// From the Archives//
Last weekend, I was able to teach a group of women at my church about anxiety and discontentment. I never really thought the two were connected in any way, but I realized by reading Philippians 4 that they are.
When discontentment (an unpeaceful heart in the midst of all circumstances) increases, anxiety naturally increases.
When one is able to find the secret of knowing what it means to live through difficult times and joyous times (Phil. 4:13), anxious thoughts decrease.
It seems to be a simple formula, but I decided to give a very real example of something in my life to help the women see how this is true.
I shared about my previous miscarriage.
My heart was not "quiet" during the first few weeks after that devastating loss. I was angry, bitter, constantly questioning God. All I could see was the the pain I felt. I tried to set my mind on Jesus a few times, but honestly, my heart was just so hurt and angry that I could barely think clearly enough to do that.
I was in a state of discontentment. And that's an understatement. I was not at all "OK" with my circumstances, and I felt I was drowning in sorrow. I never thought I would come out of that. That unquiet heart led my thoughts into chaos. Anxiety took over. All I thought about were the "what if's."
What if I am never able to have children?
What if I get pregnant and lose another?
Will I be able to make it through because I barely made it through this time?
Then we got pregnant, my anxiety increased.
What if I lose this baby?
What if I go all the way and deliver stillborn?
What if I have the baby and lose her to SIDS?
I was so paralyzed by my fear that I had a hard time even enjoying that pregnancy.
I shared with the women some practical things that Linda Dillow (author of Calm My Anxious Heart) says to help find a heart that is quiet in the midst of the storm. She grabs these right out of Phil. 4.
1. Pray specifically
Instead of letting our thoughts go all over the place and think the absolute worst, pray to the Lord very specifically about what you are afraid of, what you need, etc. (v.6) Do I seek the Lord first when I am upset or anxious? Do I trust that He is in control, and he knows what I need?
2. Be thankful
We tend to find all of the things that are wrong with our lives, or that could go wrong, that we neglect the fact that there are good things in our lives. (v.6) Do I focus more on the bad or the good?
3. Think about these things
We need to grab our unhealthy thoughts and replace them with things that are "true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, commendable..." (v.8) Are my thoughts reflecting these things?
What happens when we turn to Jesus with our specific prayers with thankful hearts and clear minds?
"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (v.7). That's what happens.
I am going to share a very personal experience with you. Some may not like that people share these things, but writing is a very healing process for me. And I hope that someone is touched by the words that I say.
I am currently being tested to do these things that I just spoke about. A week ago on Thursday, Beav and I found out that we were pregnant again! Surprise! We were not even trying, but we knew we wanted another soon. We were so excited. Babies are a beautiful gift from God.
Friday I went in for blood work, and on Tuesday of this week I received the call.
My doctor told me that my progesterone level was too low, and that I needed to take supplements ASAP.
I knew that low progesterone is a leading factor in miscarriages, and naturally, I lost it. At work. I started crying, couldn't breathe. I even had to leave early because I was in bad shape.
I immediately drove to Rite Aid, picked up my supplements, and took one. I went home and slept because I was honestly just exhausted from the anxiety that I felt.
The next morning I went back to work, saw a few clients, and then went to the bathroom. I was bleeding. (sorry if this is TMI, but it is the truth) I panicked. I called the doctor, and it took them an hour to get back to me. During that hour, I cried, prayed, listened to worship music, and tried to set my eyes on Jesus. I read 1 Samuel 1, which was was got me through my last miscarriage. I got the call, and was told to come in immediately.
I left work early again, and went home to get Beav. The last time I found out I miscarried, I was alone. I will never go alone again, so Beav left work and came. We drove to the hospital in silence. It felt very strange. We made the same drive two years ago in March to have the D&C. We drove then in complete silence, too.
This time, we got closer, and Beav grabbed my hand. He said, "Let's pray." He prayed, and honestly, I didn't hear much of it because my mind was so numb. We got to the doctor's office and waited. There was a woman next to me talking about possibly terminating her pregnancy. I wanted to throw up. Beav wanted to punch her (literally). All I could think about was hoping with all my heart that my baby was ok, and this woman was talking about terminating her pregnancy if something was wrong with her baby.
The ultrasound tech finally called my name. Her mood was somber, and we were silent. The ultrasound showed a baby that was measuring much too small. There was a very large abnormal sac around it, and there was no heartbeat.
My heart felt like someone ripped it completely down the middle. It literally ached inside, but outside I remained silent.
The doctor (which wasn't my normal doctor) came in, and informed me that there was no hope. This was a very abnormal pregnancy and my body would miscarry the baby very soon. I started asking questions, praying that there was still hope. She was clear. This baby would not live.
That is when the tears started flowing. Beav was angry. I was broken. I felt lost. I felt dead. Honestly. I felt the same things I felt the first time.
We are reliving our worst nightmare.
We went home, and I cried on and off, slept a little. I was getting numb. I started miscarrying (and I will spare the details because it has been extremely traumatic for me). My body is "passing the baby," as the doctor put it.
I don't know when this awful experience will end, but I am sure of one thing. There is a Savior who is still and steady in the midst of this deeply painful storm. He is providing me strength (Phil. 4:13) to have a quiet heart in the midst of terrible circumstances. I have chosen to fix my eyes on him. Even though I am experiencing deep physical and emotional pain, I am choosing to look at Him.
I have prayed very specifically through this process for a healthy baby. Though I may not get to see this sweet baby grow, she is whole and healthy in the arms of her Savior today.
I have been thankful. When Beav brought Tatum home yesterday, I just held her and cried. I am so thankful for a beautiful, healthy baby girl who brings our family so much joy (which is what her name means). I am also thankful that I was able to see my little unborn baby yesterday for just a moment. This mom truly appreciates some form of closer. I will never forget what that sweet little one looked like.
I have been (with God's strength) considering the good things in my life. I have been trusting Him through this, knowing that He will provide another healthy baby for us to raise.
I have questioned. I have been confused. I have been afraid. I have been broken. But I have felt a sense of quietness in my heart that I didn't think possible over the last 12 hours or so. God is truly bringing a sense of peace that passes all understanding. I know in my heart that He will provide the strength that we need, the hope, the courage, and the comfort.
He is faithful. He is good. I will declare that no matter what I face. He is good.
I was so afraid of not being able to make it through the loss of another child. With God's grace, I am making it through, clinging onto the arms of my Savior so tightly.
If I take my eyes off of Him for one minute, I will completely crumble. That is the secret of finding contentment no matter what your circumstance: clinging to Jesus. He will get you through.