Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Three Word Study

Here is a vocabulary word for the day: 

Origin: 1500–1510 A.C. From the Latin obtūsus, meaning dulled 
Definition: not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
Example: Me

Why am I obtuse? I've been alive 23 years and I'm still learning the same lesson. I'm learning to trust everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) to someone who tells me He loves me, but I cannot see Him. 

There have been thousands of occasions in my short 23 years where God has done something remarkable and I've noticed. Whether its something as simple as finding lost keys while I frantically pray and run out the door, or something as monumental as providing a job at the eleventh hour with loans looming, God has been so faithful. And for each of those thousands of cases, there are millions more that I have not noticed because He orchestrates every moment...and also, I'm obtuse. John Piper wrote "God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of 3 of them." Sounds familiar. Why, then, when He has carried me this far with such flawless grace and omnipotence would I fail to trust Him?

Origin: 15th century. Middle English countrollen
Definition: to direct the actions or function of (something) : to cause (something) to act or function in a certain way
Example: Oh! Hello again!

In my own head, I must be so smart. I must be so capable and organized and wise. If I think that taking complete control over every facet of my life, and saying "Thank thee, but I thank thee not" to the God who created my 23 years, then I must think myself one heck of a chick. OR, I'm arrogant, foolish, rebellious, and spend more time falling on my butt then I should. I conclude it is the latter. I'm not in charge, but oh! I think I am. Hence my (nearly) two dozen years of learning the lesson of surrender.

Origin: 15th century. Middle English surrendren, from surrendre, noun
Definition: to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner

Surrender is not something you do by halves; it is complete. No one ever came out of a besieged city, waving a white flag, and declaring to the victor "you can have the city today, but tomorrow I will like to be in charge again." No, you give it all up, and let someone else take the power you once held without any intention of possessing it again. Our world is very unaccustomed to this concept of surrender. Especially in America where we threw out the last group that tried to tell us what to put in our teacups. To surrender yourself to anyone is is counter-intuitive; to surrender to a God you've never seen is brutally hard. It is also a command.

"Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:7

Simple enough, but how? You accept your weakness, your blindness, and fully comprehend your position. How small we are in the scope of eternity. To quote Walt Whitman, "the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." Only a verse, only a line in the broader scope of God's story. We aren't important of our own accord, but we are priceless to the One who created us, which is why we must accept our littleness and trust His love. He who loves us will do good for us, even if it doesn't feel like good in the moment. 

Pastor Rick Warren wrote in his April 2010 blog 
"You know you're surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. 

Surrendering your life means:
  • Following God's lead without knowing where he's sending you;
  • Waiting for God's timing without knowing when it will come;
  • Expecting a miracle without knowing how God will provide;
  • Trusting God's purpose without understanding the circumstances.
You let go and let God work. You don't have to always be in charge. Instead of trying harder, you trust more."

We trust those we love. Who loves us more than the one who created us?  I lied, this isn't a three word study, it's four. 

Definition: Isaiah 46:4
"Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Keeping Calm

Unless you've been living under a bucket for the past ten years, you've seen this poster before. 


The British government printed it in 1939 as Hitler’s invasion of Poland simmered the world into a boil. The mantra on its stately red field with the crown as its header was intended to maintain a sense of peace and order in the event that London was bombed. Even in the midst of attack,  the British people, the monarchy, and the empire would remain so long as everyone kept their heads and pressed forward. The poster was never distributed, but went to collectors in the UK, unseen for decades. Since its rediscovery in 2000, it’s been printed on mugs, bumper stickers, notepads, and t-shirts. I’ve seen innumerable variations on the web, ranging from “Keep Calm and Have a Cookie” to “Keep Calm and Kill the Zombies.” Now, we are no longer under threat of air raids (thank you, God), but the concept is one that has struck a chord with modern consumers. Why? We humans are notoriously bad at keeping calm when under attack.

