Wednesday, January 4, 2012

sift my soul



While just starting this post, I'm already wondering how long it will take me to actually hit the publish post button. I'm wondering if I have the guts to go through with being this honest and real. I'm doubting that I can even digest this enough to make sense in type. 

I'll try anyways, because God placed this heavily on my heart and disobeying Him doesn't really work out for people most of the time. This is going to be long, so you've been warned. 

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This weekend, Chase and I took a couple of college students to the Resurgence College Conference in Seattle. In attending this conference, I was NOT aware of how the Lord would convict me and call me into a better life living in the peace of the Gospel. 

In one of the sessions, Bill Clem, a pastor at Mars Hill, challenged us to pray about what goes//what stays//what needs to be added, so that spiritually, I can live the life God intends for me. The good life. The abundant life. The holy life. 

So let's back up a bit.


About a year ago ((January 2011)), Chase and I moved to Boulder to help plant a church, this church. About that same time, I figured it would be wise to pursue my blog & shop full time. This meant handmade conferences, craft shows & markets, more time on the computer writing blog posts, pretty much studying fabrics, making sure the designs in my head weren't already being sold ((what a novel idea! but i digress)), social networking, etc.  

Then teaching a sewing class was added. 

Then a job at Anthropologie was added. 

I had friendships that needed to be nurtured that I didn't have time for and wasn't willing to make time for ((awesome, huh? no.)) Those friends weren't willing to give up, which I love and appreciate now, but at the time it just added stress to my life that I was bitter about. I felt they were selfish and didn't want what was best for me, so it just resulted in turmoil and me knowing I was the selfish one and that I was letting them down. That crushed me.

I also had a husband ((and still do, duh. but I'm speaking in past tense so let's stick with it)). A husband that needed me to make meals for him, go to the grocery store, do the laundry ((which I usually didn't do)), clean the house. I was working at home, after all, it only made sense and was also biblical for me to be his helper.  He was a full time student. A full time pastor. A full time friend. A full time husband. He needed help and I accepted that role when I said, "I do.

Before the weeks even started, it seemed every single possible time slot was already filled. I felt out of control & hopeless.

You can also imagine that with the lack of time on my hands, I stopped pursuing the Lord. I stopped reading the Bible. I didn't feel Him. I didn't hear Him. I didn't think I needed Him. I was far from near to Him. I went to church on Sundays because, well, we were planting a church and my husband was the executive pastor. Can you imagine what people would think if I didn't show up with a smile on my face ready to worship and serve? If I didn't volunteer to joyfully serve in the nursery ((that only seemed to push a larger wedge in between me and the other wives because I didn't have a baby to talk about diaper rash and sleeping patterns))? If I didn't get out my Bible and nod to the sermon? If I didn't sing my harmonies when serving with the worship band? 

Oh, the facade. The ugly, hardened, mask of a faker. 

I was letting myself down. I was letting my community down. I was letting down my Heavenly Father who only wanted me to be honest with myself and with Him.

cue panic attacks.

They were every so often throughout the summer. I'd have them alone, that I never talked about or told anyone about. I'd have them in front of Chase when we'd argue about something petty like laundry or something. They were getting out of control, but I felt if no one knew about the ones I was having in my studio while Chase was working, then I would be able to cover it up and deal with it on my own. If there's anything God has taught me over and over, it's that I suck at doing things on my own. Even though I think I'm a bad ass at it. 

Then I just sucked it up. When I felt one (panic attack) coming on I would simply distract myself. Go for a run, turn on some oldies and sew something, bake, whatever it took. This worked for a few months until just recently. Stress from spending the holidays not with family, stress from  work, stress from getting five blog posts a week published, stress from money, stress from having too much on my plate, stress from seeing my facade fade. Stress that I was putting on myself. This stress just overpowered my body. 

I'd feel my face tingle, my chest start to tighten, my hands start to shake, dizziness, my heart pounding, tears flowing, breath just NOT able to be caught. 

