Tears for 20 minutes

Weeks ago I started going through maybe a handful of anxiety/panic attacks, leaving me crying in private (in my bed, in my car, etc.) and publicly (while sitting down and eating a meal with my family at Chick-fil-a). I didn’t cry as much just after the heart attack back in October, and it confused me as well why these attacks would wait months before showing up. Thanks to some medicine, assistance from a counselor, I haven’t had an attack in maybe 10 days.

I’ve lost 33 pounds (hopefully on my way to losing at least 20 more), and have been feeling alright most of the time. Three days at rehab, and three days exercising while not there each week (walking for 40 minutes just a bit ago). Shaved, showered, and sat down for dinner with Marla and the girls. Felt really tired at 7:00pm, so I took my remaining fruit/water up to bed. Instead of resting, a war took place upstairs while the rest of the family finished eating. A war that had my mind wandering and tears streaming down my face for 20 minutes. Crying out to God like I haven’t since my grandmother passed back in September of 2005. This didn’t feel like another moment of anxiety, but it sure showed up without me knowing it was coming.

If there were reporters taking notes during this 20 minute war, this is what they would have seen…..

Some of the statements I made while in tears:

  • Thanks God, for allowing me to survive the heart attack. For allowing me to take my health and my faith much more seriously.
  • I know you are in full control of my life, but it sure has been a mess.
  • It was obvious you had me leave my job a week ago, and I know you hold my future.
  • I hate not being the husband, father, and friend I was before, but apparently you wanted me to change.
  • This world is not my home, and it’s becoming a crazier place to live every day. I believe you’re going to change all of that soon.

Some of the questions I had while in tears:

  • Am I doing what you want me to be doing? (will blog more about this in a day or two)
  • You’ve already given me lots of work to do after leaving my job, but will you give me the strength to do it?
  • People must really go crazy when they go through all of this stuff and don’t have you to talk to and rely on?
  • The doctor said to give it a year until it felt like I didn’t have a heart attack. What will that feel like?
  • Please let me love my family as much as they deserve, even when they see me weak or confused sometimes?
  • Will you let me have a fun date with my six-year-old next Wednesday without anxiety or tears?
  • We were making good progress to get out of debt, how are you going to allow that to happen now?

Thanks God, for I know when I am weak you are strong (2 Corinthians 9-10). My future is yours, which is why I wrote this. As much as I don’t want to share the darkest moments of my life, I know that you are asking me to. Use these words somehow, and thanks for listening to mine.

  1. Gabe, my brother, you are a mighty man of God, trusting Him big! We are so proud of you and Marla. We love y’all and are praying that God will continue to show you the next step and that kingdom building will bring many to know and trust Him, as you do. You have a place here in CO anytime.

  2. Holly B.

    Thanks for being so transparent, Gabe. God will bless that! Praying for you and your sweet family to know His healing and provision like never before! Asking God to flood you with His peace daily.

    “For he himself is our peace”…Ephesians 2:14

  3. You are so brave, and I’m so proud of you. No matter what happens, I’m here by your side. There’s nowhere on earth I’d rather be.

  4. Chuck Mitchell

    Thank you for your words. Now I don’t feel alone when I experience that war. I never had a heart attack, but my dad did and he experienced what you have experienced. However, I experience this war that leaves me speechless, sad, and simply exhausted. Thank you for your entry.

  5. Aunt T

    Love you…….HE is so BIG …..and we are so small… Keep trusting HIM!
    I just listened to Carrie Underwoods …..This is our temporary home…Enjoy everyday we have here…..XOXO. <3.

  6. Sharon

    Thanks for sharing what’s going on. We’ve been praying for you and your fam every night since the heart attack and will continue to do so.

  7. Holly and Duey

    We love you, miss you and are excited to see how God is working in you and through you in this trial. Praying for you!!

  8. Chris

    This is so encouraging to read! I know you feel really vulnerable sharing this but nothing strengthens my faith and resolve to be the man God’s called me to be like hearing another man be broken and real with God. Definitely not in the same boat as you, but I feel where you are. Praying for you and your family! Glad we could be friends.

  9. Gabe, Thank you for sharing your heart. I have experienced this myself and know how it stops you in your tracks. Praying for you and your family. I pray God will strengthen you daily and help you to take the next step in your journey.

  10. Hang in there. God is working wonders inside of you. ROMANS 5:3-5

  11. Thanks, Gabe. Your faith, transparency, and love for your family are a huge encouragement to me. May Christ strengthen you day by day.


  12. Praying for you Gabe. You are so super amazingly talented in what you can do with photography and web design! And so brave to trust God and do it independently. I will continue to pray for you all to prosper and live in God’s abundance chosen for you.

  13. Bill Montgomery

    Thanks for sharing the journey, brother. Don’t know what the future holds, but I know who will hold you in it. Philippians 3:10-14 – that’s the life you are living for sure. Appreciate the glimpse.

  14. Claudia Porpiglia

    Anytime someone goes through a traumatic experience, personally or with a close family member or friend, the months that follow often have “after shocks”. These after shocks can be more intense than what we experienced at the point of crisis…this is because at the point of crisis there is no time for emotion. My heartbreaks for you but it also rejoices because God is carrying you through this and your relationship with Him is deepening as you obediently put one foot in front of the other (or sometimes when you just curl up in a ball). Know that there are many of us who can truly empathize with what you are going through…I am praying for you, Gabe!

  15. Gabe, know that you have friends praying for you daily! I can personally attest to the burden of such an event and it’s aftermath. I felt weak and lost – and if I’m honest with myself… defeated. I felt like no one around me could understand or help. After all, they’d not gone through what I had. But my faith pulled me through – as will yours. While I’ve only known you online – you are one of the strongest men of God I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Keep the faith and God will do the rest!

  16. Gabe – This is an example of a real “braveheart”. The battle you describe is certainly spiritual so I’ll be praying this over your life. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

  17. Joel McLaughlin

    Wow. This reads not so much as a bunch of questions but more as a prayer. I think you are doing the right thing but it’s easy to get discouraged and I know your frustration.

    • Joel McLaughlin

      Ack! Hit enter too quick….

      You are placing your trust int he right place. 🙂

  18. All part of healing. Normal. And will recur in funny little “waves” (usually short-lived) for years to come. Sort of like grief. Float when you can, tread water when you have to.

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