The definition of overwhelmed is: “to bury or drown beneath a huge mass”.
Have you ever felt that way? Like there was a weight on your chest, that no matter how hard you tried it was like the lungs in your chest no longer had room to expand?
Unfortunately, I know that feeling all too well.
In early 2016 we lost Jeff’s mom. We then became parents in April of that year, after my daughter was born I began to struggle with something called “postpartum anxiety”, something I didn’t even know existed beforehand. Then after things kind of began to level out we lost Jeff’s dad suddenly. At that point it was like my mind couldn’t handle things the way it was supposed to anymore. That’s when the panic attacks started. Did you know that an anxiety attack can happen even when your mind doesn’t register that you’re overwhelmed? It’s like all this stress builds up and you just keep pushing it down and pushing it down until eventually, it just spills over into chaos.
All of those things combined set me up for some tough battles that would soon follow.
I have vivid memories of waking up in the middle of the night feeling as though I couldn’t take a deep breath, chest tight, hands feeling tingly and strange, dizzy, unable to focus, feeling hot and cold all at the same time. I remember feeling panicked and fearful, all the while knowing I was being irrational but having no way to convince my mind of it.
I was desperate for peace!
Desperate for rest!
I was also dealing with these things while reading my bible, coming to church, serving in church, listening to worship music, talking to God through prayer, confiding in friends and fellow Jesus followers.
I was doing all the things I knew how to do but I was missing something important. I was asking God to take away the anxiety. I was focused on getting RID of it, instead of asking God to help me DEAL with it.
Looking back on that time in my life I now know that God was teaching me to lean on Him even though I was going through something hard. I see now He was still working, He was still present, He was still moving. He was teaching me to cope without removing the situation.
I also think He was preparing me for 2020. Not only was there a worldwide pandemic but we had a new baby who by the time he was 5 weeks old had 3 hospital stays, 2 ambulance rides and a surgery. I honestly believe God was preparing me to lean on Him in that time as well.
Thankfully, those desperate nights don’t come as often, my baby boy is happy and healthy and though we miss Jeff’s parents we’re able to celebrate their new home and new bodies!
Since the beginning of this journey I’ve really learned to allow myself to trust God and His timing, purpose and plan, because I have seen first hand that He will sustain me THROUGH it all!
I’ve learned that I don’t have to be overwhelmed because HE bears the weight for me. His yolk is easy and His burden is light! Even though the situations may not be fully “gone” I can still lean, pray and worship knowing that the one who keeps my head above water is always there and He’s always worthy to be praised!
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Pray with me,
Jesus, thank You for bearing our struggles. Thank you for allowing us to know Your truth, that You will never leave us or forsake us! God, help us to lean on You when things get hard, when we feel overwhelmed and burdened by the weight of it all! Help us to see that You took that weight and nailed it to the cross! Jesus we love You, In Your name we pray!