Wiregrass Hope Group's Christian counselors have written these posts on anxiety based on their own experiences and the book Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. Our hope is for you to live free from anxiety.
When I began this adventure with Jesus, I don’t remember Him promising me everything would be a rose garden, although rose gardens are not without their thorns. Nor do I remember Him promising me a life full of happy times. But I do remember His promise to be with me. David reminds us in Psalm 23:4 (ASV), “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
“Though I walk” is an interesting expression. I would imagine we all have had many “Though I walk” experiences. Some “Though I walk” experiences are more difficult than others. I believe, my “Though I walk” experiences have been God’s way of teaching me to run in such a way that I may get the prize God has for me (1 Corinthians 9:24). My “Though I walk” experiences have taught me that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character; and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4). My “Though I walk” experiences have developed a deeper intimacy with my Father. My “Though I walk” experiences have given me a thirst for holiness and godly character. My “Though I walk” experiences have taught me not to ask, “Why me? But instead to wonder, “Why not me?”
Now please know I have not arrived but am arriving. Our adventure is a process. Our adventure is a love story continually being written. Our adventure is a training ground for our heavenly home. This week I felt like God was leading me to go to an event where I was not sure if I would be welcome. As I was preparing to have a “Though I walk” experience, I bounced what I felt I was hearing from God off one of my sisters. As we processed how God could use this experience, I recalled God works all things for our good, and His glory. Not just the good things that happen but ALL things. My deep desire in this situation was that He be glorified. I decided to trust and obey Christ and go where I was not sure others wanted me to be. He turned my eyes off of myself to what He might want to do through me in the situation. It turned out to be such a sweet time with really good conversation and hugs. God gave me great peace!
In Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited she discusses three core questions: Is God good? Is God good to me? And do I trust God to be God? I believe our personal answer to these questions will help us know exactly what we believe about the “Though I walk” experiences in our adventure. Oftentimes when we have these difficult experiences we want to ask, “Why me?”
Two scriptures I remind myself of often when I want to ask “Why?” are Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV), “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” and Proverbs 23:4-5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight.
Even when we don’t understand what God is up to, we have to trust Him. Y’all, we’ve got to stop trying to use reason to figure everything out and trust Him with ALL things in our lives. We’ve got to stop trying to make God fit our plans and be willing to fit into His plans. And to trust God not just for us, but for our husbands, children, friends, and family. Sorry, but as women we tend to try to figure things out and fix things, but what God wants is for us to trust Him. Why is it that we have more faith in the chair we are sitting in to hold us than in a God who loves us so much that He created this universe and us? A God who loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us. A God who loves us so much that we can be confident in this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Habakkuk in the Old Testament saw great suffering and wrote these words, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.”
Linda Dillow in Calm My Anxious Heart writes, “What an incredible statement of trust in God! Though Habakkuk be brought to utter destitution, yet he will rejoice. Though everything was taken away - including the crops and the cattle that provided him with food and drink - he will trust in the Lord, his strength. His words literally mean, “I will jump for joy in the Lord. I will spin around for delight in God.” Joy at its best, with circumstances at their worst. What then was Habakkuk’s process as he moved from his sob of doubt to this song of trust? He told his honest doubts to God. He resolved to wait on God. He chose to trust God in the dark.”
Ladies, we can do this too! "Learning to lean, learning to lean, I’m learning to lean on Jesus…Finding more power than I’ve ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus." Lean dear sister, lean! Our Father has BIG, BIG shoulders!
Prayer: Dear Father, help me release to you the situations in my life that create anxiety for me. Help me trust You with all things in my life.
Further study: Read Chapter 12 of Calm My Anxious Heart.
Small Group Discussion: Questions 2, 3, and 4 from Week 12 in the back of Calm My Anxious Heart.
Comment: Name one ongoing challenge facing you right now. How does this challenge present an opportunity for you to grow? What promise from the Scriptures listed above give you practical hope for tackling what you are facing?
Please share your answer either in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen.
Ruthi Penuel is a native of Dothan, Alabama and a graduate from Dothan High School. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Counseling/Psychology from Troy University of Dothan. Ruthi has practiced counseling for 12 years with various organizations in Dothan. She is married to Rex Penuel who now in his second career, works as a Registered Nurse at the Behavioral Unit at Southeast Medical Center. Ruthi and Rex have a blended family of 7 children and 12 grandchildren.
Undivided Women partnered with Wiregrass Hope Group to help you live free from anxiety. Truly, we hope this study has been helpful to you. Our desire was to expose you to this great book on anxiety and also share with you about Wiregrass Hope Group.
At Wiregrass Hope Group, we are committed to the task of building strong families, protecting the unborn, and sharing the transformational message of Jesus Christ to needy young men and women in our community. We offer hope, healing, and practical help to those who come through our doors every day. Our services are provided through our pregnancy center's nine-session educational program and ultrasounds, our fatherhood program, our Bible studies, our Christian counseling, and our character education program to the schools. All of our services are FREE to our clients because of our partnership with churches, individual donors, and businesses.
What might be a next step for you:
- Call Wiregrass Hope Group if you feel like you need counseling or recommend us to a friend. (334-793-5433)
- Lead someone else through the book, Calm My Anxious Heart. Share this book in your own churches and your own small groups.
- Volunteer to mentor pregnant women at Wiregrass Hope Group. Call Amy Edge at 334-793-5433.
- Donate baby supplies or a new copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible to the center. You can drop off anytime we are open!
- Join a Sacred Marriage small group being led by our counselor, Jeremiah Dalton, starting October 6th at 6:00 pm. Jeremiah Dalton also does marriage counseling at Wiregrass Hope Group. Call 334-793-5433 for more information.