beachshells

Like whispers of God in the depths of my heart… Shells uncovered by the storm the night I flew into Georgia wash up onto shore as I walk the morning… 

 

I didn’t want to go.  

Even though a part of me did.

Back and forth, I couldn’t decide.

It was a last-minute decision — whether I should really get on a plane and fly to Savannah, Georgia, to spend time with my (in)courage sisters.

The morning I was supposed to be packing, I laid in bed.

I wrapped the covers around me. I didn’t want to go anywhere.

That’s what happens when I start feeling anxious. I feel cold. My body is hijacked, preparing for something threatening, and my nervous system gets focused getting ready to take flight or fight.

I feel light-headed.

I don’t want to leave the safety of my home. I like being able to just be by myself  — or control when I would see people and how I would let them see me.

I didn’t want to risk social engagement. I don’t have the emotional strength to figure out what to say, to whom, when to say it and how.

It’s odd because my therapist tells me this is actually good — not trying to figure everything out.

Being present.

It means moving out of survival mode and allowing myself to be — as is. Thawing out to come alive.

Free to be full as well as broken.

Free to be me.

It would be my first airplane trip in two years. Since I’ve experienced post-traumatic stress.

Not Okay

I’ve had a breakthrough earlier this spring.

I began to write about my story stumbling through brokenness and overwhelming stress — in hopes of taking others a journey to discover God’s voice in their stories and celebrate the beauty of faith.

And now, that story will be published in a book next summer.

But, my journey of faith has just begun. I need God even more. Every waking moment. Of every day. And every midnight hour I breathe on my bed.

You’re not okay, Bonnie. I heard Jesus whisper on my heart.

And that’s okay.

I want you to go.

Because I love you.

Just the way you are.

I don’t know why, but I just cried and cried and cried when those whispers hit my heart — like the first pelts of rain in autumn dropping from sky onto dirt, dried and cracked, caked over by the summer heat.

I didn’t know what would happen if I stepped onto an airplane to go somewhere unfamiliar with so many others. I was scared. But, I wanted to believe God loved me — as is.

So, I dragged myself over to the keyboard, shaking and with lips trembling, I wrote an email to everyone telling them how afraid I was — how I might burst into tears all of a sudden or suddenly get really quiet — but how it’s okay if that happens.

It’s part of my journey to heal.

I wanted to be present.

Even if it meant I wouldn’t be perfect.

I wanted to go.

As I clicked “Send”, I knew there was no going back.

Maybe the only way out is ahead.  

Even if it means I might fall apart. At least I would fall apart being known — rather than being lonely.

I Couldn’t Take It

As I buckled myself into seat 18A on an airplane buzzing, rattling and roaring down a long runway, I closed my eyes and started feeling panic hit the pit of my stomach.

As the plane started shaking, accelerating and slowly starting to tilt my body up, I felt the push of anxiety starting to gather and wind up tight inside me. I covered my eyes and face with my hands and instinctively bent down low, jackknifed with my head leaning towards my chest. But, the anxiety wouldn’t stop.

I held my breath waiting for the my body to resolve itself, but the higher the airplane climbed, the more terrified I felt.

I couldn’t take it any more and completely became overcome with gut-wrenching sobs, breaking into waves of pouring tears.

I pushed the button for the flight attendant. And asked her through choking tears, Can I have a glass of water? And Kleenex?

I can’t hear what you’re saying. She couldn’t decipher the words I was struggling to get out.

And there I cried in, squeezed in economy class, embarrassed by the sound of my messy unraveling breaths against the thick hum of the flight.

I tell you this story because I learned on that flight what I would have never learned if I did not fall apart with Jesus in that disorienting space between earth and air, praying so desperately — Help. me.  Jesus. –

Sometimes, you have to be present. 

Even when you’re most afraid.  

Even if it means you will see a side of yourself that you don’t want to see.

Because if you take those reticent steps holding onto Jesus’ hand, you will find yourself in His arms if you do collapse.

Sometimes, there comes a time when there is no going back.

Gather Your Courage

You may be looking ahead of you at the next step and it isn’t one you want to take either.

But, you also know the journey that’s led you to where you stand today isn’t one you want to repeat and go down again.

So, you will have to gather the courage you have. Even if it’s as small as a mustard seed.

Your courage may feel so tiny, it seems like any sudden gust of wind will blow it out of your grasp.

It’s okay. That’s how the the Kingdom of God lives inside you.

Jesus will be your courage.

He will be your best step ahead.

Because He loves you.

He. loves. you.

He will never let you go.

Twelve hours later after leaving my house, two airports, a connecting flight, and another car ride, I found myself stepping into the entryway of a beach house on Tybee Island, one carry-on bag and a laptop strapped onto my shoulder.

Hands of friends swooped in to hug me, invisible hands slipped the bags from my body, as I trembled, shook, broke down and fell apart — tears pouring out of every pore in my body. It was there I sobbed as quietly as I could into the arms of sisters and friends, who kept whispering, “You made it. You made it. You made it.” Over and again.

And I knew, in the deepest parts of me, the little girl in me who is broken had taken her first steps out into the real world.

She was present.

I don’t understand how, but I felt full and broken at the same time.

And it made me feel both sadness and soul-changing beauty.

I was present.

With Jesus.

Are you taking steps out into the world — in a way you never would’ve chosen for yourself too?  Yet, faith is calling you ahead?

Dare yourself to take one step to be present.

Tell someone your fears. Let someone in your journey.

You can start the way I’m doing here. Give yourself permission to write the words you’re feeling in your heart. Write in community. It is a powerful movement to being present.

Let your voice be heard.

“It is the Lord who goes before you.
He will be with you;
he will not leave you or forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

~~~~~~

Be present now.  

Pull up a chair.  Click to comment.  Let’s share.

~~~~~

Written by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in everyday life.

