I have always had the propensity to worry. I remember as a child staying up late stressing about anything and everything. A spelling test the next day. My locker combination. Who would I sit with at the lunch table? They were all silly things, but they weighed heavy on my small shoulders. Now that I am a mama, I lay awake some nights and worry about my children’s spelling tests, book chats, and friendships. It seems as though it is never ending!
I came by it honest. My mama is a worry-wart as was her mother. You could say anxiety is in my genes. (Not to be confused with the anxiety that my skinny jeans give me after Christmas 😉 Fortunately, my mama also gave me a tool to combat my anxiety. Mama always wrote scripture on post-it notes and placed them around her mirror on her vanity. She prayed over the scriptures as she got ready to face the day. She suggested that I write down Phillipians 4:6-7 and put it on my mirror to pray and meditate on each morning.
The post-it is a little tattered after 12 years and 3 moves. It has long lost its sticky so it can attach to my mirror, but the verse is engrained in my heart and mind.
A couple of years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult time when my husband and I were dealing with our second battle with infertility. My sweet friend, Ginger, sent me a link to Frances Chan preaching about Phillipians 4:4-7. (Watch it and you will be blessed!)
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness 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.
What a blessing it was for me to have a fresh look at the verse I had been praying over for years! By looking at the whole passage, it also gave me a better perspective. If I spend my time rejoicing, I won’t have much time to be anxious. And I don’t need to be anxious because…The Lord is near.
I am in a time in my life where I could be absolutely riddled with anxiety. I wrote recently about my Daddy diagnosis with Stage 4 of a very rare cancer (as in only two hundred cases in the last twenty years). In the last week, we have gotten bad news and even worse news. He was supposed to have surgery on Wednesday to remove his tumor and some lymph nodes. It was cancelled at the last minute because a PET scan showed that it had spread drastically. We can now add inoperable and incurable to the words that are bouncing around like a pinball in my head.
I could easily lay back and succumb to the horrible “what-ifs” that keep trying to bubble up in my head. Instead, I am choosing to rejoice in the Lord and focus on the positive things that He has blessed us with in our seemingly dire situation:
- Although Dad’s cancer has progressed far along, he is not in any pain now.
- As much as we wish he could have had the surgery to remove the tumor, it was an extremely complicated surgery with a tremendous amount of possible complications. He was spared that pain.
- We live in the Nashville area, which is quickly becoming the medical capital of the world. People travel from far away to come to Vanderbilt. We drive up the street and can go home each night. We have the best doctors in our backyard.
- Speaking of those awesome doctors, they like to keep a close eye and their hands on people with rare cancers. Dad is personally being treated by the best of the best of the best.
- Dad is starting chemo on Thursday, but he is going through one of the more tolerable chemo cocktails for patients. Since he hasn’t been in any pain, he will be stronger to deal with any side effects of the chemo.
- And if/when he has a tough day(s), he is retired and is able to rest and take it easy. Heck he can watch TV and play on his iPad like it is his J-O-B.
- I am thankful that I am close and can help out. My sister, Amy, is in Texas and it is so hard on her to be far away.
- My parents have a church family at First Baptist in Dickson, TN that loves them so much. The level of support they have is phenomenal.
- New drugs are coming out continually for cancer patients. Just because they haven’t found a drug that has cured his cancer, doesn’t mean they won’t.
- Our hope is not on anything that is here on this earth. Although we don’t understand why Daddy is going through this here and now, we know that Daddy’s eternity is with Him.
None of this is by accident. It is all part of His plan. God is near us as we travel this road.
And because we know all these things, God blesses us with the peace of God which transcends all understanding and guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Thank you, Abba Father, for loving my Daddy even more than I do.