Testimony Week: Day 1

The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me
 by Leah Ferrebee

When I was 4 years old, my parents got divorced. My 2 brothers and I were raised by my mother, who is a believer. She brought us up knowing the things of the Lord. We were in Sunday school, church and youth group for years, however, I wanted nothing to do with God or church. I always knew deep down that what she was teaching us was true; I just didn't want any part of it. I rebelled against what my mom taught us, and was living a sinful life with no remorse.

In November of 2010 I started to suffer from severe anxiety. I don't really know what started it, but my first attack was after taking too much cold medicine and having a bad reaction. My anxiety became so bad that it literally took over my life, paralyzing me. I was unable to go to work, unable to be home alone, unable to go out in crowds, and even unable to sleep in my own bed! My bed is where I had my very first anxiety attack.

I slept on the couch from Nov 2010 - March 2011.  I was on 2 medications and seeing a psychologist. One medication I took daily and the other was for when I was having an attack and wanted to stop it instantly. I called them my zombie pills because that's basically, that's what they made me feel like. I was able to function and walk around, but it was like I was sleep walking. I even had myself convinced that I was allergic to almost every food and the thought of eating even brought on anxiety. Even after going for allergy testing and finding out that I was not allergic to any food, I still was afraid to eat. This went on for 5 long, exhausting months. It got worse every day. What started as a bad reaction to cold medicine, turned into a life-changing event.  I was an absolute mess. I told my husband, “This anxiety is THE WORST thing that has EVER happened to me”. The worst part, actually, was that I didn’t know Jesus. I believe that the anxiety was brought on by all the sin in my life and by constantly rejecting God.

One morning I was home alone and I started to feel the anxiety kick in. I said to myself out loud “Not again! Please Leah. Don’t do this to yourself!” I then, for the first time in years, went looking for my Bible. I felt drawn to it as if it were my last and only hope, as if I was surrendering.  I opened it and began to read. The first scripture I opened right up to was Psalm 46: 1-3...

"God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed, 
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling." 

I began to cry. Not from anxiety. I cried because it was the first time I realized  - I was not alone. I said, "Okay, Lord, you got my attention". I continued reading. I came across Psalm 4. The last verse in this psalm says, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, Oh Lord, make me dwell in safety". I was frozen!! I said again, "Wow Lord, you really, really got my attention!" The rest of the day I did nothing but read my Bible. 

About 6 hours later when my husband got home, I had forgotten that I was anxious at all that day. The night came, and I still couldn’t get myself to sleep in my bed. The next day, as soon as awoke, I went directly to my computer and onto Facebook. For some reason, I was drawn to someone’s page that I never met before. A woman named Sonya (from Becoming A Strong Woman Of God) had sent me a friend request while my husband was in Iraq a year prior. I accepted it because I thought she was a wife of one of the soldiers deployed with him. She wasn’t. I found out after talking to her almost a year later that she came across my name on one of the military wives pages. I know now that it was the Lord that brought her into my life and she and I are good friends now, but before that day I had never spoken to her.  Something just drew me to her page. When I clicked on her page, I saw a scripture that jumped out and hit me. It was Philippians 4:6-7...

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Again, I began to cry...harder this time...so hard in fact, I fell to my knees, literally begging the Lord for forgiveness. I felt like the most horrible, dirty, sinful person that ever walked the Earth. It was the first time I realized, I needed a savior. I needed Jesus. It was then that I was hit with the realization that Jesus died for ME and my horrible sins. I always believed God sent His only son to die for the sins of the world, and was resurrected, but this was the first time I realized that He died for ME. It suddenly became personal. 

I spent the next 45, or so, minutes praying, sobbing, on my knees. I had given my life to Christ. It was March 5, 2011. My new life began. I never felt such peace before. I let go of all the anger and frustration inside. I waited for my husband to get home and when he did, I spilled over with excitement and told him what had happened. He was happy to see me for the first time in 5 months, actually looking alive. I called my mom immediately and couldn’t thank her enough for her faithfulness and bringing us up the way that she did and never ceasing to pray for me.

That night I said to my husband, “This is the best thing that has ever happened to me!” I told him since I trust the Lord with all my heart; I am going to sleep in our bed tonight. If I was sure that He was in control and with me at all times, then there was no reason I couldn’t sleep in our bed. I also said that if going through 5 months of severe anxiety, missing work, and hitting rock bottom, was what it took to bring me to the Lord, then I would do it all again!

That night, we went to bed. I was in my bed for the first time in 5 months. I prayed and went to sleep feeling great. The next thing I knew, I had jumped out of my sleep several hours later, mid-anxiety attack. It was one of the bad ones. I felt pinned down in my bed, gasping for air. Normally, I would have woken up my husband, took a zombie pill and within 2-3 minutes, been back to “normal”. But I didn’t. I didn’t wake him up. I didn’t take any pills. I prayed. And prayed. I cried out to the Lord telling Him I trusted Him and that I knew He was a very present help in trouble. I started repeating Philippians 4:6-7 over and over. This is the verse I read for the first time ever earlier that day and hadn’t memorized, but suddenly knew it word for word. Before I knew it, all the anxiety had passed. It just slipped away, as if it never happened!

Once again I was crying. Happy tears this time. The Lord is faithful! He was with me that night and is with me right now. I told my husband the next morning what had happened and he was so shocked. Shocked for one that I didn't even wake him up and two, that I didn't take my medication. It was the last anxiety attack I ever had. It’s over a year now and I am loving the Lord SO much, more and more every day. I feel like I am seeing things with new eyes. My Bible seems like it really just comes to life now. It is an amazing journey and really does get better each day.

I know I am still a sinner and still make mistakes. But I KNOW the Lord is faithful and He is right by my side to pick me up when I fall. I still get a little anxious feeling every now and then. The difference is, as soon as I feel it, no matter where I am or what I am doing, I stop and PRAY and remind myself that The Lord is with me and not to be afraid. I trust in HIM completely!! He is the God of ALL COMFORT. He is the Prince of Peace!! Those slight anxious feelings always go away and I'm left feeling even stronger in the Lord!!

I now say, "Anxiety was THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO ME!"


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