“I’ve found that thanksgiving and praise put me in proper relationship with You—opening the way for Your Joy to flow into me as I draw near You in worship.”
– Jesus Listens, May 9
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. —Romans 10:17 NIV
Faith felt easy
Faith felt easy at one point in my life. I didn’t realize that my confident exterior was a cover-up for the fear hiding in my heart. Waves of challenges hit one after another until most of that self-assurance washed away. Problems seemed to surround me on every side: impossibilities at work, difficulties as a new mom, and struggles in marriage. One morning while home alone with my kids, I sank under the floodwaters of fear, and I wasn’t sure I could come back up.
Abbey and Emma announced, “Evan’s awake!” as they twirled into the nursery. I stumbled behind with coffee in hand. My four-month-old son flashed the cheeser grin that I liked to call Mr. Wonderful. As we cooed back, his happy face faded. Evan’s eyes glazed over, shifted to the side, and rolled backward. His limbs drew in tightly as his tiny body began jerking in convulsions.
“Hurry, get my phone,” I said to Abbey.
After I dialed, a steady male voice met me on the other end of the line, “911 emergency response. What’s your emergency?”
One hard day turned into thirty
“My son is having a seizure! His face is turning blue!” I fought to keep control when I wanted to scream in terror. Evan’s clenched fists finally released as his body began to relax. I grabbed my baby and clutched him to my chest as we watched the ambulance arrive from the nursery window.
I wish I could say that was the worst day of my life, but that one day stretched into thirty. Evan continued to seize when waking from sleep. In the mornings, during naps, and at night, the seizures kept coming. The atmosphere of our home became tense and pressurized. I grasped for hope, strength, and sanity. In one month, Evan had more than seventy seizures. I felt like I might lose my mind and possibly my marriage.
One Sunday, Evan and I were alone while my husband, BJ, and the girls went to church. Worship music played on repeat as a constant prayer in my heart. Evan had fallen asleep in my lap, and I was afraid to move and potentially wake him. As he drifted out of his sleep, I recognized the signs of another seizure. I wanted to cry. Scream. Mourn. As the song played through the air, I grasped for one more straw of strength. And I worshiped. While holding my son’s seizing body, I raised heavy hands in honor to the Lord. I lifted my voice and sang to Him with the last bit of courage I could find. My song rang out, “Emmanuel, you’re God with me. My Comforter, very present help when eyes can’t see.” The Lord responded to my fragile cry. In my lowest moment, God’s presence washed over my shattered heart.
It wasn’t long after this worship that the gentle words of God resonated within me: “Your son is going to be fine.” Encouragement swept through my soul. I gripped onto that promise like a life preserver. When fear fractured my thoughts, I declared to myself, “No, my son is going to be fine.” I pulled truth from Scripture and prayed it over my family. The healing of my traumatized mind came in stages. Daily practices of choosing worship over worry, praise over powerlessness, and promises over lies kept me moving forward. Faith developed within as God demonstrated His faithfulness.
Faith is rising
I couldn’t listen to that worship song again for years, but it plays on repeat today while I write these words to you. As the familiar melody spills from my phone, I sense the same presence of God washing over me that appeared in that moment of desperation. When fear whispers false promises over my son, I still cling to the words the Lord spoke long ago. That tiny baby is now an active kid. He drives me crazy asking one million questions. But Evan has been seizure-free for many years. God’s presence and promises still hold me firm on days when my thoughts are unsettled.
If anxiety comes calling today, I encourage you to lift up words of worship to God. Consider declaring truth from Scripture out loud over your situation. Redirect anxious thoughts to the foundation found in God’s Word. Faith is promoted by applying God’s promises. Not sure where to find a verse? Just Google it. Listen for the Lord’s gentle encouragement, and allow His peace to confront the chaos. Anxiety is not God’s answer for you, friend. Faith is rising today.
About The Author
Kristel Ward is a Bible teacher, speaker, and founder of the nonprofit organization Grace to Grow. Her new book, Grace to Grow, can be found on Amazon, www.kristelward.com, and all major book retailers.