Looking for some company on the faith journey? Join me as make my way on my blog Faith Barista

Psst… Do you like to write to express your heart – journaling or blogging? I want to invite you to share your faith journey in community with me in a weekly Blog Link-up called Faith Jams. I serve up a weekly writing prompt and we swap stories. I’ve been away recovering, but I’m ready to write together again. Click here to read more. Then, click here to sign up for more information.

comments:
share:

comments (closed):

  1. 1

    Bonnie,
    I am so glad you got on that airplane and were able to feel the arms of loving friends around you…broken, yet full! I have an anxiety disorder as well and have felt the immense fear that you talk about…panic at its worst. God can work with faith and courage – even as small as a mustard seed – to bring us through and ultimately bring Him the glory. Yours is a story and testimony of God’s glory overcoming! Praise! The Lord will and DOES fight for us when we are still and present. Thank you for sharing from your beautiful heart!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 2

      Bev, thank you for sharing your voice here with us. May you feel the rest of this weekend and enjoy an autumn day!

      • 3
        Patrease Hawkins says:

        Hello Bonnie,

        This just encouraged me in a way that I can’t explain. I have dealt with fear, trauma, and torment about driving for 7 years now. I was always fearful but became more scared after an accident with a friend. I was not driving. I have tried several times over the years to drive but never all the way made it because of anxiety or depression that my circumstances closed me in.

        I have missed out on a piece of my independence because of the lack of driving. I dealt with a some serious depression mixed with anixety this pass may from internalizing my situation that landed me in the hospital for 1 week. It was there where I felt peace enough from God to know I would be okay just with life.

        Now, I am here and driving is what I want to work on regardless of the fear! I believe it’s time to be present. Thanks!

        • 4

          Hi Patrease,

          I was so encouraged to see a comment from someone else with a fear of driving. For me, my fear began in earnest when I became lost with my mother in the car with me, in NYC. My mother became utterly panicked and what could have been a funny incident turned into one of the most traumatizing in my life. It was like, at that moment, she transferred her fear of driving to me. Ever since then, I am absolutely terrified of getting lost, what if the car breaks down, and many other what-ifs. I’m not even sure if you’ll see this reply, but maybe we could encourage each other, I promise I won’t stalk you or send you constant emails. I just need someone else that I can also encourage as we conquer this fear. My email is lourdeshaviland@yahoo.com. Best wishes!

  2. 5

    I cannot tell you how much I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  3. 7
    Michelle says:

    Your transparency is a blessing to others. .I was reminded of your old style of writing in this piece.
    1 Chronicles 28:20 … Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged , for the Lord, my God is with you. He won’t leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the Lord’s house is finished. God’s gift of grace and mercy is there if only we ask for it.

    Michelle

  4. 9

    bonnie, our fears are such different sizes and shapes but when you crack open your life and let us in, underneath it is the same fear….will god be enough in this? will i break in this? will i be whole again in him?
    and your words whisper to so many of us—-yes! it is the very picture of how we can be undone and still hand out encouragement. thank you. xo

    • 10

      Hi Kris, I love how you put that. fears come in different sizes and shape… but we are all part of the same picture of Jesus with us. Thanks for sharing your beautiful voice in this space.

  5. 11

    Bonnie, thank you for sharing your heart. God certainly used your words to speak to mine today. Blessings…

  6. 13

    Thank you Bonnie! I’m taking steps, but am so scared. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus is with us, every step. Thank you for your story.

  7. 15

    Bonnie, I had to comment on this and I fully believe God had you write this for me. I suffer from anxiety and it is such an awful thing to deal with. 2 weeks ago I found out I have stage 3 cervical cancer. In those 2 weeks I have had 3 surgeries and have seen about 16 Dr.s. I have tried and tried to be brave through all of this, but finally had a serious breakdown last night. I cried and sobbed to the point where I could barely breathe! This is such a hard fight for me and I have a long road ahead of me. I know God has a purpose and a plan through all of this. I know He is holding my hand. When I read your blog this morning I knew God was speaking to me through you. Thank you for opening up and being so raw and giving in your words to move forward and trust God no matter what!
    ~Sarah~

    • 16
      Beth Williams says:

      Sarah,

      Praying hard and fervently that God will heal you and bring an end to this trial! :) This year I’ve heard of several people who have cancer and know a few who have survived. Each year I get involved with Relay for Life–ACS way of raising funds to fight cancer.

      Lord Jesus,

      Please help Sarah with her cancer & the fears/anxiety she is feeling. Surround her with your healing touch. Bring people around to help her in the fight to encourage her and lift her up.

      Most of all give us a CURE FOR CANCER!
      AMEN!

    • 17

      Oh, Sarah! My heart just SANK reading your news. So overwhelming. Jesus, hold my sister tight, close and tight again. Free her heart to let her tears flow as many times as she needs with you — bring sisters and friends to lift her and love her as she as — and walk with her through this journey. I know you are near her. You love her. Take care of Sarah right now. Let her feel you near. In Jesus name. Amen.

    • 18
      Lou Ann says:

      Dear Sarah,
      I’m Praying that JESUS will strengthen and encourage you during this season. May you feel HIS Presence so strong, even as HE carries you through the Healing Process. As I think about what you are going through, I am reminded that “HIS Strength is made perfect in (our) weakness, (2 Cor. 12:9), something HE is continuing to teach me in my own life.
      Praying….
      Lou Ann

      • 19

        Thank you all so much for your prayers and words of encouragement! It means so much to know that people are praying!
        ~Sarah~

        • 20
          Stephanie says:

          Sarah, I just linked through to your blog and read what you’ve posted so far. You are strong, God is with you, and even though you don’t know me, I am praying for you!

  8. 21
    mary ann thompson says:

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR OPENNESS AND HONESTY. I ADMIRE YOUR COURAGE AND YOUR FAITH.

    PRESSING ON TOWARD THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING IN CHRIST JESUS…..

  9. 23

    “Because if you take those reticent steps holding onto Jesus’ hand, you will find yourself in His arms if you do collapse.” Such a beautiful and comforting message in that one sentence. LOVE your words! Love the story you’re being so brave to share! Love you!

