I have worrying down to an art. Or is it a science? Either way, I worry so much I literally make myself sick sometimes. This would probably happen even if I did not have chronic illness, but it is well known that stress makes chronic illness worse. For me, it causes pain, fatigue alternating with sleeplessness, and a whole host of other problems. It’s a problem.
And it doesn’t change anything.
And it doesn’t help anything.
And yet, I am often just so anxious.
I have long heard the still quiet voice saying to me: “Oh ye of little faith, I have so much more for you.” Friends, here’s the truth. I have heard this voice for years. I know it is God. I want to believe it. Sometimes I do, for short bursts of time. And then I return to worry.
I know God tells us not to worry. Repeatedly. I have heard it said that God says to Fear Not more than any other command in the Bible. I am not a Biblical scholar so I can’t speak to the truth of that. But He does say it pretty often. And yet I doubt.
But God is Good. He is Patient. And Wise. And He knows I am stubborn. So very very stubborn. Sometimes I need the big show. I wish I didn’t. I know worry is a weakness of mine, maybe my biggest one. In many areas of life I let the still quiet voice of God speak into my Life. But the worry monster, that one I have trouble letting Him get close to even after years of persistence.
Something happened earlier this spring that challenged me like nothing before. The loss of my best friend Smokey. And I learned so much about God’s promises and love in that time. God calmed my biggest fear in that situation. My fear of death. In a way so amazing I will never be the same. Which is a post for next time in and of itself, so I will wait to give that story its own title.
This morning, our girls got out. The canine ones. Not sure Periwinkle has any desire to set foot out of the comfort of her castle. Ever. So it was the canine girls. It was a nightmare. I follow many local animal shelters and rescues and regularly share posts about lost dogs. Or found dogs. And I have always thought, how can someone let that happen to their dog? Aren’t they more careful? Well, sooner or later we eat most of our words of judgement we place over others.
We have a super fence. Super high, super sturdy, and, you guessed it, super expensive. About 6 feet high, wood, no gaps. Pretty industrial. Around our 1 acre yard. No match for our girls.
Turns out weather has different ideas though. Texas has been hit with constant rain the past 2 months, following years of drought mind you. Torrential downpours. Wicked thunderstorms. Hail and tornado producing storms. You may have read about it on the news. Luckily, we live in Northern TX and have not gotten the worst of it. In fact, I have gotten so used to the rain and storms last night didn’t seem any different.
Except it blew our gate wide open. I didn’t think any amount of force could do that, but it did. I let the girls out for romp at 7, which is late to let them out. And I went to feed them before work early, and they didn’t come when I called. I thought maybe they had finally dug under to visit our neighbors’ dog. And then as I ventured into the yard to see what was up I saw it, the open gate. And I lost it. Went to get my husband. Called and called for them. Had to call in late to work. Cancel Periwinkle’s dental drop off (is it possible she opened the gate to avoid the vet?). We drove around calling out for them. And I prayed. I got on Facebook and posted requesting prayers. I was shaking. Internally I was screaming. I was scared. I was worried. And yet I heard it.
The still small voice that for me isn’t always so still. Or so small. I have known for years I have a gift, and a blessing. I can very clearly hear the voice of God some of the time. And I heard it. It told me they were safe, and they were fine.
A man called. He asked if we had a dog named Maggie. I was so excited I almost cried. He said he had two dogs and we went to his house to get them. And they had run off again. We have no idea why he had them. And then didn’t. He was a little different. I got mad. So mad at him and it wasn’t his fault. All my relief turned back to fear, and panic. The shaking got worse. And I heard the voice. It said someone would call soon. But I couldn’t hear it, I couldn’t register it.
My friends, I am a doubter. Big time. God has come through so many times before, and I am a doubter.
10 minutes later our town Animal Services called and they had our girls. Calm as could be. Quite pleased with themselves. Didn’t seem shaken up at all. The woman who returned them to us said “You must really love your dogs.” And I thought, isn’t everyone this excited when a loved one who goes missing is returned or comes back? It was pure joy.
I did not need to worry. God came through. Oh ye of little faith.
Two hours later I got a text. Our first niece (or nephew) was being induced this morning. But there was trouble, and her heart rate wasn’t what it should be. And what did I do friends? I began to worry. I texted some close friends to pray and posted on Facebook. I prayed. Worrying the whole time. And there it was again. The voice. Telling me she would be here soon and was just fine.
And she was. All 8 lbs and 14.5 oz of her. And, I have to admit, I became one of those people who go around showing pictures to others of their family. I don’t do this. Ever. And there I was, texting this little girl’s picture and walking around work showing people. Never say never.
So ye of little faith saw so much more today. It was not just that the girls were found. Or that our niece arrived and is doing well. It was that I knew I had a solid community around me, praying with me, rooting for me. For my husband and I both. And of all people to get back to me right away to say they were praying, my supervisor did. How many people can say their boss would do that for them? Work is often stressful, and I frequently want to throw in the towel because it can be so hard. And yet here God has me working for someone who will stop and do this for me.
God is so good. He took my mustard seed faith. And He moved my mountain.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20 (NIV)