The waves of grief are strange and unpredictable. It's like, one day you're doing great and feeling like you're somewhat healed, and then one night, you wake up in a puddle of tears because you dreamt of your lost loved one. That's what happened to me this morning. I was doing okay. I thought I was "fine." It was 2am when I gasped for air, trying to hold onto mom, half sleeping and half awake. Was it a visit? Was it just a dream? Was it my subconscious telling me I need to purge more in order to heal? I don't know. All I know is, I woke up incredibly sad. My heart was racing a mile a minute. I took a deep breath and praised God. "Get behind me Satan---not today, not today." Even though it was somewhat of a late start to the day, I got up, showered up and showed up. The devil wants us to live small lives---lives full of fear and dread. The power behind pushing through that heaviness, the dread that nearly consumes you is not easy. But if you're getting help by praying to God every single day, I promise you---it does get better and you will do things out of your comfort zone. I am not in my comfort zone just yet. I cannot tell you how hard it was to leave my home---the home my wife and I had dreams about renovating. It was the home we both took care of my parents in. It was the home that we made ours. Of course there were other factors that made me want to leave as well. Those things weighed out more, like the horrific winters being stuck up on a mountain with no electric for days at a time or the expenses of keeping up with an old house that needed a lot of TLC. New roofing, new pipes (that was costly) and keeping up with the landscaping. It was worth it because it was just an amazing, beautiful place. It was exciting to see the place look so nice, until winter came.
Instead of fighting for the house, I jumped out of my comfort zone and into a new townhouse. It wasn't like I moved from New York straight into Texas---that's one hell of an adjustment. My new life took some getting use to. A change like that: deaths in the family and a major move are all apart of what they call "major life changes." I wasn't really surprised when I started getting panic attacks for the first few weeks. I learned a few things from these panic attacks, that sometimes had me worrying that it was my heart.
You're Not Going to Die
When you realize what it is, anxiety (the devil's attacks) will start leaving you alone. I finally got fed up with my rapid heart rate one morning. It was 4am, and my heart was out of control. Instead of checking my pulse---I started breathing in and out, and with each exhale, I muttered, "Praise Jesus." I did that five times, and all of the sudden, my heart calmed down and I fell asleep in a second. Later on, I woke up calm, hopeful, and full of excitement that it really worked. And then it happened again. I started breathing in and out, with the exhalation of "Praise Jesus." Gone. Poof. Just like that. There's power in His name. When you praise Him in the storms, in the midst of chaos, you are instilling faith. You're telling God that you trust Him to take care of you. Resist the devil and he will flee. You will not die from a panic attack. And if you do die----what's the worst thing that can happen if you're a believer? You go straight to God. I'm igniting my faith in order to help with the anxious feelings of this new change. So when you feel anxious and your heart is fluttering, always remember that you are not going to die. That's number one. Number two is---God has your back in case you do. But usually, when we think something is going to happen, it never does. Just breathe in and out slowly with the exhalation of praising Him. It works.
Therapy Is Good, But It's Not Enough
Talk therapy is an excellent way to get an outsider's help, instead of complaining to your friends and family. I want to be a blessing, not a burden, so I have a wonderful therapist who helps me with coping mechanisms and listens to me---really listens to me where she can even remind me of something I forgot about. It's hard to find a good therapist. Trust me on that one. I went through dozens before I found someone who really heard me. As helpful as therapy is, it can be quite expensive. Most insurances don't cover mental health for some reason. Many centers will have a sliding scale system, going by your income. But it's always near $100 or more. I really needed the help, so I opted for once a week, but it was more than my car payment. Moving into our new home became a bit of a financial strain for now, until we catch up again. I need the therapy, but I can't seem to scrounge up enough pennies to make that happen right now.
What helps me the most is giving it all to God. Telling God all of my issues and struggles. Most of all, thanking God for everything He has provided. Trusting God, leaning on God and making God number one in my life---all of these things really work. Every single coping mechanism I used didn't work long enough. But if I used the breathing technique with praising God at the same time---it took the anxiety away almost immediately and for a longer period of time. There is something so powerful about casting your cares to God and trusting Him to help you in times of trouble. And sometimes, it feels as though God isn't there. But the teacher is usually quiet during a test. And yes, God does test our faith to see where we're at. Once He knows how much you trust Him, just call out His name and miraculous things will start to happen in your life. I know that some of my friends tell me, "What's with this God stuff you write about all the time?" It's about living a quality life while I wait for God to take me back to my real home. You can have heaven on earth if you have enough faith. Even when you're going through the most stressful time, call on His name and watch how the situation changes.
But I Don't Feel Anything When I Pray - Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers?
|Pray without ceasing! |
Faith is like a muscle. You have to keep exercising it in order for it to become stronger. And if your faith is strong enough and you are not getting your prayers answered, sometimes there's a blessing in unanswered prayers. Have you ever prayed for something in the past and have it turn out to be a really bad situation? I have. I wish that prayer wasn't answered. Sometimes, God may be protecting you from something He can see down the road. God sees the bigger picture, while we only see a small scope of things. Trust it when God doesn't answer. I remember my prayers weren't being answered last year, and God kept saying in different ways, "Just endure a little while longer." I wrote it down in my "prayer and answer book." He kept telling me to wait. I was praying for a place to live since we needed to get out of the home we were in. So I waited, and waited, and He gave me more than I even expected. If I would've taken things into my own hands and didn't wait on God, I would've been living in a weird efficiency apartment that was way too expensive. This is 100% true---I will never forget that. I almost settled into a home that would've caused so much grief. And now, I'm in a home that I fell in love with the moment I walked into it. That was God working in my life. Sometimes God says, "Yes," sometimes He says, "No, that's not good for you, and sometimes He says, "Just wait a little while longer."
When you feel that things are just too overwhelming and everything is going to crap---just say, "Get behind me, Satan! Not today, not today!"
"So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." ---James 4:7
Whether you know this or not, there is a spiritual war going on, and you're apart of it. It's all up to you how you want to handle it. Do you want God on your side, or do you want the devil to keep on winning? God has already overcome the world, so have some faith! Get outta' your boat and walk on water. Push through the anxiety, the sadness, the temptation to have a huge pity party---get excited about what God has in store for you.
"Each time he said, 'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me." ---2 Corinthians 12:9
When you are weak, He is strong. It doesn't mean that "you" are weak, but the power of God is stronger than what we are capable of handling.
For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
for some of her famous recipes!