Redeeming Anxiety

It’s been a long not-quite-two years for me. After weaning our fourth child, my hormones took a dive and it has been a long, long uphill battle with panic attacks and ridiculous anxiety. My nights just weren’t the same.

I’ve since made my way to a routine that works well for me and my hormones are recovering. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long time, and the most persistent issue of anxiety is slowly waning.

Today I wanted to share one of the tricks I’ve found to be particularly helpful when I’m fighting anxiety and why I believe it is so effective for me.

Redeeming Anxiety - One simple change that made a big difference for me.

For me, anxiety usually hits at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. If I am not careful, it can creep into full on panic attack. I’ve figured out a bunch of physical triggers for my panic attacks and know how to watch for those so I don’t trigger one.

But the mental ones are the ones that always catch me off guard. It can literally be one sentence a few hours before bed that will start one. The most recent one was on my husband’s birthday.

We were driving home and I asked him if he had a great birthday. He said yes and I said good…but my brain finished the sentence with “now I can die happy.”

Seriously.

It came out of nowhere and stuck with me all evening. By the time I went to bed, I was in full pre-panic attack mode. It was a rough night.

So what helps?

Prayer.

Now before you write me off with an “I already pray about this all the time,” please hear me out. I get it. I know what you mean. I have been there.

When I changed what I was praying about, I saw a difference. It was a simple switch. I simply went from praying about what was going on and asking God to change/stop it, to praying about the specific worry or concern that I had in a way that was bigger than myself.

An example: One of my biggest fears is losing my husband or one of my children. It is a big trigger for me. Before, I would pray and thank God for my husband and children when I feared losing them.

This was not a bad thing at all, but it was not particularly helpful. The last time this happened, it was triggered by hearing of the death of the 15-year-old daughter of someone I didn’t even know.

Now, when I find myself anxious about someone dying (or anything), I pray for those who are currently walking through it. I do this for any anxious thought that tries to come at me. If I don’t know anyone by name who is walking through whatever is making me anxious, I pray for those that I don’t know, knowing that God knows.

The reason this works for me is that what I’m dealing with isn’t reality. It is fear of something that MIGHT happen. It really isn’t logical. And I know this, but it doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with in my head.

By turning my attention from me, I take the power of the fear away. I usually get lost in praying for those who ARE going through the loss of a loved one, a sick child, or <insert fear here> and my fears are replaced with compassion.

So, that’s it. My little trick is basically to stop thinking of myself. It works for me and, if you are dealing with anxiety, I hope you can find some comfort in it, too.

5 Good Reads on Christian Faith for Moms

It’s time for another round of 5 on the 5th. Seeing as today is Easter Sunday, I have decided to share 5 good reads on Christian faith for moms that I read this past month. I try to focus the Simply Vicki Facebook page on Christian faith each Sunday.

Sort of a setting apart of the day. And a lot like a lot of things, I’m not getting it perfect yet. But if you would like to come hang out with me over on Facebook, I would love that!

5 Good Reads on Christian Faith for Moms |Vicki-Arnold.com

5 Good Reads on Christian Faith for Moms

In no particular order, here are my choices for 5 good reads on Christian faith from March.

A Clean House and a Wasted Life – Tim Challies

If you struggle with housekeeping or keeping a balanced perspective of housekeeping, this is a good read for you.

The Hard Prayers of a Mother – We Are THAT Family

My heart resonates with this post. We are in the thick of the emotional moments these days. A particularly good quote for me – “Or maybe just letting go of our illusion of control never gets easier.”

6 Prayers for the Stubborn Child’s Heart – The Road to 31

I appreciate the author’s pointing out of the good in a stubborn child. It is so easy to miss when you are facing a defiant, stubborn child. Point #3 is very spot on and one that I try to keep at the heart of my parenting for all of my children.

5 Ideas for Ministering to Others Even With Small Children at Home – The Purposeful Mom

This read may be challenging or encouraging to you, it was a bit of both for me. I appreciated the reminder that if I want my children to minister to others, they need to see that happen often. For this, the thing I appreciated most about the article is the list of practical ways to actually do this.

The Most Loving Thing I’ve Done For Our Marriage – Club 31 Women

It is easy to lose focus of what really matters and to find ourselves spinning our wheels in a lot of areas. When we take the time to refocus, everyone benefits. In marriage, I believe she is spot on in her statements here.

Activity Ideas for The Friend of Little Children – Jesus Storybook Bible

In our 3-6 children’s church class, we have been working through The Jesus Storybook Bible and I’m always looking for activity ideas for them. Today I have partnered with a group of bloggers to bring you some activity ideas for The Friend of Little Children as a part of a huge blog hop of sorts.

We are building a list of activity ideas for EACH story/account in The Jesus Storybook Bible. I signed up for The Friend of Little children. You can see them all linked up on the main page over at My Mundane and Miraculous Life.

Activity Ideas for The Friend of Little Children from The Storybook Bible | Vicki-Arnold.com

Activity Ideas for The Friend of Little Children

There are a few different themes you can explore with this story:

  • Friendship – As Christians, we are blessed to be friends of¬†Jesus. You can explore the theme of friendship with your little ones by talking about what being a good friend is, role playing out different friend situations (when someone has a toy you want, for example), or make a gift for their friends.
  • Service – Exploring service with preschoolers is a great time for role playing. One possible activity is to wash each other’s feet. You wash your child’s and then have them wash yours. Or serve each other tea and cookies at a tea party.
  • Priorities – A good one if you have older students that you would like to include. Talk about what is important to us and compare it to what is important to God. Maybe make a picture graph for little ones with magazine cut-outs and have older students make a chart or list.

