We’d been married a mere four months when I had my first panic attack. My tan lines from our honeymoon hadn’t even faded all the way when I found myself curled up crying and shaking in our apartment’s tiny bathroom.

I knew what it was, as anxiety runs in my family along with our blue eyes and prominent noses. I think I even explained to my bewildered husband in the midst of it that I didn’t need a doctor because it was a panic attack. But nonetheless, I felt confused. Embarrassed. Scared. Why now?

Marriage thus far had been a blissful whirlwind of exploring our new home outside of Washington, D.C., binge-watching Game of Thrones, and loving doing the simple things together, like grocery shopping. People told us it would be the best time of our lives, and in some ways it was. But being married introduced a whole new set of fears that ultimately led to extreme anxiety.

I was terrified of loving someone so much. I could bring myself to tears thinking about if Pierce were to die. I would hear sirens and feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach because I was convinced it was him. Every time one of us got sick, I thought it was cancer. I became deathly afraid of something bad happening. More than that, I became afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle it if something did.

I began to live braced, just waiting for something terrible to happen. Let me tell you, that is an exhausting, miserable way to live. It is quite literally the opposite of the “abundant life” we read about in John 10:10.

The worst part was that it wasn’t just impacting my life anymore. It’s hard to not feel guilty about your anxiety when you see what it does to the people who love you.

My husband had promised in sickness and in health, though I don’t think this sort of gut-wrenching, panic-stricken anxiety is what either one of us had in mind when we said those vows. But whether we liked it or not, we were in it together. And through it all, we learned some invaluable lessons that I believe will serve us throughout our entire marriage.

First, it showed us that trusting God with our marriage was more important than understanding everything about our marriage. 


Proverbs 3: 5-6 says we are to trust the Lord with all of our heart and not lean on our own understanding. There was a lot we didn’t understand during that first year of marriage. But this forced us to remember we ultimately were not in control of our marriage. We could either drive ourselves crazy trying to make sense of everything or accept the fact that God works in ways we may never understand. We could live in fear or we could live in surrender.

Secondly, it reminded us we didn’t have to be perfect in front of each other, nor in front of God.

Anxiety often couples up with shame, and there were many times I didn’t want to expose my brokenness to Pierce. I hated that my new husband was seeing me in such a helpless state. But just like God’s reckless love pursues us in our darkest moments, I saw how my husband continued to love all of me, even the most complicated parts. We quickly got to a level of vulnerability with each other we may never have otherwise.

Finally, it taught us the importance of community. I think the tendency as newlyweds is to isolate yourselves and spend every waking moment together. But this experience forced us to realize we could not just rely on each other. We turned to trusted friends, our families, our small group to help get us through. We saw a counselor. We asked for support. This set a precedent in our marriage to never isolate ourselves during the hardships or the disagreements but rather to surround ourselves with people who can support and love us both as individuals and as a couple.

I never would have chosen the way our first year of marriage unfolded. But looking back now, I can see how the Lord orchestrated even those painful chapters to be a part of a beautiful love story – both between my husband and me and between us and the Lord. Through interrupting our honeymoon phase, He was actively keeping us from worshipping the idea of a perfect marriage and instead helping us see our ultimate need was and always would be Christ.

One last thought. I know sometimes the way we talk about anxiety sounds more like a pep talk, which is the last thing you want to hear when you’re stuck in that cycle of anxiety. But the Word of God is so much more than a pep talk. I encourage you to press into the promises of God in those darkest moments because the Word will not return empty but achieve the purpose for which it was sent out (Isaiah 55:11). Having gone through them myself, I do believe seasons of fear and anxiety can bring us back to a point of dependence on Christ that we don’t always feel as urgently in healthy times. And I think if we let it, it can also draw those closest to us closer to Christ too.


Are there worries that you’re facing that have severely impacted your wellbeing? Take time today and recommit them to Jesus because He cares. And know that God has also provided the gift of mental health professionals to help when needed. While we do our best to provide you with resources that will help you in your journey as a woman on mission, please note that no article we share on mental health can replace professional help. So If the darkness is overwhelming and you are in need of help, please reach out to a trusted professional counselor. And, know that we love you. Each and every one of you was made in the image of God, valuable and treasured by Him, so please hold on and never give up.
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