It's terrifying to say the least and I hate it more than anything.

I'm thankful for a husband that will sit with me, hold me, pray for me during these panic attacks. I'm thankful for a husband that will call me out & tell me that I'm living in fear. Living in stress. Living in a state of panic that is NOT okay. But more than anything, I'm thankful for a God who will slowly call me to himself telling me to lay it all down and draw near. 


---

Something clicked this weekend as I prayed for what needs to go in my life. I *HAVE* to let go of the fear & anxiety that cripples me. I have to fight it, rather than being passive and a victim of panic. I have to flee from stress. I need to trade fear, stress, and anxiety for peace, prayer, and time in the Word. 

I still don't know why God has us go through seasons where we don't feel Him. I guess it makes us appreciate the times that we feel the Holy Spirit through worship, through healing, through living in community. I'm not saying I'll never have another panic attack. I just know that I'm taking a step in letting God fix this. Because I'm letting go of control. I'm letting go of the facades. I'm letting go of fear.

When we lived in overseas, we had to sift the flour ((sometimes up to 3 times)) to get all these disgusting worms out of it. It was a gross process, but the end result was fine, pure, and white flour. All I know that even though it hurts like hell, I pray the Lord continues to sift my soul of the things that poison it. For me, that's pride, materialism, selfishness, jealousy, idolatry, and bitterness - just to name a few. 

If I have to struggle for the rest of my life as the Lord pries these things out of me, I can rest in the fact that it's been paid for. The debt is paid. The slate is clean. and THAT's the truth & gospel I need to cling to daily. 


Come to me, all who are burdened and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
((matthew 11:28))

love.


//edit//


thank you for all your kind words & prayers ((except for you, anonymous)). many of you have left wonderful scripture and i wanted to list that here for others of you to reference. it appears to be many of us in this boat! my heart is heavy for all of you. praying for peace.


Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."



Exodus 14:14
The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.  ((LOVE THIS!))


John 4:18 
"...but perfect love drives out fear."


Zephaniah 3:17
"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." 


John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." 


Matthew 5:3
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."





47 comments:

  1. amazing and true. thank you for sharing this. there is so much day-to-day pressure that we can get tangled up in, but God remains steadfast and faithful. how wonderful it is to have Him.

    I, too, need to whittle away some of the unnecceseary things in my life. It is awesome that it has all come into focus. What I need is a divine intervention on direction and focus!

    Thanks again for sharing.

    x, Cassie

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  2. Deuteronomy 31:6
    "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

    Thank you for this post. And thank you for being brave enough to press the publish button.

    I have had a few (bad) attacks in the last 3 weeks. And am just about getting back on track now. Only because I have decided to "trade fear, stress, and anxiety for peace, prayer, and time with God"

    Hope you don't mind but I used those very same words to end one of my posts...

    Just wanted to say thank you for this post, and stay strong...!

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  3. Thank you for posting this and being so honest about your struggles. I know it's hard to admit it out loud, but it definitely helps to get it out.
    I, too, have struggled this year with allowing the busyness of life and the things that I think are important get in the way of what's really important. Thanks again for sharing your heart.
    xoxo

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  4. Hi kim-
    this broke my heart because I know exactly what you mean.
    We put too much on ourselves.
    On our plates.
    We do it with a smile not to let anyone down. But mostly not to let oursleves down too.
    Last year I started to have the same attacks. I'd just plain panic. I would just think all the time I CAN NOT DO IT ALL. AND ALL WELL. In those moments I would think I am not a good enough mom, I am not a good enough wife. I am a bad friend.
    I still have a lot on my plate but less and they stopped.
    But also I think we girls have to step back and realize we are just human. And no body is perfect.

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  5. That verse from Matthew was given to me about two months ish ago. We took on our friend's son while she works through some issues and it's got to the point that Social Service (CPS) have stepped into the situation and the son might be made a looked after child.

    Me and my hubby are 25 and 26 our friend's son is 12. There isn't much of an age gap.

