by Julie Jaunese
Anxiety – anx-i-e-ty [ang-zahy-i-tee], noun, meaning distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. This is such a small word. Most people reading this are no longer children but are now adults. Can the experiences in our life as children cause us anxiety as adults? Absolutely.
When I was 11, my mother and I came home from a morning of shopping with one of my sisters. When we drove in the driveway my 9-year-old sister came running out of the house and said daddy was rolling on the bed and holding his chest. My mom had me stay on the phone with the police, (no 911 at that time), and direct the ambulance to our house. My dad left in the ambulance; my mother followed in the car. I truly do not remember where my 1-year-old sister or my 19-year old sister went that day, but my 9-year-old sister and I were sent a block away to my grandparents. We stayed with my grandmother until my uncle came to tell us our father was no longer in pain and to take us home to my mother. I remember seeing our pastor, who arrived with my uncle, as he had his arm around my grandma and was leading her to the living room. I remember seeing an ambulance in the driveway as a precaution as my grandma was told about my dad. She was hospitalized that night. Actually my father never felt any more pain – ever. He died.
For all the years we lived in that house I hated being sent to the basement. I always thought my dad was in the furnace room hiding from me. It has been 51 years since this happened in my life and it doesn’t hurt any less. That was the worst night of my life. I was the only one of the girls who stayed with my mom that night; relatives took everyone else away with them. I felt rejected. I heard my mother’s cries and sobs. Days later we would be told my mother was 2 months pregnant with my youngest sister. Even as I write this, it brings me to tears as I recall the memories.
Now I have two grown daughters of my own. The year each of them turned 11 I worried that I would not be around to see them turn 12. I also worried that my husband would be gone and I would be raising children by myself as a widow since my Mom was left alone to raise five girls on her own. There were things I did in hope that my girls would remember me when I was gone. I wrote letters telling them how much I loved them and how much they meant to me. I told them how much I loved their Dad. I cross stitched pillows for each of them and signed them MOM. The letters were never given to my girls because I am still here. Today I’m not just a mother, but a grandmother of three.
The anxiety of this memory caused me to dwell on things that were not what I needed to think about at that time. Stitching their pillows took a lot of time. It also took time and thought to write letters. Both things caused my thoughts to go back to leaving my children without a mother or being left without a husband. My thoughts were consumed with anxiety. Totally consumed.
Now that I am older and I can reflect on the past. I know that telling someone would have helped but as we usually do with anxiety, I kept it to myself and agonized. What other things could I have done to help myself out of this feeling of anxiety? If you answered dwell on God’s word, you are right. Three scriptures really stick out – Luke 12:25 says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to the measure of his life?” How about Philippians 4:6, “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” I have saved the best verse for the last verse — I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all of your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you!”
To sum up, give God your anxiety because He loves us enough to carry the anxiety so you won’t need to! Take your anxiety, place it God’s feet and walk away.
Julie Jaunese has been married to her husband Michael for 41 years. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. She works at Moffitt Cancer Center and hosts two women’s small groups, the Yada Book Club and the Fabulous Fems. Mike and Julie have been part of Grace Family Church since it began with 40 people in a house.