Sunday, November 25, 2012

Finding my way back to Fall....

Saying that I loved or even liked the fall season is not something that was in my vocabulary for the last few years; In fact, last year during the end of summer I had 3 dreams, nightmares rather, of looking out my window only to find all of the trees without leaves.  Skinny brown branches covered in a clear, frozen frost were all that remained.  I woke up so relieved it was a dream, yet left with the realization that a new season would soon be approaching.  A season that meant colder weather and shorter days.  Long, dark evenings were a big fear of mine and added immensely to my anxiety, so having daylight disappear at 5:00 p.m. was more terrifying to me than I could ever put into words.  Due to anticipating what was to come, I didn't pay attention to the beauty of fall.  But that has all changed this year!  Why?  Simply put, because I have changed.  I've learned and continue to learn how to enjoy the things that are in front of me and not worry about what's ahead.  Because of this new found outlook, I have come to see a side of fall that I ignored for so long.  I now notice and love the color of the leaves and even though they fall off of the trees, I don't focus on bare branches; instead, I see how pretty the ground looks with swirls of orange, red, and gold.  Even when the darkness comes, I choose to see a beautiful sky filled with stars rather than an overshadowing cloud of doom. 

I guess the life lesson I discovered is to relish in the present.  How many times do we look ahead anticipating what's to come and then miss the moment we are in?  Most times the things we are fretting over don't turn out as bad as we thought or don't ever happen, which results in us spending our time worrying over nothing and all the while blind to the beauty that we were surrounded by. 

While I am thankful for so many things this year, I am grateful for a renewed trust in God.  A trust that assures me that I am not alone no matter what season of life I'm in, and all I need to do is take one day at a time. Spring and summer will always be my favorite seasons, but I can now say without a doubt that I am fully content in all of them.  I tell myself, "No matter what may come my way, God is with me today." Whatever "season" of life you're in right now be sure to fix your mind on the positive things you have, not the possible outcomes that may or may not happen.  Always do your very best to live in the present because that's really all you have.  The past is gone and tomorrow is not promised. 

Have a great day everyone and remember to walk in love and speak in peace!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

If God be for me....

There was a time in my life, about 8 years ago, where I can honestly say that I didn't feel like I had much of a purpose.  I was consumed with severe anxiety and panic attacks for five years, and the quality of life I was living was not what I wanted yet I had no idea how to stop it.  Without a doubt I knew and believed God had a plan and a purpose for me, but what it was, I didn't know.  When you're in the midst of anxiety, it's hard enough to get through each day let alone trying to figure out your calling in life.  I would hear these great messages at church on fulfilling the vision that God has planted in your heart, but most times I wouldn't be able to make it through one service without leaving because the feelings of panic were so heavy.  All that I was then left with were feelings of depression for not being able to simply sit in a service.  For those of you that can relate, you know how the viscous cycle of anxiety debilitates your life.  During that time I couldn't possibly understand how anything great or divine would ever come out of the constant feelings of worry and fear that I was living with everyday, but that's where God stepped in. As I began to lean on Him instead of trying to fix myself, that's when my breakthrough started.  God challenged me to open up His Word and see what He had to say about fear, worry, and peace.  When I began doing this my life completely changed.

I never blamed God for what I was going through because I personally do not believe He has anxiety to give to anyone.  In fact the scriptures I was led to, explained how God doesn't want us to have anxious feelings or carry the burden of anxiety.  Philippians 4:4-7 reads, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  1 Peter 6-11 reads, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

After I broke free from the bondage anxiety had on me, I started to feel a strong desire to reach out to those that are dealing with the same problems I had.  As that desire continued to grow and still does, it was crystal clear to me that my purpose is to help others break free.  Another way I knew is because almost every where I go, there seems to be an opportunity for me to help someone with their anxiety issues. Many times it will be a complete stranger.  I actually just met someone in the checkout aisle the other week that was having some difficulty and I was able to identify with her, which in turn gave her hope and relief that she's not alone.  

I still sometimes marvel at how God took the mess I was in, and used it for good.  I love it!  I encourage you, no matter what your situation is, to surrender it to God and watch Him work.  Don't feel as though you can't rise above your circumstances, or that your dreams are too big to ever come true.  We serve a God that can move the mountains and calm the seas!  He is bigger than your dreams and all things are possible for those that put their trust in Him.  Ask yourself, if God be for me, who can be against me?  I would say this daily and I could feel myself getting stronger both spiritually and emotionally. 

I wanted to share something with you that is so special to me.  In the very beginning of realizing that I wanted to help others with anxiety, it was on my heart to help thousands and even millions of people.  At that time I didn't really know how to help one person, so I asked God how to do this and what He was about to do was way more than I could have imagined.  It's a long, wonderful story how God aligned all of this, but I was asked by the Midwest Center, a place that specifically works to help those dealing with anxiety and depression, to appear on their new infomercial!  This was 3 years ago, and at that time they had the second longest running infomercial in the world.  What an amazing way to share with others all over the world that being an over comer of anxiety is possible, and an awesome testimony about how God could take something that was meant to harm me and turn it into a blessing.   Feel free to watch my interview by clicking on the link below:

Click here to view my portion of the infomercial

Have a great day everyone, and remember to walk in love and speak in peace!