    I was fretting about it all and what people would think if we said no we can't look after him. Well did God come a-knocking! I went to Connect Group and was in a state and had a massive cry I was some where near the end of my rope. Well two of my friends both reached for their bibles and read this verse. Another two friends both told me "Don't worry about what people think - God is in the situation just trust in him"

    It's a scary thought to think what I'd be like now if I'd said no to God's plans - it also scares me where my friend's son would be today.

    As I write this comment his social workers are meeting to discuss whether he should be taken into care officially rather than just as a private agreement (some difference in the law etc).

    God is good and he's so great! Rest in him and he'll give you the peace that you need lovely!

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  6. the Lord will fight for you; you need only be still. exodus 14:14

    one of my favorite verses. thanks for telling us your story and challenging those around you. thanks for challenging me!

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  7. Awesome post girl! I wonder just how many are in that same boat! I feel the same way a lot of time! I feel like I get caught up in all these blogs and people I don't know, and I don't invest time in the people around me that DO matter. So, that's my struggle right now. I do enjoy blogs, and the inspiration they bring (some of them...like yours) but not at the price of friendship. And time with Jesus! Good for you for listening to what He's telling you. YOu will never regret that!

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  8. Kim, I love the beautiful way you write down your feelings. You are such an inspiration and I always feel better when I visit your blog. I love the way you step back and access the situation and change things to make you closer to Him.
    ((Also I love your comparison to your soul and the sifting of the flour. Beautiful.)) Also, I love this quote! I think I may have to write it down and tack it somewhere where I can see it daily.
    Have a lovely day friend!!
    xoxo

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  9. I love your honesty and openness Kim. I am hugging you and praying for peace for your anxiety!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this. I've been suffering from fear and anxiety as well. I've grown up with terrible social anxiety and still suffer from anxiety often. Why? I don't know. I should have full trust in the Lord. He has never let me down. But I don't always trust Him like I should. The last few nights I've been tossing and turning in fear when I hear a creak in our house. Fearing that someone will break in and hurt us or our dog in someway. It's not okay!

    I haven't been spending daily time in the word and I can just tell when I haven't been consistent. The weight of the world feels heavier and heavier. My husband and I get very tense and fight more. It's awful!

    Anyway. All that to say that I may understand just a little bit.

    Thank you for being honest and sharing your heart. I love this and love how genuine your heart for the Lord is. It's scary to be this honest, but this is when you truly touch people. God is going to use you through this blog, He's doing that already!

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  11. Amen! You write beautifully friend. Thank you for sharing your soul and pointing others to the Lord. As one who struggles daily with fear and anxiety I need to remember that I am not alone and that I need to continually give my fears to the Lord- He promises peace.
    "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27

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  12. Beautifully said, Kim. I can relate all too well and I hate to admit it. I fill my life with too many things, let friends down and put too much pressure on my marriage and myself. It's just not healthy and not what God wants for his daughters. Thanks for your openness with struggles, not just now, but throughout your journey. I appreciate the analogy of the sifting...though I relate more to a crucible lately, eek! Hugs!

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  13. Kim! It's been forever, but I came across your blog/post and I just wanted you to know I was deeply encouraged. I too have experienced the despair that comes when we try to go it alone, if only for a minute. I love when God says "perfect love drives out fear," and I think it's something I'll only continue to learn the rest of my life. The rest that comes from Love himself. Thanks for posting--I know David really enjoyed seeing Chase a couple weeks ago.

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  14. you are precious, inspiring, and comforting beyond your awareness. i can't tell you how much i sincerely appreciate your blog! (true on a regular basis) i have so many more words to share but the only ones that seem to fit are THANK. YOU.
    love, april

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  15. Panic attacks are a mental illness that are nothing to be ashamed of. Odds are the a few members of your family who suffer as well. It is a chemical imbalance which needs to be dealt with. Eventually, Jesus may not do the job for you... think about getting a Psychiatrist.