My 2014 started off like the Blitzkrieg. Remember last New Year’s post where I was all giddy because I had exciting plans, a new church, and some certainty about where God was leading me? That was 2013. Within the first week of this New Year, I was bombarded with new spiritual battles, brilliant blessings, difficult issues with people I love, and possible life changes on the horizon. I went from “I can’t wait to see what God will do” to “Holy crud, this is all happening at once.” Falling into my first instinct, I did not keep calm. I did try to contain and control. If people around me were hurting, I needed to fix the problem rather than let God work through the hurt to reveal His healing and glory. If He had blessings coming down the road, I needed to run ahead and usher them in because God obviously needs my help running my life and the known universe. My career, my schedule, my relationships all had to be managed with the frantic skill of a caffeinated kindergartner playing Whack-A-Mole. If I seemed frazzled for the first three weeks of January, 2014, it was because I was not keeping calm, and I couldn’t carry on.

What does it look like for people of God to keep calm? Contrary to the images the world has been fed for two thousand years, Christians don’t live in a perpetual perfect state of peace, contentment, or spiritual euphoria. Life happens and we freak out, some more than others (hi there!). That’s what we tend to do, but what are we supposed to do? When I was in London this past summer, I spent a lot of time in the evenings journaling and praying about God’s will for my life. One evening, I got this really clear and powerful image of God cupping my open hands in His, palms up but not empty as God’s blessings overflowed. As soon as I start to curl my fingers around the good things in my hands, the anxiety and fear became overwhelming. I would feel jealousy if someone wanted to take my blessings or if God said I had to share them. If I didn't see my dreams in my grasp, I'd get angry, or I’d feel panic that God might ask me to give up something good in exchange for His better. Like I said, I sometimes think like a kindergartner. God left me with a choice: trust Him with open hands, or spend my life wrestling with Him for everything I think I need so desperately. Acts 20:24 says "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." 

Welcome to the battle. Like a city anticipating the mortars to drop, I know my life will have blessings and tragedies. God says  in John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." God gives us what He wills, and none of it truly belongs to us.

The kingdom will remain, the Monarchy will hold, and the people of God will not be moved because the war is already over. The only thing we control is how we respond when the bombs start falling.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Only the Perfect Need Apply

He failed to mention it was a phone interview.

I was walking with my friend Julia near the mouth of the James River when his call came. I would graduate in two months, and needed to escape for a few hours. As we had done every week for months, Julia and I laid in the sun, talked about what the future would look like, and then went for a stroll. Walking and chatting kept me calm in the face of my looming commencement.

Commencement. To begin. To start. Start what? Barring any horrendous misstep on my part, I was graduating with honors a year early.That seemed like a good place from which to commence. We were in the middle of a recession, but no one on college campuses talks about bad job markets. It's horrible for morale. We chose to believe the possibilities were infinite. So, I prayed about what to do, and I talked about what to do, and then I prayed some more.

I knew I wanted to be in ministry and I loved working with the international community. The dream was (and has always been) to work in the justice and abolition field, particularly in foreign countries, but maybe I could start by ministering in other ways. Hey, I speak Italian, am familiar with Italian culture, and have family in Italy. I also knew the spiritual need in Italy is great, and human trafficking is running rampant through the major cities. It seemed like a logical place to start exploring those limitless possibilities that were printed on my commencement packet. Yeah, I could see myself teaching English, fighting trafficking, and church planting in Italy. Why not? God is awesome!

A Google search brought me to one site whose name I cannot remember now. I emailed their director and asked if I could schedule a time to just ask some questions. He seemed enthusiastic and we set a time to chat. Walking by the river on a sunny April afternoon, Julia and I said a quick prayer that my questions would be answered and maybe doors would open; then I waited for the ring.

His voice had a twang to it like a guitar string plucked. He said he was a southern man, and retired military, some sort of army captain turned missions director. He struck me as sarcastic and biting, rough and rude, but I was so curious and excited I didn't first. I only had a few questions, but it wasn't my turn  to ask anything yet. First, he asked me for my testimony. I gave him the story of my faith, my journey with Christ up until this point. It seemed to satisfy him. I assumed that it was now my turn to ask something, but his interrogation wasn't over.

"So miss, have you abused drugs or alcohol?"
"We would have to do a background check on you before we took you on, do you understand that?"
"Are you married?"
"Are you a pedophile or have a history of pedophilia?"
"Have you remained sexually pure?"

I watched Julia's face as I answered this man's questions; she shot me a concerned frown. My hand pinning the phone to my ear started to shake a bit, as did my voice with each "no sir," "yes sir." The man grunted a short "good"  to each of my responses. At last, he wanted to know if I had any questions.