  10. 25

    Bonnie,

    I could relate to your fear, your crying, you feeling of aloneness. I was suddenly and unexpectedly widowed about 3 weeks ago. My husband died in my arms of a massive heart attack. He was 51. I hurt, I hurt, I hurt. I am afraid. I am angry at times. I physically hurt at times. I barely have the energy to function at times. I can’t seem to stop crying, but I still have to get up and go to work every day. I work in a hospital. Probably not the best place to be when I am trying to understand how my healthy husband died. I am so angry with people telling me how to feel. My world has been rocked to its very core. The plans we were making to ready for retirement are all gone. I don’t even know yet if I will be able to afford to keep this house which now seems so big. We found each other 14 years ago after each going through the painful loss of our first marriages. My husband adored me and gave me what I needed emotionally. We were financially stable. I was so happy. I felt like I was headed for a wonderful second half of my life, surrounded by my husband, other loving family and friends, a stable job, nice house. Everything was just as it should be. So I thought. I know God is with me, but this new world I live in is not where I wanted to be. I thought God had finally blessed me with all of this after enduring a near fatal car wreck in my early 30’s, my first husband’s descent into addiction and mental illness and the breakup of our marriage, being a single mom for 8 years and finally finding the man and the marriage I believed God wanted me to have. It feels childish to say it is all so unfair, because we know life isn’t fair. We know the Bible pretty much guarantees suffering in the life. I just thought I had suffered enough. Thank-you for sharing your own struggles. Like you, I don’t know what is going to happen going forward, knowing that you did find a way to begin to climb out of the dark hole you are in is an encouragement. I hope I can find what you have found. I can’t see it now. Help me God.

    • 26

      I am sooooo sorry to hear about the loss of your awesome husband.
      I can’t imagine going through that.
      Lord please help her feel you holding her and help her to give herself permission
      to rest in you.

    • 27

      Sharon, I hope it’s ok with you that I’m adding you to my daily prayer list. I know that deep pit, although my circumstances that put me there are different than yours. I am SO sorry for your loss. You are on my heart. <3

    • 29

      I am so sorry for what you have been put through and for your loss.

      I pray that you will be able to overcome this pain and sorrow.That little by little piece by piece it will gradually get better for you.

      Blessings to you Sharon

      Penny

    • 30
      Beth Williams says:

      Sharon,

      I am deeply sorry for the loss of your beloved husband and friend. Can’t imagine the pain and grief you experience. God’s timing is perfect and He know the plans He has for us–even if they don’t make sense.

      Lord,

      Please help Sharon grieve the loss of her husband. Help her to make it through each day getting a little stronger and more able to survive and be ok. Bring some people–good friends who will sit with her and listen to her story or just let her cry out on their shoulders.

      Lord you alone know what exactly Sharon needs right now. Please bring those people & things to surround her and bring her a sense of peace.

      AMEN!

    • 31

      Oh, Sharon. Hearing your story — oh, my heart just breaks. I’m so sorry for such deep loss. Jesus, thank you for all the friends who are swooping in to lift my friend, Sharon, this morning. Give Sharon the freedom to be where she’s at and find people who can be present with her. To be you for her and comfort her during this time. In Your Name, Amen.

    • 32

      Sharon your hurt story is just so very sad. I understand how you thought your husband was a well deserved blessing after what you had been through. I don’t know you but I love you and wish I could hold you on my lap and rock you. I will pray for you honey…. and grieve with you as well. May God bless you with strength and recovery of peace of mind.

      Love, Patty

  11. 33

    Bonnie ~
    Thank you for being so open about your journey.
    May you know that you are surrounded by people who love and care for you and keep you in their prayers.
    All God’s Blessings ~ Dorothy

    • 34

      Dorothy, I so appreciate you. You’ve been there from the beginning. I know and feel this love and care from the friendships we share here. Thank you for being friend. I hope you’re well and enjoying this autumn weekend.

  12. 35

    Bonnie, thanks for sharing this so openly and transparently – you are so sweet, and we all love you much. Thanks for taking the steps you did, even though they were so difficult. And I am so glad that you are back, sharing your heart …

    • 36

      Hi Cherry! I so appreciate you. Truly. I have felt loved from the friendship we share here in this virtual space. Thank you for being friend across the miles through the gift of writing. I hope you and your beautiful family are well. And I’m wondering how your journey walking with them has been. I’m so glad they have you. You are a true encourager. From the heart.

  13. 37

    Thank you so much for this writing. I too have suffered from PTSD and major depression since my son was murdered in 2005. I felt so unsafe outside since his murder – it took me 6 years just to drive downtown to work.

    I never realized that there could be such a riveting life-changing moment – I kept telling myself I would get better – and I kept praying for Jesus to help me – now I ask Jesus to make me better and help me to make it through.

    I thought my daughter and I would be come closer after the murder – but it has driven us farther apart. I just want to be loved by the Lord and feel his presence. The fact that He says it’s okay to be broken – oh to hear Him say that to me is worth everything. I can’t make it without the Lord.

    • 38

      CK, PTSD is such a difficult thing to bear. I will be covering you in prayer! <3

    • 39

      CK, my heart was just pricked reading about your journey. PTSD is hard. You are not alone. And it is okay to not be okay. Life is not easy for all of us. But that doesn’t exempt you from being loved and accepted. Which you are. And I just THANK GOD and praise him for leading you to a place you can drive downtown to work! That is a big step you’ve overcome! And, oh, how horrific your son suffered unspeakable evil. I’m so, so sorry. Jesus, may you bring comfort and continuing healing. Thank you are strong and faithful to never ever leave us in this journey. You are faithful. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  14. 40

    You may be looking ahead of you at the next step and it isn’t one you want to take either.

    But, you also know the journey that’s led you to where you stand today isn’t one you want to repeat and go down again.

    Yes~

  15. 41
    Jeralyn Egger says:

    Bonnie…your writing gently pulls the mask off of my posing and pretending everything is okay. Thank you…

  16. 42

    beautifully written. and i am filled with jealousy…..for, in the midst of horrific for some time now, most have forsaken me…and the rest tolerate me. my church “family” doesn’t want to hear anymore…oh, they listen….and then go about their lives while i am clinging to mine…alone….but with Jesus!
    and then sunday comes…again….as i hesitate to share more of this faith-challenging walk i am on…but i do…with that small bit of hope that SOMEone might care…ANYone…..and i go home….with Jesus…alone…again…until the next church meeting.
    and so goes my life. humans are cruel, selfish beings. but i have learned that i must step out even further to those outside “the church” who are hurting as much, if not more….because i go with Jesus…each step of my awake hours…and i may be the only representative of God in their lives…the only one who DOES care…i will be there for them.
    and Jesus is ALways there for me!!!!

