Shauna flew to Winnipeg a few days ago to enjoy some time with her parents. That left lil’ ol’ me “Mr. Mom-ing” it the better part of the week.

The last time she left for more than a few hours, I melted down like a pack of cheap crayons in the sun. Splashed my waxy anger on the kids. Sulked around the house with a “loser dad” name-tag on my soul. That kind of thing. So this time, I prayed about last time, asking Jesus to infuse me with the God-knows-what (quite literally) I needed to make the most of this special time with my kids.

His answer?

To let a wave of anxiety flood over me.

Please understand: God is not the author of fear, stress, anxiety, or anything of the sort. At all. But being quite human, I’m full of that stuff, and he knows that. Even more importantly, he wants to free me of it by forcing me to face it down. So that’s what happened.

While driving to Superstore, minding my own business (which was my first problem) the anxiety hit. Instead of shoving it aside, denying it, or quoting scripture, I grabbed my emotions by the nape and dragged them into the presence of Jesus. Tossed them at his feet.

“THIS is what I’m feeling right now, Jesus. Where is this coming from? Would you please reveal your truth to me?”

And I wait.

Because emotions are triggered in association with past events. My mind drifts back through my life, eventually landing on a birthday party I attended as a five year old. I was sporting a brand new shirt, and proud of it. Beamin’ and struttin’, to be exact.

“That shirt is stupid,” said the birthday boy, causing me to run back home, shattered and humiliated.

Never mind that he’d just gotten the same shirt and wanted to be the only one to have one. That moment injected a lie into my heart, a lie that I wasn’t enough, that if I couldn’t manage simple things, I was toast in life.

Jesus intervened in my memory, then, showing me what he thinks of me. And I felt his delight in who I am, that I am treasured and irreplaceable. The anxiety in the memory evaporated like a mist bowing in deference to the morning. And because this was where my present anxiety had part of its root, my anxiety in the present also evaporated.

That was a couple days ago. I’ve been relishing God’s peace ever since. Thank God, because my kids and I have been having a wonderful time.

But it’s time for Shauna to come home.