"Uh...well, I am a little concerned because I have some college debt that will start in November and..."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, little lady! How much debt are we talking here?"

I told him my first two years were already paid and I just had to pay for the last two.

"Well," he chuckled. "How did you let something like that happen? You should have thought about that before you decided to become a missionary, missy. We can't use you until you have all of your debt paid off. And you'll need to get your Master's in Divinity before we'd consider you. Columbia University has a great program that we recommend. So, pay off those loans, get your Masters. Until then, we can't really use you."

I asked him how I could pray for his church, thanked him and hung up. My phone almost took a short flight into the James River, but I shoved it in my back pocket instead. Why did I need a graduate degree from Columbia to serve in a church as a parishioner? I didn't want to be a preacher! How was I supposed to pay for a degree from Columbia when I apparently needed to be debt free before I could serve? And hypothetically, what if I was a new believer who had lived a crazy life of sin before coming to Christ? Would someone with a past like that have any hope of serving the kingdom even if Christ had redeemed them? It took a while before I stopped shaking.

"What was that?" Julia asked.
"A closed door."

Do you know something? I've carried that conversation for three years and didn't even realize it. It took a meeting with a missionary before God lifted up the scar tissue and I saw how much damage that one, seemingly meaningless, call did . This past week, I met with two missionaries on their way to Peru. They asked if I had ever thought about even short term missions. I told them that I had felt a call to serve internationally since I was a little girl, but the timing was always off. The woman cocked an eyebrow and frowned, mulling over my excuses. That evening, as I was meditating on what they had shared and what I had said, God revealed another shadowy partition of my heart. I was wounded and afraid. The timing isn't off; I live in God's timing and He can send me whenever He wants! I live in God's mercy, so I don't have to be perfect to serve! 

That day by the James, I had one of my greatest fears echoed back to me: God can't use me. I'm too mired in crud to be used by God. My debt is too much, I didn't plan well enough. Maybe God wanted to use me, but I messed it all up. I'm not smart or educated enough. I need another degree, even though I can't afford one. God can't use me because I have a wicked human heart, or there's past sin, or...or...

Lies. They're all lies, and I've carried them for years.

Throughout the Bible, who did God use to bring glory to His name? He used prostitutes, murderers, debt collectors (and those in debt), men and women with tarnished pasts and hearts rotten with pride. He used rednecks and blue collar workers, adulterers, formerly demon possessed men and women. He used Paul, the predator of His people; He used Rahab, a foreigner and a prostitute; He used uneducated fisherman, con men, Samaritan women with chronic relationship issues; He uses me. He uses whom He wants because He's God and there is glory in making wrecks into instruments of love and mercy. Historically there has been only one perfect ministry, and that belonged to Jesus. I'm called to be like Him, to serve as He did, while comprehending that I will never be perfect on this side of eternity. Our humanity doesn't change our call, and the grace and will of God can supersede anything that man says makes us unworthy.

For the first time in three years, I've seriously started looking at ways to serve overseas. It may just be adopting a church, a family, a country to pray for, but I'm not using my debt (spiritual or financial) as an excuse to sit back. If you feel led, please pray that doors would open in God's timing, and that He would refine me in the months to come. I think the time is approaching soon. 

36Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38"Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. 
                                                                                                                                      Matthew 9:36-38

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Running for Love

My blog is not looking very pretty right now.


When I decided to title it " A Work in Progress," I had no idea it would be so aptly named...yeesh! Hopefully, we will be looking pretty and functional in a day or two.

I, however, am not looking pretty or functional at the moment. Oh the joys of sinus infections. With a red, stuffy nose, head pounding, watery eyes, and sore ears, I look more like a Bassett hound. It's pj's, sleep, and tea for me because I need to be well in one week. Actually, I need to be a bit better than well because I'm running my first 5K.

Stop laughing. It's not funny.

Why am I doing this? I think everyone has a reason for running. Whether you run for health, a sense of accomplishment, or to reach a distance/time goal, I feel people need a logical reason for running because its an illogical thing to do. I mean a marathon...what is that? Why would I run 26 miles unless  being chased by a Kodiak bear, killer sharks, and/or a herd of redneck zombies (scariest flippin' things ever). I'm not a runner, nor do I particularly understand the draw. However, when LOVE146 announced that their Ride, Run, Walk for Love would be this September, I started working my way up to a 5K.

