When Anxiety Threatens Your Peace {#LentChallenge}

by | Mar 5, 2014 | Beauty, Encouragement, Lent


“No, it doesn’t fit right, does it?” I said to my daughter, standing behind her, looking in the mirror. The smirk on her face was enough proof she agreed. I hoisted the navy blue floor length dress with gold sequin embellishments over her head, fastened the straps on the hanger while she chose another from the heap.

Sitting down on the stool in the corner, I scrolled through emails, interrupted by someone talking loudly on their cell phone in the dressing room beside us.

We looked at each other and silently laughed.

And left the first store we visited with two dresses on hangers under plastic. I think that could be a first. Hopefully, not the last.


Murielle celebrates 6,570 days on Friday. It’s her 18th birthday.

Only a handful of those days can be accounted for without H and I present in them. Not because we’re control freaks but because we enjoy each other.

In 93 days she will graduate from high school and start the journey toward complete independence. I was fine with that until yesterday.

Creating a senior ad for her yearbook, I became enthralled with the stunning photos Kelly Sauer snapped of Murielle last summer in Charleston. Light dipped slowly down, casting ethereal shadows on painted walls of concrete as a backdrop. Aren’t they gorgeous?




But the longer I worked on the ad, anxiety strangled my peace — a sign something is off, pay attention.

The anxiety isn’t about her leaving to go to college, a lack of trust or confidence. Her character is proof she will achieve success in whatever she chooses.

Or because I find my identity in motherhood; those who know me will testify that I don’t. I’m not concerned for the possible scenario’s I envision without my influence or presence in them, no God is bigger than that.

It’s knowing we will both enter a new season of life without the sacrament of presence. The fear I’ve taken the closeness for granted — that’s why I’m uneasy. Be anxious for nothing . . . I read it today from the Gospel.


It seems the value of someone’s life comes into clear focus most often in loss or the possibility of it. And perhaps that is the redemption. We see the value of the unique place someone carves out in our lives when separated like an artist standing back from his work for perspective.

In close proximity, the imprint of another’s life is often lost in the microscope of imperfection. But with distance the range of impact from their essence looms wide and expansive.

They leave us changed by walking away and letting the dust of their lives settle on us.

It is no coincidence that our #LentChallenge starts in the book of Matthew today. Two years ago, Murielle gave me a necklace with Matthew 6:26 engraved on the back. Even then, God knew that verse would be a comfort; a reminder that nothing is random or insignificant when love is the motive — like finding the perfect prom dress.


Jesus says, Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. What can you let go of today and trust Him for the outcome?

Join us today for Redemptions Beauty Book Club where we’ll be talking about the scriptures that stand out for each of us as we read the New Testament together for the #LentChallenge with Margaret Feinberg.


In community with Holley and Emily and Lyli.


Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Tara_pohlkottepress

    ah! these pictures show so much of her natural and shining beauty. so much love and peace to you both this season as you walk out a new road. one that I am confident will bring you further in your path of loving and knowing this beautiful soul you helped create. you’ve done so very good, mama.

    • Shelly Miller

      aw, thanks Tara. It’s so great connecting with you. Makes me realize how much I miss you in my world.

  2. Sharon O

    she is beautiful, Kelly did an awesome job.

  3. DeanneMoore

    Hugging you today and know you are hugging me back—in your heart. This is path we both know well…so thankful for this beautiful woman and her beautiful mother

    • Shelly Miller

      I thought about you as I wrote this Dea. We are walking parallel paths.

  4. Clark

    You nailed it. The separation is what I fear. When the first one left I was at total peace. I knew it was exactly what God had planned for him and he was where he needed to be. But this one is different. I crave her presence and her conversation. I crave her friendship. I am anxious. But I have to trust that God has plans for me too.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m glad to know you feel the same way. Of course you do. We have some remarkable women as our children don’t we Clark? Feeling blessed and so happy Murielle and Alex found each other.

  5. Lisa notes...

    Your daughter is so beautiful.
    I understand this anxiety: “It’s knowing we will both enter a new season of life without the sacrament of presence.” That is difficult. Thankfully we have technology to ease that somewhat, but it’s been another level of trust that the Lord has taken me to, that letting go. Praying for your journey to be a smooth one.

