Ensnared

anxiety

Anxiety.  It can be an UGLY word and an UGLY emotion.

Anxious: full of mental distress; greatly worried

According to WebMD, anxiety is linked to mental disorders, panic attacks, and social disorders. The site also includes symptoms of extreme anxiety include:

  • feelings of panic, fear, uneasiness
  • problems sleeping
  • not able to be still and calm

Leah MD would like to add upset stomach and/or the increased desire to eat junk food.

I am no doctor or therapist, and have no degree in anything related to this topic.  For those who have diagnosed anxiety disorders, I applaud you for getting help.  It takes a great degree of humility to reach out for support.

On top of all of the beautiful havoc anxiety can wreak on your life, it can also have a serious affect on others.  Fear alienates and destroys relationships, especially with those closest to you.  Anxiety is such a strong-hold that it turns you into someone you were never meant to be.  We hear one news story or a political fiasco and we lose all sense of composure. Fear engulfs our thought process and ability to hear truth, so all we hear is satan whispering “fear” into our ears.

This post is something I felt the need to write after observing the affects of anxiety in my own life as well as the world around me.  Our world is riddled with it.  The media loves to provoke it.  I’m here to tell you that it’s one of satan’s favorite tactics.  There aren’t too many emotions that can make us lose all self-control and keep us from relying on God. That’s what satan wants, to remove our dependence on the one he fears most.

Peter writes, “Cast all of your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”(1 Peter 5:7, NIV) When I read that, I think of the fishing nets being cast out to sea.  Peter is telling us to throw all of that worry and fear onto God.  You have to throw it in order for God to retrieve it.  He’s not going to pull it from your clenched fists.  You’ve got to recognize the issue so you can cast the net.

“He cares for you.”  Who do you “care” for?  Your children?  Your family? When your they are sick, do you wish you could take on their discomfort?  Do you wish you could take their pain away?  God wants the same thing for us.  He cares for us.  He wants to take the anxiety that ensnares our lives.  We were created for much more.

As I look at our world today, I see it as one big battle of good and evil;  God and satan; courage and fear; Narnia against the Snow Queen; Middle Earth versus Mordor.

Which side are you on?   I’m going with God.  He cares for me and I matter to him.  I care too much about the people in my life to allow anxiety to ruin my relationships.  Don’t let it rule your life any longer. Talk it out with a friend.  Find a pastor to pray with you.  Seek out a counselor who can rid you from the strong hold fear has on your life.

Dear one, God cares for you and so do I. Cast out that net.

Transitioned

This is the point in my blog, where I need to move beyond the impact of the move on our family, to the funny, quirky, everyday happenings that make me smile, because life goes on (Ob la di ob la da life goes on bra).  It has been 5 months since we moved, which is completely ridiculous, because I feel like I have been here for WAY longer than that.

I used to write another blog, before the move, that was entitled “Mommy Block”.  I loved sharing real life stories to hopefully make my readers laugh and feel completely at ease that there is another mom out there who really doesn’t know what she is doing.

So, part of this post was written sitting in the…..wait for it….DMV.  Be jealous, I know. This is the one thing since moving that I have been dreading.  I hate going so badly that I drove 30 minutes to the most hole-in-the-wall DMV I have ever visited.  I refuse to battle the traffic of Baton Rouge.  I will stay home all day long if it means I don’t have to enter that realm.  I am not kidding: “Baton Rouge ranks 3rd in the country for most congested, “medium” sized city in the country, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s Mobility Report.” On top of that, I may have already had my first accident here and it was a hit and run, twice.  I.DON’T.DO.TRAFFIC.

The DMV and I go way back.  My father was a long-time employee and first started his career there when I was in high school.  It was about the time I had to take my driving test. Multiple choice tests have never been my strength.  I can overly rationalize each answer until they all sound right.  Why couldn’t there have been an essay based test? Why must there be specifically correct driving answers?  (I am sensing the majority of the drivers in Baton Rouge feel the same way.)  I flailed the written test horribly.  I didn’t FAIL, but was one question from that, so lets just say I FLAILED.  I don’t know how I didn’t fail except for the fact that my dad worked there.  He has never admitted to having anything to do with my score, but seriously, I know I did quite badly.

My drive to the DMV was quite lovely.  Really.  One feature of this area that fascinates me is the Mississippi River and the bridges.  Ya’ll, its like driving up the incline of a roller coaster.  I hold my breath and can not look down, but I love the majesty of the bridges. (Dad, I found these pictures online, I promise).

I’m glad I enjoyed my drive, because I get to revisit the hole-in-the-wall DMV again seeing as although I had every piece of paperwork I could possibly imagined I needed, I still was missing some key pieces.  Clearly, the DMV wants to continue our relationship whether in Virginia or Louisiana.  Somehow, I am not comforted by this.

