Continued… I categorized that first panic attack as a crisis related problem. I was moving across country with four little boys. It made sense. Once settled into my fabulous Arizona home I forgot all about it and continued on my merry way thinking I had the calm insides to match my calm externals. Of course I’m going to share one more humiliating story about how my fears turned to anxiety and I found myself once again reclining at a doctor’s office wondering what just happened to me. I hope before I go there that there’s more use in this sharing than me just baring my most embarrassing moments. I’m not shy about those, really I take them in stride matter of factly, but I do hope that if I share we can open conversations about what is fear doing in our lives. Is it in control? Or is God. That’s between you and God. Now, I’ll share how God got my attention once again.
I take the boys to the dermatologist once a year to get a mole scan. We began this the minute we moved to the desert of Arizona and have kept it up now six years later, since we are still southern sun chased dwellers. It was Jack’s first time going into his skivvies with this doctor, so I offered to have my moles checked at the same time so he wouldn’t be worried. I was there going through the motions just to soothe his nerves. That’s until the doctor exclaimed, “Whoa! There’s some cancer!”-while he was looking at my shoulder blade. I’ll spare you my dramatic descriptions of the following thirty seconds before I passed out there in front of my son. Yes I fainted. (it’s rather humorous that I was there to be strong for my child he was the one holding my hand when I awoke)12 Apparently when they used the amonia to bring me around I had some anxiety concerns with the word cancer tied to my name. It took me a half hour to be able to sit up and walk out of the office. He made me come back so he could slice it off and leave me with twelve ugly stitches and a clear bill of skin health. I still wear an unlovely pink scar. (it was basal cells, not melanoma)
Meanwhile I dragged my scrawny self to the psychologists office and told him to help me understand why I would pass out at the thought of skin cancer. I think visiting a psychologist is fun, not a defeat. Remember I was a psych major? I even think visiting a psychologist for checkups on the marriage is a really good preventative way to avoid problems escalating into divorce, not that we have, but I’ve recommended it and would take my own advice if necessary. Anyway, I talked a few times with this psychologist and I realized I’d stuffed my issues with fear into a small compartment. I’d never really worked them out and kicked them out. It was time to get busy with God. First I got humble and admitted I was fraught with fear. And then one layer at a time, one bible study and then another prayer time with many to follow it was peeled away.
Now I know the signs. It pops up now and then, but I’m not too proud to acknowledge it as a weakness for me. Instead I cling to what I believe, I remember the promises of God and I remember how he’s pulled me away from fears in the past and the new ones are not an obstacle to His power. In many ways it is a regular surrender. For example, a few weeks ago at the dinner table the boys were romantically discussing how they’d love to sign up for war if given the opportunity. I think I went pale. I excused myself and went upstairs and had some time alone with God. He reminded me they are boys and they are built to like war. I can trust God with my boys. It would have been really dramatic to pass out at the table though. Maybe that would be a good deterrent to their future discussions about it in front of me.
For now, I am afraid of God’s disappointment in me, his anger and his wrath. That’s the only thing to fear. Proverbs says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. To fear anything else is not only dishonorable to God, but an acknowledgement that He is not in authority with my life. When God rules in my life, then peace reigns. I like it that way. So this is how I can schlep my tender boys off to Africa for an adventure of our lives. I know who’s got all the details in the palm of His hand for our good. He has an individualized plan for every person involved in this adventure and I have nothing to fear but not being in his will. He made that crystal clear last November when we began the adoption process. I know it when I memorize the photo of our Kira. I know and I believe he’s in control. It’s reconciled.