When everywhere else in the world saw temps above 90 degrees, oddly enough on this day in the cozy community of Stillwater Minnesota the breeze blew in a temperate 72 perfection. It was just what was needed to relieve this aching soul.
A serene logging town on the St. Croix River where it borders the state of Wisconsin, Stillwater is said to be the birthplace of Minnesota. On this day it would be the place of my rebirth.
Sitting on an old wooden bench by the river with my feet nestled in the lush green grass, any anxiety I felt from the night before melted away in the warmth of the Stillwater sun. The symbolism of the moment was uncanny. A reminder of a faithful God.
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. (Psalm 23). I thought to myself, ahhh yeah, He’s good.
The day before, David and I strolled around the Mall of America where my eyes and brain were met with sensory overload. Roller coasters and moving parts hung everywhere overhead. We were careful not to walk underneath one for fear someone would lose their lunch and we’d find it.
We traveled to the Minneapolis area for a luncheon with Faith Radio and Bethany House Publishing, part of my prize for winning the 4th Annual Faith Radio Writing Contest. After the luncheon we went to the mall.
But watching the rides felt a tad too much like my reality of late. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions of my own and I couldn’t get off. Up and down, up and down…climbing higher, higher… then a sudden drop.
Good things. Upsetting things, Exciting things. Depressing things.
I won a writing contest—Yay! High.
Dismantling my mom’s condo—distressing. Drop.
My son passes a test for his long-awaited dream— Woohoo! High.
We find out the “C” word crept back into our lives and my husband needed surgery—shock. Sudden drop.
After the luncheon, mentally and physically exhausted from the traveling and preparation, and yes, feeling apprehensive for all the what next coming up, my roller coaster car hit bottom, crashed and burned.
Back at the hotel, as night swallowed up the day, darkness swallowed my soul. I haven’t found myself in such a place in a long time but I remember the feeling all too well—the feeling of being thrown into a dark abyss, anxiety weighing me down, my mind groping for a way out. I wanted to nix this feeling before it took root.
Maybe you’ve been there.
I felt helpless. But not without hope.
I called out to the Lord, “Dear God, help me, I’m scared. I don’t want to go to this place again. How do I get out?”
The only answer was the echo of my own voice bouncing off the inside of my head.
I called out again.
This time a verse flashed through my mind.
“Set your mind on things above not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2.
It was the proverbial rope I needed, dropping down into my pit.
I was reminded to set my eyes on things above where the ground is secure and the pastures are green.
Look up Christy. Be thankful.
I have to admit at first it was hard—being thankful. When you’re in this place, thankful is not where your mind goes. I forced words into thankful sentences.
Again I was reminded to set my sights on things above.
And the words came: The Lord is my shepherd; look up He provides all I need. He creates green pastures where I can rest my head: He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul…
With a good nights sleep, and the morning sun shining through the window of our hotel room, the whole world looked brighter. After breakfast we jumped in our rental to explore the area and ended up in Stillwater.
And when I made the connection while soaking up the peaceful setting, I had to chuckle that God brought us here, to this place of Stillwater.
And I’m quite sure I felt Him smile.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
According to statistics from the CDC, 9% of Americans suffer from some kind of depression, 3.4% suffer from major depression. Another 18% have an anxiety disorder. Some can be contributed to heredity, and some of these illnesses are brain chemical disorders triggered by the stresses of life. If you fall into one of these categories there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s an illness and there is help. I personally have lived with an anxiety disorder most of my life. I have discovered thankfulness and positive thinking helpful in combating anxious feelings. However, I totally understand and agree there are occasions where prescription medications are necessary to get over the hump and out to the pit. We have to remember it is God who equipped men and women with the gifts to develop such medications for our good.
Looking forward, pressing on, seeing God.