Have you ever experienced having restless nights, feeling on edge and weary, being full of fear, crying more easily than your usual, being consumed of nervousness and struggling to fully trust in the Lord Jesus with the worries of your life? I have felt these exact feelings more so in my life in the last few months than ever before. Since this past summer, I have felt so much anxiety that it has started to affect me as a person. The consuming feeling of anxiety is one of the most uncomforting feelings ever.
Since summer, there have been so many life changes for both Jimmy and me. We were formally asked from the District Superintendent to go and be the pastor for City on a Hill Church in Warren, MI and to end our time in Wausau, WI where we had been in ministry for the last seven years. When we were initially asked, we had no convictions to go as we felt God was still desiring us to stay in Wausau and continue ministry there. I recall the day Jimmy received the phone call from Colorado. When I asked who had called him, he shared that the District Superintendent had called him with a request. I could feel my heart beating a bit faster as I wondered why he would call my husband out of the blue. It is not every day you get a phone call from your District Superintendent. As Jimmy shared with me their conversation and the request that had been voiced, I started to panic a little bit. I recall being immediately closed to the idea and was very confident that God wanted us to stay here in Wausau for many more years to come. One thing we decided that we would do was start praying about this request and see where God would lead us. As we spent much time in prayer, God started to change our closed hearts to having an open and willing heart to go where God is calling us, even if it was to the unknown.
I have found that decisions can be so difficult to make because there is a constant battle within with the flesh and the Spirit. I had to really process through the sacrifices I had to make if we chose to move and struggled to decide if I wanted to surrender my current opportunities and community all to Christ or not. As we continued to wrestle with our decision, I recall being so anxious. I was in fear of the unknown, I didn’t want to feel unstable and I didn’t want to start over. I started to feel chained to anxiety. I found myself seeking scripture to help bring me peace. Philippians 4:6-7 became essential steps in how I’d work through my anxiety. I wanted to be set free from these anxious feelings. I knew that if I started to live out God’s word in my life, I would receive the promises that are richly in His word and specific to my anxiety, I would slowly start to be set free from it and have this peace that surpasses all understanding. I had to put into practice to not be anxious about anything because the Lord is at hand. I had to start making my specific request known to God through prayer and petition. I had to remind myself that when I do this, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding would guard my heart and my mind in Jesus Christ. In our surrendering and obedience, I still had much anxiety but really started to rest in God and trust that His ways are better than mine could ever be. I also learned that I cannot let fear and anxiety consume me because they started to be chains over me, restricting my obedience to the God who can do all things.
Fast forward to a month later, Jimmy and I confirmed that we would accept the call to pastor City on a Hill Church and that we would be packing our bags and moving to Michigan in October 2019. As reality sunk in that we were moving, the anxiety immediately started to double up. I started to have sleepless nights with questions running in my mind of how we will pack up all our stuff in the time frame we have, where would we live, and can we afford living in a safe area in the Metro-Detroit area. I had to cope with leaving a job that God has truly blessed me with to coming to the realization that we had to leave a super dear community from young to old in Wausau behind. As much as my heart was telling me to fully trust in God and to saturate myself in his truths of how faithful He is and has been in our lives already, I struggled to let go of the anxiety. I found myself in many conversations with God and pouring out my heart to him. As I surrendered all of my anxious thoughts to Christ, I felt the chains of anxiety start to loosen.
At the same time we made the formal decision to move to Michigan, we both learned that our mothers had major health concerns that arose. My mother had a growing lump on the right side of her face and after many doctor appointments and biopsies, it was confirmed in September that she had Salivary Gland Cancer which is a very rare yet aggressive cancer. This was probably one of the worse news I’ve ever received and found myself totally broken and needing to be embraced by God and my husband Jimmy. I remember crying with my mother over the phone and being so unsettled that we drove down that night to be with her in Illinois to comfort and encourage her as she was even more broken. At the same time, my mother-in-law shared with us that she was in the ER in late May with some stomach issues and since then she has started to lose weight drastically in a period of three months. She lost a total of 42 pounds in this short time frame. Because there is a history of lung cancer on my mother-in-law’s side of the family, we started to worry that it could be the beginning stages of Lung Cancer. We started to pray to God that He would heal both mothers. Can you imagine the added anxiety I had once finding out the news about our mothers? I started to have worries flood my heart and mind. I started to allow negative thoughts to consume me. I questioned how long both mothers would live, if the cancer was curable, I imagined life apart from both mothers and the list went on. I started to have restless nights. I would frequent moments of breaking down and crying. I would pray nonstop for God to heal my mother from her cancer and to help us find the cause of why my mother-in-law was losing so much weight so quickly. I found myself on edge, weary, depressed and questioning my hope in Christ. I found myself pleading with God throughout the day to hear and answer my requests.
During all of this, God orchestrated everything so perfectly. In reflecting this whole transition from moving to a new state and all that comes with that, starting a new ministry, and coping through our mothers’ illnesses, God has truly never left us and was with us the entire time and continues to be. Our new church family, City On A Hill Church, was more than understanding of our situation and helped make our transition as smooth as possible. We were able to tend to both mother’s medical needs in this period. My mother had a major surgery to remove the cancer in October and is going through treatments now in hopes to be fully cancer free. We were able to find out the cause of my mother-in-law’s weight loss and ruled out cancer. Praise God alone. With a simple two-week antibiotic, my mother was cured and has slowly gained her weight back. During this anxious time, it has grown my faith in Jesus Christ to a deeper level and has reminded me where to lay my anxiety at, the foot of the cross. Scripture like Isaiah 43:1-3 But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; helped set me free from my anxiety and confidently reminded me that because I am His, He will never leave me, and he will protect me always. These verses brought me so much comfort and reassurance in this hard season of life. I have come to the conclusion that I can be surrounded by the most loving people and be comforted by the sweetest of words from those dearest to me but there is something so divine and healing being saturated in God’s word and letting that be my true counsel. Being in God’s word helped to alleviate my anxiety.
God has answered all my prayers in His time. He has been so good and so evident in our transition. I have learned that being set free does not always happen overnight or in a one-time setting. I found that in this transition, my being set- free from my anxiety was a continual process of letting God in the inner deep thoughts and cares of my heart and mind. It was in the intimate moments of prayer; it was in the promises of His Word in and over me that broke the chains of fear and doubt and allowed me to be set free from my anxieties. God has been so good. My restless nights have turned into restful nights, God has turned my weariness into drawing strength from the Lord. I still have moments where I find myself crying so easily but it is far less than the last few months. My hope and trust in the Lord haven’t waivered and remains firm. Whatever that you may be going through that is causing you much anxiety, I pray in the name of Jesus that you’d be set free from it. I pray that you’d find peace and comfort in God’s word, in prayer and in your community of Christ. You are not alone. God loves you deeply. He cares for you. He desires for you to be set free.
 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Is 43:1–3). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Judy (N. Kx. Jimmy Yang)
Pang Chang Judy Yang is the wife of Reverend Jimmy Yang or Kx. Tsaav Moob Yaaj. They currently live in Warren, Michigan and am serving at City On A Hill Church. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan and have enjoyed working in this field for many years. She loves getting to know others on an intimate level to encourage and spur them on in Christ. She loves quality time with those dearest to her. She thoroughly enjoys traveling and gaining new experiences. She enjoys a good meal with great company!