For This Season

I’ve been so embarrassed to ask for prayer lately because sometimes it feels like my life is just a never-ending drama. With all the seizures, OCD, depression, PTSD, new symptoms, other health illnesses we’re still trying to diagnose, and then the most recent OCD worsening, a new stomach issue, and over a week long lingering migraine thats the result of a head injury: it just feels like it should be the end of the ‘hard stuff.’ That there shouldn’t be more and if there is, it’s somehow my fault.

I have this little voice inside of me that tells me I’ve used up my entire allotment of sympathy and prayers; that life should be easy and painless and perfectly put together now because I’ve maxed out my quota for pain and people are tired of hearing about it already.

(Never mind that I am tired of living it already!!)

Against all the blaring sirens in my heart and soul telling me I am “too much” and “out of turns to ask for help” and I just need to “be quiet, suck it up and handle it on my own”…

I’m saying:

I need prayers in this season because my heart is breaking in a new kind of way that I didn’t know was possible. Who knew there were more ways for it to break? And I cringe asking for prayers, because I wish more than anyone that it was all put together already and I didn’t need them. But I do. So can you please pray for me? Again?

As I wrote in my journal God so tenderly seemed to respond in my soul, “Who put a limit on mercy, Summer? Was it me? Did I say you were out of turns for compassion, grace and love? Who told you that you were a burden and that people were weary of walking alongside you?

Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times should I forgive this brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus looks Peter in the eye and blows his mind. “I tell you not just seven, but seventy times seven.”

Jesus looked me in the eye and whispered the same thing over my heart this week.

Who am I to limit how many times I can be on the receiving end imageof mercy and grace and forgiveness and prayers? Should I receive the tenderj and fierce prayers of my community only seven times? Or seventy times seven?

God himself is reminding me: if forgiveness is not limited, neither is mercy.

Or prayers. Or grace. Or love. Or compassion.

Do I deserve it? Have I earned it? Do I need to re-pay it? Will I have to ask again? Am I a burden? This week I am practicing the art of silencing all these questions and leaning into the grace of friends who have not once shamed me and told me to “just be well already.” Friends who have stood beside me and not grown weary in their love and prayers.

And I am standing in awe of a God who keeps whispering “seventy times seven” over me.

Maybe you need to be reminded today that seventy times seven is for you too.

Maybe you need to offer more than seven shots at grace to someone in your life.

Maybe God needs to step into your shame and fear and “people are SO tired of hearing this story from me” thoughts and remind you that this whole Gospel thing? It’s about mercy…

and mercy and mercy and mercy and mercy… the unlimited, never-runs-dry, seventy times seven kind.image.jpg

A Moment In My Mind

I was asking myself “what’s wrong with me?” Why do I always have such awful thoughts? Then, in that moment, my brain chatter went completely quiet, like somebody pushed the mute button. What is this….silence? Total silence. At first I was shocked to find myself in a quiet mind and then I was immediately captivated by this unusual happenstance.

It was a rare, short but beautiful, moment because the internal dialogue that anxiety creates is unique to anxiety sufferers and it never ends. We are always worrying about something, anything, and everything. This is why I wanted to create a brief window into my life, giving people an idea of what its like to live with anxiety.

Then, the next moment, it was gone. All the brain chatter came rushing back.

What if I get sick? What if I die? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t get accepted? What if I fail? What if I hurt someone? What if I mess up? What will they think of me? What’s going to happen if I go? I’m hopeless. I spend too much time thinking about my thoughts. I could slice that persons face.

Suddenly, my brain shoots into overdrive. Whats wrong with me? Who thinks thoughts like that? Why do I have these thoughts? Maybe I’m a murderer. I should go to hell or maybe I should die. 

What if I die now that I’ve thought that? ok. ok. ok. We’ve got a problem! *Heart starts racing* I’ve got to get help! I need to text my mom. So, I reach into my pocket and pull out my phone. I search for my moms number but all I can see is pixels, even though I can see clearly in my mind where my moms name is, my eyes just can’t focus on the task at hand. I’m still to worried that I’m going to die.

I could stab that person walking by.

WHAT?!?! Summer!! How could you ever think something so awful?! I must be the worst person on the planet! No one else would ever think something like that. 

The Dr. said lots of people have these thoughts occasionally…but that can’t be true. Nobody thinks like that. I must be a psycho-murderer at heart. 

I could punch that person.

WHAT?!?! NO!! 

I NEED TO GET RID OF THESE THOUGHTS!!

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Still there…

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You have now survived just 10 seconds in my brain. For anxiety sufferers this continues for hours and hours on end.

Although my mind is a crazy place at times, I find comfort knowing I don’t need to battle alone. 

“Moses answered the people, “Stand firm and you will see the the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.” (Exodus 14:14) 

I feel as though I fight anxiety every moment of my life but what a comfort to know that God’s got it all under control, I need only be still. The people were despairing but Moses encouraged them to watch the wonderful way the Lord would rescue them. Moses had a positive attitude! When it looked as if they were trapped, Moses called upon God to intervene. WE may not be chased by an army but we may still feel trapped by anxiety. Instead of giving in to despair when all these thoughts are rushing through our mind we need to only “stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will bring…The Lord will fight for you you need only be still.”  

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