3-7 (I’m pretty positive!)

I struggle with anxiety — and I’m learning that when I give thanks (thank you, Ann Voskamp and her 1,000 gifts book), I remember all that God has done to bring me through, and I find a peace that’s greater than the anxiety I’m feeling. I am currently trying to plan for a VBAC, and I found out that we are being transferred back to OK next month (the internet world actually doesn’t know about that yet) in the midst of my pregnancy and we are going to have to try to find a place to live and get completely moved alone because Todd will have to go ahead of me… and if I focus on the details I begin to panic. I can’t imagine my Annabelle being sick — and a mother’s worry is much greater than a regular worry — but I believe that God is in control of the situation!

Let peace take over. I’m praying for you. God helped you walk those first 30 seconds, didn’t He? He will see you to the finish line. I believe it.
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Elizabeth February 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm

5K – you got no prob!!

I am sure the biopsy will be fine -scary I am sure!!! I am praying for you and your daughter – it is so hard when it is our kids!! just think about how much better you are able to deal with her situation now then 19 months ago!

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Anna February 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Holly, you are SUCH an encouragement to me. Thank you for these verses….I am going to read them again and again, slowly and allow them to penetrate my own anxiety. I identify with your pain all too well….for me, its the top of my head that tingles. I am praying for your peace today….that Jesus will hold you close and calm your worries and give you the grace you need for the exact moment that you need it most….and then some more for the next moment.

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Anna February 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm

ps John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” JESUS has OVERCOME all these things!

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Tara February 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Even if you don’t finish.

You showed up.

That’s 99% of the battle right there my friend.

So many times we failed to show up.

The anxiety you feel about your first race is completely normal.

“Will I make it”

“Will I need to stop”

“What if someone is watching”

“What if I cry”

“What if…..”

You won’t know the outcome until you show up and get the answers you are seeking.

Isn’t that how this whole journey works?

Here are my three rules for any time I do a race (or in anything else I start):

1. Start (and trust in yourself)
2. Finish (by any means necessary)
3. Party in the middle!
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Staci February 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Hey, what ever happened with your knee? I know you wouldn’t be entering a 5k if you hadn’t had some improvement there. Yay. Secondly, I walked my entire 5k with grannies JOGGING past me. Lol Walk, run, jog, crawl. Whatever. You probably won’t be the slowest one out there. How wonderful of your brother and sister-in-law to come support you in this. I know you have lost so much over the past year or so, but you have an awesome brother and even gained a sister!

I’m not asking for you to answer me, but do you have any clue as to why they want to refer Annabelle? If not, call her doctor’s office and ask WHY. You have a right to be informed. I used to work for a doctor’s office, and I have learned that you have a right to ask and you HAVE to ask if you want to know anything. If you aren’t informed, don’t fret all wkend wondering why. Call and nicely demand answers.

I’ve had an abnormal Pap in the past, but only once. I still remember that scary feeling. It’s good your doctor is telling you it’s no big deal but definitely something to keep an eye on. Yay for checking things out and not letting them slide.

Love you girl. I can’t WAIT to see pictures of all your foot blisters (and you’d better get them cause I did, hehe).

Keep us posted on everything!
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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh February 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I think you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t have those 5K thoughts. But you’ll do it and you’ll be better off and stronger for it. The pre-cancerous thing…trust in your gyn. If they say it’s nothing to be worried about, take it out of your mental inbox until there’s something to worry about. My friend went through the exact same thing and it was really just 2 years of watching her closely to make sure nothing turned and she was given a clean bill of health. I’m sure the same will happen for you. The weekend is the worst when you have an upcoming appt for someone you love. Just try to spend some good quality time with your kids. Smooch ’em, do something fun and try to keep her mind off of it too. One thing at a time. It’ll all be good and I’ll send over some positive vibes! 🙂
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Tina February 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Prayers for you and Annabelle. Try not to worry about the race. There is no shame if you have to walk…remember, you are lapping all the folks on the couch. Someone sweet said that to me…I run my first 5k near the end of March (with OBSTACLES!) and I was already stressing. It helped me to remember that I am so much further than where I was, so just participating is the victory!
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Tess February 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

“Let go and let God”. This saying helps me a LOT when things are out of my control. I sometimes repeat it as I walk or run, in rhythm with my steps, “let go let God let go let God…” It’s hard to do but sometimes it’s all you can do. Prayers to all of you!

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Lady Amanda February 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Thinking of you and wishing I was there! Love you!

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Samantha Livingston February 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm

LOVE this. I’ve been having lots of anxiety too. So excited for your first 5k! You can do this! You got this! And, yes, you’re absolutely right. The Enemy does want you silent because you’re speaking way more truth than he’s comfortable with.