    • 43

      I can relate to your pain and the loneliness and abandonment you feel. I’ve been there and I would encourage you to keep going to church just for you. Church is a hospital for the wounded in life……I switched churches after a crisis in our family, and went alone for a few years where I was permitted to cry without anyone coming to my aid. The only human touch I had then was the senior pastor’s wife who would make a bee-line to me before I bolted from the church with a smile and a hug with words to the effect of “seeing my beautiful face”. I felt anything but beautiful, but God used this woman of God each Sunday to spark hope and courage that I could get through another week. My thoughts and prayers are with you in your journey of faith.

    • 44

      Tara; I cried through your post. I know the loneliness – the longing to be recognized, accepted and included. And, I understand the desire to reach out to those outside of the church who also feel alone or worse.

      May God meet you and all of us who feel this way and may He fill us completely.

      Be blessed,
      Monica

    • 45

      Hi Tara, thank you for sharing. I am so, so sorry that you are experiencing such loneliness and rejection. I’ve experienced this. **But, don’t give up.** As you can see here in the comments, there are believers who understand you. Find a church who has ministries to support small groups to share about the similar healing journey of recovery. A lot of times, people who haven’t gone through this won’t know how to support/respond. Before this plane trip of mine, I’ve been walking through the most debilitating season just talking to a few people (I couldn’t even go to a small group). And I had to talk to a therapist on a regular basis because it can be too emotionally overwhelming for others when I was in the thick of the worst. Dear Jesus, help Tara. Encourage her. You know it’s hard to look for another community when you’re already feeling down. But, you love her and care about her. Bring people she can journey alongside. Even if just one time. For one step. In Jesus name. Amen.

  17. 46
    Brenda S says:

    I, too, am embarking on a venture that is causing me much anxiety and fear and I have come a long way from my panic attack days…….thank you, Jesus!

    I have started training for a volunteer position for a Pregnancy Crisis Center. We have been fundraising and the opening of this new center is right around the corner so yesterday I started training for a receptionist position at our sister center in another city. My first challenge was the drive to this much bigger city than my rural country home. I don’t do big city driving well and I have been blessed on both trips to have someone with me. The training for this job is intense as it’s not just answering the phone and transferring calls. It is loads of paperwork……..loads…….and things to remember and few things to refer to for directions……and people to remember. I came home last night totally physically and mentally exhausted and scared. I am the only person who has volunteered for this position in the new center and it will be me having to implement these procedures and tweeking them to fit the needs of the new center. It will be me who will be under the direction of a brand new director who I just met. I want to crawl under the covers and stay home where I am safe and the routines are familiar. I want to just disappear from view of these people who I have no connection to …….don’t know personally and will probably not see again once this training is finished. I told myself during the day yesterday that this is not any different than the other jobs that I have held where I had to learn new things ……..and I did learn them and did well. This is a wonderful opportunity to save the lives of unborn children and help young, unmarried teens……boys and girls…….take on responsibility and parenting skills. It is desperately needed in our area. I have no one to voice my fears to except my husband and he is my biggest cheerleader……….you can do it……..you are capable…….all good things except when I am in the midst of doubt and fear and flight mode. No one who has never had panic attacks understands when you try to tell them your fears. Please say a prayer for me that ……..if it is God’s will for me to embark on this adventure that He will also give me the peace of heart to do this, and if it’s not what He has for me to do that His will is made clear and provide me a path to follow that will lead me where He wants me to be. Thank you.

    • 47

      Brenda, I will be praying that prayer with you! I feel like maybe God wants you to hear this: “Begin to use words like WE and US instead of me and I… because I am going with you!” <3

    • 48

      Brenda I am so excited for you! Saving babies… so many babies. More than you realize as the teens are just babies too that need so much love and attention.

      I do understand panic attacks as I have them. It is a scary world out there and please know that God is with you (as many of us will be in prayer).

      I once went from a simple cashier to being trained for head bookkeeper, at a grocery store in Denver, while the bookkeeper took maternity leave. Not a little grocery store on the corner. I used a shorthand tablet and wrote down step by step notes as I learned. It really helped. Later it was used for training others. I used that book everyday…. as long as I worked there.

      That idea and a morning prayer (Lord when I cannot do it please do it through me!) You will be volunteer of the year before you know it.

      I will put you in my prayers….

      Love, Patty

  18. 49

    amazing… true.. powerful… sometimes all it takes is to fall apart..i need to fall apart right now but its like a steel cage at times prevents me doing so… Or maybe I am fine just as I am. I truly do not know. But this was good. I have shared it with another who will totally understand.
    The voice of God repeats …”it is ok to “be” however you are. Ok to need, OK to admit, OK to keep on keeping one, OK to FALL APART”
    We are safe, I am safe simply because HE is SAFE.

  19. 50
    Laurie Dadiomoff says:

    Thank you Bonnie for your words and courage. I, too suffer from fear, panic and anxiety and I have to get on a plane tomorrow. Your story was timely and just what I needed. I kept thinking how I hate to travel alone, but I’m not. Jesus is going with me

  20. 51

    Bonnie, I appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable on the plane. I tend to be fearful of what people will think if I panic in public. I have fought anxiety since having health issues four years ago. I thought I was healing until two months ago when new health issues arose.
    It does help to talk with others. But there are few who are encouraging and patient. It seems the ones who helpe most have the gift of mercy.
    I just keep trying to focus on Christ and Gods promises. And to read encouraging experiences of others, like you Bonnie. Thank you.

  21. 52

    I sat and wept at the hospital bedside of my mother. Can I possibly be totally present in this painful time, after just burying my dad in August. Can Jesus possibly be with me again as I face the possibility of burying my mother? Do I have the courage to look at the day? I pray so. Thank you.

  22. 53

    Yay!! I’m SO glad that you went, and allowed God to work IN you and THROUGH you! Praying for you as you continue to walk this healing journey with Him…

  23. 54

    This year has been a rough one…my dad died last December…his death set in motion a whole slough of events culminating in my being forced to move from my home of 20 years and the last piece of property my family owned in the city I grew up in and worked in. I would not have chosen to leave. Now I am in a new house (renting) and a neighboring city. My life has been all about moving out and now it’s all about moving in and discarding all the excess I’ve accumulated over more than a half of a century of living. But when that’s done, I want to face my fears and the realities of life I have hidden from all these years. I will have no more excuses to hide behind and that terrifies me. Thank you for sharing. It is so refreshing to be invited into your walk with God through your fears. Thank you Bonnie for being open and honest and real!

