Today was a rough day for me.
A year ago on this day I got a call after hours from HR at work that my boss had resigned. When I hung up the phone, I went to tell my husband and just burst into sobs. Like full on ugly crying. Maybe that sounds crazy to you, but to me, I was absolutely heart broken. Over my boss. Yeah you read that right. Why? Because he was the best boss I have ever had and was like a father figure to me.
After my boss left, I was thrown into situations at work of extreme stress and that really messed with my mental health. If you have been keeping up with me in the past you know that I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. But not like this. For the sake of not sounding like a broken record, I will not go into all the details, but if you are interested, I did write another post about it.
I am writing this post one year later to say this: even though it was so hard, and at times almost impossible to carry on, and the whole situation just really sucked, I am thankful that I went through it. I would not be the person I am today if this did not happen.
I entitled this post “Thankful for the Storms” because there was a time in high school that I went through a great storm in my life and came out of it on the other side a changed (for the better) person. No one really knows why we go through storms, but I personally believe that there is always a lesson to be learned in each trial that we face. In high school, I learned the power of prayer in one’s life can be life changing. I learned that when God strips everything away, you realize that all along, all you need is Him. I learned who my real friends were, and who were the superficial people. I learned that true heartbreak can sometimes open the door to the most beautiful relationships.
This past year, my struggle with anxiety and panic attacks taught me a lot about myself, my relationships, and my God. I learned this year that it is ok to struggle, just don’t struggle alone. I learned that a leap of faith can sometimes just mean asking for help, and that it is ok to ask for help. I learned that being open about who I am and what I am going through can lead to freedom, mentally and spiritually. And it can also lead to finding out who you can really trust with your time and friendship. Mental health is not talked about a lot in the church, so many of my friends, family, and fellow believers did not understand how I felt or what I was experiencing. But the ones that really cared were the ones who asked me to explain, and then proceeded to walk through the storm with me. That’s when you know who your real friends are, the ones that walk through the storm with you. Even the ones that live far away, a simple text or call to let you know they love you and are here for you and are praying for you.
I also learned so much about who God is and who He is to me. I did not go to church for just shy of a year, and while a lot of Christians might think that is sinful, I really believe that God does not judge me for it. Yes I believe that going to church is so important in the growth of a Christian, especially in the aspect of Christian fellowship, and I am so thankful that I have been able to go back to church and be a part of that community again. But I also believe that sometimes, it is more of a hindrance in our walk with God than a help. If I had kept going to church with my anxiety and panic attacks, I firmly believe that I would have kept getting worse and I think that may have turned my heart away from the Lord a little bit. But taking the step back that I did, led me to healing and experiencing God in a new way. Yes, I still struggle with anxiety sometimes. And I occasionally will have a panic attack. Maybe God won’t take this struggle away completely, no matter how often or long or fervently I pray for it to be removed. But I have seen the growth and the healing that this past year has brought me and I can say that God has been so good to me in this storm by giving me this storm. It has strengthened my belief in Him, my relationship with my husband, and my confidence in myself.
There is a saying that says “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” That phrase has been so true in my life. I have been through some pretty confusing and frightening storms, some that I wish had never happened, but I am so thankful that they did because they have made me stronger in my faith and in who I am as a person.
I really hope this is an encouragement to you if you are going through or have been through a storm. Sometimes just knowing there are other people out there struggling along side us gives us the courage to move forward, to help ourselves, and to help others.
So whatever storm you are walking through, whatever struggle or trial you are facing, know you are not alone, there is a lesson to be learned in this, and you will get through this.
Because God is bigger than the storms.
Also, as a P.S. If you ever need someone to talk to, walk through the storm with you, or maybe just someone to listen or pray for you, please feel free to reach out to me. I am an advocate for you.