When Anxiety Stole My Smile

Have you ever prepared for a trip when things get crazy just before you leave? My husband and I were recently preparing for a trip with just the two of us when, the night before we were scheduled to leave, my seven year-old mentioned his ear “felt funny.”  His week-long cold was hanging on, and I began to suspect he was developing a painful ear infection.

The next morning, we were all sitting at the table eating breakfast. Matthew’s cold was still bothering him. While I suspected the pesky ear infection was coming on, he was determined to attend school that day. I checked and there was no fever, so my husband and I decided to let him go. We said our goodbyes and waved as the the school bus drove away. Chris and I loaded up the car then drove to the airport to start our adventure. On the way to the airport I called my mother-in-law, who was going to be the boy’s primary caretaker in our absence. I explained the situation about Matthew’s possible ear infection, then suggested she take him to a walk-in clinic once he returns home from school.

At the end of a long day of traveling, my mother-in-law called to say my son did in fact have an ear infection – in both ears! As we settled in for the night that evening, I noticed I was feeling restless and unsettled. After taking a moment to rest I realized I was feeling anxious about being away from my sons, then I noticed some guilt surfacing about leaving my sons when one of them was sick. I began to lose my peace regarding this trip and started to feel some shame over leaving my mother-in-law with such a heavy load and a sick child while I am out of town for nearly a week.

I knew I needed some of God’s peace and perspective. After quieting for a few minutes, I then took some time to pray. I invited Jesus to meet me in my mounting distress. I then asked Him to remind me of a time I knew He was near. At this point, a surprising thought quickly popped in my mind.

It was a time my youngest son Andrew was 3 months old, and he had to have surgery. At the time I felt very anxious about handing my baby over to the doctors and nurses. I was worried something would go wrong, or that he would be afraid and I wouldn’t be nearby to comfort him. At the time, I sought Immanuel’s peace and He gave me an image that brought me much comfort. The picture was the moment I handed my baby over to the nurse’s waiting arms, only I was actually placing Andrew directly into Jesus’ waiting arms. I sensed that day that Jesus would hold and care for my son during surgery. This picture brought me immense comfort and lasting peace that day. The change was remarkable. My fear quickly dissipated and I was able to rest and breathe easier that day at the hospital.

This was the same image Jesus brought to mind as I was sitting in our hotel room far, far away from my boys. Now I could sense that He was again reminding me that He is caring for my boys. He loves my sons, much more than I could ever imagine. Even though I was miles away from my boys, not only are they in the capable hands of my mother-in-law, but they are also in Jesus’ hands. No matter what happens I can find peace and comfort in His Presence.

This reminder was just what I needed. At this point I felt my thoughts calm down, and my body began to relax. I noticed a smile breaking out on my face. I thanked Jesus for meeting me in my fear and for quieting my anxious thoughts. I quickly drifted off to sleep feeling confident my boys were safely in Immanuel’s hands.

All of us have things that rob our peace. No matter what is causing you to feel troubled or anxious, if something is robbing your peace, this is a good time to interact with Immanuel, the Prince of Peace. I hope and pray you will take some time to catch your breath, feel appreciation then interact with Immanuel about what your heart needs today.

Comments 5

  1. Hee-Choon Sam Lee
    January 4, 2018

    Amen! I needed this reminder first thing this morning 🙂

  2. Boggs Amelia
    January 4, 2018

    Thank you for the reminder of taking our fears to Jesus, remembering to practice quieting, asking Jesus to be in this place of fear and recalling a time when He met us before. His response is surprising, healing and welcome.

  3. January 4, 2018

    I love this blog. It reminds me of a time when my daughter was 10 months old (now she’s 48!) The doctor recommended surgery on her tear duct. I can remember how scared I was at the time. I didn’t have these tools at that time. So glad to be learning them day by day. What Peace to be able to connect with Immanuel. Thanks so much for sharing

  4. Mike & Deana
    January 4, 2018

    Jen, thank you for sharing from your life; including, the difficult situations; &, also for talking to The Good Shepherd about everything!!~so grateful that our Good & Gentle Shepherd is giving you the grace of letting Him be your Hope, Life & Peace!! With Much Appreciation & Love, Mike & Deana

  5. Erna
    January 10, 2018

    I remember driving to children’s hospital 2 hours from our city on the last day of school in 1995. My son, age 8, had been ill since his birthday in March at Easter. After Easter break he was getting ready for school on the first day back. I heard him call up the stairs, “Mom, my pee is brown!”.
    That was the beginning of many trips to our family doctor, then to a paediatrician. The symptoms persisted. Now we were traveling out of town to consult a paediatric nephrologist.
    Back then I was very prone to fall into fear that my son would die. I was his primary custodian and often felt the weight of responsibility for his care with knots and churning in my stomach.
    However on that day when I silently cried out to God as we were driving, I saw a big hand reach down from the sky.
    Reassured I said to my son, “Let’s look for God’s hand in this.” We did indeed see God’s hand in many ways.
    Two ways were a very kind paediatric nephrologist who explained things thoroughly and wore Mickey Mouse ties and a lab technician who gave Josh bouquets of lollipops to share with his friends when he was late for school.
    Remembering to look for God’s hand brought us focus, peace, and stability in the following years in our hearts, emotions, and my stomach!
    I am glad that through THRIVE training I have learned ways to pass on quieting skills to others.
    Thank you, Chris and Jen!

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