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Monday, February 15, 2016

Empowered by Peace

My heart has been so full this week. If I'm completely honest and transparent with you, I'll admit that this week has been an emotional and spiritual challenge for me. On Monday, I took our sweet baby L to a gastroenterologist. She hasn't been growing like they think she should, so I packed her up and took her in with no clue as to what to expect. If you're a new mother, like me, you know that some of the most feared words for us these days are "FAILURE TO THRIVE." The implications are frightening. I have been doing my best to avoid that label for my precious L, and so far we've steered clear. But this last doctor's appointment left me discouraged, anxious, and even feeling guilty. L is thriving, everyone who meets her can see that instantly. She babbles, giggles, crawls, and even tries to walk. In so many ways she's supposedly fairly advanced in her "milestones."

So why am I so worried? Some might say it's every mother's prerogative to worry about their children nonstop. But somewhere in the back of my mind is a nagging little voice that eats away at my worrisome world, slowly exchanging anxiety for conviction. That voice has a name: the Holy Spirit. He likes to chime in just when I'm at my most comfortable in my comically fretful cocoon. I say comical because I worry about so many things, stupid things, things over which I have absolutely zero influence or control. And I do get comfortable in that little cocoon, because if I'm worrying about it I haven't given it to God. And if I haven't given it to God that means it's still in my hands, which surely means I still have some degree of control. Ha! These are the moments I imagine God frustrated but chuckling at how ridiculous I am.

That's the beauty of God's loving grace, which I know I've mentioned before. He's so patient with me, and He convicts me to prove how much He loves me. Priscilla Shirer says it like this:
"God will never convict unless He fully intends to empower." - Priscilla Shirer

So what does that mean? That means that when the Holy Spirit swoops in and smacks you with conviction, He'll also leave you with the peace to move forward, empowered and reconciled and ready for battle. This really hit me as I struggled with how to be the best Mama I can possibly be. If I'm brutally honest, the selfish side of me doesn't want to surrender my sweet, beautiful baby to God. What if He sees fit to take her away? What if her struggles get worse? What if I can't protect her?

"This is how we put on the shoes of peace - we trust and express gratitude. Then, we experience the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. Starting today, any time you feel worry or anxiety creeping into your heart, take it as your cue to turn your attention to God. Pray. Trust Him. Be grateful. And watch His peace - a peace you cannot even begin to explain - swell in your experience." - Priscilla Shirer

I swear, Priscilla Shirer wrote this and God was saying, "say [insert mind-blowing wisdom here], because Cassie Troja is a worrisome woman who desperately needs to hear these things." I'm not ashamed to say I shed many tears over this. It may seem like a small issue to you, but I really struggle with surrendering my life to God in so many ways. If you ask my husband (or anyone that knows me well), I have a need to plan and control things down to the last minute. I plan, I control, I lead, I organize. It's what made me a good military officer (I think...). 

So this past week I worked on giving every little thing about L to God. I pray over her every night from head to toe. "God protect her head from bumps and bruises, make it strong and hard to protect her brain..." all the way through her little body (don't worry, I lump most of the organs together or I would never sleep). I pray for her personality to blossom, for her will to match His, for her life to be long and blessed. But most of all, I give her to God and pray that, no matter what, she know that she is completely and unconditionally loved and is a beloved child of God. This simple prayer time with her, every night, has given me so much peace. I've started trying to do this in other areas as well, and any time I feel anxiety creeping in. My God is so much bigger than my worries! 

I can't control every little detail of every passing second of my life. I just don't have the power. But I know someone who does. I have to give God the reins in every situation and allow His peace to empower me every single day. Only then will I live the fullest, most intensely blessed and wonderful life God wants to give me. A life as a woman empowered by peace. Only then will I discover that with peace comes faith, but we'll save that for next time...

Hapless but hopeful,

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