My son started back to school on Monday.
So sad for me because I know this begins his final months of pre-school.
Kindergarten begins in the fall for my littlest one.
I'm not ready to let go of the littlest one.
My girls don't start back until the end of the month, so I've been taking the past few days to start to review what they've been taught for the past 4 months.
At first I'm amazed.
They have learned so much and recall even more!
Then it starts to slip.
Things they don't remember.
Things they don't understand.
I start to get discouraged.
What in the world am I doing?
As the day turns into the evening, almost all I see around me feeds my doubt, fear and sense of being overwhelmed.
Drawers that need to be cleaned out.
Piles on the counters that need to be put away.
The kids' rooms.
They play room.
I'm completely overwhelmed.
And then the haunting comes.
Since I've been on the other side of my struggle with anxiety, I have moments of what I call "the haunting."
Fleeting thoughts in the car or at the table or walking at the park.
Thoughts that really have no words I can articulate.
The haunting almost brushes my cheek or seizes a beat of my heart.
The haunting takes my breath away for only a moment, and I fear, "Is it happening again?"
It's almost like a sweet smell that beckons you away from your diet.
Will you fall for it?
Although it is not sweet at all.
It is the memory of a season gripped by fear.
A season of being highly incapable and not knowing what each moment might bring.
And I wonder.
Is it happening again?
As I laid in bed, the haunting came gently, leaving me gasping for air and shaking my head to dismiss it.
I started to spin downward as I recalled all the events of the day and my feelings of inadequacy.
I somehow recall Dave Eubanks.
About 15 years ago I co-led a team of college students on a mission trip to Thailand and Burma.
Dave is an ex- Army Ranger and a missionary in Thailand.
His stories of adventure through the jungles, being shot at as he brought supplies and medicine to Burmese refugees were riveting.
In the midst of extreme, heroic stories, he would speak what seemed to be random, yet profound truths.
"When you marry, if you marry, only settle for someone who each day when you wake up and see them, you're amazed that they would want to be with someone like you."
Where did that come from?
What did that have to do with college students in Burma?
Yet I remember those words to this day.
As I laid in bed and my thoughts of failure were being spurred on by the haunting, I remembered Dave.
I wish I could more specifically remember the story, but the heart of it I recall.
He was out on a run (always pushing the physical limits of his body) and towards the end of the run he felt like he couldn't make it. I don't know if the weather was a factor, the mere distance of his run, or mental doubt, but he was waning in his efforts to make it back home.
He had a choice. To press on or give up.
He decided to start praising God instead of complaining and entertaining thoughts of self doubt.
He started to thank Him for everything.
Before he knew it, he was home.
I pulled out my journal and started to write down everything I could think of to thank God for.
One by one, holding the haunting at arms length.
Until finally, the truth broke through and the haunting was gone.
It's the same principle that Ann Voskamp writes about in "1000 Gifts".
"Gratitude is not only a response to God in good times — it’s ultimately the very will of God in hard times.
Gratitude isn’t only a celebration when good things happen. It’s a declaration that God is good no matter what happens."
The enemy wants to remind us of our past.
He wants us to be defeated by doubt and fear.
He wants us to be overwhelmed by all of our short-comings.
But thanksgiving ushers us into the presence of God.
Praise takes us right into the courts of His palace.
And trust me, there is no haunting in the presence of God.
Nor is there fear or doubt from the past in His palace.
I'm convicted all the more to take the challenge of counting 1000 gifts that God gives.
I've been so blessed and challenged by Ann's words over on her blog.
I highly recommend you check it out and drink from her daily wisdom.