Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dependency on God

There are times we feel God asking us to share our story, but being transparent is difficult, isn't it? It's hard to share where we struggle. I mean how will people respond to our journey? Well, we have to get to that place of obedience, right? If we hear our Lord asking us to share, He knows the value of our story, because He is so intricately weaved within it. 

Twelve years ago I was completely crumbled under the weight of something happening to me I didn't understand. I was living in total fear. Many midnight visits to the ER with what I would later know as migraines and panic attacks. At the time I had no idea what was happening to me. I just knew I was dying, living in fear of the next one hitting. 

These migraines would last anywhere from two days to two months. I didn't have the classic migraine. Nope, I would have every kind of migraine under the sun. Panic attacks would slam me out of no where. Mostly at night I would feel trampled in fear. 

I would go many months until I found a specialist in Neurology who had a specialty in migraines. This would be the doctor to uncover what was plaguing me. He would save my life. At this time during this unwanted journey I wanted to die. I didn't want to live with such fear and pain. 

This was a burden that would wear me down to almost nothing. I felt like a failure. I was homeschooling my children, involved in so very much. Life was busy, but so great. When the migraines and panic attacks came I thought I was losing my mind. I felt so lost. I knew no one who had faced what I was facing, so trying to explain it to others was impossible. I felt I was letting my family down and continually making excuses as to why I couldn't function as I was.

Sometimes such shame can come with living with such fear. Outward all seems just perfect, while inside you feel like your dying. You hide your pain to the world. This should be something you can face alone, right? I mean how weak can a person be to need the help of medication, right? There is never shame in seeking help. I literally thought I was losing my mind with these migraines and panic attacks. Two things most people around me couldn't understand. "Just take a Tylenol. Try to calm yourself. You're fine." These are words I would often hear. Words that would bring shame to my heart. 

The doctors would later figure out my thyroid was totally a mess. I would have it removed as I would learn I had Graves Disease and a goiter growing backward around my windpipe that would be a longer than usual surgery. Healing was not to come easily or quickly. It would be years later until my thyroid levels would straighten out and some sort of peace would blanket me. 

When all this happened the doctors prescribed many different medications. Most of which I endured every side effect. I'm not an easy girl to prescribe meds. But my doctors were vigilant in bringing me to a healing place. Finding the right doctors is key to healing. Through this I would uncover so much about myself. I would overcome. It would just take time and most importantly prayer.

One of the medications prescribed to me was Xanax. I was on a small dose, but four times a day. It wasn't just for attacks that erupted out of no where, but to hopefully help in preventing them. I have been on this medication for twelve years. I have taken this med because one, my body was a mess and needed some kind of calming, and second, I lived in total fear of these panic attacks. 

A little over a week ago I was standing in the kitchen. I went to grab my medication for my noon dose and I felt this strange calm. I heard the Lord speak to me. It was plain as day. "It's time, My daughter. You can do it. I will help you." Really? Could I really give up this med I was told I would be on for the rest of my life? This med I was told I would have to be hospitalized if ever wanting to rid my body of its effects? Twelve years is a long time to be on a medication. I wasn't mentally addicted to this drug, but my body was clearly not wanting to part with it.  I mean what if a panic attack came? How would I skip a dose? Fear was already churning as I was thinking about it, but there was the Lord again. "With Me you can do it".

I put my bottle back on the counter and thought about how difficult this would be. Now, I've never been a quitter. I'm up for a challenge, but this? Detoxing myself? So, it began. I soon found out skipping a dose was not going to work. Xanax is not a drug you can just stop. Death could be right around the corner. Okay, there is that threat of fear beginning to burn. No, I can do it. I know I can. So, my journey began.

I would lesson and lesson each dose until today I am only taking a fourth of what I was in each dose and only taking two a day. Today is the day I am hoping for one dose. Pray with me, please. This almost week and a half has challenged me. I never once have thought about giving up. With each dose lessened I grew in strength and encouragement. I couldn't believe it!! The Lord was guiding me to being free of this medication. I am hoping that in the next few days I will be Xanax free!!

I have had sweats, stomach cramps, headaches, and that feeling I'm going to crawl right out of my own skin. But those are growing less and less. God has totally shown me that I do not have to be dependent on this medication any longer. I am finding such new freedom. It's like I'm waking up from a long fog. Everything is coming alive once again. I always thought that the medication didn't make me feel dopey or effect me in any way except keeping the panic attacks away, but this medication trapped me in ways I had no idea. My memory was fading, my energy levels were being depleted. I was growing more dependent on this medication. 

The Lord's timing was perfect. Isn't it always? There was a time I needed this medication, but the Lord knew it was time to rid myself of it before the addiction became worse as years past. 

I would remain busy. I have done everything possible to keep busy and keep my mind focused on Jesus. Each time I could feel my body growing to want a dosage of medication I would refuse to give in and change my focus. I would pray for God's strength. He has remained at my side and I know without a doubt in the next few days I will overcome and it will be all praise to Him! 

He is always preparing and molding us. God's timing is never wrong. Like me, maybe you allow fear to keep your feet planted instead of taking that leap of faith. I have learned to be totally dependent on the Lord and trust Him. 

Maybe you too are facing a journey that holds fear and uncertainty. Friend, don't give up. Hold tight to that hope that it is possible. If God has you on this journey it is with purpose. He will forever turn ash into beauty. He will remain true and never leave our side. 

It took me a few days before I shared with my husband. Maybe I just wanted to be sure this was really happening before I shared. He has been such a rock for me. His encouragement has lifted me and has only given room for God to do His work in me. To hear my son and daughter tell me how very proud of me they are fills my heart with such gratitude. To be able to share with them and to have their support has been so valuable in this journey.

I know where I started with this medication. I know how much I was beginning to take and now I see where I am and how I have gotten to this day. God is so good. He has given me such insight as to how we grow dependent on people and things of this world. We can allow fear to swarm us and invade every area of our lives. This medication had its purpose. At the time I'm not sure I could have held on without it. But now the Lord sees my journey. He knows me better than anyone. Even better than myself. He sees the road behind me, and the one before me. He knew I was ready. I just wasn't going to come up with the idea out of fear. I was ready because He said I was and with Him the road before me wouldn't be an impossible one, but one that would hold so much more in this journey of learning about myself and about the One who would challenge me.

My journey continues. With each step I will trust in the One who set me on this course for continued healing and grace. Friend, whatever journey you are on today, don't give up. Allow room for your faith to grow as the Lord unveils Himself to you. Seek Him on every level and don't allow doubt or fear to overtake you. Satan is good at making us think we can't do the impossible. Where we are weak our Jesus is strong and sufficient to meet our needs and even go beyond all expectation.

Journey onward in faith, my friends, knowing the path before you is already paved in greatness. Be bold today and take that leap of faith into a new day paved with new mercies.

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him." Psalm 28:7
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