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Lisa. Yes, the technology helps ease the imminent separation. We’re just a phone call away.

  6. Lu

    Oh, Shelly, how could it be 18 years. Once again,you said so well and so beautifully what it is to have someone you’ve loved and cared for grown on. I love this:
    ” In close proximity, the imprint of another’s life is often lost in the microscope of imperfection. But with distance the range of impact from their essence looms wide and expansive.

    They leave us changed by walking away and letting the dust of their lives settle on us.”

    So good! Thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      It seems like yesterday that Lamb was in your backyard taking photos of our girls and their wispy hair and daisy sandals. Love you.

  7. Marie Bride

    Thank You Shelly,
    I am touched by your sharing the special times with your daughter.
    Thank You for stirring our thoughts.
    I so value my time in prayer & am only just beginning to realize how hard I find it to carry on when I am interrupted or distracted before I was finished.
    Blessings to you & yours this LENT!

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad you are joining the conversation Marie, enjoy what you bring on the Facebook page.

      • Marie Bride

        Thank You Shelly,
        Very kind compliment.

  8. Susan Contakes

    Thank you for this lovely post. Yes, I am praying to learn how to love deeply and yet leave those loved ones completely in his hands. Thank you for sharing your journey with your own daughter and for the encouragement you gave.
    Bless you,

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad you were encouraged here Susan, thank you.

  9. Michelle DeRusha

    Those photos of Muriel are gorgeous, Shelly. And yes, this especially: “In close proximity, the imprint of another’s life is often lost in the microscope of imperfection. But with distance the range of impact from their essence looms wide and expansive.” I read that three times to let it sink in deep.

  10. Jennifer Camp

    Shelly, your daughter is beautiful. And wow, your words here, your wisdom, just amazing. I am so grateful for how you see and how you offer. The image of the painter needing distance from his word to appreciate it even more fully . . . thank you.

  11. Mary Gemmill

    Shelly- I sense something of what you are feeling. Reading your post made me remember when my daughter left home for teacher-training in a far city, then when she moved to a different country. I thank God for skype !!

    God bless you. It’s good to know that although you may be a long way from your darling daughter, both of you will be equally close to the Father’s heart,

    Empathy and love,


  12. Ahyana

    I’ve given up al types of things for lent, candy, shopping, dessert, etc. I’ve also tried committing to positive lifestyle changes during lent, like meditation, and a prayer journal. So this weekend I remembered the Lenten season being upon us I thought “Worry. Give that up during Lent.” I laughed, amused at trying to le tgo of something so intangible, something that if I am honest is so unintentionally easy to do. If I give up worry I suppose I would have to be more intentional about being vulnerable in my prayer time and trusting God more, trusting His strength and not my own.
    As I prayed more last night about lent, I was reminded of Zerchariah 4:6 “Not by power, not by might, but by my spirit, says the Lord” And well reading this post this morning is a shove into me truly committing to letting go of the worry I often carry and intentionally sharing more of those things in prayer and trusting God, even with the small stuff, during this season.
    Thanks for sharing Shelly!

  13. Natalie

    They leave us changed. Sometimes the dust-settling is hard, but it’s good. Learning that. And the perspective that distance gives? So vital. And also a lesson I’m still learning. Thanks for your words. My 10 year old was sitting next to me. She loves the shoes. A girl after her mamma’s heart.

  14. Celeste

    As always, a good no, a great reminder.
    Because we had Beks at 6 it feels like catching up as we navigate through even the simplest of things. And that is what people see on the outside.
    Inside, I am training, trying at least, to raise a child who will love Jesus and understand obedience through God’s eyes. A daunting task for someone who is still learning some things herself.
    Thanks again for perspective.

  15. Nancy Ruegg

    This poignant post brought back the emotions of our daughter’s launch to college. We missed her terribly, but took great encouragement from the maturity and wisdom she demonstrated as new experiences abounded. If we don’t let them leave the nest, we don’t get to see them soar.

    May God grant you hundreds of delightful moments these last few months, to savor as precious memories later!

  16. pastordt

    Late to read this, but oh! Such lovely pictures of your sweet girl. . . or should I say, young woman. I get this – all of it. It is a major turning point when that first one leaves home – you will do it well, Shelly.


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