“Breathe. Just Breathe. You’re not dying. You’re not dying. You’re not dying.”
These were the words I repeated all night long for weeks as I would awaken to another full
fledged panic attack - heart racing, chest crushing, stomach turning, thoughts scattered -
detached - full of insatiable fear. Fear that I was having a heart attack. Fear that my sons would
be left motherless. Fear of fear itself.
When I hit the proverbial wall of debilitating anxiety, it seemed to come out of nowhere to most
onlookers. I was the one who had it all together; A good life, a happy family, a thriving business
- a person with passion and purpose. And then suddenly, one autumn day, I surged into the
deepest pit of darkness. I crashed and burned so quickly that my family was left reeling to pick
up the pieces of a wife and mother who had absolutely nothing left and was wrought with a
mental illness she never thought possible for herself.
It didn’t happen suddenly, though.
It was a slow fall which perhaps wasn’t evident to most passers by. The previous 3 years of my
life had been years I wouldn’t ever want to redo. My husband suffered through a debilitating
injury which left him laying on the hardwood floor 24/7 for 8 weeks. A miscarriage. A high risk
twin pregnancy which left me unable to get off the couch due to illness and pain. And then,
twin newborns. Two years of survival, another serious injury for my husband and then the
events of fall 2018 arrived; Two friends lost their battle with cancer, one was diagnosed with
breast cancer and underwent a lifesaving double mastectomy all while I was trying to be a
good mother to three little boys who depended on me- a good wife to a husband I felt I rarely
talked to anymore - a good business leader to a team I was so grateful for but completely
overwhelmed by - and I couldn’t take another thing.
I broke into tiny fragments so deeply shattered I didn’t think the pieces would ever be found let
alone put back together again.
How do you live a life of intention when you’re in the midst of mental, emotional, and spiritual
How do you live an abundant life when you can’t even find the will to get out of bed in the
And where on earth is God in all of this?
in.ten.tion (n) - 1. a thing intended: an aim or plan.
2. Medicine - the healing process of a wound.
At my deepest part of darkness, I sat in a walk in clinic with tears pouring down my cheeks,
begging the nurse to help me. “My boys need their Mom back. I don’t know what’s happening
to me. I can’t live like this anymore.”
And thus began INTENTION. At this point, my healing began. It didn’t feel like I was healed,
and truth be told it’s a daily struggle, but the moment I voiced my aim and plan - “My boys
need their Mom back. I can’t live like this anymore,” I voiced my intention and thus declared
the truth; “Anxiety will not define me.”
“God has bigger plans for my life than this.”
I sought out help both medically and spiritually. I began to renounce the lies OUT LOUD that I
had been telling myself about my illness and instead replaced them with the truth. Things like “I
will always have anxiety” became “ God did not give me a spirit of anxiety. There is no anxiety
within me.” “I am a horrible mother and my kids are better off without me” became “I am a
good Mom and God made me my boys’ mother for a specific reason.” Every time a lie or
negative thought entered my head, I intentionally spoke against it OUT LOUD. I declared God’s
truth over and over again whether I believed it in the moment or not because the one thing I did
believe is that God did not create me for this. I INTENTIONALLY spoke truth out loud to
combat the lies I had come to believe.
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit — you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)
If the last years have taught me anything, they’ve taught me the value of my choices. I could
have chosen to sit and wallow in life’s circumstances (and believe me, for a while I did) or I
could strap on my belt of intention and CHOOSE to move forward. To take what I had been
dealt and walk through it because it was either that or be strangled and victimized by it.
Jesus carried his own cross. He literally bore the weight of his own death on his shoulders and
chose to walk through it because his intention was to save those he most loved (the entire
world) from our deepest sins and struggles. He could have sat down and wept over his
victimization and unfair circumstances, but instead He chose to take what he had been handed
and use it for good.
Another way I chose to live with intention was to set better boundaries in my life and realize
that I wasn’t a failure for admitting that I needed help. I cut down on my work load. I hired child
care a few days a week. I scheduled things into my week that I legitimately enjoyed - things
that some might say are frivolous but truly ignited joy and passion into my heart again. I
realized that I needed to be intentional with my time, not just for the sake of others in my life,
but for ME. I was devaluing my own worth simply because I was a Mom. I love my kids so
much that I gave every part of me to them and ended up with nothing left for them or me.
God gave Moms dreams to be fulfilled just as much as he gave others dreams to be fulfilled. I
needed to realize that those dreams and passions hadn’t died with the birth of my children, but
were simply left on the back burner to simmer while my attention focused on the needs of my
babies. It’s okay to give attention to those dreams and desires. It’s okay to pursue the things
that ignite a flame of passion and excitement to change the world because God put them
there. I needed to lay aside the guilt of not being able to “do it all” and instead rest in the fact
that I didn’t need to “do” anything but trust Him; trust that He loved me. Trust that He had
things under control even when things felt like they were spiralling.
“Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has
made us to be more than conquerers (MORE!!!!), and his demonstrated love is
our glorious victory over everything! So now I live in confidence that there is
nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m
convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or
dark rulers in the heavens. There is NOTHING in our present or future
circumstances that can weaken his love.” Romans 8:37-38 (The Passion
Translation, emphasis mine)
Where was God in all of this? He was continually loving me. He was holding my hand through
the darkest of valley’s, prodding me to keep going; to walk through these terrible
circumstances and to follow His lead. To take up the situations that I had been given in that
season and to walk through it. To use what I had been given for good because while it may
have been unfair and unjust, He had a bigger plan for me. A better plan. A plan of overcoming
a terrible illness with His help so that I could empathize and walk alongside women who would
face a similar battle with grace and compassion. That I could offer them not just words of
comfort, but hope.
Anxiety took a lot from me but it also gave me a new perspective and understanding of living
an abundant life.
Living a life of intention was not what I thought it was. It isn’t simply living a peace-filled,
structured life. Instead, it’s using our God given authority and choosing how we meet our
circumstances, whether good or bad.
Will we fold and wallow?
Or will we wake up in the morning and CHOOSE to believe God?
Guest Blogger: Raelynn Reimer. Raelynn is a model-turned-Mom to three busy boys living in a dreamy little Manitoban lake town. When she’s not running after one of her boys you can find her sharing pieces her life on Instagram @raelynnsreadingroom