What is LOVE146? It is a non-profit organization whose only goal is to end child sex trafficking and exploitation. Their battlefield is international and domestic, using prevention education and grassroots efforts to combat the trade of children. They also provide holistic aftercare to survivors, and give them the tools to integrate back into their communities. So many survivors go on to live healthy, joy-filled lives, even after such traumatic abuse. I've made the organization (and the issue) sound like it can be neatly packed up and dealt with. Sex trafficking, however, is such a densely layered, convoluted, twisted crime that often relies on socioeconomic vulnerability, cultural conventions, and lack of education to prey on their victims. Traffickers are well-networked, and in some cases, law enforcement willingly turns a blind eye. So no: child sex trafficking won't end without a fight. There is darkness, but there is hope. If you want to hear some accounts of the work and the cases LOVE146 sees, view here (warning: some of the stories shared are a bit graphic). This is why I love this organization's work so much. This is why we're running next Saturday.

This fundraiser isn't just a local event. It happens all over the world, and the distances and dates have varied. Check out these three gentlemen from my favorite city in the world who ran 1,000 miles for love here. And here's a local church who ran their own race here. Lives are being changed, hope is being restored, and link by link the chains are being broken.

If you want to join me in running, all the information for sign up is here. Please do come run, walk, or ride your bike (motorcycles are invited as well!!) Personally, I might end up crawling, stumbling, and eventually limping for love, but we are not Chariots of Fire; we are people on fire for these kids and getting them the justice and hope they so desperately need. You can also find info on how to donate to this cause on the link above.

Love protects, love defends, love restores, love empowers.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

When the Doors Open

My last post was over a month ago.

I have obviously been taking the whole "Be Still" concept to heart. It isn't laziness; I'd love to be writing more but for weeks I couldn't write a thing. I had nothing to write about. There were no fresh fictions, or even meandering brain spasms to jot down. Nothing! I've had nothing relevant to say for weeks.

But God has.

Not only has He said a great deal, He's started opening doors. Oh my doors. They are so much nicer than perpetually smacking my sore forehead against closed opportunities. What is even more astounding is how God has opened doors that weren't there before; this is all very Alice in Wonderland, these miraculous entrances and exits.

A Bit of History
As I've mentioned before on this blog, human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children have been weighing on my heart since I was about fourteen. Dark topics for an eighth grader, but I blame it all on God's timing. Like the majority of Westerners, I operated under the belief that slavery was a relic of ancient times, an atrocity long dispensed of by our forefathers. Those presuppositions were blasted when I learned the slave trade is not only alive and well, it is larger than it has ever been before.

A man named Rob Morris visited our church in 2004. I remember my mother and I saying after the service that he had the saddest eyes we'd ever seen. He looked like a man who was grieving, but not despairing. It was like a fierce or determined grief; the kind of sadness that suggests action. Rob Morris is the co-founder of an organization called LOVE146 (Learn more about LOVE146 here).  I had never heard of child sex slavery before. I don't think many people in that sanctuary had, and now what were we supposed to do?  I was shaking when I left that sanctuary. Millions of girls my age and younger were being sold for sex all over the globe. How do you even process that? What do you do with it?

I knew I didn't want to muddle in my sadness. It was correct and good to be sad, but there had to be action too. Before that service, I had no idea what I wanted to do or study, but after Rob's 25-minute testimony I knew. I wanted this fight to be part of my life because it was part of 27 millions lives. For the past eight years I've been knocking on every door I could think of, but they remained shut because it wasn't God's time yet. Door after door was slammed in my face. I tried to reason with myself, to put a balm on my frustration. Maybe the only way God would let me help was through prayer and donating when I could. Maybe I was misreading this burden on my heart, and I was meant to do something else. Maybe my motives weren't what they should be, but what would the perfect motives look like? Maybe my heart wasn't right and God didn't want to use me. Fortunately, those doubts were crushed almost as soon as they popped up, and the Passion 2012 conference in Atlanta, GA put every doubt to death for good. This was what I was supposed to do, but not yet. Now I had to be still and wait.