    Blessings,
    Linda

  24. 55

    I experienced this same kind of thing after the sudden, tragic death of my beloved son but I , like you, fell into the arms of Jesus and allowed HIM to carry me through a very difficult journey that lasted 7 years. This journey resulted in my being drawn closer to my Lord and a book which HE inspired me to write, “Restore my Joy, A Poetic Journey from Hurt through Healing to Hope.” I am now able, having gone through this school of suffering, to help others and what joy this gives me. Jesus is being glorified through all this as others come to meet HIM through me. How humbling. So God sometimes chooses to allow us to experience anxiety, panic, depression etc. and brings us through so that we can comfort others with the same comfort we have been comforted with. The important thing is to hold on to God through the dark times and He will never leave nor forsake you but in HIS time, HE will bring you out victorious and joyful to minister to others. God Bless you all and thanks Bonnie for being so vulnerable, opening up and sharing.

  25. 56
    candy1945 says:

    I don’t even know you in person but I am so proud of you for going to be with sisters and friends in faith. They are our support system that accept us for who we are. Our God is an awesome God and always there for us. I have just joined the in courage family. So only about 1 or 2 months into reading the daily in courage posts.
    I would love to start a blog myself but not sure just how to go about it but I love reading the blogs of sisters in Faith.
    I hope (I know) you had a wonderful time in Savannah. God Bless you, Bonnie, for sharing this story.

  26. 57

    Oh how I cried when I read about the surrounding, the lifting of your burdens by your sisters you couldn’t see through the tears, and the whisperings of “You Made It”. Wow. Such connection there with my heart. Thank you for sharing yours! Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  27. 58

    Thank-you Bonnie for sharing this.Your courage, faith and honesty are appreciated more than I can express.

    I felt as though I was sitting right next to you on that plane, wanting to reach out to you. Although you were not alone.

    I am so happy for you “that you made it”.

    Blessings,
    Penny
    Penny

  28. 59
    Beth Williams says:

    Bonnie,

    I’m am soo proud of you for facing your fears and just letting go and letting God! I understand it can’t be easy, but just knowing that the women you were to meet with are your sisters in Christ who want to shower you with love and understanding. Congratulations on taking the first step into the world again! We miss you and love reading your writings!

    God bless you as you continue on your journey!

  29. 60

    Thank you for blessing me as well. Inner turmoil anxiety oppression fear.. are very real and unseen forces that try to destroy each of us who have been their victim. Though God loves each of us because he is moving us forward through our storms and emotional conflicts. Each of you has blessed me and my heart hurts for those who have lost husbands, children, dreams and health! those things we had as our foundations and security. This road of life being filled with Jesus and our true Father requires us to rely upon Him alone in these experiences and it can prove to be a most lonely, frightening and isolated experience. I thank you all for baring your souls and I pray dear lonely widow, Sister with cancer, sisters of grief and those that have walked through and share support- I pray for u all to receive mercy and support from our living God! u have lifted utter loneliness from my heart while still walking through the desert out of Egypt with my faith leading me forward into the promised land. May God bless and guide and heal you all!

  30. 61

    Anxiety has been like a mean dog biting not just nipping at my heels since I was in my early teens. It affects me physically with all kinds of yucky stuff. A doctor told me it was like I’m always waiting for the next shoe to fall. Physical? Emotional? Spiritual? A vicious circle? Today is my birthday, and my sweet husband is going to take me to lunch at our favorite restaurant on the beach. I really don’t feel up to going, but I choose to be present in the moment! and somehow or other, I know Jesus will meet me and it will be a good time, even if I start out feeling spacey, etc. It was good to read your story, and those of the others. Every now and then I experience the other side of fear, and in my struggles when I don’t, it really is beautiful to have friends who are encouraging. Blessings of strong peace to all here who have the courage to be vulnerable.

  31. 62
    Ann Schlosser says:

    Thank you Bonnie for sharing this. A friend and I have been asked to do a small, casual women’s weekend retreat…my friend likes to teach and draws energy from being in groups. I don’t! Regardless I’ve accepted the challenge (for me) b/c I know the only reason I wouldn’t do it would be out of fear…I don’t express myself well and run out of words pretty quickly (when speaking). My strong point is the “written part” of our curriculum. How freeing it would be if I knew I would be accepted “just as I am” and was allowed to bumble through…yet still strive to get better at communicating in groups. Jesus has asked me to “feed His sheep” regardless. So I will take even closer note of women striving for the same and encourage them to “just be themselves”….we don’t expect perfection. Like you!

  32. 63

    Bonnie, thru your courage I am finding my own for today. Thank you. jesus, has whispered similar words to me about my “not-okay-ness” and hearing HIm tell you it’s ok to not be okay was what I needed today. I desperately needed that reminder. I am in a season of seeing stuff about me that I don’t want to see but must. I will try to be present today and love well in spite of how things look and feel. Thank you again.

  33. 64

    Thank you for being so honest and transparent with your experience of fear, and for acknowledging God. Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5. So often we try to handle things all on our own when we can just do as God says and trust in Him… so happy for you Bonnie.

  34. 65
    Lu Wings says:

    Wow: You made it.
    Against daunting odds and LOADS of feelings, you did it.
    Thank you, for doing it, and for sharing your journey.
    HOORAY!
    Hooray for you, for His arms, for the arms of friends……and for strength infused within us, as we dare to listen and respond to His leading, wherever it may take us.

  35. 66
    Christine says:

    You poor thing to have to go through all that anxiety but you did make it. I had tears in my eyes as I read your post. I know that kind of feeling when you stepped into the house and broke down. I have had that myself but I am alone when it happens. There is no one to understand and comfort me. Except Christ.
    So thankfully, you had not only Christ but your sisters-in-Christ, too! It was a big step but the rewards will be just as big if not bigger.

  36. 67

    Thank you for sharing this story–messy and teary and all. I so needed to read this. The words spoke to me deeply, and confirmed things God is saying to me: to go forward to be free. And it’s SO scary! I am so afraid! And yet I don’t want to go back. Sometimes the healing feels like circles–going around and around. And yet it’s still moving forward–like the walls of Jericho coming down. We just keep going and TRUST Him. And I just admit it again: I’m so afraid, but I am encouraged that it’s time to keep moving forward. Bless you.

