Stress & Anxiety                                                 

Clinging 'till Midnight
It was around midnight.  Let me tell you, I am one of those people that like all of my minutes of sleep!  So, when I woke up and felt God’s nudging to get up and pray I must confess I pleaded that maybe I could stay in the comfort of my warm soft bed and pray right there.  At 12:09 AM, I plowed myself out of bed and made my way to Chuck’s recliner in the living room. 

There, I prayed.

There, God was faithful to meet me.  I may have desired to stay in the restfulness of my bed during REM, yet I do not have a minuscule shred of regret!  Let me tell you why.

This was one of those times in life that all of my blessings seemed to demand all of my emotions and I was worn out.  I always prided myself on keeping a simple schedule so I could pour more into being a Christian woman, wife, and mom yet the past year had demanded a crazy-hectic schedule.  If it could break down or need fixing in our home, this was the year we had to deal with it.  Our evenings were filled with things to do depleting our energy.  It is rare that Chuck and I fight, yet we found ourselves at odds for longer than I’d like to admit.  My children seemed to be following suit.  I had to have surgery.  We were planning on moving out of state with the date not quite set and we found ourselves preparing by cleaning out sheds and storage rooms in preparation.  (like we had time for that!)  The idea of moving was both exciting and stressful due to the large to-do list that accompanied it.  And, to top it all off, my mom forgot my birthday this year in all of her own business.  It just didn’t seem to let up in some pockets of life.

In all of that I tried not to get side tracked, but it snuck up on me like sin does.  I found that I was struggling internally quite a bit.  I started to feel bad.  I felt depression starting to slip in and grip my days and I couldn’t seem to pray my way out of it.  Yet, I clung to God and tried to be still in my storm and let Him be sovereign.  I can’t say I was perfect, because I was far from it, but I clung.

God woke me up around midnight.  And as I prayed I learned that I was viewing all of these blessings of family, ministry, moving, and health in terms of the flesh and letting them define me rather than livings as a child of God.  During these waking moments of the night, God grabbed a hold of me and reminded me to look full on to Him and let Him define me.  I was not to look at anything else anywhere else in my life; I was to let it go.  I am His creation and I need to redirect my inner most being to Him and learn once more that I was defined by Him and only Him- emotions, feelings, physical, situations, and all.  Now, I was OK.  I was OK. 

When I woke up I would be able to deal with the stress because it was not my stress or what defined me or my day.  I was a child of God, whose burden is easy and yoke is light, and my Father is sovereign and is in control of it all.  In the middle of my storm I finally found peace.  Rather, I was given peace- a new blessing.

Absolutely nothing else changed around midnight; I woke up the following morning and it was all still there.  But, God changed me and He did it just like that.  I became renewed and was able to handle things without my emotions running me down.  On this morning the joy of the Lord was my strength.  I was more than a conqueror because He is more than a conqueror.  What changed was my disposition and thinking because now I was deeply and internally centered on God. 

You might be facing a season of trail today, too.  Let me encourage you to cling.  God will meet you where you are at because He loves you and has promised this to those who love Him. 

Joshua 23:8, “But you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day.”

Psalm 63:8, “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

Philippians 4:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”

John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

By Andrea Simmons

Joshua 23:8
“But you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day.”
Grit to get Through
My youngest daughter.  She is six, sweet, fun, and fun to be around.  She loves Jesus at her tender young age.  However, like most of us, she’s not perfect.  Annah puts the “ani” in animated.  If she feels something she feels it big and we all know it.  As she has grown she has learned to whine when she is upset.  I often have to remind her that what she’s whining over is a small thing and that she needs to choose a better attitude rather than a destitute disposition.  Of course, it sounds more like, “Annah, you need to choose joy.”  (I heard a friend say that to her child before and stole it because it was so good. ) Life is full of situations that demand us to choose our attitude.

It looks a little bit different for adults because often enough the stakes are higher and we usually do not openly whine like a child to everyone around us.

I’ve have been through my fair share of situations.  I thank God for those things He’s spared me from, but some of what I’ve been through we could apply the phrase ‘it will either make me or brake me’.  The other phrase is, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”    Well, I’ve been broken and made stronger, but I had a choice to make just like we all do.  To be honest, I won the war with the help of Christ, but in my flesh I lost many of the battles.

In hindsight, there is one aspect of getting through it all that has been speaking to me lately.   In the middle of the fire, in the crux of the problem, in the apex of the conflict we have to absolutely believe that we are OK.  

We have to trust God with ourselves.

