Paralyzed by AnxietyCassie Moore
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Phil 4:6-7
It all happened very fast. They quickly wheeled Jean Adams in her bed to another hospital room and hooked her up to a machine that helped her to breathe. She didn’t know exactly what was happening, only that she was rapidly losing the feeling in all her limbs.
“The numbness kept rising,” Jean says. “My labor stopped. Everything stopped.”
It was 1983, and Jean was in labor with her daughter, Lindsey. When they’d administered the epidural, she’d jumped involuntarily, and the medication went somewhere it wasn’t supposed to. The anesthesiologist recognized something was very wrong and took immediate action.
As Jean lay hooked up to the machines and unable to move, something inexplicable happened.
“I don’t remember how long I was in there. The one thing I do remember was the peace that I had. You know the feeling when you fall and knock the breath out of yourself? You’re panicked, because you’re trying to breathe. I never had that anxiety. It was like God just took it. I wasn’t afraid that I would die or be paralyzed. This calmness just came over me, and I knew everything was going to be okay.”
The temporary paralysis eventually wore off, they successfully administered the epidural, and Jean gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
Afterward, she was reading her Bible and came across 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
She reflects on the significance of that time in the Word, “I asked myself, ‘why was I able to have that peace?’ That’s when I realized that God was watching over me that day. I had asked Him to take care of me, and He did.”
Years later, Jean needed to seek God for His peace again as she dealt with a difficult and stressful work environment.
“At one time, anxiety did get the best of me,” she shares. “I went on antidepressants, and then ambien, just to be able to sleep at night, because of my job. I hid it from a lot of people. My parents never knew.”
Jean felt consumed by anxiety. “I’ve never lived like that before—with such anxiety and depression. When I first started taking medicine, I was just glad for a little relief. But when I realized that it was going to be an ongoing thing for me, I knew I had to get help.”
As so often happens, when we are at our weakest, God provides His strength and peace. She continues, “I was determined I was not going to live like that for the rest of my life, and I was tired of hiding it from people. So I turned to the Lord. Everybody kept telling me that the side effects of getting off this medicine were horrible, you couldn’t do it cold-turkey. I had to depend on God to get me through the side-effects. I knew He would take care of me because He’d done it before, and I don’t think I could’ve done it if I didn’t have Him. With His help, I weaned myself off the medication.”
Jean continually turned to God’s Word, specifically to the verses in 1 Peter 5 and Philippians 4, and He steadily brought them to her mind when she needed them most.
Now, Jean’s husband and children tell her she doesn’t seem to worry about anything. “But I still have to rely on these verses a lot,” she says. “There are still times I have to say, ‘God this is it. You have to take care of it.’”
And every time Jean takes her anxiety to the Lord, He is faithful to guard her heart and mind with a peace that surpasses understanding.
“God just instills this peace in me. It’s unexplainable. He says, “Why worry about this? I’m going to take care of you.”
Jean Adams serves on staff as Financial Administrator at Brook Hills and first joined the team in 2004. She and her husband, John, have been members of Brook Hills since 1991. She has two children, Stephen and Lindsey, and five grandchildren, Ashley (22), Austin (18), Paxton (9), Grayson (6), and Brayden (2).