When we moved I realized that we had saved boxes and files of neatly organized receipts and papers. So all this week I’ve been shredding 20 years of my life.
As I shredded, I started looking through the papers.
Some of it was hard to see all over again.
Like the receipts and letters from the year when finances were so tight. Richard and I didn’t know if we were going to make it. I remember going outside and walking around my home.
Before I knew it I had circled it seven times. I don’t think I was intentionally recreating the scene of Joshua and his army circling the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6), but I do know that our problems felt that big. We were working as hard as we knew how and it wasn’t enough.
I happily shredded that year.
Year by year I sifted through papers.
There was the year we needed a new car. There was a salvage receipt for the brown car we drove that only went forward. You would not believe how many times you need to use reverse. When we were able to afford a new car, we drove old Brownie straight to salvage yard and didn’t look back (no pun intended ♥).
In another box there were letters and cards from family and friends the year I found out I had cancer. What a bittersweet year. Sweet as we realized the love of friends and family. Hard because we were hit in every way possible as I battled cancer.
Then there was the year I started writing. Five years after chemo and radiation and surgeries, I took a leap of faith. I looked through receipts, amazed at how many mistakes I made but also at how that dream started to become a reality.
The shredder whirred as I fed one year after another, until finally four large trash bags were filled and set out for recycling. All that was left was a small pile of cards and some paper dust.
Isn’t it amazing how up and down life is?
One year up. Another year hanging on by a thread. Three years of ease. Two years of battle.
But as I shredded the receipts of my life, there was one consistency throughout.
I was never, ever alone.
That is the one thing I needed to hear in those harder years.
Hang tight. You’re not alone in this.
I wasn’t alone as a young mom of 31 hearing the word “cancer.”
I wasn’t alone when I gave birth to my children and felt sleep deprived for the next two years.
I wasn’t alone when I placed my fingers on the keyboard the first time as a writer.
I wasn’t alone when I twirled in my living room at the news that I was cancer free.
I wasn’t alone in that day that I circled my home, exhausted emotionally, wondering if we’d ever climb out of medical debt.
Maybe you are in that place too.
Right now you’re carefully filing those receipts and letters that will one day prove that this was a hard year for you.
I wish I had a video camera that could show you how God carried you through to the other side. Only time will provide that.
But I can tell you that God is walking with you today.
You are not alone.
A few scriptures just for you
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. ~ Psalm 55:22
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~ Matthew 11:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28
Love that you included scripture with your story. God’s word is the one absolute in times of trial and testing. Circumstances, friends, family, church, finances… everything else may fail you, but God’s word and the promises therein are the one constant, on which we can place our abiding trust and hope. Without the promises of God found in scripture, life’s trials would not be survivable.
Thank you for the verses today, Suzie! Just what I needed to hear:)
Bless you, Suzie! I was just sitting here stressing and anonizing over my finances and life in general. Thank you for reminding me this too shall pass, and I am not alone. Thank you. 🙂
Needed this! With the financial struggles my family and I are facing currently, having my dad’s car break down yesterday was not welcome or wanted at all but God was with us then and He will see us through this. Thank you Suzie!
Thank you very much Suzie! I am most likely taking another huge leap of faith into unchartered waters, meaning…committing to therapy treatment for CSA in which I developed a ‘dissociative disorder.’ It is ‘Internal Family Systems therapy’ which is suppose to integrate the ‘states’ in me which show up when I dissociate.
If you think of it, please pray for me.
Thank you kindly,
Thank you so much for those verses – you can’t imagine how right on they were for me at this moment! !
As I walked into bible study this morning I was praying for God to send me a friend. I looked at a small group of women talking and laughing longing to be a part.
When bible study was over I made my way to the elevator and noticed that there was a woman standing there by herself.. She looked at me and asked me if I was OK and I said the polite “yes, I am fine.” She then asked if I needed prayer-many mixed emotions went through me-who is this woman asking me if I need prayer? well, we went outside the church and sat on a bench in the heat of the day and she said let me pray right now for you and your son and your grandchildren. She told me that she too has a prodigal child-Drew-I thoughy another woman who has the same heartaches I have. I felt God’s presence and peace. Maybe this is the beginning of a new friendship.
I hope it is a new friendship for you. I have just emailed a friend of mind about how lonely my life is so I honestly feel your emotions right now. I am happy for you and know what a blessing this was and it was from God.
