The first thing God said to me after the diagnosis was, "I can use this." I believed Him then and I believe Him now. I've seen many small changes in myself and my family, and I know there are bigger things to come. But for now, the only resource I can clearly see Him using is this blog.
Many of you have emailed or said to me that you've enjoyed a specific post on a specific topic. I'm grateful for those comments because it gives me a chance to say what you already know anyway: that it's all God and none of me.
And, in fact, there's even more to the story than that.
For every peaceful or exuberant post that I write, there were many moments of misery that came before it. I have not been able to reach a point where I can calmly accept my situation AS IT COMES on me. It takes me hours, sometimes days, to recuperate from a knockdown enough to find God and gain the peace He promises.
In truth, if I were able to obey scripture, I would never again have to say that I had to "gain" peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You." The key words there are "keep" and "stayed." But the truth is, and I think you'd agree, it's very hard to command your mind to stay on God.
For me, I feel like a sky-diver who gets knocked out of a plane hundreds of miles up. And no matter how many times I've fallen before, and how many times I've successfully used my parachute, in those first few falling moments I always panic. Always. I'll look at the ground quickly approaching and scream. Flail my arms. Search for something to grab on to.
That's what I do each time I'm confronted with fear or a problem. I look elsewhere first. I don't even remember I've got a parachute until halfway down. But when my God reminds me of His presence and I focus on Him, I am able to fall in safety. To float, even.
1 Timothy 6:6 says, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Contentment means so much more than happiness. It implies a constancy rather than a fleeting moment. And I'd like to grab a hold of that contentment that will follow me around wherever I go and whatever the circumstances.
I keep getting knocked out of the plane and flailing my arms looking for peace or an answer, when all the time, everything I needed to be safe is right there strapped to my back.
I'll leave you with a few words from Max Lucado's, Safe in The Shepherd's Arms. (Thank you for the book Stephanie.)
"For sheep to sleep, everything must be just right. No predators. No tension in the flock. No bugs in the air. No hunger in the belly. Everything has to be just so.
Unfortunately, sheep cannot find safe pasture, nor can they spray insecticide, deal with frictions, or find food. They need help. They need a shepherd to 'lead them' and help them 'lie down in green pastures.' Without a shepherd, they can't rest.
Without the Shepherd, neither can we."
(p.s.- Debbie Johnston, send me your email please. I'm famously bad with phones! firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!)