• Ashley Bowman

For the Anxious Mom

Updated: Jun 7

After my fourth child was born, I suffered from severe anxiety and a postpartum panic disorder.

I had numerous panic attacks, sudden periods of intense fear or distress that triggered physical reactions in my body. During a panic attack, the body goes into fight-or-flight mode because your brain starts to believe danger is imminent. You are convinced that you are dying or certain you are losing control or going crazy. You feel unreal and detached from yourself. Your mind kind of feels like it's on drugs.

Sometimes the attack lasted minutes. Sometimes hours. Afterwards, I was left feeling tired, exhausted, scared, and hopeless.

I was so full of fear and anxiety, that I was completely debilitated by it. I was crushed by fear and crippled with anxiety. I often felt so fragile, like I could disappear off the face of the earth at any moment.

Motherhood involves heavy responsibility, many burdens, several pressures, and oftentimes, it feels like it is all on us. Also, as new mothers, our bodies are going through crazy hormonal changes. It can be overwhelming. But there is hope!

"When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalms 61:2).

When we are overwhelmed, distressed, or full of fear...we need to go to Jesus.

One night, I was feeling pretty hopeless after a day of trying to manage the intense anxiety I was having. I was just trying to do the next right thing and was reading a devotional to my daughter about worship. Then, I saw the word "sing" and felt suddenly convinced that this is what God wanted me to do. I know that praise is powerful and can help draw you close to the heart of God, but somehow I had forgotten. That night, I started to sing. I started to praise Him. The Bible tells us:

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise" (Psalms 100:4).

And God met me there. He reminded me He is sovereign. He reminded me He is good. He reminded me He is faithful and is fighting for me. And He filled me with true peace. In His presence, perfect love cast out all fear.

God reminded me that when I could come to Him with all my crazy, overwhelming fears. The Bible says,

"Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

Over time, I started to give that a try. I would pray something like this:

"God, my big fears seems so real and so overwhelming that I don't see how you can help me. But I'm just going to give it to you anyway. I need your help. I trust you God. Thank you, God". And then I would surrender my burdens to Him.

Do you know what happened? I was filled with peace. It was unexplainable. The huge fears I had before had no power over me anymore. The peace I had surpassed all understanding.

Amidst a stressful year, riddled with anxiety and panic, he gave me peace. For someone who has suffered deeply from anxiety, this truth is living water. For someone who has been weighed down by fear, this truth is the air I breathe. There is peace in His presence.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6).

When I followed the Bible's instruction, thanking and praising God and praying and supplicating (begging, crying out to God) to help me, I was filled with the overwhelming presence of God and filled with unexplainable peace, that truly does surpass all understanding. When I applied this scripture to my life, God's Word proved to be true.

Also, God did guard my mind --the part of my body that was causing me so much trouble--in Christ Jesus. He filled me with truth. He protected me from lies. Again, God's Word proved to be true. And so did the next verse in Psalms 61:

"When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy" (Psalms 61:3-3).

God was my strong tower and my refuge during my hard year of severe postpartum anxiety and panic. When I would draw near to Him, He gave me peace and shelter from the storm of panic and fear. He is still my refuge and strong tower with any anxious feelings I have today. Because I have experienced the peace and love of God so powerfully myself, I feel compelled to share it with you.

If you are afraid or stressed or overwhelmed, please don't forget to go to God. He wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to help you. He is faithful. He will comfort you. He will love you. And He will give you peace.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3).

P.S. I love this post from Becky Thompson speaking truth to Anxious Moms. So powerful.

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