It was just another ordinary day at the Carson’s yesterday. I spent the morning in a co-writing session with my husband and another good songwriting buddy of ours. A songwriters, we get the unique opportunity to sit in a room and contemplate how to put the essence of this human experience into a short little 3 minute dialogue mixed with poerty and harmony. After our “day at the office” we came home, and I taught a voice lesson while my husband started clearing the never ending pile of leaves out of the driveway. I picked up the house, did some laundry, changed burnt-out light bulbs outside all while feeling a sense of accomplishment. I enjoyed raking up leaves with my husband and throwing them down the hill. I’m not a highly domesticated woman, so I find a strange sense of satisfaction when I have a good day around the house. After finishing my chores, I went to the mailbox and got the mail – most of it was junk, but there it was the one bill I knew was coming. I had been dreading this moment of truth. We switched our health insurance earlier this year, and, for the first time since the switch, I went to the doctor for bloodwork and some other testing. I timidly opened the bill wondering what the damage would be, and immediately I started panicking at the amount. The accomplishments of the day were surpassed by what appeared to be a dark cloud. The questions started flooding in, “How will we pay for this? Should I cancel my follow up visits? What about Christmas coming? What about the bills we already owe? What about the upcoming baseball season fees and winter drum line fees?” The list of quetions piled up faster and higher than the leaves falling outside.
Over the last few months, I have been coming to grips with the fact that I have been suffering from anxiety and it has started to take a toll on my body not only mentally but physically as well. This was confirmed in the results from the series of doctor’s visits I’m just now getting the bill for. I was sure we would find something in the bloodwork that was causing some of my chronic pain, mood swings, and exhaustion, but instead the bloodwork only proved what my doctor and husband expected – that I am quite healthy and my body is simply trying to relieve the stress I keep putting on it. The last two months have been a process of slowing down and making sure I am in the Word and taking time to stop and wait on the Lord – not simply racing ahead with my plans and then asking the Lord to bless it. I’ve been focused on spending time in prayer and waiting on Him. Last night, amidst my instant worry, I remembered that I truly wanted to react differently in situations like this. I stopped what I was doing and went to pray. The Lord brought to mind Philippians 4:13. I opened up my Bible and read Paul’s words “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I was comforted by this, and I decided to read the verses leading up to this passage and was confronted with these words:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
I was convicted because, in that moment, I certainly didn’t feel content. I felt concerned and to be honest I felt justified in my concern. As I went to sleep, I began planning my checklist for Tuesday (email so and so, schedule appointments, work out class, etc) and I realized I was quickly falling into old habits. I really just needed to take the day and rest in the Word. So this afternoon, I came to my favortie coffee shop, spent time in prayer, discovered this great new study tool called the BlueLetterBible.Org (check it out!!), and found a peace even though there is chaos around me. As I was wrapping up my date with the Lord, a man came into the coffee shop and came right up to me and said “Where do you keep the batteries?” He was a much older gentleman, so I thought maybe he was confused as to where he was and I told him I wasn’t quite sure what he meant. He repeated his question and then laughed and pointed to my wedding ring and said “You must have batteries in there to keep it shining so bright.” It was a beautiful thought that made me smile and certainly caught me by surprise and got me to thinking yet again about the passage in Philippians I had been studying today. Paul talks about contentment in this life despite the circumstances – whether we abase or abound. That contentment does not come out of our own strength or mental willpower, but instead, ONLY comes from Christ living inside of us doing his gracious and beautiful work. As a Christian, a wife, a stepmom, a daughter, a friend, a songwriter (really any label you want to put on me) I can do nothing good out of my own will but I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
I pray whatever circumstance you are facing in this moment today – whether it’s financial or you’re struggling with your stepchildren or maybe you’re facing a legal battle or your marriage is suffering, I pray that you understand that you can have the same peace that Paul found. This peace only comes from contstant communication and dialogue with the creator. When someone sees you and the struggles you are facing, I hope they see your peace and ask you where you keep the batteries. Oh that we could tell them the answer lies in a deep never-ending well that’s abiding in our hearts.