When My Heart is Overwhelmed

“Of course!” The moment hit me so strongly I wanted to slap a hand to my forehead like the purple-shirted emoji in my phone I use a little too much.

Why did I always take the bait? The dangling carrot of stress, worry painting negative scenarios across my mind.

But as I shook my head at myself, I could see a little better than I had moments before. The struggle of the past few days came into striking clarity, and I felt the cords of stress loosen as I lifted my head toward the ceiling to the one who always sees through my limitations.

I could see where I had let myself get carried away. Once again, my thinking and emotions were swung around by situations that seemed so out of my control. The people closest to my heart were struggling and it was eating away at my confidence in why we were even here.

Since we moved overseas from the States as a family unit, my kids didn’t really have a say in that decision. Kids will adapt easily, some said. They will get over transition in no time, said others. But it’s not always so clear cut or linear. Sometimes it ebbs and flows. Sometimes restlessness and discontent get triggered by the most minute thing.

There are moments when, as I recently shared on my social media, nighttime conversations leave me in tears long after the kids have gone to bed. Not because my kids are suffering. It’s hard to get even close to that in beautiful Iceland. But because they can’t just carry all the things they love about their stateside home here: their Nigerian family, all the friends, their favorite meals and places. They live in the tension of enjoying here while desperately missing there. And sometimes I’m afraid to repeatedly say that God led us here. I’m afraid they will doubt him, resent him for making their parents move. Then because of my fear, uncertainty begins to creep up my back, gripping my shoulders tight.

But I remembered in that head-smacking moment that it wasn’t God’s intention for me to wallow in the doubts that had me quickly slipping down a fear slope.

The issues we face are real and hard and sometimes the opposition feels like a pressing weight.

But we don’t have to stay there. In that moment, several weeks ago, I remembered the words that could keep me anchored. I thought about how the enemy doesn’t play fair and would use even my most precious commodities to come against my faith and ability. In the same breath, I recalled the whispers that gave me wings to place my perspective above the brewing clouds.

I had a choice to bring to mind and meditate on the fact that we are those who are seated in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6). I had the opportunity to not let chaotic or crisis-fueled circumstances dictate but instead, I could declare hope from the overflow of that position in Jesus.

And sis, believe me, I have the propensity to wallow. To try to verbally process my way out of a storm as opposed to lifting my eyes, recognizing the source of fear and then coming into agreement with the One who has the power to calm those turbulent waves.

I want God’s ways.

The way He leads me up to a solid place, where my feet can be firmly planted and my eyes can gaze beyond the current limitations. Where I can see things from His perspective and truly live from a place of victory instead of fighting for what I’ve forgotten He’s already won.

“From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety,”

Psalms 61:2 NLT

What verses has God highlighted to you that keep you anchored? What words has He whispered to your heart that give you confidence?


  1. Michele October 21, 2021

    Thanks for this, Jenny! I’m single with no kids, but my doubts have come when I see the pain nieces and nephews I’ve gotten close to have to deal with when I leave “because God sent me.” That has been a struggle recently as I just had a full year in the same city as my family and home schooled a grand niece (whose mother was her age when I first moved to Asia and had a hard time with my move then). Two weeks ago I moved to another city for a few months while I wait for my other country to reopen, and this grand niece is already struggling… It’s different, but similar enough I teared up reading your words. I want God’s ways too, and I appreciate this timely reminder of how good, and even simple in some ways they are!

    1. Jenny October 22, 2021

      That is so hard! We want to be honest about our moves but careful with how we present them. I know God is more than able to cover them but it doesn’t make it less heartbreaking when they struggle. Praying for peace for your grand niece (and for you!) during these transitions.

  2. Dorothea Guglielmetti October 22, 2021

    God’s highlights again and again through totally different phases of my life: BE still and Know that I AM GOD!!!

    1. Jenny October 22, 2021

      Yes! So simple often so challenging! Thankful that God is faithful to remind us!

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