The rising orange sun had pushed through the purple-pink haze of that early July dawn–it would be the only beauty I noticed on a deeply harrowing day.
A battle with profound fear and panic had betrayed my daughter’s mind, causing her to collapse overwhelmed.
My day of evil had come–of this, I was fully aware.
Cries of turmoil cut through the street’s complete silence as she struggled to steady herself against my petite frame.
In a bond of solidarity we walked into the emergency room, physically and emotionally exhausted.
Faith and Fear Collide
Two days passed before I heard her voice again. She was steady-voiced and calm as she spoke over the phone.
“Mom, can you bring me my bible and a change of clothes?” In nervous anticipation I gathered her belongings and drove to the hospital.
My daughter had run towards me when she found me standing there. She held a radiant smile, regardless of her predicament.
I pressed my face into her damp and disheveled hair, finding comfort within its fresh scent. I was thankful to be able to hold her.
She collapsed into my chest; tears of relief trickled down our faces.
“Will I be okay, Mom?” Her dark brown eyes questioned mine.
“You will,” I reassured, all the while struggling to steady the anchor of my own peace.
The knife of fear cut me deep as I grappled our storm.
I arrived home restless, yet within my husband’s arms my heartbeat steadied.
In a Deep Gorge of Uncertainty, I wrestled for God’s Sovereignty
A popular saying exists among the Latino community when one of its members experiences a nervous breakdown—un ataque de nervios.
I was able to accept those Spanish words, but it was harder to accept the raw words of her clinical diagnosis: acute anxiety disorder.
She was more than clinical statistics—she was part of the praise and worship team, a popular youth leader within our church community. That she battled mental affectations pained me.
The fourth day in, she made a surprising request:
“Bring me the extra bibles, Mom. They’re asking for bibles.” I placed my phone down, perplexed.
I couldn’t understand why she chose to share Christ’s love in the midst of the difficulty she faced.
Divine incite countered my incredulous heart, I realized:
God’s spirit prevails in the middle of our most harrowing moments.
The Banner of Hope Prevails
During her week of convalescence my daughter gifted me with a rudimentary red-crayon heart—a poignant contrast from what her artistically-inclined hands were capable of creating.
How long it would take her to recover? I prayed for the renewing of her mind, I asked Him for her complete peace and restoration.
The Lord had ordered Heaven and Earth–Could God re-create her in one week’s time? I’ll admit, my faith faltered.
On the seventh day, relief comes…
“I’m ready, Mom. Come pick me up.” I tasted salt tears for her victory.
“I’ll be right there!” Gratitude profound overwhelmed me.
My mouth collects the stream of salt tears which trickled down my face; a pained knot warms my vocal chords.
This battle was bittersweet, but it was a taste of victory nonetheless.
God allowed us to experience His sovereign, healing hands.
Place of The Rising Sun
Anatolia—the Greek name for Asia Minor—translates to “place of the rising sun.” And I think of my Risen Savior…
When you are forced to encounter unexpected trials and trouble, know this:
From a Roman prison in A.D. 62, an imprisoned Paul implored converts to not worry, but to ask and pray, that peace would eventually prevail, (Philippians 4:6-8). We see that Paul exhorts believers to lean on God for a peace that only He can give. Yet he also instructs us to resist the forces of darkness, “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm,” (Ephesians 6:13, ESV).
Paul had had to face the unknown, too. In his predicament, Paul actively sought: peace, strength, and hope.
But how does one handle a darkness that manifests from within? When an emotionally-debilitating circumstance threatens our peace, what are we to do?
John Piper writes, “But Satan, as well as our sinful unbelief, wants us focused on the future—not the real future as defined by God’s promises, but an imaginary future as defined by our fears.”[i] Vain imaginations had taken up residence in my child’s mind—could God manifest himself in her difficult moment?
Because of our fallen nature, we are susceptible to varied physical or mental ailments—yet whole we are in His grace. Fusing faith and medical treatment for a loved one’s recovery was okay—I had to understand this. We must model the same compassion that Christ modeled for us as he healed various people of their diseases.
In Our Toughest trials—We Stand in God-Strength Alone.
Leaning into Restoration
We took to the Pacific Northwest for restoration. I watched as my teenage daughters frolicked in the sands of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Two sets of tan and taut legs running towards behemoth Haystack Rock.
Their laughter reverberated on the tails of the fresh morning wind.
The roar of the Pacific reminded me of our Father’s all-encompassing power to heal what we’d encountered during those dark nights of uncertainty.
I invoke God into this difficult season, offering my surrendered hands during corporate worship. I admire my daughter from the audience as she helps lead us into Sunday morning worship. Peace resides where turmoil once stood. She exudes joy—a far cry from the nervousness which plagued her mind.
My resilient daughter has regained spiritual and emotional strength; her unbridled hope is a testament to this.
[i] Bloom, John. Desiring God. 25 July 2016. http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-weight-of-tomorrow-s-trouble. 26 July 2016.