Hey there, door!
This past December, my mom and I were driving through town when I saw a vinyl sign hanging from the facade of an old brick church. The church has stood for two hundred years, but this sign announced new tenants. We were ecstatic. As much as we loved our previous church, it was almost an hour away. This new fellowship was five miles from home. We had been there about two weeks when an email went around asking for volunteers to help assemble furniture for the church office. I felt God nudging me to volunteer even though I'm useless with a hammer, so my mom and I signed up. There were five or six people who came that night, and we were introduced to the discipleship pastor. We chatted about small groups and ministries as we assembled desks and computer chairs, and my mom piped in.

"Sam's real passion is LOVE146. She's had a real heart for that cause since she was in highschool."
"That's interesting," our pastor said. "This church is incredibly plugged in to that organization. In fact, there are several people in our congregation who work for LOVE146; some are even on the Board of Directors. I'll have to introduce you."

He did more than that. Our church assigns us to specific small groups (kind of like the sorting hat from Harry Potter), and our pastor assigned me to the same small group as one of the LOVE146 team members. I was finally able to sit and talk with this gentleman on a rainy Monday during the small group picnic. I was caked in mud and bouncing a baby in my lap, so it wasn't the best impression I've ever given,  but I'm now part of a LOVE146 Task Force. The Task Forces are comprised of everyday people from all faiths and walks of life. Their purpose is to raise awareness and to sponsor fundraising events in whatever city they are based in. There are dozens in the USA and many teams are popping up in the UK and Ireland.

I met with my Task Force for the first time last Sunday, and came away stunned, quiet, and on fire. It's a simultaneous breaking of your heart and a drive to push past the disgust and sadness to see goodness come out of utter darkness...weirdest feeling ever. Nothing in my life has ever felt so correct as being with those like-minded people while we talked about something that can't be understood, but can be defeated with love, focus, and prayer.

Moving Forward
For years, I've wanted to dedicate my life to this, and now God is cracking open the doors. Praise God! He is so faithful. Please don't be surprised if this blog starts to revolve around freedom and the issue of slavery and trafficking. Please don't be bored with the issue. I fully intend to not shut up about it. For the first time in months, I know what I'm supposed to write about.

If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking please visit one of the website links I've posted below. They are all excellent organizations that are doing phenomenal good. If LOVE146 hooks your heart, check for a Task Force in your area, and if there isn't one,  LOVE146 can help you can plant one. This is the biggest fight of our generation, and look what good is being done here. God is sovereign, God's timing is perfect, and I'm so encouraged by what I've seen Him do in a matter of months. Praise the Lord!

Be Informed. Get Involved:

Also, song of the week: Farther Along by Josh Garrels

Saturday, March 16, 2013

St. Paddy's

First and foremost, Happy Fhéile Pádraig!!!!


I don't know how to say "happy" in Irish...obviously. Before anyone mentions that fact that my last name is Bossalini, I will say that my grandfather's name is Patrick Sullivan, and my great-grandad was from County Kerry, so we're going to pretend for the next couple days that I'm more Irish than I am. Don't judge; everyone's a pure blood Irishman on St. Paddy's. 

Here are a few things I didn't know about the patron saint of Ireland, and his corresponding day of drink and revelry that falls smack in the middle of Lent.

1. Patrick was a slave. 
Patrick was actually Romano-British, but was kidnapped and forced into slavery by the Irish. God came to him in a dream, and told him to escape captivity and return to Britain. He escaped back to his native country, and studied to be a priest, then returned to Ireland to bring Christianity to his former captors. 

2. Why March 17th?
St. Patrick's Day falls on the 17th and commemorates Patrick's death. He is reportedly buried at Downpatrick in County Down in northern Ireland (not Northern Ireland which is a separate country). Hundreds of people make a pilgrimage to his burial site each St. Paddy's Day.

3. Shamrock Shakes and Green Tees.
According to legend, Patrick used the native shamrock plant to explain the three parts of the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Originally, he was associated with the color blue, but over time that changed to green. In 1798, Irish soldiers dressed all in green to call public attention to their rebellion against the British.

