While lying face up on the acupuncture table the other day, with needles in my cheeks, ears, head and hands, I felt more vulnerable than I have since I don’t know when. Usually I lay on my stomach, with my face in the hole and needles in my neck and shoulders.
I added acupuncture to my repertoire of physical therapy last summer, to manage the pain in my neck. Yes, the literal pain in my neck, caused by two slipped discs. I was somewhat sceptical at first, but it helped (whether it was the needles alone, Doctor M’s positive attitude, or a combination of the two, it was (and is) helpful).
In the waiting room, at my first appointment, while scanning the brochure of all the things acupuncture is good for, anxiety jumped out at me. I took a mental note for future reference.
Well, the future has come and when I recently explained my fear of flying (mostly the take-off) to Doctor M, and told him I’m going all the way to Malawi, Africa soon, he replied, “This has helped others. Why not you?” He told me that I’m doing everything right to prepare for a flight (prayer, imagery, Scripture reciting, breathing etc) and, that adding acupuncture will simply strengthen my nervous system. I’m slightly sceptical again, but I will try whatever I can.
This next thought might sound weird, but perhaps you can relate. It’s like David, up against a Goliath of a giant with just a measly slingshot. But if it worked for David, why not us?
I knew in my heart that one day I’d be going back to Malawi. After ten years, that day is fast approaching. (I have flown numerous times since then, but this trip is 3 flights there and 4 flights back.) Plans are set for me and my sister Elanna, to accompany our dad and my husband Chris, to Malawi in March. We’ll be visiting Mike’s and our mom’s memorial wells and drilling four new ones – which will make over 50 water wells drilled through Dad and Mom’s ministry, Project Wellness. I am so looking forward to many things I fondly remember about that place, mostly the beautiful faces, but the dread of flying unfortunately overshadows all the incredible things.
After pouring my heart out to Doctor M, while he strategically inserted the needles in those places I earlier mentioned, he reiterated that if acupuncture can help his other patients, it can help me too. He dimmed the lights and as he left the room, he matter-of-factly, but gently concluded, “You need to change your memory, change your mind, and start looking forward to your time in the sky.” He assured me it’s all possible.
I believe with my whole being that anything is possible with God. I have a strong faith in Him and that is why I find this fear so hard to wrap my mind around. This time though, lying face up on that table, I didn’t feel like I had to justify it or figure it out, and when the door closed and I was left alone, I felt far from alone. God filled the room and I whispered, “Here we are God—little me, big You.” Instantly, there were tears (surprise, surprise); I could see the ends of the needles in my blurry peripheral view, so I resisted wiping them.
I didn’t feel guilty because of a “lack of faith.” I didn’t feel weak or ashamed. I just felt human; a humbled one in the presence of God. I felt like a little girl confiding in her Dad. I prayed and pictured His big strong hand holding the airplane up high in the sky and smiling at me through the window. (I’ve used this imagery for years, like a child holding a toy plain, flying it through the air with joy and love.)
Whether I overcome this fear of flying or not, He will supply everything I need for the purposes He has for me in this life. He will never leave my side, and I will always be His and He will always be mine.
Shortly after my book launched, I bumped into a friend who congratulated me and mentioned how in awe she was that I had published my second book. She also said, “I could never write a book.” This friend had just accomplished something huge herself (much bigger in my opinion). I congratulated her and said I could never do what she did. I told her that when you have a purpose and passion for something and really feel called to that something, that something becomes doable, even up against a million obstacles (including fear). She agreed.
We will be given what we need when we need it to accomplish His purposes and plans for our lives. It won’t necessarily be easy, it’s rarely easy. It might be scary, painful, overwhelming, exhausting, costly, but it will be doable with God’s help (and quite likely, awesome).
As Mike became paralyzed due to the effects of ALS, he clung to this truth: you have purpose, as long as you have breath. Whatever your purpose is right now, whether you think it’s something large or something small, know this truth: God will see you through. He will provide, He will never leave you high and dry…
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippines 4:19
The Bible says, “Fear not,” or, “don’t be afraid,” 365 times—once for every day. It also contains a very powerful antidote for anxiety: prayer! This truth comes from Philippines 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, instead, pray about everything. With thanksgiving present your requests to God and He will provide peace that surpasses all understanding.”
As much as I hate this anxiety/fear when it comes to flying, it has been used for good in my life. It has brought me closer to God and it has given me empathy for others who struggle with it. If you’re one of those who suffers with anxiety, you’re not alone and I hope you don’t suffer alone. I’m no pro, but I’d say, definitely talk to someone. Talk to your doctor and/or a counsellor, or at least a friend; exercise and some people need medication. This anxiety/fear you are dealing with, isn’t a sign of weakness, or a lack of faith. Not at all, it’s just a sign you’re human.
And don’t forget to pray!
Other truths that might help you and me face our fears to fulfill our calling and accomplish everything He has in store for us:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out all fear.” 1 John 4:18
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 3:18
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
“When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19
Upcoming Book Signings: I am happy to announce 3 upcoming book signings:
Langley – Indigo: Sun, Feb 23 – 1:00 – 3:00
Maple Ridge – T’s Tea and Gift Shop: Sat, Feb 29 – 11:00 – 2:00
Abbotsford – House of James Books : Sat, Mar 7 – 11:00 – 1:00
Last, but not least, I’d like to say another huge thank you to the Toronto and Vancouver Book Fairies, who each placed 5 copies of my books in various locations around the cities for lucky finders on Indie Author Day, which was also Mike’s birthday – January 16th. (Toronto is Mike’s hometown.) It was a very fun way to celebrate his birthday. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone now for 5 birthdays.