Stressed to the Breaking Point

by | Sep 28, 2011 | SpiritLed Living

woman-frustrated-public-domainThe church was electric with the
power and presence of the Lord. Revival gatherings were taking place
morning, noon and night. It was exhilarating as well as physically
exhausting going at such a pace.

But God was obviously meeting
deep needs among the children as well as the adults. Visitors were
coming and going, and our home, like the church building, was the center
of activity and wonderful fellowship.

I was just clearing the
breakfast table and laughing with some of our guests when I heard a
thump and a weak cry for help. Heading in the direction of the cry, I
discovered 88-year-old Nana, who had been living with us for a number of
years, on the floor. It was obvious that she had experienced a stroke.

Ambulances
and much emotion filled the rest of the morning. My mom and I waited at
the hospital while Nana underwent numerous tests.

Sunday morning dawned brightly,
and I began to look forward to our revival celebration of worship and
praise. But now my mom was concerning me. She had been experiencing
intermittent periods of pain and seemed worse this morning. As I helped
her into the car to go to the morning service, she screamed in agony,
and I knew she needed immediate medical attention.

The next 12 hours were spent at
the hospital—in the emergency room with my mom, and on the fourth floor
with my mother-in-law. My tired body was loudly reminding me that it had
not yet been resurrected.

While I was grappling with the
serious illnesses of these two loved ones, my 87-year-old aunt, for whom
I also had responsibility, told me she wasn’t feeling well either.
“Lord,” I prayed, “in the midst of these wonderful days of revival and
refreshing, I’m feeling overwhelmed! Help, Lord!”

The pressure and stress of
hospital visits, medical bills, medical diagnoses and the numerous
decisions that had to be made increased in the ensuing weeks. During
those weeks, I could feel the results of the turbulence of my
circumstances on the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of my
life.

One morning I sank into my
“devotional” chair, and a floodgate of emotion gushed out. I poured out
all my confusing feelings before the Lord-feelings of anger,
frustration, faith, unbelief, trust, doubt, resentment, self-pity and
just plain exhaustion. “O Lord, how does revival work in the
nitty-gritty of everyday pressure?” I wailed.

While I was sobbing my way
through the Psalms, my eyes fixed on David’s plea in Psalm 61:1-2: “Hear
my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will
cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is
higher than I” (NKJV).

I asked, “Lord, what does it
mean to be led to the Rock that is higher than I, higher than my
circumstances?” Finding an answer to this question became the quest of
my very weary soul.

The Lord was faithful to guide
me in this quest. Under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, I learned how
to rise above my circumstances by drawing closer to the Rock.

First, I learned to depend more
on the power of sustaining grace. Again and again the Spirit of God
gently encouraged me to ask for more grace, to receive it with
thankfulness and to yield my will more completely to His.

Second, I learned to
accept—rather than fight—the changes that accompany entering a new
season of life, while at the same time acknowledging the intensity of
stress and pressure they produce. These changes in relationships, roles
and routines, though natural, can be overwhelming.

In my new season, I no longer
function as daughter, daughter-in-law and niece; now my role is to
provide care, direction and nurture for those who once provided them for
me. My schedule, plans and daily routines are frequently disrupted and
totally unpredictable because of the needs of those around me. But God
knows all this! And He has ordained “a time for every purpose under
heaven” (Eccl. 3:1).

Third, I learned more about
myself and my continual need for God. What I saw coming out of me in the
midst of all of these changes was disturbing. Attitudes of the heart
that I thought were long ago dealt with again surfaced in the midst of
this storm. I saw that, without Jesus, I could not maintain my
witness—or my peace.

As I continued to seek the Lord
and pour over His Word, I could sense Him leading me higher to stand
upon the Rock of my salvation—Jesus, my beloved Friend.

Soon worry led to worship, fear
led to faith, turmoil led to trust, complaining led to confession,
resentment led to repentance and whining led to waiting. I discovered
through it all that a revival experience meant a deeper revelation of
God as “my refuge and my strong tower” in the midst of all the
turbulence of change, stress and pressure. Along with the psalmist, in
every circumstance of life, we too can learn to sing: “He alone is my
rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Ps.
62:2, NIV).

Dotty Schmitt is
co-pastor with her husband, Charles, of Immanuel’s Church in Silver
Spring, Md. She also ministers outside her local church and is the
author of several books.

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