Our Activity for The Friend of Little Children

We chose to focus on friendship for our activity. After we read the story, we talked about how great it is to be a friend of God. Then we talked about our friends. The 3-year-old counted off his friends (most made the list more than once…).

Then we decided to make a gift for a friend. We decided to color a picture for his friend Jeremiah. Oliver is all about dinosaurs right now and my friend Annette over at In All You Do has several dinosaur printables that we just love.

I printed out the coloring pages and let Oliver pick one for Jeremiah. We talked about which one he thought Jeremiah would like and what colors he would like on it. He chose an orange cat. ūüėČ

Dinosaur coloring pages from In All You Do

Then Oliver picked one of his Dragon Legends cards (purchased at the Creation Museum) especially for Jeremiah. He changed his mind after I took the photo so he ended up giving him the sparkly purple one.

Dinosaur coloring pages and dragon legend cards

Then we packaged it up in an envelope, which he also decorated, and hand delivered it to Jeremiah. It was adorable.

I’ve said it many times before, crafting and doing activities with kids does not have to be a complicated affair. They enjoy the time with you and will pick up much more than you could ever actually teach. They’re funny like that, little sponges.

I hope you enjoyed the activity ideas for The Friend of Little Children from The Jesus Storybook Bible. Be sure to check out all the other activities over at My Mundane and Miraculous Life!

Sunday Psalms – Psalm 3:3-8

Sunday Psalms - Psalm 3:3-8 | Vicki-Arnold.com

I don’t typically write any additional commentary for the Sunday Psalms, but this one is a little special to me. This particular passage of scripture came to mean a lot to me and was my prayer many, many times when I was struggling with panic attacks. I pray it is a blessing to you, too.

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my god: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon they people. Selah.” – Psalm 3:3-8

Sunday Psalms – Psalm 113:3

Sunday Psalms - Psalm 113:3 - vicki-arnold.com

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised. – Psalm 113:3

Sunday Psalms – Psalm 104:13

Sunday Psalms - Psalm 104:13

He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. – Psalm 104:13

Teaching a Biblical Worldview

Teaching a Biblical Worldview | Vicki-Arnold.com

Everyone has a worldview. It is the perspective from which we view, process, and analyze our life experiences. It is a culmination of what we’ve been taught and what we’ve experienced. There is no avoiding having a worldview. It’s like a brain, everyone’s got one. It’s how we each use it that varies.

The way I see it, we have two options. We can choose to look at the world and make decisions about right or wrong, how we treat others, etc. based on our own feelings and experiences alone. Or we can look at it through the lens of what God has to say in the Bible.

I am striving for the latter. I am also attempting to guide my children in this way. By the infinite grace of God, it seems to be working bit by bit. Change is hard, yo.

Obviously, I am still in the process of raising my children so I can’t give you a bullet-point list of sure-fire ways to raise kids with a biblical worldview. However, I don’t think I will be able to do that even when my kids are grown, so there’s that.

What I can do is tell you why having a biblical worldview is important and share the resources I’m using to prayerfully¬†achieve that goal.

Why is a Biblical Worldview Important?

If you aren’t a Christian, having a biblical worldview isn’t going to be important to you. If you ARE a Christian, it should be¬†very important. As a Christian, you are professing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. You are a representative of Him to everyone you meet. How you respond to situations, how you treat others, how you live your life will have an impact on how others view Him.

That’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it?! Thankfully, it isn’t really about us, it is about the grace of God. Our lives can either be a hinderance or a help to His work. I’d rather be a help.

Now, if we are professing to be Christians, don’t you think we should actually know what directives He left us? Shouldn’t we know how He expects us to represent Him? We are only going to know this by reading His words. It is important to read, meditate on, and desire to live out.

But, what about worldview? Why does it matter if our worldview is biblical?

It boils down simply. Is God right or is man? If it is man, then which one? Aside from Jesus, can you name a perfect human being? I can’t.

Biblical worldview = God is right, He is Truth. Man’s worldview = a matter of opinion, truth is relative. Which of these seems more stable? Which one is a reflection of Christ?

Tools to Teach a Biblical Worldview

If you have made the decision that you want a biblical worldview, here are a few resources I am using or planning to use, along with the reasoning behind them. My goal is that these will be a good foundation of training for both our kids and myself to look to the Bible for answers in easy and tough situations.

  • What We Believe series – We have started with Volume 1 – Who Is God? this year. The series is aimed to build a foundation of a biblical worldview for kids aged 6-14. We are using the corresponding Notebook and Jr. Notebook as well. The book is written in an conversational¬†tone and my kids have found the stories used to illustrate key points to be funny, which keeps them engaged. We have enjoyed going through this and it has presented us with many opportunities to discuss our faith and why we believe what we believe.
  • Child Training Bible – I’ll admit, I haven’t used this one as well as I should. It isn’t intuitive to me to bring out the Bible when correcting the kids. However, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The Child Training Bible is a great tool for this, you can read my full review for more information.
  • Virtue Training Bible – This is the other side of the coin, the Child Training Bible addresses behavior that needs correction. The Virtue Training Bible is focused on the behavior we should be attempting to live (through the strength of the Holy Spirit, not our own).

Beyond these three resources, we are utilizing curricula that connects this world with it’s Creator. Our science books start from the position that God is Creator and then explores his wonderful creation from there. Our history weaves both “biblical” history and “secular” history, connecting them together in the time line of the world. You know, like they happened.

Do you have any tools that you use or have seen for teaching a biblical worldview to kids? I’d love for you to share them in the comments!

Sunday Psalms – Psalm 19:1

Sunday Psalms - Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God...

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. – Psalm 19:1