Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Stress is Threatening to Consume You

I lay my cheek against the cool countertop and breathe, breathe, breathe. Heart-whispered prayers that are nearly choked out, the ache of stress in my chest.

Husband stills and asks concerned " are you okay, dear?..."

My throat feels closed shut and I can't squeak out an answer. I breathe short, simple prayers in these constricted moments, warm vapor vanishing over cool stone.

I pray and practice, my body testifying to the spirit's strain and stretching, this hard training of taking thoughts captive to Christ so I remain free.

And I recognize this strain and pain and I pray that it would not be a sin against Him, He who I trust with my very life. And I remember His words to not worry, and that He will provide, and does this stress mean I don't really believe Him, does this mean I have little faith?

I struggle with this as much as the decisions to be made and the days to be lived.

And He is strong beyond comprehension but His hands are so gentle as they cup my face in loving encouragement, that I am reminded that stress itself is not necessarily a sin. These Hands that hold all the world together once wiped away sweat-blood dripping down His own face, a physical reaction to what the Spirit knew was coming. Physical, emotional, spiritual agony that my deepest ache cannot even imagine. And He even knew the happy ending to the story.

These trials, too, are imminent. They are unfolding and on their way to greet me, some already close enough to kiss me.

I have prayed and I know this cup will not pass, and I am a willing party to His beautiful plan of redemption. And, oh, what grace that I should ever be allowed to have any part in His work.

But moments come when I can barely breathe.

Still, all my moments are gladly His. I inhale and exhale ragged and worn still wearing this peace armor because His grace is sufficient for me, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Rapha.

And truly that is all they are, moments, only moments of His story.

I have nothing but these moments to try to bring Him glory, and who knows how many more I shall have?

I steel against myself and refuse to practice the habit of taking hard moments for granted, and isn't that what I do when I view them as just something to make it through?

I don't want to miss this point of all this, I don't want to struggle and miss the lesson, the gift.

And I am learning, slowing, that if I take this moment without gratitude, am I not forgetting the awesome wonders He worked such few moments ago?

"Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them."
~Deuteronomy 4:6

Through so many situations, in so many ways, He reminds me again to remember. Remember. Remember and bear witness to what I've seen, to Who I know, to not let these things slip from my aching, stubborn, forgetful heart as long as I live.

So in lifestyle and words I teach what He has done, My Jesus Story Box full of reminders.

I think long of the first line of Husband's unexpected proposal, a Jesus-story I will share soon, and it sums up my reason for breathing, for gratitude, for remembering, even when it hurts.

"There is One God, and He is Almighty..."

Practicing the Habit of Remembering...


jv said...

This box is a wonderful idea, not only for remembering what God has done for you, but for precious memories your little ones can glean from you. They can piece you together through your stories.

Elise said...

I agree! : )

That was my whole reasoning behind starting the box! Selah loves it, and I definitely need the practice in remembering specific things that happened only through the power of God.

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