Captured

It had to be done.  I missed my people.  My kids missed their people.  We had to make a visit to Virginia.  Four kids.  One adult.  15 hour road trip.  Its enough to make you NOT want to attempt it.

The day after Christmas, we hopped in the car, fully stocked with snacks, movies, and books on CD.  There was one rule.Don’t lose your mind and we’ll all be okay.  I prepared myself for all sorts of behavior and nonsense.  Let me just say that as long as we stopped EVERY 2 HOURS, no exceptions, whether they had to use the bathroom or not, we kept it together.  Also, flavored candy sticks from Cracker Barrel are fantastic incentives for maintaining sanity.  8/$1.00 bought a lot of peace in my van.

I can not tell you how elated I was when we crossed the border into Virginia and I saw the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Comfortable. Familiar. Home.

captured3

Each of the older kids had a buddy to spend 24 hours with.  In other words, we needed a 24 hour break from one another.  They all had their people again.  That was enough to make me teary.  Not that I was sad to be home, but happy they could have their time, just for them.  I was fortunate to spend the night with a dear sister, whose family gladly took my baby girl for the evening so we could enjoy time out with other girlfriends. Within 24 hours, I eeked out as much time with my people as possible.

The rest of our time in Virginia was spent with family.  It was lovely to just take a deep breath, stay in my pajamas and allow the grandparents to do what they do best, spoil my children.  I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas gift.

I knew the visit would be physically exhausting.  I was fully prepared for a long recovery from the whirlwind week and a half.  I was not prepared for how I would feel.  I honestly believed that I would have a harder time, emotionally.  I missed my family and my friends. I missed the beauty of Virginia.  However, I was not sad.

There is so much I am thankful for in Louisiana.  When asked how I like Louisiana, without hesitation I said, “The people, I love the people.”  This place has captured my heart.  I have cried with this community.  I have felt the pain and the heartache of all they have tried to overcome.  This was God’s plan from the minute we arrived, to open ourselves to a place that desperately needed all of the support they could get.  Its not that we have done anything spectacular, but who doesn’t need an extra person praying for them or another smile on a dark day?  I am learning to open myself up to the work God wants done, even if that means moving from everything comfortable and familiar.  Being captured isn’t such a bad thing.

Unexpected

Image result for fireworks images“What do you want for Christmas Eve dinner?” I asked my husband while we were sitting in our bedroom. We were watching TV and trying to focus over the relentlessly barking dogs on the other side of our window.  I had focused Christmas Day prep along with packing for our trip to Virginia and had completely forgotten to plan dinner.

“Hot Dogs,” he replied with a hint of sarcasm.  Those dogs have barked more days than not since our move and love to position themselves on the other side of the fence outside of our bedroom window.

I laughed off the reply until I found myself at the grocery store a few hours later.  Nowhere else was open, so I had to come up with something. He wanted hot dogs?  I’ll give him hot dogs.

I began serving them up and my oldest ran into the kitchen, “Mom!  The neighbors are shooting off fireworks, let’s eat dinner outside in the driveway!”

So we did.  Never in a million years would I have pictured our family sitting in our driveway on Christmas Eve watching fireworks and eating hot dogs.

Earlier that week, a radio station was sharing unconventional Christmas traditions.  So many of the stories had just “happened” and the family continued the tradition to carry on the memory.  In a new place, we needed new traditions to happen, without me trying to plan it out.

I am thankful for those crazy dogs and a culture who celebrates life at every turn.  God always knows when we need a little humor in the midst of the crazy and stressful.

Redefined

I wasn’t ready. Uprooting and relocating is one thing, but completely redefining how you celebrate the holidays is another.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I wasn’t grieving, but I wasn’t ready to do anything different.

I tried to avoid Thanksgiving at home.  At first we attempted a trip to Houston, then a trip to New Orleans.  Work called and both fell through.  I was forced to redefine our first holiday.

We came up with nothing spectacular, fried the turkey, cooked all of the normal sides, and made my grandmother’s famous chocolate meringue. We pulled out some of our favorite games and tested our Disney movie knowledge, laughed around the table and talked about this and that.

Looking back, I think God wanted us to redefine a few things.  He’s been doing that since we arrived.  I think he wanted us to stop the busy and the planning.  He wanted us to slow down and refocus on our family.  A trip would have been fun, but we would have been distracted by all of the sites to see.  I would have been stressed by all of the planning it would have entailed.  God knows.  He sees.  We needed time as a family, without all of the bells and whistles, so here is where we had to be.