The 'Why' Behind the Struggle

BY: KENDRA CAGLE

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I’ve always been a worrier. Even when I was little, I would periodically go through different habits and quirks that helped me deal with the anxious feelings I experienced. It didn’t feel like anything abnormal, so I never considered it a unique issue. I worried. So what? I dealt with it.

Well, then, I had my first panic attack. In May of 2017, just hanging out at my house, I started to feel like something was wrong. I was shaking, I felt all tingly, and my heart rate seemed to be racing. I was convinced my heart was giving out or something similar. An ER visit and a few tests later, I was sent home with an, “Oh, it was just a fast heart rate. That happens to young people sometimes. Lay off the caffeine.” Not so reassuring.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had a panic attack, but it sucks. You have intense feelings of fear and dread along with all of the biological responses for a threat. Your body and brain have dumped you smack dab in the middle of a horror movie — and you didn’t have to do anything to make it happen. It absolutely terrified me. I was in intense pain and experienced a lot of health issues when my son was born, but this experience rattled me way more than that ever did. At the time, I didn’t blame anxiety. Like the doctor, I thought maybe the coffee I had several hours earlier had suddenly hit me harder than any coffee ever. I still couldn’t shake the worry though. I was spending hours looking up symptoms and waking up feeling worried before I could think anything else. I was still terrified and now, very tired too.

Eventually, with my primary care doctor, we decided it was, in fact, anxiety I was dealing with. I was put on a mild anti-anxiety/anti-depressant — and, after about a month, it really seemed to start helping.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns from there. I still have down times. When aunt flow comes to visit, she likes to bring extra anxiety with her. I even have weeks sometimes where, if I don’t keep occupied, I worry about every bad thing that could ever happen. Once again, it sucks. So, this article is supposed to be about victory, right?! Well, I am victorious. And, this article is written with love and reassurance not only for you — but for me too. When times are the hardest, I remind myself the enemy doesn’t fight or destroy what isn’t a threat. So, the struggle of the last year that has stopped me from writing my novels and taken away so much of my drive is as much an attack on me as it is a diagnosis. Although those two things together sound worse than anxiety alone, it is a big sign of hope.

"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." Luke 10:19

Our beautiful, merciful Father has given us authority over all of the powers of the enemy. That, sisters, is what keeps me going. Someday, this experience will be just that, an experience I had for a short time. Just as much as this is an attack from the enemy, it is a time for me to strengthen. It is a time for me to remember who I am. I, you, have authority. It doesn’t mean a prayer makes the worry disappear, but it gives me the faith to trust God in this season. I appreciate every single day  I get to live without the worry. The good days are extraordinary, and until this struggle, I had forgotten the blessing of just existing in happiness.

Though you may go through times of struggle and attacks from the enemy, please remember that you are stronger than your foe. It won’t feel like it sometimes, but remind yourself. Chant scripture aloud. Show the enemy who you are and how much stronger you’re becoming. God will use the pain. He will use every moment of the dark times to show you the brilliance of the light. And if you feel the worry and hopelessness like I sometimes do, return to the truth. You are a threat to the enemy. You are strong. If God didn’t have big plans for you, you’d be living some quiet, little, sweet life. You matter to the Kingdom of God. Hold on, make it through this, and let God show you why.

 

Kendra is a loving wife, tired mom, and lifelong preacher's kid. She currently resides with her family, 2 cats, and 1 dog in a little blue house in Oklahoma.