Have you ever found yourself in a period of weakness, confusion, and uncertainty? That’s where I was at the age of 26. I had two beautiful children, a husband who loved us very much and provided a home and a great life for us. We had a wonderful church, where Dr. Charles Stanley was our amazing Bible Teaching Pastor. And yet, I was going through a very difficult time personally. I described many of the physical symptoms I was experiencing in my last post. Those symptoms, paired with living in a new town, being a new mom, and trying hard to be involved as a minister’s wife were a heavy load to bear. On top of that, no doctor could find any actual problem and no medication they prescribed gave me any help or relief. So I came to the conclusion that this was my new normal, and this was just how pregnancy and childbirth had changed my body. I would tell myself I was going to have to get tough, push through, and keep going. After all, I had two children to raise, a husband to love and a city full of people who needed Jesus.
I mentioned back in one of my first posts, that the night I lost my first baby, Satan planted a seed of fear and doubt in my heart. After that tremendous loss, the reality of death seemed so close. Would I ever be able to carry a baby to full term? I was pretty nervous through both of my pregnancies. Every pain, every abnormal symptom I was afraid was another miscarriage. And even though I did give birth to two beautiful healthy babies, the fear didn't end there.
I specifically remember one occasion when the stomach bug went around our house. It was Jordan’s birthday and we, along with 22 month old Jailee and 9 month old Asher met some friends at Dave and Buster’s to play games and celebrate. Two things occurred that evening that possibly contributed to our upcoming illness. Jailee brought me a piece of chewed gum that she said she found on the bottom of a chair, and at one point, Asher, who was walking by now, chose to crawl across the game room floor. Blah! Yuck! Gross! Funny thing is, I don’t remember being all that concerned. We went home, took baths, and settled in to bed. Asher, who had been a fussy baby from 0-6 months was now a great sleeper. But for some reason this night he was awake in the early hours of the morning. I went to rock him to try and settle him down and that’s when it hit. Asher, a helpless 9 month old baby, had the stomach bug. Before long sister was up sick, too. When I called for Jordan to help he quickly came, but soon left as he, too, was sick.
Now, I am very opposed to throwing up. I will do almost anything to keep it down. So for the next three days, I didn’t eat. Not only do I hate to throw up, but moms, you know, The Mom Can Not Go Down! Even when sick, she still has to take care of everyone else. And I’m sure you've all experienced it, but 22 month olds and 9 month olds, do not run to the toilet to throw up. It just happens wherever they are at the moment. And it’s hard to take a little one down. When an adult is sick we want to sleep, lay around, do nothing until we feel better. Not my kids. As long as they weren’t in the process of actually throwing up, they were still going strong. Needless to say, I needed to be well. I’ll never know if I had the same illness as the rest of my family or if my stomach just hurt so bad from not eating, but I was successful in my mission to stay upright and in control of the situation.
This, of course, is an extreme example, and now somewhat funny, but it was a true picture of me always doing my best to stay in control of the situation. Every situation! And when something threatened that control that extreme anxiety I mentioned in my last post, would rise. Like the time Jailee ran out of the entrance of a store into the street and the sliding glass doors closed behind her. I had to walk (run) all the way around the registers to the exit before I could get to her. Oh, and I had Asher in the basket with me! I’m sure that was a sight. Or, the time that Asher fell out of the dining room chair onto the wood floor and hit his head. I immediately assumed this had caused major injuries. I’m pretty sure my reaction was much more terrifying to him than the actual fall. Even a child with a slight fever would send my pulse skyrocketing. After all, God had given me these precious children, and it was my responsibility to take care of them.
As I searched the pages of Scripture for answers, I felt God leading me to start at the beginning of the Bible. When I say I felt God leading me, it was really just kind of a thought when I would be praying or reading my Bible. An idea, it seemed. But as I began to follow the idea, I soon found Jesus leading me through His Word. Stories that happened thousands of years earlier had so much similarity to my own life. One of my favorites (that I still remind myself of often) is the story of Joshua. Following Moses, one of the greatest leaders Israel ever had, came Joshua. He was to take over the lead after Moses died. This meant having to not only give direction to God’s people, but he would have to do some really scary things, like lead them into war! But from the very beginning God promised Joshua that He would be with him. God said that no one would be able to stand against him.
One of my favorite verses, Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Verses and stories like this began to give me courage and strength. I knew that if God was with me, I could make it through everything that was on my plate. I learned that He could take care of my kids in ways I couldn’t. Although the illness was still there, and the kids still scared me half to death some days, and there was no way I could control every situation, with God by my side, we would persevere! Now I would like to say the fear and anxiety immediately disappeared. I would like to say I’ve never had to deal with any of it again. But that just wouldn’t be true. There have been many days that the nasty old devil has brought me to my knees in fear or many nights that he has wakened me with whispers of ‘what if’ scenarios. But each time I turn to the Lord in prayer and look for answers in His word, He builds my faith and shows me that He is with me and He is able!
If you struggle with fear or anxiety, below are some additional verses and stories that have brought me comfort! These real people lived extraordinary lives and did things that many times didn’t make sense, but they trusted God and followed the plan He had for each of them. By Faith They... lived the lives God called them to live. I pray for myself, as well as for you, today that we will do the same!
Check Out These By Faith Stories:
Abraham - Genesis 12-25 (Especially notice Genesis 22)
Moses - Exodus 1-14
Esther - Esther 1-10
Two great options that I recommend if you're looking for a Bible:
The Holman Christian Standard Study Bible
The Daily Bible In Chronological Order 365 Daily Readings With Devotional Insights to Guide you Through God's Word
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.