Jesus and My Mental Health| By Emily Lawson

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139: 14-16 (KJV)

I am finally to the point of pregnancy where I feel like a normal person. I am also to the point where I can begin to feel the kicks of the tiny human growing inside me. 

Yet, with the excitement and thankfulness I have, worry at times still consumes me. 

“I haven’t felt him today. Is that normal?”

“That was a really quick movement, not his normal stretches. Is that normal?” 

“My oldest just kicked me so hard in the stomach. Is that going to cause an issue later?”

“Ugh, healthy food is so blah, I just want some salty chips. Am I ruining my baby?”

When I was pregnant with my first, I had such high anxiety levels, that I had to go to a counselor for five weeks. I was too anxious to take medicine. I was too anxious to call the doctor. I could not function at work, literally having to walk away from my desk several times to hide away and cry. I would cry over everything. I spent forty dollars on three pairs of pajamas and a robe for the hospital (really, a decent deal!). The next day I had a panic attack at work thinking I had spent too much and wouldn’t be able to afford diapers for my new baby. 

The counselor helped how she could, releasing me with some breathing exercises and telling me to use my husband when I felt overwhelmed. 

And though those breathing exercises helped me through a few moments, God saw me through that entire time period. Though I felt like I was drowning at times, and I felt that there was no way I could make it through, He was able to guide me through those last (very long) seven weeks of pregnancy, and hold my head above water. I knew during that time, that although these feelings would consume me for periods of time, that’s all they were. Feelings. They weren’t the truth. They weren’t real. They were the conclusion of my brain believing the lies that the enemy laid before me.

God’s eye knew the outcome of those feelings. He knows the outcome of my current pregnancy. He knows what I’ll be going through each and every second of the rest of this pregnancy. He knows the outcome of my children’s lives. 

He knew when my son would take his first steps, as I fretted and compared to other children His age.  

He knows when my son will finally get over this picky stage and will eat normal food, all the while I fret if he is getting enough nutrients to make it through the day. He knows the exact moment that my second will be born. 

In His book, each and every one of our thoughts and actions are written. He knows what we cannot see and He knows what is to come. 

It is all in His plan and no matter the degree to which I worry and panic over it, He knows the outcome. 

And here is the exciting part. 

As scary as my mental health was to me, it was not enough to scare Him away. The scariest thing that my brain could think up, was put in its place when God stepped in. When I thought that I had gone too far, He never let go of my hand.

I am not saying that it went away. My brain still got overworked. I still had moments where I sat in the fetal position on the floor of a room with no windows and cried. I still had bad moments. 

However, when I allowed God into those moments. When I reached out and just let Him take over, I had peace in the midst of the storm. My heart was still racing. The tears were still flowing. But I had the knowledge that this was temporary. That though I felt detached from everything, I could still take small steps to ensure that I was moving in the right direction. 

Life is hard. The enemy will do everything in his power to throw loops and hills and potholes in your path. But clinging to the one who holds tomorrow in the palm of His hand is the one thing that can keep us grounded. 

God knew those seven weeks would be grueling. He also knew that I would make it through those seven weeks from the moment I was formed in my own mother’s womb. 

He wrote my story, just as He has written yours.

Life is hard. But nothing is too hard for God. 

Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Jeremiah 32:17 (KJV)

If you are struggling with your mental health, I encourage you to reach out. Don’t let the enemy keep you in a pocket of fear and wondering. Talk to the doctor. Take the medicine. Try the exercises. Write out those feelings. Don’t lay down in the darkness. Cling to the Lord as He guides you where you need to go. My experience is not unique. I didn’t take the medicine then, but coming out the other side, I know that it would have saved me so much anxiety. Pregnancy Anxiety and Post-Partum Anxiety and Depression are real things. Don’t let anyone tell you that “It’s just hormones, it’ll pass.” Address the issues and remember that you need to take care of yourself so you can enjoy every little thing this new adventure has to offer. Pregnant or not. Feelings are real. They exist in you, and dealing with them is the best way to get past them. Don’t settle for mediocre. You were worth sending an only son to die on the cross for you. You are worth the effort to feel better! Feel free to reach out to me directly also at @the_modest_wife on Instagram if you ever need to talk. You’re worth it. Never forget that!

Being Still in the Midst of Anxiety| By Jasmine Beard

Heart pounding, thoughts going a mile a minute, scared, terrified for no apparent reason.

I was 18 when I had my last major panic attack. I was leaving college and was headed on my way home when I was hit with sheer panic and confusion. It may have been 8 years ago, but I still remember my thoughts directly after the incident. I thought:

“what’s wrong with me?”

“What is this?”

“Will it happen again?”

“What if something really bad happens when/if it happens again?”

If you cannot tell, I was a bit of a worrier at that age, and if I am not careful, I can still go into a cycle of worrying, fear and eventual panic attacks. I like order, plans, and control, but life is simply not predictable.

Honestly, anxiety makes sense in our world because of the sheer pressure we put on ourselves and on other people. My days are filled with ever ending lists, juggling jobs, ministry, bills, starting a non-profit organization, trying to maintain a normal social life for a 20-something  year-old woman, and much much more, but I will spare you.

On top of all of our ever growing to-do lists, throw in unplanned life happenings, and it can turn some of us into the biggest worrywarts and anxiety-ridden folks. I cannot tell you the amount of acquaintances, coworkers, friends, and relatives I know who battle anxiety on a regular if not on a daily basis.

One day recently in the midst of my ever growing lists and unforeseen situations, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart for a slower pace and for a season of rest.

If you are anything like me, you cringe when you hear that word. I cringe not because I do not want to rest (because trust me, I really do, like really.) But my question was, how?!

How was I supposed to rest when my world was spinning? That’s when Psalms 46:10 began to ring in my ear, it says:

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalms 46:10 (ESV)

I have always loved this passage of scripture, but up until recently, I have never dug deep into the meaning of this.

Most of us have heard this scripture before. Maybe when you read it you picture yourself waiting quietly and expectantly waiting for a whisper from Heaven. Although that is not a bad thing, when we dig deeper into this scripture we learn that the Hebrew root of be still is not “to be quiet”, but rather “to let go”.

This may sound crazy if you are a planner, a doer, and maybe even a worrier like me. Even with knowing scriptures like “who has ever added a day to their life by worrying? (Matthew 6:27)”, I still find that worry can be my initial reaction instead of faith.

Maybe you feel like that today. You worry about the big stuff and even the little things that maybe do not matter as much. I want to encourage you to let go of your anxieties and worries and place them into the hands of your Heavenly Father.

It is all little stuff to Him and fails in comparison to how BIG our God is.

So let’s position in our hearts to be still and to know…..

To know that God is making a way for that light bill to be payed.

To know God is making a way for your baby to be healed.

To know God is making a way for you to get that raise at work.

To know that God is making a way for YOU.

He is making a way that allows you to let go of every anxiety, worry, and pain, and for you to trust Him at His word that “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Remember that God is walking through every step of life with you holding your hand, longing to carry your burdens and guide your every step. Let go of the pressure you place on yourself. You are not called to carry the weight of your burdens one little bit. Just let go and know that God is trustworthy and faithful to work all of our anxieties out all on His own if we just trust Him.

“Many put their hope in chariots, others in horses, but we place our trust in the name of the Eternal One, our True God.” Psalms 20:7 (Voice)