It was January 1, 1998, and Tim and I were headed home from the hospital with our new twin daughters, Isabelle and McKenna. I remember so clearly coming into the house with the car seats in hand. They were all bundled up in snowsuits that were bigger than they were. We unpackaged them carefully and gently laid them in a crib. We stood over the crib and Tim asked the question, “So, what do we do now?” I wisely replied, “I think we go sit down.”
See, we were embarking on a new journey of which we knew very little. We learned the mechanics quickly—feedings, rocking, changing diapers, etc.—yet we could never imagine how much our lives would change due to the new love that we encountered. We had new fears and new dreams. We had sleepless nights and early mornings. We had so many things to figure out and no idea how we would do it or if we could. Sometimes doubt would creep in, and sometimes we would worry about all of the “what ifs.”
The amazing reality is—we didn’t need to worry or be anxious. God had an amazingly miraculous plan for their lives and that plan is now unfolding in a new and beautiful way as they begin their college years. He has the plan, and it is unfolding right in front of us—what a beautiful thing to see. There was no need to worry, just trust HIM.
How can we NOT be anxious and NOT worry? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Instead of becoming anxious about ANY situation, big or small, we are to take our “what ifs,” our cares, our concerns, and make them known to God in prayer. We are to take those anxieties and turn them into requests. Requests that we make known to GOD in prayer.
When we take our anxieties and turn them into prayers of requests to God, Paul tells us the Peace of God, which we cannot understand, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I love the picture these words paint for us. His Peace will guard our thoughts and our feelings and affections when we pray and leave our anxieties with Him.
After dropping our girls off for the first year of college nearly two weeks ago, I have found myself feeling the pangs of anxiety rearing its ugly face again in my mind and in my heart. Sometimes the “what ifs” that I no longer can see or know of that they may face begin to grow inside my head and subsequently inside my heart. I have found myself lying on the couch during the early morning hours and by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving laying my requests before a trustworthy, faithful God—who has led the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exodus 14), closed the mouths of lions for Daniel (Daniel 6), and overcame the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).
This same glorious and faithful God certainly can be trusted with the next chapter in our journey and the journey of our girls. We will learn the mechanics of this new chapter—the newly quiet home, the dinners for three instead of five, and the home filled with more testosterone than estrogen for the first time in our lives. As I turn these changes and the anxiety they can bring into requests for my Father, His peace can envelope my heart and mind.
What changes and “what ifs” are you facing? Lay them before your Father and allow His peace to encompass you. He is faithful, and He can be trusted.
Michelle Armstrong recently celebrated 25 years of being married to Tim, and is the mother of twin college girls, McKenna and Isabelle and a middle school age son, Jack. A former elementary school teacher, she enjoys being involved in ministries at The Chapel, including Women’s Ministry Bible study and The Chapel’s Urban Ministry’s Moms’ Club. Her heart is stirred by inner city schools and prayer, and she loves photography and getting lost in a good book.
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