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  16. thank you for posting this. i too have struggled with anxiety this past year (a weird breathing habit that will kick in and i can't get a deep breath). trying to do everything and be everything is the worst. it screams pride and dishonors God by refusing to rely on him. i am so guilty my friend and praying and repenting my way through it. i am praying for you too!

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  17. Love your honesty and heart. I've struggled with anxiety and panic attacks since childhood. So I'm reaching out and giving BIG hugs :) The Lord is strong and mighty ;)

    "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." -Zeph. 3:17

    ;)

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  18. One thing I have learned is that many more people struggle with fear/anxiety then I think we realize. I believe there is power in Christ. There is power in complete surrender. HIS power is made perfect in our weakness! Thank you for sharing your heart, Kim. I will be praying through this muck with you.

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  19. thanks for posting your heart....God is doing similar things in me too!

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  20. You have a beautiful heart. God is using you! I can see it. This spoke to me in so many ways, thank you.

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  21. not being able to do it on your own is nothing to be ashamed of.
    it is something we should embrace, rather. less of us, more of HIM.

    i love this verse from the message, matthew 5:3
    "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."
    so good, but so hard to remember.

    also-- having panic attacks, anxiety, etc is nothing to be ashamed of and sometimes prayer may not be enough. for years i tried to tough it out like a good christian with prayer and sacrifice but realized that counseling and eventually medication was going to be part of God's plan.

    <3

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  22. As someone currently serving in church ministry, I totally understand how easy it is to feel the need to kind of put on a show that you've got it together. After all, being in a position of spiritual leadership comes with a lot of responsibility!

    I pray as you invest your time in the Word and in prayer, that you will physically feel God's peace on you. I pray for healing and that your transparency will be rewarded with some genuine community around you to help you through this process!

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  23. I couldn't of read this post at a better time! I have been struggling with control and anxiety also. I am so thankful we have a God tht doesn't give up on us! I live in the Seattle-area and LOVE Mars Hill :) Thanks for writing such an honest post, it's amazing how God can use our struggles to bring others/glory to him, isn't it?

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  24. Thank you for your vulnerability and your commitment to past tense verbiage ;)

    I hope you're finding balance. Balance between opening up, but not too much; feeling, thinking, and praying through things, but not alone all the time.

    I'm in counseling psychology, so I'm ever a fan of professional help, but opening up to a trustworthy AND helpful community is awesome too.

    Life's hard, you'll be alright as long as up don't give up. They were in a slightly different situation, but the husband/wife band Us and Our Daughters have some powerful music about the wife struggling with severe anxiety and depression. Might be encouraging. Let me know if you want a copy of their album.

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  25. Thank you so much for your honesty. God is doing such wonderful - though painful - work in so many women I know, me included. I think that this will be a season of great change. Please know that I will keep you in my prayers.

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  26. I loved this post so so much. It spoke to me so deeply... I have the same struggles of letting go and turning to the Lord instead of trying to do it on my own. It's so hard! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your journey!! It helps me so much!

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  27. I'm so glad I read this post, I recently opened up about the same thing on my blog. It feels so much better to know there are others out there; we are not alone ;-) Stay well!

    www.lifeonleroy.blogspot.com

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  28. It's true, panic attacks are a chemical imbalance, and there is medicine out there! I am not sure if the other anonymous was trying to be rude, and I'm sorry they offeneded you! I think they are just wanting you to feel better. Don't forget, Jesus has made us smart enough to make medicines and have doctors so we do not have to suffer. I hope you get some help soon; I understand how debilitating and frustrating panic attacks can be.

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  29. Take a deep breath! It's going to be ok. Easier said than done, I know, because I too suffer with panic attacks. My world finally came in to balance the day I tried antidepressents...helps you sift through the clouds of stress and anxiety so you can live your best life!

