6 things to do when you’re feeling triggered…

You can’t conquer what you refuse to confront.

I was sitting in a car with my family headed to the pool. Everyone was riding pleasantly and I was scrolling through social media – as you do 😅 – when suddenly, someone’s story popped up and bam!💥 I was instantly triggered. It was such an unsuspecting post. Most would have looked at it and thought it was funny – no big deal – not overly interesting at all. But for me, two simple words was all it took to send me into a full blown panic.

My trigger tactics to date have been miserable at best. Looking back over the last decade, if some kind of panic arose in my spirit I would often avoid or fill the gap with something else. Distraction is the most prevalent method of managing a stressor or trigger in our society today. Feeling anxious? Watch tv. Scroll social media. Flood your mind with reels and tik toks and memes to make you laugh. These aren’t inherently bad – but they aren’t helpful in conquering that mountain of healing we’re all storing up for ourselves by avoiding the hard places God so desperately wants to heal for us!

Healing takes time and attention.

A huge lesson I learned last year is that healing takes time and attention. I can’t go on avoiding hard things – as much as I’d like to – because it doesn’t make me a healthier person, it actually makes me a more anxious person. When something is triggering you, frequently: take a moment to address it. If you’re not in a place or space to do that, then SCHEDULE a time to process it. Make an effort to schedule even just 15minutes at a later time. I promise, some of its power will be taken out of the fact that you’re being intentional to address the conflict in your heart rather than it catching you by surprise.

It will take much more energy to avoid processing the trigger than it will to actually address and process it.

If you take one thing away from this, I hope it’s this: it will take much more energy to avoid processing the trigger than it will to actually address and process it. Your body WILL keep track of the trigger and store it in unhealthy ways. Schedule time to process it with the Lord, with a trusted mentor or friend, or a professional counselor. Healing is coming, friend, and you CAN do hard things. Even this hard thing.

Biological Blessings

In 2016, my husband and I spent several months praying for God to gift us our second biological child. We have always had a heart for family and knew we longed for more biological blessings. That fall we hit a road bump in our marriage and decided it was time to stop “trying” to make our relationship more of a priority.

Shortly after, I booked a photo session with a family who’s heart was centered on missions and answering God’s call on their own lives. I went to that session anxious, as usual, hoping that I would document their family in an honest and genuine way – I’m not sure why I even worried, they were a dream to photograph! Real families with real love always are!

After that session, the parents buckled their kids in the car and asked if they could pray over me. I’ll never forget the specifics of their prayers and encouragement over me and my family. Both husband and wife seemingly knew things they shouldn’t and prayed for things I didn’t ask them to pray for, but desperately needed at the time.

We wrapped up an already impactful prayer time and they started walking back to their car… that’s when the wife turned around and gave me a strange look that said she knew something I didn’t… did I forget something? What was I missing?

“God has another baby for you, and it’s going to be a girl.” She said as she placed a gentle hand on my stomach.

As you can imagine, many thoughts flooded my mind. How could she KNOW that? A mixture of excitement, overwhelm, doubt, and tears flooded through me. Did God remember me in the midst of my heartache? Could this be an answer from The One who knows me best?

Fast forward less than two weeks later and you’d find me frantically calling my husband, sobbing uncontrollably. “Who died?!” he asked. “I know I sound sad, but I’m really happy!” I cry into the phone. “I’m pregnant! I’m actually pregnant!” 😭

Not only was the pregnancy and the encouragement my God used a stranger to lift me up in the midst of my heartache miraculous – but there would be one more moment that God forever changed the way I thought about His design for our family…

Within two weeks of reading that pee stick with two pink lines on it I became VERY sick with morning sickness. All day sickness really. At the time I had two 2yr old boys in my care and largely spent my days surviving from bed to couch to bed.

One night Zach was gone and the boys were in bed and I was lying on the couch a miserable mess…. “Name her after your grandma.” I heard it in my spirit so clearly. As you often do when the Holy Spirit speaks to you, I questioned whether it was my own mind playing tricks on me. I had only known my grandma for five short years before she passed away to breast cancer.

I immediately began to look up the meaning of the name – “Promised of God” and “God has favored me.” That certainly fit our situation. From that moment I knew the life of this child was intended by God – an unbelievable gift to steward.

On August 19th 2017, our girl was born – 8 days late – and I’ve never for a single moment doubted her place in this world. God ordained her days to be lived through these exact moments and gifted her with all the fierce independence He knows will serve His kingdom well in her generation.

My girl turns four years old today and I’ve known for a while now that the story of how she came to be needs to be documented.

God, what a gracious gift her life – and all life – is. Thank you for entrusting us with shepherding little hearts. Help us lean into Your power and strength as we guide and care for this girl in her fourth year of life. Amen.