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The Story God Wrote for Me - Anxiety Saved Me


The Story God Wrote for Me - Miss Goody Two Shoes


Growing up and on through my 20s, I was basically what most would call a "Miss Goody Two Shoes".  I was a "good" person with a guilty conscience that would stop me from doing most things that I shouldn't.   I never had a desire to smoke, drink or do drugs.  I was a good student.  I loved being a daughter, granddaughter, and eventually wife and mother.  I considered myself a loyal friend.  Integrity and honesty were important to me.  I certainly had shortcomings, but to the outside world, I was a "good person".   I don't say all of this to boast about what a wonderful person I was - quite the contrary...  I share this to show the workings of the Holy Spirit in a life that didn't have "major sins" by the worlds standards or by her own standards, but indeed by God's standards, "For whoever keeps the whole law, yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." James 2:10.


The Story God Wrote for Me - Begins with anxiety...


My journey to Salvation begins here...

When I was a little girl, I would often hear the phrase, "don't be a worry wart".  {I expanded upon this illustrious title in my post Worry Wart, which you can read HERE, where I delve into additional layers of my journey to salvation.}  You guessed it, I was a worrier, and still can be...    In an effort to help calm my tendency to worry and anxiety, my mom taught me to pray.  She encouraged me that I would find comfort in God through prayer.  When I would recite the rote prayers I was taught, I was filled with a sense of closeness to God that brought me peace.  I never prayed specific prayers for specific things.  Instead, prayer for me was a source of comfort.

In my early 20s I experienced my first full blown panic attack which seemed to come out of nowhere. I wasn't distressed about anything at the time, but there it came.  If any of you have had a panic attack, you know how scary they can be.  Unfortunately, that first panic attack began a pattern of anxiety and fear of "having a panic attack" that became debilitating at times.   

My husband and I were married when I was 23.  Right after our honeymoon we moved four hours away from our families.  My husband was accepted at a college in our new location, and I transferred with my company to a new position.   We bought our first home which was a 40 minute commute one way to my new job.  I was the main breadwinner during this new season of our lives.

In a non-anxious person, everything I was going through from newly married, to moving far from family, to purchasing a new home and starting a new job would be cause for stress and anxiety!

Those first few months were very difficult for me.  I was missing my family terribly.  I was also feeling the weight of being the main breadwinner due to home ownership and the fact that I could not let my panic attacks get in the way of commuting to work.

{I wrote about how we can gain clarity for God's purposes in the hard seasons of our lives in my post Hindsight is 20/20 which you can read HERE.}

The Story God Wrote For Me - God had laid the foundation


In my new job, I met Liz who became a close friend.  Over time, she began to share the Gospel with me.  But I was very much against the message she was sharing.  I refused to believe that I had to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior in order to go to heaven when I died.  In my mind, as long as I was a good person, I would go to heaven.

In my 20s, I had also drifted away from what faith I had growing up.  I was still "Miss Goody Two Shoes", but living for myself; not placing God in any part of my life.

When we were looking for our second home, "circumstances" prevented us from getting the house we wanted essentially "forcing" our decision to pick the house we live in now.   And it was here, that I would eventually meet two Christian neighbors, Makiko and Paula...

Makiko gave me a Bible to read and said God would speak to me, but when I read it, "He didn't speak to me...".

Paula invited me to Mothers of Preschoolers, a Christian based group for moms and their preschool age children.   I was excited at the prospect of making new friends.

However, the location of the MOPs meetings was a half hour drive from my home.  My anxiety was still a major issue - especially with driving.   But, I didn't let it stop me from attending MOPs, even though almost every time I drove to and from the MOPs meetings, I thought my anxiety would overtake me.  It was really quite frightening.  But I persevered month after month...

The Story God Wrote for Me - A Heart Change


I very much enjoyed my time at MOPs.  The moms would meet together to do a Bible Study and pray while the children did craft activities with the babysitters.  Bible studies and praying out loud was very new to me!  There was something different about my friend Paula, and these women at MOPs.  I didn't understand at the time what it was about them I was attracted to, but I knew I wanted to be like them.

Through their example, I started attending church again.  Yet in doing so, I still had the thought process that I was "doing something good".  I even got involved teaching Sunday School.   I remember coming home from church thinking, "I attended church this week", like something to tick off a do gooders checklist.

But eventually something started to change...

I found myself really soaking up the sermons during the church service.  I was thinking about God more during the week, outside of church.  I bought myself a Bible and a small devotional.  I don't remember reading the Bible at that time, but I did enjoy reading the devotional.

My friend Paula introduced me to her friend Cindy who invited me to do a Bible study with her.  I agreed to participate.  Cindy asked me if there was anything I struggled with.  I told her about my problems with fear and anxiety.  She found a Bible study that dealt with those issues.  One day, we were studying Matthew 14:30, and these words jumped off the page at me! "And He said come!  Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind he became frightened, and beginning to sink He cried out, "Lord, save me!"  Immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him..."  Oh what comfort I found in that verse - Words of Life!  Not only did it begin the process of my being freed from the bondage of fear and anxiety, but it would ultimately draw me into a relationship with Jesus my Savior.  I finally understood what my neighbor Makiko meant when she said, "God will speak to you through His Word"!

