The Blessing in the Fear

IMG_3570In case you were wondering why I didn’t post a GEM this past Tuesday – I could not find the wherewithal to put two words together because I was paralyzed by an unfounded fear due to a horrific panic attack I experienced on Sunday night and am still dealing with today.

As most of you know I suffer from panic disorder, a condition where an overwhelming sense of fear courses through my body for seemingly no reason at all.  The worst part of panic disorder is the development of a constant fear of having another panic attack…thus, the reason that I was not able to write on Monday or Tuesday for GEM.

Unfortunately, I have wrestled with this condition since I was in third grade and although I do take medication for it, as you can see, I am still affected by it every now and again.

Spring into summer has always been a trigger for me.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m busier, more active, or what.  But, this time of year continues to be a problem for me…THIRTY-SIX years after the first episode.  GRRRR!

Case in point:  Sunday was the first time in a long time that my family and I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon by the pool with nowhere to go and nothing to do.  It was SO lovely.

As the day ended, we grilled some burgers and I realized I had gotten a little sunburned.  Normally, these are not things that should be of concern for me or anyone else for that matter.

I’m not really sure what happened.   Was it the sun?  Was it the food? (I am allergic to shellfish and the place I bought the burgers does sell seafood.) Was it the fact that my body finally relaxed after a stressful week, month, year?  Who knows?

Whatever the issue was, while I was eating dinner I started to feel my throat tighten and a lump form in the back of my throat.  Uh,oh….

Now, I must tell you that these symptoms are my “normal” panic indicators – even since third grade.  I have had tingly hands, shortness of breath, numb lips and more.  However, the throat tightening is my No. 1 warning sign that throws me into a tailspin.

And wow, did I jump off the deep end with two feet!!

Here is where I wish I could say that I took a deep breath, dropped to my knees and prayed my way through the panic attack.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4

Uh, nope.  I’m sorry to say that I gave into my fear and basically scared my poor husband to death.  It wasn’t until after I had taken a Benadryl and a Xanax that I was able to calm myself down enough to realize I wasn’t actually going to die that day.

Oh, how I wish this wasn’t my modus operandi.

Where’s my trust in God?  Where’s my faith?  Where’s my level head?

GONE.  ALL GONE.

It would be horrible if this was the end of my story, but it’s not.

This is where the coolness of our amazing God comes in…drum roll please.

So, Tuesday comes along and I’m still struggling.  Lee has gone out of town and I haven’t eaten since Sunday because I’m scared that I’ll choke, die, pass out, or something.   Crazy, I know.

I end up going to lunch with a friend to Chick-Fil-A.  I have no clue how I’m going to eat without running out of the restaurant screaming, but I’m white-knuckling it at this point.

We order and take a seat at a nearby table.

All of a sudden one of the Chick-Fil-A workers – the ones that get you more drinks or take your trays – comes to our table and asks if I would like to hear the “Tip of the Day”.

Let me just tell you, I have no idea what this lady wants or what she is going to say, but I go ahead and tell her that I, of course, would like the tip of the day.

Worker lady proceeds to say, “It’s Nehemiah 8:10. You might want to look it up.”

Ummmm….  Okay, I’ve never had that happen.  So, my friend and I pull out our phones and look up the Bible verse.

Nehemiah 8:10 says:  Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Holy COW!!!!

Thank you, God!  I heard the message loud and clear…FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH!!

Amazing.

So, the moral of this story is that even though we each face our own demons, God is ALWAYS with us.  We don’t have to look far and in the cases that we don’t have the strength to look…HE WILL FIND US.

How has God found you lately?

Some Wisdom for Today:  Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

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