My mother’s cries jerked me awake that fateful morning in 1977. A day of skiing turned tragic for my aunt and uncle during a snowstorm in South Lake Tahoe. They lost control of their car and went careening over the side of a cliff.
My uncle Ben lived for an hour on life support but my Aunt Debbie was killed instantly. She was only 22 years old and had already survived a battle with leukemia.
I was too young to understand the significance of him taking her hand despite the cancer, or to know the joy she must have felt as I scattered the delicate snowflake like petals across the aisle at their wedding earlier that year.
That morning I lay frozen in my bed, praying my mother’s screams were really laughter…and I was just confused.
It wasn’t the first time I’d been startled awake like that, and it wouldn’t be the last time.
Today I’m 44 years old and I still panic near cliffs, on turbulent airplanes, and any other time I feel a loss of control.
In his book “What Are You Afraid Of” Dr. David Jeremiah writes:
“When our pain leads us to see God as uninvolved in calamity, powerless to control it, or defeated by it, we saw off the limb that supports us and we plunge into fear. This leaves us without hope, for an all-powerful God is our only solace in tragic times.”
I became my only support system. Trying to ‘manage’ life’s ever-changing variables caused anxiety, self-doubt, and panic attacks. I sought comfort in alcohol, food, drugs, and anything else I could find to relieve the constant anxiety.
Real peace came when I accepted Christ and He taught me to internalize a simple yet powerful message from the Big Book of AA:
“. . . and acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.”
What are you holding on to that’s robbing you of peace today?