white ring

So, it’s March 1st.  March 1st is a significant day in my life because March 1, 2011 is when I experienced my first panic attack that led to a year of General Anxiety Disorder.  The worst thing that ever happened to me actually wound up being the best thing that happened to me because it set me free from so much bondage.

You can read my story here.

I have never felt so out of control in my life than I did in 2011.  I didn’t even recognize myself.  I used to stare in the mirror, into my eyes, and know that April was in there … somewhere.  I refused to let her go.

I thank God that He carried me.  He was so close to me even when He felt distant.  His truth is the real deal.  His love is true love.  His grace is enough.  My goodness …  He loves us!

I’m sitting here on March 1, 2015 and I’m free.  Like…  for real FREE.  I have such peace.  My thoughts are calm.  I have extended forgiveness to people who have hurt me, I don’t get involved in gossip or drama …. I’m not surrounded by a million ‘friends’ but the few that I do have are AMAZING!

I look at my life now and I smile.  I cannot express to you how God can grab a hold of your heart and when you surrender to Him – He can really make you new.  He can build up your true identity.  He can show you what love really is so that you won’t tolerate the counterfeit version for a second!  He can take all your guilt and shame and toss it into the sea.  He can release you from people pleasing. He can make your heart SO content that you’d rather be alone than surrounded by people who are not building you up.  Only God can do that.  I could have never done that on my own.  I tried … and I failed continuously.

So today, on THIS day –  I want you to know that you were made for such a time as this.  Your current circumstances do NOT define you.  When times get hard don’t give up.  This too shall pass.  Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.  Let hope stir in your heart!  God is for you.  He loves you and He has a great plan and purpose for your life.  He will restore the stolen year.  Trust Him.  Endure.

My battle with anxiety and depression turned my world upside down.  I waited for my husband to check me in to a mental hospital… shoot, I thought about checking myself in many nights … but my husband never gave up on me.

I contemplated suicide many nights.  I have never felt so hopeless, confused and empty.  I was tormented day in and day out by my thoughts.  I couldn’t see color – only black and white.  Things that were normally beautiful were not beautiful to me.  Everything was dull.  I was sick constantly.  No one could help me.  No matter how good their intentions and advice was … they couldn’t fix me.  Only Jesus could help me.

I poured everything I had into Him.  I surrendered my life to Him fully. I got to the bottom of me and handed it all over to Him because my way was not working.

I type this and cry because I wish I could grab your face (in a gentle way), stare into your eyes and MAKE YOU trust God.  On this side of the fence I can tell you that He is true to His word and His truth is NOT dependent on our feelings or our efforts.  Praise God for that!  Push past what you feel and with that deep ache in your heart, trust Him.  Through your tears … trust Him.  Through your fear … Trust Him.

I was disgusting in my year of battling anxiety and depression.  I wasn’t presenting myself as the perfect Christian to The Lord.  I wasn’t performing for God because I had nothing more to give. I wasn’t acting anymore.  This was real.  I lied on my face, at the feet of Jesus and sobbed as I repented of past sexual encounters.  I went through a 4 month season (before Tony/marriage 🙂 ) of what I jokingly call my “Sex In The City Phase”.  I was having the ‘TIME OF MY LIFE’ out in the world before I met Tony.  I was doing my own thing and I was having fun!  Who would have know that 7 years later I would be talking to Jesus about my hot messiness and He would be sitting with me, loving on me, forgiving me, and comforting me?!? I forgave people who had hurt me bad.  I repented of being a bad friend to people.  I confessed how insecure I was to Jesus.  I had always presented myself as this happy-go-lucky person but inside I always felt rejected and not good enough. I spent so many night crying myself to sleep because of loneliness.

During my season of darkness, I finally had time to share all of these things with my Heavenly Father.  Not only did I get to share with God but I got to hear myself confess these things.  It brought an awareness to how I had never really picked up God’s truth and allowed it to guard my heart and mind.  I loved God and I could go through the motions but I wasn’t completely anchored.

All that to say-  YOU … you keep your head up.  I didn’t get healed because I am any better or more Christian than you.  I got healed because I knew that God would heal me.  I pressed forward.  I persevered.  I submerged myself in the Word, prayer and time with God.  I surrounded myself with people who built me up and encouraged me. If anything was going on at church, I was there!  I turned on worship music and turned off negative/useless shows on TV.  I searched the Word and made note cards of God’s truths.  I hung scripture around my house and prayed them out loud every morning … most days multiple times!  I wanted God to hurry up but I resolved that God is good and He will not delay.  I stopped fearing death.  I searched the scriptures about death and made my heart and mind obey God.  I realized this world was not my home.  I realized that in the Bible Jesus’ followers didn’t have cushy lives.  They were persecuted often.  The majority were martyred.  Paul wrote from prison multiple times and he’s not often complaining about prison or his unfair conditions –  he is instead claiming the truth of Jesus Christ.  Paul worshiped in chains.  He sang songs of praise during persecution.

We don’t do that here in our western culture.  We say we will.  We say we follow Jesus and we’ll stand firm ’til the end but as soon as our feet get knocked out from under us, we lose our desire to trust God and wait on Him for direction.  We start complaining and speaking hopelessness over our lives.  We run and tell 15 people how terrible our lives are.  Our moods shift and we shut down.   I do this! Even after all God has done for me … I still have a tendency to do this but because of what I’ve been through and because I know God is faithful, it’s easy for the Holy Spirit to convict me and remind me of where I’ve been and where God has brought me.  This story will never get old.  God is in the redemption business.  He brings dead things to life… over and over and over again.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus.  He will get you through this time in your life.  He will not let you down.  I speak from experience.  I am healed and it’s not because of anything that I did … it’s because Jesus died for me and healed me way before I was even born.  I just chose to finally believe Him and walk out my freedom … and that, my friends, is there for you too.  You already possess freedom, you just have to take a hold of it and walk in it — EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL FREE.

Love to you!


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