Postpartum anxiety followed the birth of each of my three children. Although I did not feel sad and depressed, like many new moms, I was paralyzed with fear. Horrifying thoughts plagued me constantly. I would think, “What if something happens to me and I miss out on time with my family? What if I trip walking down the stairs while I’m holding my newborn? What if an intruder comes to daycare?” Like a batch of cookie dough, soured by the wrong measurement of salt, my thoughts, too, were bitter. I desperately needed a new recipe.
After the birth of my oldest daughter, I decided I needed Someone to guide me and to lift me up. My friends and I tried to start a Bible study group, but we were all busy moms and didn’t really know where to start. Then, I got pregnant with my son, and was distracted from all of my fears, for a short time. After he was born, however, the terrifying thoughts returned. This time, I asked my doctor for help. He told me that it wasn’t normal to feel scared all of the time and asked me how regularly I had bad thoughts. I said, “Well, usually while I’m driving, after I pick up the kids from daycare, and all night before I go to bed.” He gave me a prescription for a mild anti-anxiety medicine. I took it for one day and threw up for two days straight.
Finally, after the birth of my third child, I decided that I needed to make a spiritual change. Though medicine works for many people and can do wonders for mental health, I knew that the only thing that would give me peace of mind was to cultivate a deeper relationship with God. You see, at night, when the thoughts race through my mind, I pray to Him. I say, “Please, God, take away my bad thoughts.” I repeat it several times, and He does. I fall asleep. And everything seems sunnier in the morning.
A friend of mine, who I refer to as my spiritual guru, recently gave me Priscilla Shirer’s book, Discerning the Voice of God. Chapter Seven of her book focuses on the peace that God gives to us. And though I’ve recited the words in mass, “Peace be with you,” since childhood, this phrase has recently taken on a whole new meaning for me. We often think about how wonderful it would be if there were peace in our world, our country, or even our cities. But how life-changing would be to have total peace of mind and spirit?
My underlying request to Him, I’ve since realized, is for peace. I’m learning, as I continue in my spiritual journey, that God does not give us these negative thoughts. The enemy does. If we are constantly worried about a job, a relationship, or a decision facing us, then we need to ask Him for peace and clarity. For our minds cannot focus on the negative and the positive at the same time. If we are focused on God, the good will overcome the bad. Our spiritual armor will deflect those bullets of terror. He will give us peace.
So the next time you find yourself cowered, worried, and isolated in negative thoughts, speak to Him. Ask Him for truth and peace. The right choice, the true path, and His everlasting love will shroud you in a blanket of tranquility. “Peace be with you,” my friends.
~Think on These Things~
Natalie, you certainly have found the secret of finding a fulfilling life…finding God and keeping Him in your heart and soul.