Thursday, October 13, 2016

Jesus Still Shows Up

I've had a full on panic attack once in my life for sure. It drove me into the fetal position in the middle of the floor of my kitchen in tears after I had left messages with everyone at my husband's work that he needed to call me as soon as he landed. It was terrifying. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't stop my mind from racing. I couldn't think rationally. I was utterly out of control of my emotions. I never wanted to feel like that again.

So when I left a friend's house the other day, I was shocked when I could feel it happening again. This time it was the beginning of an anxiety attack, and I was driving down the highway. I needed to get a grip on life...and fast.

But the waves of thoughts streamed through my mind, one after the other. Relentless. Unstoppable...

Do you really think you're special? You're a terrible friend. That was totally awkward. Why would she want to spend time with you again? Look at you. All frazzled and second-guessing your every conversation. Of course no one's going to respond to your emails! Why would they? Some room mom you are. No one takes you seriously. You're on your own. And what about Joey? I mean what kind of wife are you? Always forgetting to send him those texts and notes he's asked for repeatedly. He probably feels completely unappreciated, and he should. Some wife you are. And your kids? Have you even taken time to see them? To enjoy them? So encompassing is your grief you can barely think of what to talk to them about. Forget parenting. That's a joke. Your kids are basically raising themselves at this point....

And the lies just.kept.coming. One after the other. Sucker punches taking my breath away. I could feel the tears well behind my eyes once more. My throat felt tight. My breathing had become fast. I was panicking. In that moment, I wanted to crawl into a dark hole. I wanted to do whatever it took to escape the voices. I couldn't escape the voices! The guilt! The condemnation.

"Dear Jesus what do I do?!?!"

And in the same moment I was contemplating pulling my car over and losing all composure on the side of the highway, the next thing I know my mind was cleared. Completely calmed. Hushed. At peace. My body physically relaxed, and my thoughts stilled.

My Jesus, who'd been there the whole time, raised His hands in the middle of my storm, and He made it stop. He calmed the sea. (Mark 4:39)

And in my spirit, I heard Him speak, "Lies. Why do you listen to the lies? That's enough. Be calm. Be still. Believe Me. I Am here. No one else matters. Just Me and you. You will never be enough, but I will always be Enough. Peace."

And I felt like I imagine the demon-possessed man felt upon being healed, clear of mind and able to discern truth. My shoulders straightened a bit. I took a deep breath of grace, and I immediately thought of the verse card that's been staring at me from my kitchen sink.

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

I must have reached my limit. The temptation to give in and let the lies engulf me had become too great. In my weakness, my failure to stand strong and claim truth, my Jesus kept His Word. (2 Corinthians 12:10) He kept His promises to me, and in a split second of time, an inward battle that had been raging for months was ended. Just like that.

I wish I could tell you the war was over, but I'm still breathing, so I know that's not true. But His peace has lingered with me, guarding my mind even in the midst of my doubting Thomas outlook on life these days. (Philippians 4:7) So I am deeply grateful. Broken and weak, but grateful.

I had just wept the other morning, begging for Him to show up, to make Himself known, to prove once again He really was who He says He is. And then this incident happens.

Jesus still works miracles, my friends. He still calms the storms and casts out the demons. Just maybe not quite in the literal way we want or expect. He hears our honest prayers, and He still shows up.

How can I not be devoted and eternally endeared to a God who fights for me even when I'm fighting Him?!?!

Life happens. People hurt and grieve, and most of us will never know or understand the depth of the battle that rages inside each one of us. All I can do is tell my stories--the good, the bad, and the ugly--and let it be known that my God shows up. My Jesus calms the storms and keeps His promises. He casts out the demons and mends the broken-hearted. He carries the overwhelmed and challenges the underwhelmed. He speaks peace and life into torment and lies. Even the demons believe there is one God and shudder at His name (James 2:19); they beg His mercy (Mark 5:12). How much more will He willingly show mercy and kindness and goodness to me, His child, in my time of need? (Matthew 7:11)

Moving forward from this point, from this reset, it is imperative I keep my eyes on Christ. Not on anyone else but Him.
He will always be Enough for me. He can be Enough for you too.
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