Laurie - posted on 09/13/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )
When I was little I had a nervous stomach. I worried a lot about everything. My dad showed me a verse that has helped, and I want to share it with you.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:6-7)
When I became a mom all of a sudden I knew what real anxiety was. There are so many more things to be anxious about after you become a parent. Is he eating enough? Will he ever get potty trained? Have I ruined her little psyche because of all the yelling I did today? Should I go get her at school when she has a nervous stomach? Should I get him the expensive shoes so he’ll fit in with the other kids? There are so many worries a mom experiences for her children, not to mention overwhelming mommy guilt for just about everything.
When you become a mom living with chronic illness, all of a sudden mommy anxieties and worries take a whole different turn. You wonder, will she think all this pill-popping is normal? Will she become sick too? Will their lives be ruined because of having a sick mom? Will they grow up with issues because I’m sick? Do I pay for medicine or gymnastics?
Somehow in the midst of all that anxiety and worry God wants to give us peace. He wants us to give every single worry, every care or fear over to Him. Once you do that, you don’t have to keep going over things over and over in your head trying to come up with solutions to all of the problems and anxieties. It’s not always easy to get the anxious and bothersome thoughts out of your head. Sometimes you have to make a conscious decision that you won’t keep thinking about the thing causing your anxiety. I have found it helpful to write down prayer requests in a notebook and then tell myself, no I won’t think about it because it’s in the book. Sometimes I put my arms out as if I am lifting the problem up to God. Sometimes I envision myself carrying my fear and worries to the foot of the cross or to God’s throne. That is exactly what God wants us to do.
Telling God all my problems is the easy part. It’s very easy to complain to God about everything that causes me worry. The above verse says to bring our worries to Him in prayer, but to do it with thanksgiving. That is the hard part. Complaining comes easy for me; praising does not. This is an opportunity to express faith in God that He is able to handle the problems in ways you may or may not have thought of. This is when you need to acknowledge that you are going to trust Him for the answers. Recently I realized that my prayers are very one-sided—they are heavy on the complaining part but very light on the thankful side. So I decided that for every need or worry I bring to God, I am also going to thank Him for one thing. It has changed me. I am a happier person now that I am focusing on praising Him instead of focusing constantly on the problems.
God says that “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:25 NIV)
Sometimes thankfulness is a sacrifice on our part, particularly when we choose to thank Him for the hard and difficult things we face. It is hard to praise God in the midst of chronic pain. It is hard to be thankful when we have had little sleep and still need to care for little ones. God sees our tearful praise as a beautiful thing indeed. It is very encouraging when we realize that thankfulness prepares the way so that God can show us His salvation. Therein is our hope. Thank you, God.