  37. 68

    Dear Sweet Bonnie
    I commend you for your co urage. I love how God uses our honesty to help others an yours has certainly helped me in the past. I read this with great interest since we are going on our first vacation since the late 80’s. I have been very ill for so long and like the boy in the bubble often…..dealing with Lyme Disease, and reactions to chemicals, fragrances, anything really. God has been healing me from PTSD and my body from 27 years of sickness. He told my husband and I to go to a healing conference out east. Traveling is a huge step of faith. We are excited to to and I am anxious how I will handle hotel rooms, hours in the car, etc. But God told me to go. So I go. And I know that “He goes before me and makes the rough places smooth” and he is with me even in those rough places. Again, thank you for sharing,. God is so good, isn’t he?! Wrapping you in prayer today.

  38. 69

    Bonnie! I am so very proud of you. You did it. And you will do it again. I don’t know if it will ever become easy… but with God you can do everything. I will pray that it becomes ‘old hat’ for you… but I realized that it will take a lot of pray. Those attacks are awful and they are strong. God is stronger.

    On another note? I was so HAPPY that Faith Jams is starting up again. I did not know about it till I ‘rediscovered’ you and I was sad to see it was not going. I have already signed up for it! Thank you so much and may God bless you over and over!

    Love, Patty

  39. 70

    Your post struck a very real chord in me this day. I got up out of bed, riddled with pain and fatigue and wondering how life will go on through this, how will God fulfill his destiny for me? Oh I relate to your hunkering down in anxiety! Thank-you for sharing. The “journey” whatever it is, when it’s new and terrifying is the same even if we aren’t getting on a plane like you were. Our journeys are all different and if we are the “type” to pull inward and not upward then it is a battle for sure! Thank-you for sharing your courage in Christ. I am going to take my first steps “out” today. Here I go!!

  40. 71

    Thank you Bonnie,
    You gave voice to what I haven’t been able too. We are all Wounded Healers, his heart, his hands reaching out in the world even when we don’t recognise how he is using the brokeness to bring light to darkness. To be present in the stories that make up the daliy circumstances of life. Blessings to you my friend and may you continue to be the pencil in God’s hand.

  41. 72

    Bonnie, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for getting on that plane!!! I am so proud of you and thankful that you were willing. My sweet husband feels very much the same and has never taken that step – it grieves me sorely to see him bound, and all the things he’s missed out on. It’s so encouraging to hear a story where someone will just flat out say what it was like, how it felt, and share as the rest of the story unraveled. I thank God for you and your trust in Him. May he bless your heart and HEAL YOUR SOUL, in Jesus’ name. Amen. :’)

  42. 73
    Twila Bennett says:

    I am so proud of you! I get this–you know I do. Hugging you from afar, friend. ‘Be strong and courageous.’

  43. 75

    I needed this today. I was fired from my job 3 months ago. I get so worried I will never find another job. I fear that no one wants me as their employee.

  44. 76
    Heather says:

    Even before I read your blog, the title reminded me of my husband. My husband has this same diagnosis and it is his daily challenge to be present. It takes everything he has to not give in to the emotions, thoughts and body sensations that tell him to run. But, I also realized that even though I don’t have PTSD to contend with, I have my own fears and triggers to face. As I continue to move into the things God has for me, I must choose to face them head on, knowing that my Heavenly Father is with me too. Thanks for your story. . .I will pass this on to my husband.

  45. 77
    Ely Brown says:

    I am so proud of you, Bonnie!! I suffered my first real panic attack when I went to drive our standard shift car a couple weeks ago. But, I did drive the car yesterday, so maybe that is like you getting on that plane? I didn’t want to do it, but I had to, so I just did it! Jesus was with me. Your blog has inspired me so much the last 2 years. I can relate to so many of the things you struggle with. I am just about to start a new job which is exciting and scary at the same time (inconsistent hours/days/new responsibilities) but I am very excited for this opportunity! I am so glad you went ahead and faced your fears!

  46. 78

    Bonnie, thank you. I have been fighting anxiety for the past few months, and this week felt like battle after battle, attack after attack. I had to do something out of my normal routine two different days this week (work as a substitute dental hygienist in an office I used to work in regularly), and on Monday and Wednesday (the days before the days I had to work), panic attacks ruled my days. Tuesday and Thursday, I fought my way to the car, fought my way into the office, fought my way to call my patients into my room, fought to steady my hands as I worked (glad that didn’t take as much effort…shaky hands and sharp instruments don’t go well together!). It was emotionally and physically draining. But this week, I’ve leaned in closer to Jesus than I ever have before – even more than during the 10 years I battled depression. So much to be learned, and I wonder so often if it’s worth it…but I know that answer is yes. Thanks for sharing this.

  47. 79
    Birdie Cutair says:

    Bonnie,
    You are broken but beautiful – just the way God made you.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I can relate to not wanting to be around others; just want to stay in my nice warm bed. But Jesus says for me to get out and relate to others, and to love them, and so I will obey.
    Birdie

  48. 80

    I call myself a “house hermit” because I do not like to go out into the world. I am most comfortable at home, alone with my dog. My only child died in a car accident a number of years ago. Since then, I do not like to be around others, listening to them talking about their families.

    Like you, I am especially terrified of flying, as it gives me a claustrophobic feeling. Your description of the flight sounds like mine. I have given up so much because I refuse to fly.

    I look forward to reading your book next year. Thanks for sharing your story, as it lets me know I am not alone.

  49. 81

    I’m going to be honest; I read this because I didn’t have anything else to do and I thought it was only one more of those “positive posts about fear”. But this. It has hit me in a deeper level. A couple of months ago, I was getting ready to go to the US to study abroad. I began to panic and I could not see a way out. I was so scared and afraid I called off the program. That was in August. I was in a bad place emotionally and I couldn’t get over it. Now, two months later, I’m starting to build up my courage. But I need Jesus with me. That’s what I learned in the meantime. It took me a while to realize He is already there. With me. And this post has helped me in ways you cannot imagine.

    “So, you will have to gather the courage you have. Even if it’s as small as a mustard seed. Your courage may feel so tiny, it seems like any sudden gust of wind will blow it out of your grasp. It’s okay. That’s how the the Kingdom of God lives inside you. Jesus will be your courage. He will be your best step ahead. Because He loves you. He. loves. you.”