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  30. Thanks for your honesty, beautiful post. I too use have panic attacks when I was in college. It was just too much for me trying to work full time, live alone, and do school full time. I'm thankful that part of my life is over now, and God does give us peace and bring us past those times. Saying a prayer for you now. Hope things get better.

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  31. Loved reading what you learned at the College Conference last weekend! I was there too :)

    Love,
    Elizabeth

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  32. Loved reading what you learned at the College Conference last weekend! I was there too :)

    Love,
    Elizabeth

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  34. Thank you for sharing your heart. I have been in the same boat lately (not feeling God at all in my day to day life) and I'm starting to change that by reading His Word every day. Although it sucks and it's hard, I'm encouraged to know I'm not the only imperfect Christian!
    ((have you heard the song The Motions by Matthew West? It needs to be my theme song daily!!!!!))
    Prayers & love,
    Meredith

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  35. you are definitely not alone! i struggle with this too. i've had panic attacks before, and they are awful. there was nothing physically wrong with me - i was just letting myself get so anxious that my body reacted accordingly. ugh!

    i heard this illustration once that i often remember. it was that we should take all the things that fill our lives, throw it all up in the air, and allow God to blow the chaff away.

    i too am trying to remember this! it's bad enough when i begin to worry about my life, but it's even worse when i then neglect my time with God.

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  36. Thank you so much for sharing. It's so hard not to be bogged down by stress and the overwhelmingness of life. Knowing how great peace is, you would think it would be easier to accept.

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  37. what a refreshing post. though I've only experienced a panic attack once, years ago, ican most certainly relate with everything else. we were involved in a church plantar the beginning of our marriage where Joel was the worship leader and I too was wearing a facade while we were there. recently I have been keeping God far away and it has produced some ugly results... much the same as you experienced.. extreme bitterness & anger, jealousy, materialism, dishonesty... it's time i run back into the arms of my Creator. thanks for the honest post Kim, it's really encouraging and it reminds me that I am not alone in my struggles.

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  38. OH anonymous, why must you vex us!

    Sifting Souls. So beautiful. I have to speak at Church Fireside in a few weeks and I think I am going to ponder this a lot more.

    Thank you so much.

    Erin
    New Follower

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  39. I don't know what I can that everyone else hasn't. This post spoke directly to my heart. For multiple reasons that I won't go into in a blog comment. But you are inspiring! Thank you so much for posting about this. Thank you for letting us see a glimpse into your heart. You have truly touched my heart.

    xoxo

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  40. Beautiful, honest post Kim! Thanks so much for sharing this. I think I've had one panic attack in my life and felt very much like you described.

    Praying that God would grant you the peace that passes understanding (and the freedom to let Him take this from you). To His glory!

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  41. Panic attacks are seriously the worst. I had my first two last year and they were so sad and scary. Thanks for all the verses. Love.

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  42. Not that you even need one more comment on this post but I just wanted to say that I think you're doing a great job here on your blog. It's so easy to get overwhelmed with life + church + blogging + shop + work. I really appreciate that you are honest and that you don't blog every single day......!!! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with my online "life" but when I realize what's important, my life is put into perspective. :)

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  43. The words from the song "In Christ Alone" ("...what heights of love, what depths of peace...") and a song written from Matthew 11:28 (called "Come Heavy Laden" by Red Mountain Music) are two of my favorites... praying for peace that only Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can give.

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  44. I was at that conference! Oh man - I wish we'd met in real life. Also - I think your heart is beautiful. Jesus loves it too.

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    Replies
    1. what?! no way!!!

      and thank you :)

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    2. (argh blogger for not notifying replies!) Yes I was! It was so cool. I'm kinda bummed that I'm not at that conference again right this minute.
      --> anyway, I just reread this and was so encouraged and convicted and the like.
      How have you done at this? I feel like my fears cripple me so much. I'd love to hear from you. You can email me if you'd like - it'd probably encourage me muchly :) (asecondaryheartbeat at gmail)

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  45. Absolutely beautiful and brave. From a former sufferer of panic attacks...thank you.

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