Reading this made me think of: Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Strength AND Shield-both your offense and defense. He’s got you Holly. Have a BLAST tomorrow!!
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Karin Canazzi February 22, 2013 at 6:27 pm

You ROCK!
You will do great-it’s just one foot in front of the other….
Hope that Annabelle’s tests give you a definitive answer
and that it is an easy fix.
Trusting Jesus is definitely the way to go-
thanks for another encouraging post.
k

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Courtney February 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Oh Holly, I’m sorry to hear how stressful life is right now! I’m praying for you for: peace and patience in the face of the unknown, these panic attacks to be taken from you, and that your 5k this weekend would be a source of victory and encouragement!
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Marjie February 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm

“Do not let trials steal your joy. Only through trials are we able to see the power of God.”
James MacDonald

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Pam February 22, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Holly–all I can say is “hang in there.” You have gone through so much stress and look at where you are now!? Who’d have ‘thunk’ you could accomplish all your have in these last 19 months? Not even you could have imagined attempting to run a 5K when your journey began! And yet, you’re going to give it a try tomorrow! GO HOLLY! And, remember, there’s no crime in walking during part of it. You KNOW you are capable of doing that!

I’d like to say don’t allow the stress to make you binge or even over-eat, but I had my own stress Wed. afternoon. I substitute taught in a 3rd grade classroom and those kids were uncontrollable. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t usually have a lot of stress in my life, and there is nothing scarier than your child having a health problem, so I had little experience in dealing with stress, eating-wise. I failed. I had a few snacks when I got home from school that day, ate too much at dinner, and then had a few more snacks before bed. The scale is showing my reaction to the stress too. You can’t lie to the scale. It KNOWS all!

I hAve been to an oncologist’s office with my husband, when he was fighting (and ultimately beat…at least for now) melanoma. It is a sad, scary place. I told him then, I never wanted to have to go back there.

Good Luck Holly. Hold on tight for the next few days–I am confident with His help, you will conquer all!
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Kelly @ Curvy Fit Girl February 22, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Hey lady, you must remember to breathe. The worst thing you could do is build up Annabele’s illness (if it even is an illness) in your head to the point where now you believe she has some awful rare disease. What if it turns out to be something completely manageable? Or better yet – absolutely NOTHING. As for the 5K, if you have to jog, walk, or crawl across the finish line – you still won. The woman you were 20 months ago could not have done any of those things!
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annamarie February 22, 2013 at 8:45 pm

My goodness Holly, I am so sorry to hear all of this. My prayers are coming strong and plentiful for you and especially for you daughter.
God will be with you all the way. Things will work out.

Good luck witht he 5K…many of us are so proud of you.
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Linda Kuil February 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm

The only thing you really have control over for the next week is this 5k and how you feel about it going in. The feeling of your first race will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!! ENJOY IT! Whatever you do, it will be your best and crossing that finish line will be full of joy. There’s no feeling like it and you will have the sense of accomplishment that YOU ALONE got you there! Holly, this will not be your last race. You will want more of that feeling, and you deserve to feel proud of ALL you have accomplished!!!!!!!!
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Kim February 22, 2013 at 11:22 pm

I really enjoy reading your blog. I struggle with my weight too and your posts have been very inspiring! Delurking to say two things, I recently ran my first 5K. I was fourth from last among the runners, but I wasn’t last! I bet you can do it too! The second thing is I would agree with the person who recommended cognitive behavioral therapy, if you haven’t looked into it already. I used to have debiltating panic attacks but have been free from them for almost ten years thanks to CBT. Totally worth it!!

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Jane T. February 23, 2013 at 12:37 am

I will pray for you and your daughter..stay strong!

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Cindy R February 23, 2013 at 2:42 am

Running that 5k will be the best stress reliever that there is–run it or walk it–at your pace. Relax and enjoy each step. My boyfriend suffered from panic attacks, one thing that helped him deal with it was downloading from the internet relaxation/hypnosis tapes for his mp3 player from Amazon. Each night he would put on his headphones before bed and listen to them and they really helped him out. His son is now suffering from anxiety attacks and he referred him to the relaxation/hypnosis downloads from Amazon.

I too have had bad pap smears and it scared me each time the doctor’s office would call to tell me that I needed to come back in. It has now been over four years since the initial diagnosis, the doctor did various procedures along the way to burn and laser off the bad cells, finally the last few paps have been normal, I go every six months to be tested. Don’t panic, it will be okay.

And panicking now will not help your daughter or yourself. Stay strong for her and the rest of your family. Enjoy your brother and sister-in-law, do fun things with them and your children this weekend. Stay in the moment and have fun at the 5k.

We are all sending you our good thoughts and prayers.

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Jeanette February 23, 2013 at 3:31 am

Lifting you and your daughter in prayer. Looking forward to you writing about your run tomorrow. God bless you.

