We are in full-fledged Thanksgiving mode here in my home! I was so wired on Halloween night (not from candy-eating, but from major anxiety, natch) that after getting the boys into bed, I took down all the Halloween decorations and put up the Thanksgiving ones. Bigs was so excited to see a new and different set of holiday decor out the next morning! Earlier in the week, we checked out a bunch of Thanksgiving books at the library, so we’ve been reading those too. At almost three and a half, Bigs is starting to “get” the meaning of Thanksgiving – that we should give thanks always and be grateful to God for all He’s blessed us with, which is so much more than we deserve. During the month of November (and it really should be every day of every month), I want to participate in that ubiquitous campaign to say aloud what we are thankful for.
On Friday night, I made a Thanksgiving-y casserole (and wrote my own recipe! – Don’t get used to it.). It was fairly healthy and really quite good. It looks a little busted because of the ridiculous marshmallows on top, but I also think they were fun for Bigs, of course. And me. Who doesn’t want a twirly, swirly, pink confection on the top of absolutely everything?
Sweet Potato Pumpkin Casserole:
Serves: A Lot (enough for leftovers!)
3 large sweet potatoes (peeled, cut up and boiled until soft)
1/2 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 C milk
1/4 C pumpkin pie coffee creamer (optional)
1 beaten egg
Cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice (optional – I did not use these)
I used a hand mixer to incorporate all the ingredients together. I poured it into a greased dish. I put those fancy marshmallows on top (I’d have used regular ones if I’d had them. It was between these and fruit flavored ones…I think I made the right choice) and baked at a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about a half hour. It was very good!
So. This next part is not as fun as casserole or marshmallows.
I have anxiety. And it’s mostly pretty bad. It’s an everyday struggle, even though some days are better than others. Some days, it isn’t bad at all, for which I am thankful. I constantly have to work at getting “over it”. You get used to it (I’ve been a classic worry wort since birth), but not really. That doesn’t even make sense. But it doesn’t matter. It’s real. Some people don’t understand anxiety or why I have it or why I can’t just easily be over it. And that’s okay. I’m not looking for sympathy or for you to be sad for me. I don’t want to be a victim to this. I just want to productively coexist with it, if I’m to have it.
In my inconsistent struggle to pinpoint exactly who I am (sometimes I know exactly who I am, and then all of a sudden, I feel lost…and then freaked out, and then it’s okay again), I am grateful when I discover something about myself and accept it easily and also when God gives me answers. I look to God and the Bible for guidance and comfort. And besides prayer, lots of things help my anxiety: shopping at Goodwill, baking, donuts, putting things in their correct order, ROYGBIV (it’s strangely soothing!), schedules, hand sanitizer, spontaneous hugs from my babies, plucking out my random gray hairs, smiles from strangers (but not creepy ones), a sermon at church that speaks to me, my husband coming home for lunch…the list goes on (and I might argue that the list of what makes me anxious is just as long lol). I’m not unhappy, just anxious. I know I’m not alone, in both my life or in my struggles against general anxiety.
I have to say that it took a lot of gumption for me to write this. Anxiety isn’t the socially taboo topic it once was, but it isn’t a fun thing to write about. Especially when it makes “one” feel and/or look like a total head case. This has been scary to put myself “out there” and definitely makes me feel vulnerable too. But it is strangely cathartic and freeing.
I will leave you with a few of my favorite Bible verses, ones I constantly refer to…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Be still, and know that I am God… (Psalm 46:10)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
…and a few song lyrics I hear on our local Christian station that remind me who is in charge and why I should not have any fear in this life…
“If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment…” (Sidewalk Prophets – “Help Me Find it”)
“We pour out our miseries. God just hears a melody…” (Amy Grant – “Better Than a Hallelujah”)
Today, I am thankful for a God that is Comforter, Healer and Friend. He does not judge me, but loves me.
Have a very blessed, very thankful, anxiety-free night,