God has promised He will never leave us and He never will. 

No matter what broadsides us, whether an external problem or an internal struggle, we can trust God has us.  You are OK.  YOU ARE OK.  You are OK.  So am I.  God really does have us!
God is with us, carries us, guides us, and loves us.  In the moments of despair cry out to Him.  He will hear us.   For certain, there will come moments in time that He gives us peace and calmness.  He will bless us and give rest.  These times may be tucked between moments of human  despair, but while we are pushing through we can anticipate God being with us when we don’t feel it and when especially when we do. 

Did you know that every time a person in the Bible cried out to God there is evidence of God coming to their rescue?  Not once did someone cry out to God and He did nothing.  Every time one of His children cry out to Him, He moves.

I remember once when I was going through extreme financial difficulty due to no fault of our own, the weather was changing like Kansas weather does.  We were leaving Spring and rushing right into Summer.  My precious four year old daughter had out grown all of her summer clothes from the year before.  Nothing fit.  Shorts were too short, shirts were showing skin, and flip-flops were worn, dirty, and her little toes pushed over the top. 

With no money, I could not buy her the things she needed for the new season. She was wearing long sleeves, turtlenecks, and long pants with eighty plus degree weather.  I cried.  I sobbed.  For a very long time I brought my sorrow to God.   I could not provide for my sweet little one. 

Would you believe that the very next day, when I went to the mailbox, there was a check in there for $100 from one of the Sunday school classes at my church?  Similar checks came in the mail for the next eighteen months.  Guess what I bought with that first hundred bucks?  Yep, I bought my sweet little girl some clothes.

Coincidence?  No.  I cried out to God.   Just like we read about God’s character in the Bible, His character is the same to us in our own daily life.  God heard, cared, and provided.  He sustained us.  Thank you, God!  In the middle of our own personal fire, God provided

God will sustain us so we can persevere.  Persevere is the biblical word.  The equivalent street word is grit.  You need to choose to have perseverance or to have grit in your circumstance.  It’s hard.  It’s painful.  It sometimes feels easier to give up.  But, be encouraged to stay the course because every season has its turn and its time will eventually pass.  Call on God and He will hear us and stay with us. He will sustain.  He’ll supply with just enough grit to get through.  We can do this because He can do this.

"For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you,” Deuteronomy 31:6b.
Mom's Stress
Do you ever feel like you have more work to do than energy or time to do it? Yet, we force ourselves to slow down because of the old saying, “A messy house means a happy family,” right? Or so we're told... We all know what happens if we do this for even one day. The glass cabinet empties, the laundry piles higher, toys cover the floor, cabinets gather crumbs, and floors acquire stains, and the linen cabinet runs dry.

Our beloved family may or may not start to notice, but either way it seems like no one is chomping at the bit to pitch in unless we generate their willingness to help out. Do you know what I mean? What follows are wondering thoughts of did we fail our children by not teaching them to take on some of these responsibilities and totally start to question our parenting. This whole vicious cycle is all because we took a day off of cleaning or anything else. We are always doing our best but sometimes we seem to be falling short somewhere.

This spells S-T-R-E-S-S in a way all moms know.

We try not to be a Martha (which many of us are) and to be a Mary, because we know it's right and we are all about doing things right! Let's take a look at what the good book says in Luke 10:41-42, "But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” One thing is necessary, and that one thing is Jesus.

Like Martha, we often set out to do the right and expected thing and then slip into a new and unwanted mindset of frustration from being over worked, which we can easily take out on our most beloved family. It's a sneaky switch that we must be careful of! There's nothing wrong with being responsible for our responsibilities, but we need a mindset of godliness in the midst of it all. Mary chose Him first, and we must follow her example, just like our Savior reminded Martha.

We make our own choices. We can say no to some things asked of us and keep life simpler so we do not get overwhelmed.
Let's take a look at our prayer life. 1 Peter 5:7 teaches us to cast all of our cares upon Him. When we do, leave them there, and be specific in doing that. Take on the day with a lightheartedness that can only come from finding ourselves in Christ. A.W. Tozer wrote, “In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety [stress].”

Let that be our new goal today, to leave our anxiety with the LORD, and live freely so praise to Him can flow from us. A wonderful benefit of this kind of living is that we will be displaying our best to and for our God and our family benefits. What a wonderful way to live a day!

Williams, P. (August, 31, 2011). Bible verses for stress: 20 helpful scriptures. Retrieved May 10, 2013 from http /

By Andrea Simmons

 Luke 10:41-42
"But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”