  50. 82
    Jane Davis says:

    Dear Bonnie: I’m so very proud of you. Twelve years on the other side of my own crazy and knowing now that it’s safe to share because Jesus will always catch me, there are still days of growing pains. However, the more you can share, the more light that you can shine on the pain and secrets, the fewer bad days you have.

    I will pray for you and your continued growth and healing.

    Grace and peace,
    Jane

  51. 83
    Heather says:

    I don’t read blogs. But I did this one. I have been praying about moving forward in the road towards freedom and I have never felt so alone. But I haven’t let people in. I don’t know how to let people in. I just want to be whole.

  52. 84

    I was so excited when I read this. I clapped and wanted to dance around and praise God for all He is doing in your life! I continue to pray for you.
    Vicki

  53. 85

    I can’t convey how perfectly timed this post was. Thank you so much for choosing to write and publish it. Your words are heaven-sent, exactly what God knew I needed to hear at this very moment. I’m on my own journey that requires courage, I also feel both full and broken, and I’m also learning how to walk the scary roads holding Jesus’ hand and being present. Tonight I had a very difficult experience on this journey and I came home to read this post. Thank you. Thank you for being willing – and courageous enough – to write it.

  54. 86
    Shamara says:

    Thank you Bonnie for this message. Everytime I read one of your blogs i feel like your speaking directly to me and more ways than you can imagine…I want write I want to share my story I want to have a voice and be that voice for so many…I am encouraged to take that leap of faith and start that journey.

  55. 87

    Bonnie, I’m so glad to read that you stepped out and …went. How often do we keep ourselves from enjoying all that the Lord has for us? Fear can keep us in bondage. How proud I am of you for going despite fear. I love how the women embraced you when you arrived. I’m sure you were blessed. I look forward to reading more about this weekend. And of course, I’m looking forward to reading your book.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

  56. 88

    This post blessed me so much. Thank you for sharing your heart…

  57. 89

    Can’t believe how often The Lord puts words and friends in front of us at the appropriate times. I just got back from a ladies retreat in the mountains of NC. Beautiful home on a lake for the weekend – and the owner whom I did not know until arriving Friday offered to be there, not only as hostess, but chief cook and bottle washer! Never have I been treated so ‘queenly’ and never have I felt so beautifully blessed. There were eight of us, most of whom are in my writers group and in my friends ministry. I suffered for years with depression and anxiety and praise God I have recovered – am not healed, but in constant touch with The Lord who brings me thru those times when I’m not quite sure. I kind of felt the way you described before leaving Friday – knowing in my heart how much I love these dear Christian friends and what a blessing it would be, yet part of me wanted to beg off, just stay home even though I had nothing planned. Thank God for giving me faith, strength and trust in Him and myself to make the right decisions! What a blessing I would have missed! It was a perfect fall weekend filled with joy and wonderful fellowship. so, I say in response to your post, PLEASE don’t let fear hold you back as it did me for so many years. Put your trust in God knowing how very much He loves you and wants the best for you.
    Thank you, my friend, for giving me this opportunity to share

  58. 90

    Thank you for being so honest. I am in a place at this time I didn’t see coming. Thank you for allowing me to not be okay and just to trust Jesus, and to know he is okay with that.

    God bless you…

  59. 91
    Sue Scadden says:

    I have been in a denomination where they look upon anxiety as not having faith. And anything that is not of faith is sin. I took steps to be present and was thrown away, by pastors and a therapist… and family. It hurts so bad.

  60. 92
    Darlene says:

    Bonnie, your blog has brought together so many amazing women. All of us with different stories but all of us understanding each other in a way that others can’t unless they have truly been plagued with anxiety and/or depression. You help us feel not so alone. That said, I am so proud & so in awe of YOU!

  61. 93

    Bonnie, I cannot tell you how much your writings have meant to me as I have struggled with emotional dependency, depression and grief. Wow. Your writing makes so much sense to me. Sometimes your expression brings comfort to me. Sometimes I just watch in awe as you go through so much more than I have had to bear. Just scrolling through these comments tells me you are loved by many ladies, not just me.
    Thank you for sharing that experience. I can relate.
    Love you,
    Mary

  62. 94

    Dear Bonnie,

    Thanks for writing.
    I read your post on 2012 just now and I found it have similar with my life.
    About wounded little girl that hurts and let her to go out to the world.
    It’s really not easy even until know because I don’t really understand how.
    Recently, I ask God, to talk to me like He talked to you.
    And I found you wrote this article. It feels like God talk to me through you, even at same times I feel numb. Part of me say to write comment to you and another part don’t want to do it, but I do it even when being present you won’t get everything that you expected.

    God bless you in your battle, Bonny.

    Best Regards,
    Gaby

    • 95

      Dear Gaby, I know how you feel. And I know with confidence Jesus surely hears you. And God has used others to talk to me also when I have had a year of feeling numb (and I still feel those feelings whenever I am triggered by something I’m afraid of). During that time I talked to a therapist and just a handful of different friends. Even just about the numbness. It’s okay. I am SO glad you stepped out to comment. You are giving your little girl inside a voice. And she is loved and valued and accepted. As is. You are loved and accepted as is. God bless you. I’m learning right along with you. If you can, I’d encourage you to investigate. You are worth it. THANK YOU for opening up with us and being present.

  63. 96

    Dear Precious Bonnie, May God Bless You, Every time I read your words. I just cry so may tears. In my lifetime no one has ever written words that speak of me. It is like you are telling my story. Seeing words like feeling cold and shaking. Your description of what it felt like to be on that plane. Oh My ! I had to stop reading and pull myself together. I do not know how you know about me. Surely God is using you to help me. I can not even type anymore. Thank you for you words. I so look forward to them. God is using you Bonnie to reach me.

  64. 98

    Bonnie;
    Please know that your courage in living through PTSD and sharing your life brings relief and hope to many of us. I know God has chosen me for something big- way bigger than me, something influential and life-changing for His daughters. He has given me visions and I know that my background as an image and beauty consultant and lover of Jesus all have something to do with His plan. Even though I can’t figure out the how or the when (which is difficult because the world says just plow ahead and go do it), I know I have to trust this to God because it is His, including the timing.

