I've always struggled with anxiety and fear. Even as a very young child I remember being afraid that we wouldn't have enough money, the gas tank would run out, or surely that man over there was following us with bad intentions. It doesn't help that these tendencies toward fear, and anxiety run deep on both sides of my family. Throw in the death of my father at a young age, the loss of my Father-in-law three months after my wedding, a diagnosis of lyme disease a month later, not to mention daily life, the bombardment of information, and the pressure of raising and caring for 3 children and supporting a husband who owns his own business and you've got a perfect breeding ground for an anxious heart. I've always been taught that Jesus loves me and cares for me but deep down inside I wrestled with this concept.
Now here I am facing one of the biggest challenges of my life. Cancer. Not just a little bit of cancer but potentially an aggressive spreading cancer. You would think that at this point I would be freaking out, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing God, asking why me? How could you? etc. But I'm not. So many people have been marveling at how calm I have been even joyful, how I seem to put them at ease when they are so afraid for my life. That I'm so strong and how amazing that is. The thing is... its not me folks... its Christ in me. This is the miracle that is currently taking place in my life. Jesus is taking a very anxious, fearful, bitter, angry child and working his wondrous ways with me. He is pouring his love into me through his word, through your prayers, through the many gifts I've received, through mapping out the next plan of action with my care, all of this he is doing because of his great love for me.
He picked me up out of a muddy pit of anxiety and despair and has set my feet on solid ground (Psalm 40). I liken it to a toddler who has spent the day mucking about outside, all peevish and tired and then the parent comes out and keels down and says "Ok that's enough... time to come inside. Come on sweetie, come to Mama come and I'll hold you and clean you up and rock you and sing to you."
The Message by Eugene Peterson says it this way..."Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matt. 11:28
My children and I have been listening to Come to me and my daughter said to me yesterday that this song made her want to cry. She's totally right... its a simple reminder that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to rest in him and take away our anxious hearts.