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Laura February 23, 2013 at 5:08 am

Holly, the 5k – no problem for you – You’ve been working towards this for 19 months now. The anxiety – no problem for God. You are being lifted up in prayer right now – for peace, health, and confidence in One that provides all these things in abundance. I know you believe it, but sometimes we all need a little help and encouragement. Glad your brother is with you!

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Karen P February 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Hang in there Holly. What ever you do, keep on your food plan. Because facing the stress will be less painful than the medication with food. Praying for you. You will make it through these things.
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Ronda February 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

You can do this. Running will automatically lower your anxiety level, so preparing for this race is perfect timing. I love that your brother is flying in for it. My sister did the same thing for my first 5K. Siblings are awesome!
I had several abnormal paps years ago and ended up having 2 biopsies (a few years apart). Turned out to be nothing at all. I did want you to know though that the first biopsy was done without any numbing medication (stupid, awful doctor). The second time my awesome new doc prescribed me a low dose valium to take the morning of the test AND numbed the cervix before the biopsy. What a world of difference! I didn’t feel a thing. It was done before I even knew he had started. I went home and took a nap, and felt fine, except for a tiny bit of minor cramping later in the day.
You’ll be just fine, and it’s good to know your doc is on top of this!
And, as you already know, prayer is the best medication for anxiety.
sending positive thoughts your way!
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suzanne February 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Just getting to the starting line you’ve already lapped those who never start!!
I hate when I’ve had those not normal results. I think that happens quite often so try not to get too stressed.
Hope Annabelle is feeling better soon. Keeping both of you in my prayers!
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Yvonne February 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Holly, you are ready for your 5K and you will have the support of your brother and sister-in-law. Trying your best, even if you fail, is not a humiliation. It is a victory of strength.

Last month I had a hysterectomy and disagnosed with early stage 1 uterine cancer, but no treatment are necessary. Only check ups every 3 months. Waiting for the pathology report was excruciating.. I’m sure that I willl be anxious before each check up. In a few weeks I must have a breast biopsy and so I am again filled with anxiety. Prayer is all that is holding me together. Pray, go to your and your daughter’s appointments and then pray some more. When you feel panic onset, try to take some deep breaths and pray for strength. I send my prayers and best wishes to you and your daughter. Yvonne

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Gail February 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”…you have the wisdom, let go and know that ALL THINGS WILL GO AS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO…because you ARE where you are supposed to be! Peace, and remember to breathe!

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Donna February 23, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I am so proud of you for doing the 5k tomorrow, I marvel in the fact of how far you have come. I too have experienced attacks of anxiety and I am praying for you, with me the attacks could have been dormant for long periods of time and wham, so scary. I will be praying for you, your daughter, and family, the best thing I can offer is just put it all in God’s hands, just give it to him and all will be well. There Lord I will trust you and he will take care of it all. Donna

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Nicola February 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Whatever comes along, Holly, you have the strength to deal with it. It probably doesn’t feel that way at times, but you do. Believe that, tell yourself that and the panic has nothing to hold on to. You are stronger than it will ever be and have beaten it before, so you can do it again. As your brother wrote; Mission: Possible. It’s going to be okay.

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Cathey Aubin February 24, 2013 at 12:27 am

I am praying for your daughter to get good news. Have a great time tomorrow at your race! You will do great.

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Beth February 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Can’t wait to hear about the race. I too am praying for your daughter (who I am sure you are far more worried about than yourself… that’s how mama bears are!) and you. You have lots of supporters and prayers being sent to you… hold on tight to that!

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JC February 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Awesome post. Thank you for being real. I’ve followed you for awhile now but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. I can so relate to your words. Praying for you and your daughter today.

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Faith February 25, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Thinking about you and your precious daughter today.

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Lilian March 1, 2013 at 4:29 am

Hi, Holly, I – too, struggle with anxiety everyday. Some days are as you said – it gets so bad that I physically can’t bring myself to leave the house. I will literally get dressed, pack my bags, and sit two feet from the door and have a panic attack. It pains me to admit this, but every day is still a struggle. But I am moving forward. And from reading your blog, I can see that you are too.
You are so brave for what you have achieved so far and sharing your journey with us. So thank you. So here’s to us soldiering on 🙂
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metheist March 7, 2013 at 6:05 am

Wow. God really is amazing. I came home very late from work today and sat down to browse the internet–while at the same time that I worked myself into frenzy of anxiety. I happened to stumble upon this blog via a reference from another blog, and then spotted this entry on anxiety. I started to read it expecting one thing, and half way through was bombarded by scripture. Exactly what I needed tonight. A reminder of who my dad is, and that he loves me, and takes care of me. And that I need to trust that he will protect me. But that I also need to stay grounded in his Word. Thanks for sharing.

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