Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash
Today, however I had a flashback that I had to share with someone else!
I flipped through my collection of songs that I keep in a large black binder. I was drawn to sing the beautiful lyrics by Scott Davis and Scott Krippayne in the song "What Faith Can Do." As I began the familiar melody and the lyrics filled the air, I was immediately encouraged.
"Everybody falls sometimes | Gotta find the strength to rise | From the ashes and make a new beginning | Anyone can feel the ache | You think it's more than you can take | But you're stronger - stronger than you know | Don't you give up now | The sun will soon be shining | You gotta face the clouds to find the silver lining. || I've seen dreams that move the mountains | Hope that doesn't ever end | Even when the sky is falling | I've seen miracles just happen | Silent prayer get answered | Broken hearts become brand new | That's what faith can do."
As I headed into the second verse, I almost stopped singing, due to a lump that was forming in my throat. I was taken back to about seven years ago. I was playing and singing this song for the special music at church, the same church that I led worship for this past Sunday. It had taken everything within me to get up on that stage that day seven years ago and sing the following verse:
"It doesn't matter what you've heard | Impossible is not a word | It's just a reason for someone not to try | Everybody's scared to death | When they decide to take that step out on the water | but it'll be all right | Life is so much more | Than what your eyes are seeing | You will find your way if you keep believing."
At that time, I was in the middle of one of the biggest fights of my life, and hardly anyone knew it. The demons of anxiety and depression had such a choke-hold on me that I felt like I could hardly breathe. I don't know why I even said yes to getting up on that stage, except for the fact that I had parents who instilled a beautiful sense of service within me.
At that moment, in that sanctuary those years ago, I sang that verse with wish full thinking. I wanted to believe that I could take that step out on the water and know that everything would be all right. But you see, my reality told me that I would hardly make it through a grocery store line without a panic attack. That driving down the road without the pangs of fear in the pit of my stomach was a rarity. That peaceful sleep was elusive. That my life was meant to be one anxious moment followed by another by another by another.
Panic, agoraphobia and the depression that followed were the norm...so how could God allow the lyrics of this song to ever become my reality?
I sang it anyway. With a trembling voice, and hands that shook...I sang with passion. Because I wanted to do what the Bridge said:
"Overcome the odds | When you don't have a chance | (That's what faith can do) | When the world says you can't | It'll tell you that you can!"
Today when I belted out that bridge with no one listening except God (and my four kids), I had such joy well up within me! Because I have overcome!
Do I have rough days? Yes! Do I have moments of anxiety? Yes! But does it rule my life anymore? NO!
Just like it says in Psalm 18:6 "In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears."
That's what happened! I cried out to God, and He heard me. My journey to freedom has taken a total of eleven years, but that fact doesn't negate the fact that I am a flat. out. miracle.
Every time I lead worship at my church, I am reminded of this miracle. Few know about the times I felt like I would die on that stage. In the past, when I played the piano or sang a song I was filled with the most excruciating anxiety you could ever imagine. Some days I saw stars because I was so close to blacking out. Most of the time my body wouldn't stop trembling. My breath came in gasps.
I know what you might be thinking... "What changed?"
I allowed God to change me.
A little over a year ago I walked into my first counseling appointment and let all the words fall out. And I kept going back for a whole year. I suffered the pain that comes from tackling the monster of anxiety. It took a complete re-framing of my mind!
I let go of my need for perfection. I trusted Jesus as my Savior in the way I was meant to all my life. I leaned into His grace and just fell back in His arms.
I didn't need to perform anymore. I didn't need to feel responsible when things didn't go as planned.
It was me and my Savior. It was Jesus. It was all Jesus.
That's what faith can do.
Faith in a Savior who is holding this whole world in His hands.
Faith in the God, most High who is above every single idol/god/imagination in this world.
Faith in the Holy Spirit, who is still working today...comforting hears, convicting souls and pouring Himself out on those who ask.
This faith helps me on the days that I feel that familiar ache of anxiety try to creep in. It gives me the strength to look that problem square in the eye and say, "Not today." It leads me to the living Word of God in which I find all the answers I could ever need.
I'm not perfect, because I'm not home yet. But the perfect Christ is covering me -- sustaining me -- renewing me day by day.
If you find yourself in a stronghold of fear, anxiety or depression today, I want you to know I'm praying for you. Right now. As I type these words, I am asking the God of all hope to fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. I'm praying that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)
Overcome the odds
When you don't have a chance
(That's what faith can do)
When the world says you can't
It'll tell you that you can