Monday, August 13, 2007

"Take as Needed..."

I had a wonderfully confirming conversation on the phone with a dear friend of mine yesterday who encouraged me to "revisit some old altars of what God has done in my life". We were speaking of our fears, anxieties as mothers, and in general waiting on and trusting the Lord when it's HARD! She was referring to the custom of God's people throughout the Old Testament, to erect actual altars of stones as a tangible rememberance for themselves, and to the world, of the great things their God had done.

When she said this I immediately thought of a very tangible old "altar" that I had just in fact, visited the other day. The reason I say this conversation was a "confirming" one, is because she point by point, specifically confirmed the things that God had just very recently been leading me in. I LOVE when God does this! I realize by my few reminiscent posts that I have been "revisiting" a lot! I usually have a pen and paper ready when I call this friend because she is a guarantee for the humble, honest, biblical advice I so often need. She always points me back the the foot of the cross, and to the answers in God's Word. It helps that she is also a fellow homeschooling Mom of 8 wonderful rascals, but is ten years my senior. Today, I could only locate one broken half of a black crayon, and we had a good laugh as I scribbled out our glorious insights in dull Crayola!

But back to the altar. In my last post I spoke of my recent struggles (and...can I just say that in the past month God has put my convictions through the ringer?!?!) I knew of His promise that He would not give us more than we could handle, but had been at some level doubting it. (So Lord, does it look like I'm handling this? And...what exactly did you mean when you said 'handle' ? I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing, aren't I?")....

In July of 2004, my sixth pregnancy ended in a difficult miscarriage. Essie was barely 1 yr. and still nursing, and my hormones went crazy! I found myself where I thought I'd never find myself---with a perscription...for anxiety in my hand! (In hindsight I see that part of God's plan in this was simply to humble me and open me up to the fact that His ways are higher than mine. This life of faith was going to go deeper than any simple set of "formulas for life" would.)

Now, there are exceptions to almost every rule and in that God has greatly humbled me. So I no longer judge a situation thirty seconds into it, according to my formulas. However, in a society that needs a pill for every woe, I am generally against the idea of anti anxiety/anti-depressant drugs in the life of a christian and this is why:

See, there was this sneaking little evilllll undercurrent of unbelief that, in spite of faithfully having my morning devotions in the Word and in prayer, striving to check all the boxes and do everything right...and God was still letting me crash and burn so hard... maybe this time, God was in fact, possibly not sufficient? Maybe He'd sent too many kids, too close together, with too many hormones and that incompetent, unspiritual me just needed a nudge from a doctor, a drug, a hormone or what not. I mean, after all, some ladies are just cut out for this, and some of us just aren't ...I guess.

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~I Corinthians 10:13

It hit me when the perscription was finally in my hand and I looked down at Xanax 0.25mg...and three simple words "Take as needed" Forgive me. God had let me fall. Yes, right back into His arms. I drove humbly home, passing shamefacedly by the drugstore and planted my butt right in my little chair. Why did I think I could schedule in God and "pop" Him like some once a day pill to "get me on my way" or even numb away a pain or need that He Himself was intending to HEAL???

Yes! Take as needed! Of course, I am sinful and fallen and by all indications right now, I am sick. If it means coming back to my little prayer space and opening up the Word every ten minutes for the next three months, for the strength, peace and sanity I am seeking...why the heck not?!?! In fact, Christ likens Himself to our bread of "life" and our "living water." We don't take a sip of water, a bite of bread for the day--especially if we are running a race to win! We eat and drink as we are hungry and thirsty. If we are wise, we do so before we are so famished, dehydrated and malnourished that our vision becomes blurred and we stumble and fall.

The unused written perscription is now taped in the pages of my journal as one of the most poignant altars I have. It is dated, has the indication anxiety written on it, and as an acknowledgement to the Lord's faithfulness, I also wrote all over it in ink, the many verses full of His promises regarding our anxieties and inability, (thereby voiding the usefulness of ever filling the perscription.) I called the doctor later and thanked her for her help but told her honestly exactly what I realized when reading the words "take as needed". I had forgotten to run to the Lord "as needed" when I absolutely could have! I said I was going to try that first. She was completely dumbfounded and said she would "make a note of it in her chart".

The point here is not that there is never a place for medicine in a christian's life, but that each of us have a unique journey of faith that God has for us. There are so many absolute truths and consistent answers from God's word that if we seek, we will find! And yet, it is only He who can truly reveal those truths to our stubborn hearts in the way we need to be taught. As much as we would like to "structure our learning", He says we must walk in faith believing Him and listening carefully for His voice, "...for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin". As we release control of our lives the way we have long imagined and carefully planned them, we see He is sovereign over every element of His creation, and indeed very, very good in His plans for us.
from 7/22/04

2007 and two beautiful babies since the dark days after the miscarriage yet I find myself in another of those seasons of needing the comfort, guidance and discipline of my God in much more than daily doses. I am suffering this time from the malnutrition of too little time in the world and too much conforming to this world. Thus, I am again running back "as needed" and very frequently these days. When my heart starts pounding and my mouth gets dry, I "take heed, lest I fall", stop the insanity, sit down and reach for the cold, always refreshing living water, the filling bread of life. I wait expectantly as He is quickly restoring my joy and conviction, realizing that He is simply refining and purifying it as He completes it.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

~1 Peter 5:6&7


Jeffry & Amy said...

This is beautiful Liz! This is irronic b/c I had just called my consulting nurse this afternoon reguarding my sanity. Hmmmm...perhaps I shall try .25 mg of prayer myself! I like how you put your perscription in your journal...the label I hope?

Jana said...

Hey Liz!

I just left a long comment and it didn't show up, so I'm trying again!!! I'll test this to see if it works.



jana said...

Yee haw! It worked!

So, as I was saying....You Go Girl!

What an excellent, encouraging and convicting word, Liz. I feel like I just got a big drink of living water before I even knew it was needed. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and your honesty here.

I love what you said to your doctor too. That just cracked me up! Good for you. What a testimony it will be when you are walking strong, tall, refreshed and encouraged the next time you see her and she knows you have not needed a refill on the prescription. God is so faithful to bring us running back to His feet for rest, nourishment and strength. You are so right, though...."take as needed." We certainly aren't taught that, are we? We're taught to take our morning "aspirin" and to head on into the day....without taking pitstops. I don't know about you but sometimes my tank is running on empty again by 10:00 a.m.! I need a pitstop, some refreshment, a full tank and maybe even a tire change by then.....and again a couple of hours later. I love this!!!
Thanks so much for the encouraging words of truth.

Your blog is so nicely done! I love the picture of your seven beautiful blessings at the top. They are adorable. :):)

Have a blessed day and keep on writing. God has definitely gifted you and I'm so glad you are sharing it with us.

Hugs and prayers,