    I have no clue what my next step is. I just know I am to do this ministry He has laid on my heart. And this is hard because He has graciously and lovingly placed me in a comfort zone where I have been for 6 years in order to heal from 7 years of lost dreams, plans, goals, careers and friends. It’s as if I had to heal, let go and learn how to live anew. Stepping out after being away for so long is scary. I hope that He will have loving arms waiting for me when I do take the next step, just as He has done for you.

    Thank you for being courageous!

    Monica

    • 99

      Hi Monica, you can confide in just one person. Just to share. That person may not even be a best friend or a continuing confidante. It just may be for that one time. But, just for whatever step you take, let yourself be present. And there is no little step. Every step is big in God’s eyes, no matter what size.You can do it, Monica. We are all taking those steps. And God is with us.

  65. 100

    I admire you more than I can say for getting on that plane. Praise God for such friends as He already had in place for you when only He knew this lay ahead. You are beautiful in Christ, friend. Jesus caught every one of those tears in His bottle. They are part of His story in your life, and He is not afraid of your tears, or mine. Thank you so much for telling your story. Looking forward to that book.

    Grace and *peace* to you in our Lord Jesus today.

  66. 102

    I read somewhere recently that it’s through the cracks and fissures of our lives that the light of Jesus may shine most brilliantly. Your post traumatic stress has created broken places in your life, Bonnie, but Jesus is glowing through those paintful places nonetheless. In fact, because of your honesty and humility, you are giving hope to many others who also suffer from anxiety. The long list of comments here is proof!

    My heart aches for you, because of the ultra-challenging process you have been facing, day by day. But God is already using you to minister to hundreds through this blog. And I am sure that number will increase into the thousands when your book is released and other opportunities are opened up to you.

    “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). I see a wealth of fulfillment and satisfaction in your future, as God’s plan unfolds. I see honor in an outpouring of gratitude, just as commenters here express appreciation for you. And I see life–vibrant, joyful days ahead!

  67. 103

    We have power from on high, the Holy Spirit, working in and through us. He’s the one who truly helps, comforts and changes/heals us and others. By Christ’s finished perfect work on the cross for us we now have His gifts of [His own] righteousness, peace and joy.
    Jesus is our wisdom etc. – past tense, no matter how we feel at times, in ups & down :) “…you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God – and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Cor 1:30)
    We have everything we need for life and godliness in Christ. – Scripture [His perfection for us so we can walk it out in peace, knowing we don’t have to earn anything].
    The gospel / new covenant & all that Jesus did and changed is even so much more – absolute forgiveness of sin by His grace [unmerited favour].

    Some words of Hope (also, see Romans 5) I was thinking about today that seemed to all fit together and encouraged me as I thought about faith, health & family members going through illness & healing. Also, healing in general that each of us has and needs in Christ. Jesus said to the leper, “I am willing” when asked if He was, to heal him. We can all receive His answer simply -that He is both able and willing, thank God! As what you wrote shows, no matter what a fearful thought or experience may seem to say, Gods Word is higher and true! Thanks for sharing your story! Helps me and so many others who can relate.

  68. 104

    I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I relate so much to what you went through. I have been there before too. And for me it didn’t even entail getting on a plane. Sometimes that anxiety is just about leaving the house in general. Fortunately, I am not always in that state and I know that Jesus is there to comfort me and protect me.

  69. 105

    Bonnie,
    Your description of how you initially feel when anxiety sets in…that’s me right before I have to drive somewhere. Thanks for encouraging us to invite Jesus to our fear. I think all of these years, I’ve labored in trying to get out from under it thinking the fear was bigger than Jesus, that he couldn’t possibly help me through it. I need other people around me to be vulnerable to about it. I have tried sharing with other people about it, but nobody really seems to get it. I so appreciate this post from you and all of the readers’ comments, I feel part of a community that gets it. Blessings and hugs.

    • 106

      Dear Lou, I understand. It’s not everyone who can understand. I have found the same thing. **But don’t give up.** It just takes just one person. Just to share. That person may not even be a continuing confidante. It just may be for that one time. But, just for whatever step you take, let yourself be present. Thank you for commenting and being present with your journey to drive. You are part of a community. And yes, we get it. :) Hugs.

  70. 107

    “Even if it means I might fall apart. At least I would fall apart being known — rather than being lonely.” So proud of you, Bonnie! You’re inspiring many to risk, to step into their fear, to be broken and full. Cheering you on!

  71. 108

    So proud for you. You overcome with the Jesus by your side. You fought through the fear and trusted God. That is so awesome. You did it, my friend. One step at a time, one second at a time. I get it. Thank you for your honesty. I know I am not alone. I continue to pray for you.

    Hugs!
    Tina

  72. 109

    I know this was a very hard step, and I wept when I read your words. I’ve been there as you know. Your bravery is phenomenal–flying across the country alone. It took me a long time to get there. The anxiety would sneak up on me and I didn’t know why. Thankfully, I am past that part of my life now. It took lots of prayer and lots of time. God bless you! :D

  73. 110
    Tanya Thrasher says:

    Hello Bonnie,
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Your journey inspires me to take my journey. To walk in faith with God..daily and sometimes minute by minute. I have an autoimmune disease, and central nervous system disorder…I struggle daily. I am not this disease…it is what I have, but not who I am. I try not to let people see my pain, my struggle. Maybe to help others with their struggles, or maybe because of my own fears.
    Last weekend I went on a girls weekend…I don’t know the women very well, but felt I needed to step out of my fears. I felt very much the same as you while I debated if I should go…if I could take that step. I hadn’t read your blog until today, after the fact. I had a great time…sure I struggled, and found myself alone talking to God. Seeking Him, for strength, courage, love. The women didn’t understand this…nothing was said, but I felt it. It is hard to get to know others, when you are so deep in getting to know yourself. Today, I sent the women your blog…and my explanation. I’m scared to death that I will not be welcomed or judged. But it is a step in growing with God and accepting His journey for my life. I taking baby steps and it is good, scary, but good. I don’t know where or what it will lead to, but I know God is my source, my strength.
    Thank you for sharing your journey, your fears, you love for the Lord…you have helped me! But of course, we know this is how God works!
    God bless you, me, and the many women who are learning and growing in God to overcome.
    Warmly,
    Tanya