Storms, Real and Imagined

I struggle with anxiety. Yes I do. I'm a worst-case scenario imaginer extraordinaire.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, I felt completely overcome by fear. For months, I could barely eat. I'd wake up and spend the first moments of my day dry-heaving over the toilet bowel and then spend the next 20 minutes sitting on the floor of my shower with the water pouring over my head, trying to gather the will to go through with the day. The shower was also my safe crying place because I felt I had to keep up the illusion of strength for my kids. Then, sometime before the hot water tank would run out, I'd pull myself together, get dressed, make myself a decaf latte - at least the milk had some calories and protein that I could keep down - and spend some time praying and reading the Bible.

I had lonnnng devotional times those days. I didn't want to leave my cozy couch corner devotional spot, but I did have two little girls who needed to have some parental direction for their homeschooling day.

I remember feeling horribly afraid all day long. God taught me life-changing things through those days. He really did and, while I wouldn't volunteer to go through it again, the work He did in my life during that time was worth it. Eventually, with His help, I was able to go through most days without feeling totally overwhelmed.

Then, shortly after my husband finished his treatment, it looked like the cancer came back. Eventually, we got a diagnosis that said everything will be pretty much ok. No more chemo. No more radiation. Just checkups every 6 months. We all took a huge breath and moved on with our new normal.

Ever since then, I automatically fear that any health issue he has could be cancer. Last December he had a very large, swollen lymph node and was scheduled for a biopsy, but dodged the bullet because it started going away on its own. Phew! Next on the list? A chronic cough that started with a flu bug in early spring. Mild, but persistent. Must be cancer.

Did you know that just about any symptom can be associated with cancer? Try Googling a symptom one day….actually don't. It's not good for your mental health. Trust me on this one.

The chronic cough is still there and oncologists and testing are involved and I find myself spiralling into the same place I was when he was diagnosed the first time. I feel hypercaffeinated. Can't think. Can't eat because I feel like I'm going to throw up.

You'd better believe that I'm seeking God. He's teaching me a whole lot, but somehow the fear is just not going away. And I wrestle with this.

The Bible is very adamant that I not be anxious about anything and I'm anxious all day long.

The Bible is very clear that we will have trials: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds," (James 1:2)

When, not if. I'm not really feeling the joy part either.

When David stood before Goliath, it would have been normal to fear. The man was a killer.

When the disciples were in the boat with Jesus in the storm, it was natural to fear. The Bible says the waves were crashing over the boat. Why did Jesus rebuke their lack of faith? I don't see where He guaranteed their safety for that trip. At least they went and woke Him up and asked Him to save them. To me, it looks like they had faith despite their fear. Maybe they should have woken Him up before they got totally freaked out? (Matthew 8:23-27)

The only answer that I've got so far is that it was enough that He was there. It's supposed to be enough that He is here with me. I may be called to go through really hard things, but He's promised that He will never leave. That nothing can separate me from His love.

I still don't really get it. How is this kind of faith lived out in my everyday? Where is the glitch in my faith that keeps me from feeling peace regardless of my circumstances?

The song Strollin' on the Water by Bryan Duncan is speaking to my heart these days. It's always been one of my favorites. It acknowledges the storm, the fear, yet promises adventure with Jesus if only I let go and step out in faith.

Strollin' on the Water

- by Bryan Duncan
"Open up my eyes, I pray
 Lord, for just a little glimpse of You
 That's all I need, it's all I've ever needed
 To see beyond myself, beyond this tiny little world
 All Your hands have made
 With beauty and strength alone
 I can see You comin' to me now
 Oh, like a shimmerin' light
 Shimmerin' light on an open sea
 Barefoot on the water
 Laughin' at the ocean
 Like You were old friends
 Callin' out my name, saying join Me now
 Strollin' on the water
 High over every care
 Strollin' on the water
 Sinking no longer
 Let me rise above the high tide
 I can do it, I'll do it, yeah
 I know where my strength comes from
 Help me cut these bonds
 Where I keep my spirit tied
 All safe and dry
 Safe and dry, but so afraid
 Let me come to You
 Let me run to You
 With my heart still beating
 Beating in my throat
 With my sweaty palms and mouth so dry
 Shakin' 'til I can't stand still
 All I'm askin', all I'm askin' is to let me cross
 That great divide between You and I
 Only You can take me there, so take me there, yeah
 Strollin' on the water
 High over every care
 Strollin' on the water
 Sinking no longer
 Let me rise above the high tide
 I can do it, I'll do it, yeah
 I know that You said, follow me
 Just let the water flow
 Let it go
 Oh, keep your eyes on me
 Do you feel alive?
 Try turnin' circles, yeah
 Bend your knees
 And hold your hands up high
 Can you feel the wind in your hair?
 With your eyes closed
 Take a breath of fresh air
 Feel the mist on your toes
 Look where we are
 Strollin' on the water
 High over every care
 Strollin' on the water
 Sinking no longer"


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