I don't know specifically what date it happened, but I know that I received the Holy Spirit when the Lord Jesus came into my heart.  How do I know this?   Because this "Miss Goody Two Shoes" didn't see herself as "Miss Goody Two Shoes" anymore, but as a sinner desperately in need of a Savior.  Suddenly, God's Word lept off the pages, and I finally understood them.  My behavior and actions changed to one of a Christ follower who desired to live for Him.

The Story God Wrote for Me - Anxiety Saved Me


As I look back at my faith journey, it is interesting to see how the Lord allowed my anxiety to be used to draw me to Himself as a little girl; allowed me to be "sifted as wheat" by Satan who attempted to use my anxiety to stop me from going to MOPs which attending proved to be the turning point in my seeking after God ["But the Lord is faithful.  He will establish you and guard you against the evil one." 2 Thessalonians 3:3]; to ultimately using His comforting Words of Life to speak to my anxiety and draw me into a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.

My Wonderful Savior "chose me in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight" Ephesians 1:4.    My Lord had "ordained my steps" Proverbs 20:24 so that I would find Him.   My God put "a new heart and new Spirit within me.  He removed the heart of stone from my flesh and gave me a heart of flesh.  He put His Spirit within me and caused me to walk in His statutes and to be careful to obey His rules." Ezekiel 36:26-27 My Heavenly Father "loves me with an everlasting love and continues His faithfulness to me." Jeremiah 31:3

{For more encouragement on God's special care over His anxious child's heart, please head over to my post God has Compassion on Your Anxious Heart which you can read HERE.}

I can say in all honesty that I am grateful to the Lord for allowing anxiety to be a part of my story because from the very beginning even until now, He uses that tendency in me to lovingly keep me close to Him.



You might find me on these link-ups:

Grace & TruthWoman to Woman Ministries, Inspire Me MondayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Good Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog Hop  Tuesday Talk   Faith 'N Friends Sitting Among Friends   House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Literacy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceDance with Jesus Booknificent Thursdays  Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays , Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Sunday ThoughtsWriter Wednesday, Faith Filled Friday God Sized Dreams Link-Up Sitting Among Friends Be Thee Inspired Graceful Tuesday Link-up Aprons & Pearls Link-up Trekkingthru Link-up  Encouraging Word Wednesday  Grace Moments Link-up  Encouraging Hearts and Home Worth Beyond Rubies Seeking Sabbath Scripture and a Snapshot IHeart Verse Welcome Heart Kingdom Bloggers Outdoorsy Mommy Anchored Truth Tuesdays IHeart Verse InstaEncouragements


Comments

  1. Thankful for Paula and Cindy in your life, and that God still works through willing vessels.

    Pinned.

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Patsy,
      😌

      Indeed He does.

      Thanks for pinning and thanks for stopping by.

      You are very welcome.

      Delete
  2. I dealt with anxiety most of my life. Panic attacks are horrifying. I love that you've found the good in your suffering. That's so important especially as we grow in our faith. It's amazing how God sends us the exact people we need. I didn't become a Christian until later in life and thankfully, God brought a few faithful women into my life who helped greatly in that area. Keep telling your story! You will help many people :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Candace, Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story and adding to the conversation. I appreciate it so much.

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, and thanks so much for stopping by.😊

      Delete
  3. I am struggling right now with how to help my daughter with her anxiety. Thank you for writing about this. Visiting you today from the abounding grace link up. laurensparks.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lauren, Praying for you for wisdom from the Lord on how to help your daughter with her anxiety, and praying for your daughter that she will experience God's peace even in her anxiety and that He will bring her ultimate healing from it.

      You are very welcome.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to visit.

      Delete
  4. Anxiety is something one may not understand until one experiences it. Thankful that God can use it to draw us unto Him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, Very well said! Too often people will make off-handed comments like it's something we choose to do, when that couldn't be farther from the truth.

      Amen!

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your story. I was a Miss Goody Two-Shoes, too. It took me a long time to see God hates a self-righteous attitude!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jerralea, You are very welcome.

      Thanks for sharing a part of your story here. Indeed He does not like a self-righteous attitude.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  6. I love hearing and reading stories of God's faithfulness to work in our lives and draw us to him. Thankful that he did that so gently for you and that you are sharing your story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kym, Thank you. :-)

      And thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete
  7. I have spent a lot of my life worrying about things that I could not fix, and I wasted some precious years not enjoying things I should because of worry. Mostly the worrisome things worked out for the best anyway. I so relate to your words of thinking that good, clean living was all that is needed, but how eye opening when God did eventually enter into my full picture. And how peaceful the words that worry solves nothing, and the peace that God can give on the days that the worry wants to creep in. So enjoyed your sharing your story, and thank you as I know sometimes it is hard to share, but your posts have been helpful. Prayers for a great week ahead. ~hugs~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Peabea, I appreciate so much you sharing parts of your story here and adding to the conversation.

      Praising God that He is using these posts to provide help for you. All Glory to Him. :-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Delete

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