4. Why are there no snakes in Ireland?
Geologists claim that there was a land bridge between England and Ireland 6,500 years ago. When the bridge disintegrated  any reptiles interested in making the cross over were trapped in the U.K. Consider that snakes are cold-blooded and the U.K tends to be a little chilly. This made migration slow, and they just never made it across the Irish Sea. St. Patrick's association with snakes comes from his attempts to banish pagan worship from Ireland which often included snakes and other less savory critters. It could also be a metaphor for The Serpent Satan, and the coming of Christianity.

5. A global celebration
The shortest celebration in the world is in Dripsey, Cork. The parade marches 100 feet between the town's two pubs. I'm dead serious.
St. Paddy's is celebrated in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Switzerland, Britain, and North and South America. Censuses have confirmed that there are more Irish people in the U.S.A (in cities like Chicago and Boston) then in the actual country of Ireland. Recent economic trouble in Ireland has led to a second diaspora similar to (but not nearly on the scale of) the mass exodus caused by the Great Famine. 

So, how are you celebrating? My cousins are coming in from Boston, so we are heading to our local to catch a favorite band. However you are celebrating, PLEASE be cautious and for the love of Pete don't drive. As someone's who's been on the receiving end of a drunk driver, I can tell you it hurts like the Dickens and is the scariest couple seconds of your life. I still have scars, and my poor knees are forever toast. Call. Cabs. and have fun!

P.S. LOOK WHAT CAME IN THE MAIL!!!!! Oh, it's going to be an amazing summer.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

With a Pounding Heart...

My eyes flew open, and my heart was fluttering like a trapped bird. I was sick to my stomach, paralyzed, and my fingers felt cold.
I knew this feeling. I thought I had beaten it and would never feel it again. I forced myself out of bed and took a few deep breaths before picking up my Bible. In moments like these, I don't have any other anchor, nothing to stop the racing pulse and flitting thoughts.

I've mentioned before on this blog that I have struggled with anxiety since I was four years old. With the help of God, family, and friends I've been able to control the panic attacks. There hasn't been a full-on attack in quite a while. However, when I couldn't find work last year, I got into an unhealthy cycle of worry that has brought back some old habits. When I got out of bed last Monday, I knew what was happening as soon as I opened my eyes.

What was I anxious about? Nothing real. That's the point of anxiety. If I was anxious about something that was looming, obvious, inevitable then we would call this apprehension. I would be considered smart for seeing something bad coming towards me. Fear is healthy when it protects us from imminent danger. The reality is I am in no danger. I woke up that morning feeling like I needed to fight for my life, but no bad dreams made my heart pound like that. It was the thought of all I had to do that day; all my shortcomings; all the humbling moments at work and in life came washing over me at once and I panicked.

God has blessed me abundantly with a beautiful family, supportive and loving friends, health, a job with bosses and coworkers I respect and admire, and a safe home. I have sweet memories, and no dark secrets from a dark past, and I am so grateful. So, what is this anxiety? Fear that I will lose it all. I'm petrified to the point of paralysis that I will lose my job because I know what it is like to be without one. I'm scared to death of being alone, and not being able to provide for myself. I'm always nervous about being a fool and not fully comprehending the blessings of God, therefore missing them. I'm scared I will do something wrong (never mind the fact that I'm human). None of these things are happening to me, but that doesn't stop the fear.

That Monday, I dug into the Word and floated around in it for a while. After twenty-two years of life and battles, I know this is the only thing that works. I can't remember what I read that morning; I do remember God's presence surrounding me all day. I remember Him being there the next morning when I woke up and steeled myself for another attack. He was there, telling me again that I was loved and safe. I remember going to my mom. I looked put-together and dressed for work, but she said my face looked like I was going through Hell.

"I'm under attack," I said. "I need you to pray, and I need others to pray because I'm under attack from the Enemy and I'm scared to death."

This was two weeks ago, and I'm thankful to God that I've been doing better. I didn't have a revolutionary moment that banished anxiety from my life. I don't know if I will ever have a moment like that. Sometimes I even worry about carrying this into my future, into a marriage. I hate the idea of some poor man having to see me like this and watching as I deal with it. My humanness and brokenness overwhelms me and...then I realize I'm (again) worrying about something that hasn't happened yet. There has been no breaking point where all of this goes away, so I leave it daily at the cross. It's a daily battle in a much bigger war God is waging with my Enemy. That is the point of it all: I only lose if I try to do this without God.

I Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."