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It was one of those rare summer evenings, when the children have actually gone to bed –and to sleep- on time and I had a few moments of quiet to myself. It had stormed all day and the clouds were finally beginning to break about midway across the sky as I stepped out onto the back porch. To my right, grey and ash colored clouds continued to intermittently glow from within by summer’s heat lightening. To my left, dashes of pink and deep purple cut across an orange sun that was sinking below the shadowed tree line.

I looked out to my backyard and watched the fireflies dance and sparkle, waiting for their reflection in the form of stars in the approaching night sky. The moon hung like a tilted crescent, thick and white against the forming darkness. The storm had broken the heat and left little humidity and a lot of breeze. Crickets sang their calls and frogs croaked their love songs.

This was the first time in weeks, months even, I had felt peace at night- real, deep in your soul peace.

When you get closer to the truth of something, the lies scream louder, trying to draw you away. This was what was happening to me, a fear uttered aloud coupled with tension and pain and a tendency to worry left my nights plagued with sleeplessness and fear.

This fear culminated in what some call a panic attack, an anxiety attack, an overwhelming sense of fear. To put it simply, it is an attack against all your logic and sound mind.

After dealing with the same issue for so long, you begin to wonder if something is sincerely wrong. Deep down inside, especially during the day, I know these headaches and fatigue are from tension, worry, overworking myself, overthinking, and carrying stress around like it’s a trophy to be had. But at night when I try to sleep, these thoughts come, these whispers in the dark, that it might just be something more.

And lately I have been reading a lot of truth, a lot of wisdom that is changing the way I view things about myself and God and what it really means to be free in Him. I am learning how my very thoughts and perceptions of God change the way my whole mind and body work. And His Word, the main source of Truth, has reminded me time and time again of who I am in Him, Who He is, and what faith really means. It has been a moment of letting go and submitting to God.

So many years I have been driven, maybe even pulled, ever forward. I have always felt I had to prove myself, that I am good enough. So I did what I had to do to win favor; I pushed in school, I became the submissive friend, dependable employee, the quiet, nice one. I was competing against this lie that I had been told and believed about myself that I would not be anything, that I would not and was not worth anything. Then I tried to be overly something I was not- loud, assertive, nonchalant. I quickly reverted back to quiet. I always envied those who were in their thirties and said, “Now I know who I am and I don’t worry so much about what others think about me.” I am one year away from thirty and still think that will never happen.

But, slowly, ever so slowly, like a parent with a child who grips the edge of a pool for dear life and refuses to let go, God was saying, “Let go.” Through all those years of believing those lies, He still whispered just enough Truth to me that I held onto hope. And now, through this “re-training” of my view of God and me and what is really the truth and really seeking out His Word and knowing it as I know breathing, the tension is being released.

No one ever said growth doesn’t hurt. I remember having terrible growing pains as a child and my grandmother would put warm rice pads on my ankles and calves. Growing hurts. Things rooted deep over the years have to be pulled out, not just chopped off at the base. So here I am, a year from what has become, to me, the golden ages of the 30’s, and instead of settling in I am being torn up. But I know the growth is coming.

I know because of nights like the other night, where peace flowed through me and I knew Jesus was working on another piece of me that needed to let go. Re-focusing me on the truth of His sovereignty and His love.