The last few weeks have been hard. Like…really really hard.
As most people know by now, we are moving! The official “yes” came mid April. Initially I was nothing but excited and ready for this change in our life story. It’s something we have been talking about, thinking about, praying about for a couple of years. So this “yes” was more like a “finally!!”
I didn’t really feel anxious or worried. The only thing I was really worried about was flying my dogs over the ocean. But after a chat with our pet relocation service, I was comforted and at peace about our decision to move them.
And then it started. The panic. The worry. The fear. Within a three week period I had two major panic attacks. One on a plane (which is really the perfect place to have a panic attack). And another at school. Cody had to come pick me up. About a month and a half later I had my third panic attack. At the dentist office. (Shout out to the ladies at Rivercrest Dental who helped me through that one.)
On top of the rising panic, our family experienced three deaths in a matter of a short period of time. I went to three funerals over the course of three months. And what was even weirder is they were all at the same time each month. Two of them were completely unexpected and tragic.
I realize I am really fortunate that I am 28 and this is the first time I am dealing with sudden deaths. But it shook me. Bad. Every time the phone rang I was wondering who it was that died. I would get in my car and drive, sure that that trip would be what killed me. It got to the point where for about a week I didn’t leave my house because the fear and panic was too much to handle.
I am grateful I had already picked back up with my counselor right after the second panic attack happened. She has walked with me through some really dark feelings. She, along with Cody and my mom, helped me come to the decision that anxiety medication was a good plan for me. (As well as a whole slew of girlfriends who prayed for me, shared their experiences with me, comforted me that I wasn’t alone, so grateful for y’all! Y’all know who you are!)
I don’t think I realized how much this move is affecting me. It’s been covered in so much excitement and joy that I haven’t allowed myself the time or space to think about what I am losing as a result of this move. I haven’t allowed myself to ask all the “what if’s.” Mainly because I know I could very easily talk myself out of this. And on top of all the move stuff, the sudden deaths have caused me to question my faith and my beliefs in a way that I never have before.
One night I decided to put a Bible in our kitchen. I heard some women talking about a Bible being out in the middle of the common space of their house so that they could reference it all throughout the day and fill their day with God’s word. My faith was (and still is) was being questioned, but at the same time, it’s all I know to hold on to.
I began looking up words like “worry,” “fear,” “anxiety,” in the back of my Bible. And they got me really no where. They didn’t have many verses and the ones they did didn’t really “move” me.
Eventually I ended up on “afraid.” I flipped back and forth reading each verse and wondering what God was trying to say to me. And then I ended up on Matthew 10:31. (Here’s where the birds come in!) I have been doing a lot of studies lately that require reading more than just that one verse, but putting some context around it. And also looking up the Hebrew meaning of the words. So I read a few verses back.
28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
It reminded me of this verse that I read a long time ago and I always think about when I watch the birds in my backyard.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
I don’t remember which came first. The birds or the Bible verses. But what I do remember is walking out my front porch and seeing four ugly little birds sitting in a nest in the corner. And in that moment, I knew this was a little gift from God. Or, at least that is what I choose to believe it is!
For about a week I watched these little birds grow and change. And all the while, they never left their nest. Momma bird would fly in every once in a while. But that was it. They had no control over getting their food or any predators that would come their way (i.e. a freakin huge snake because they are everywhere in our neighborhood right now).
I don’t understand how God can keep up with all the people of the universe, know the number of hairs we have, and keep up with all the sparrows of the Earth. But, luckily, I am not God and that is not my burden.
The birds were a sweet little daily reminder that if God knows about those four birds sitting in a nest in the corner of our porch, then surely He knows my fears and worries. It doesn’t necessarily take my fears away but it provides comfort. Comfort that God already knows the days ahead of me. That last verse (27) gets me… “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
My fear and anxiety play out in control. I feel like if I can just be prepared for whatever lies ahead (fear/worry/panic) than I can prevent (control) it. And potentially keep it from happening. But again, I am not God and that is not my burden. I can’t change the length of my life, or Cody’s life, or our family’s lives, so why do I spend so much time fretting over it?
No idea. I have a feeling this will be an issue I deal with for a good majority of my life. I don’t think I will ever completely walk away from being fearful, worried, and afraid. But I do have faith that I can move past it.
Until next time,