Confronting Worry: My Story (Part 1)

I quickly wove the fingers of my left hand into my husband’s and gripped firmly. My right hand clutched the airplane seat arm rest. The lights flickered a few times and then went out. The hundreds of other people on our plane were tensely quiet, as was I. I watched as the long row of overhead storage running down the center of the cabin rapidly shook back and forth. Then we plummeted. I felt weightless for a moment, and then like someone was forcing me back down into my seat.

My grip tightened as I imagined what could possibly be happening to cause our giant double-decker Boeing 747 to be tossed around like nothing more than a feather. My tension redoubled as I thought about the fact that we were over the vast Pacific Ocean, with no place for an emergency landing, just the fierce water below.

Thoughts of my five young children potentially facing life without their parents swarmed in my mind. About the difficulties they would encounter that we might not be there to shepherd them through. And I wanted nothing more than to be home.

But the most terrifying realization was that I was helpless – at the mercy of our pilots and the sky.

Nothing could distract me from these frightening thoughts. Not a book, not the myriad in-flight movies available, not even the comfort of my husband. My senses were heightened to the extreme and aware of even the slightest jostle.

The intense turbulence continued off and on for the first three hours of our 11 hour flight from Taiwan to San Francisco. To say I spent the flight worried would be a gross understatement. Panic probably comes closer to reality.

The irony of my circumstance was that I had taught on overcoming worry just days before, during Shorebreak (camp for military High School students living abroad). God was reminding me that the victory over worry I have experienced in my life didn’t necessarily ensure no further struggle. It was time to practice what I taught.

I knew I needed to stand against this worry, whose root was my physical safety and life. I must “be anxious for nothing,” and “let my requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6). So I prayed. And I relied on the fact that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, because I certainly couldn’t eek out a complete sentence to God, such was the fear and anxiety.

But my feeble attempts didn’t bring the immediate rush of spiritual peace I longed for in that moment. Even so, I knew I had to keep resisting. Just as I had taught days before, I took hold of the command to think about what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, etc…. (Phil. 4:8). The only way I was able to do this was to sing songs full of God’s truth. I racked my brain for hymns and choruses to focus on, rather than my fear.

As I was nearing the end of my repertoire, I remembered a little tune that I had made up for my oldest daughter when she was afraid.

You don’t need to be afraid,

There’s no cause for alarm.

You don’t need to be afraid,

When you trust in God above.

 

Have I not commanded you,

Be strong and of good courage?

For the Lord Your God

Is on your side!

 

You don’t need to be afraid,

There’s no cause for alarm.

You don’t need to be afraid,

When you trust in God above.

It’s such as simple little song, but for some reason God used those words to bring me the most peace in the midst of fearing for my life. He used them to remind me of His sovereignty. That my life was His, to do with as He pleased.

As difficult as it was for this mother to face, God reminded me that if He did choose to bring me home at that moment, He would care for my children. And perhaps, that was the plan He wanted to work out in their lives (though it cuts me to the heart to think about it).

Thankfully, it was God’s plan to leave us here with our family a little while longer! But, I emerged from this encounter with a bigger perspective of life. People come and go, they are born and they die, and yet God is in complete control. And more importantly, He can take tragedy and transform it into triumph.

Through the study of God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, I can confidently say that I am more of an ‘overcomer’ of worry and anxiety now than I have ever been before. I’m sure more circumstances will arise to put me to the test, but with God’s help I know it’s possible to be victorious.

There is much more I plan to share from my study of this topic. It is my deep hope and prayer that anyone else bound up by worry and anxiety might experience the true peace that God has to offer us all!

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5 thoughts on “Confronting Worry: My Story (Part 1)

  1. Kim,

    I appreciate your willingness to share your battle with worry. It really does help to know that other women of God struggle with this. I too have used song to squelch my anxiety. Thanks for the reminder that God is always in control! -Tiffany

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    • Thank you for sharing Tiffany! It’s so easy to believe that we are the only one’s struggling with something, yet there can be such encouragement when we admit our weaknesses to one another. It’s only then that we can fulfill God’s instruction to bear one another’s burdens and allow our burdens to be lifted as well! God is Good!

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  2. God is teaching you amazing lessons, Kim!! Thanks for being so vulnerable as you share your life with us. I am thankful that you made it home; your precious children need you:)

    Liked by 1 person

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