During Vacation Bible School, God allowed me to reflect back upon my past experiences with anxiety so I could help calm down children. Many were anxious about parents leaving for the night or were unsure how to handle the thunderstorm. I led the children to take deep breaths and think about the things that they would enjoy at VBS. I am not proud that I have dealt with anxiety, and I am actually embarrassed that my life, especially during college, was plagued with panic attacks. However, when I have a small part in helping a child go from anxious to calm, I know that God is bringing all things together for His good.
I could not see, even just a few years a go, how God could bring anything good from my anxiety. It was so severe in college that I struggled to function normally, and I was frequently sick to my stomach. I never thought that I could overcome these issues to be a minister to children and families. I was convinced that I was could not break free from the cycle of anxiety and depression. I allowed my struggles to define who I thought I was supposed to become.
Yet, God had a different plan for my life. I am thankful that God brought healing to my life via counseling, medication, a supportive family, accepting friends, and ministers, professors, & laity who have mentored me. Some days are still more difficult than others, and yet I know that God is still at work, even when I feel anxious and discouraged.
As I write this blog, I am reminded that God has not brought me to the other side of certain circumstances to be silent. God, please grant me the courage to share with others about my valleys in a way that empowers others to seek You and glorifies You. God, give me the voice and the platform to share Your love with others, especially those who feel lonely, anxious, and depressed.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” Psalm 126:5-6