Good word and truth, my friend! (And you made me laugh too! I can just envision you trying to figure out how to get that car turned around!)
These words jumped right off my iPad into my lap. Exactly what I needed to hear so desperately today! Thank you so much for sharing!
I so very much needed to read this today. Am so glad I didn’t read it when it first came to me. I am sitting here at my computer crying because of all the stuff going on in my life and none of it – absolutely none of it is positive. I am so lonely and so alone – yes I love God with all my heart yet He did crate us to need other humans. So thank you for this wonderful story but especially for the scriptures!!! I really needed them and thank you. I do not believe God is going to have my life continue in this way until I die – the hard part is surviving each moment until things change.
Debbie, I want to encourage you to remember God will NOT let go of you! Nothing will separate you from HIS love and grace. We all need to be reminded of that no matter how long we have loved Him, no matter what good or bad has come our way. You are HIS beloved! You can trust Him, even when the way looks dark. Look up the story of Joshua in Joshua 1. It is one of my favorite passages to help me through the tough times. Tonight, God has protected me from a tornado and severe storm just miles from my home. Praise God! List 3 blessings, 3 things you are thankful for. Indeed count your blessings and see what God has done. It is the best encourager I know!
I know you wrote this last week. Life has been crazy and I have not had time to read my messages. God knew I needed this reminder tonight. I am home alone instead of in the semi with my dear husband. I have back and hip issues, but the main reason is a young friend needs my support and I want to try to help her move forward with her life. God has indeed been faithful through all of the years. I am trusting He will guide and direct and give wisdom and courage. Please pray for KB the young woman in the middle of these difficult days. Pray she will be able to have a good future and no longer be controlled by a woman who has been her guardian for several years.
yes I will definitely pray and thank you for contacting me. Hope you know you are a very special person
Suzie, thank you for sharing these beautiful scriptures and the reminder that we are not alone. Look forward to meeting you at She Speaks!
Thanks for sharing Suzanne. I hope to someday be able to shred years and years. As a new one rolls around each January I look forward to a better year and by this time each year, I realize that maybe not. 2014 has been hard, but I still have strength, I still believe. These scriptures I claim for my brother, my husband, and especially for me. I have a few pens left that I bought for give-aways when I had a home-based business a few years ago. They say on them, “God blesses every day, it’s up to us to notice.” My eyes are wide open. God is good, regardless.
As I have struggled so much for so long from the trials given me, to the point of questioning my faith, this gives me pause to stop and relook at where I am.
It is no accident that I read this devotion today. It makes perfect sense to me! I’m thankful God designed women like yourself to assist others when we feel stalled. I plan to use the scriptures to pray myself into a deeper spiritual relationship with Christ!!!
So needed this devotion today. So many changes happening in my life right now with so many “balls in the air”. I am tired. Today, I shall take a breath and just look around and take it all in. Perhaps there is something God wants me to see and I’ve been missing it. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement!
I love it when the Lord knows just which scripture I need to read. Today your devotion is exactly what I needed to help me deal with a couple of challenges. Thank you for your insight and for sharing this encouragement. You have blessed my day.
Although I have found God (once again) and know that I (we) am never alone, I still struggle with past regrets. It is wonderful to know that others face the same angst and challenge as I do. Your words of encouragement – that we are not stagnant, but stalled, really resonated with me. Thank you for your insightfulness and loving thoughts. God bless.
today’s message spoke to my heart i am walking through a new battle with God at my side and feeling seriously “stuck” and wondered if I was stagnant …praying for healing, change anything to heal my brokeness
thank you so much for your message I look forward to reading your book!!
At this time of transition in my life – as I’ve taken a hard step to leave an abusive marriage – I am facing many challenges that leave me feeling ‘stalled’. Thank you for the reminder that stalked is not stagnant, that there is truly beauty and joy in the waiting, and I can choose to look for those opportunities to seek God and enjoy His company each and every day!
This comes at an appropriate time. I’m not sure if I’m stagnant or stalled but I know that only the Lord can help me begin to heal. Thanks for your devotion today.
I am always amazed at how God sends the right message at the right time! I have been struggling with fear and disappointment that I am not moving as quickly or forcefully toward living a godly life. What a relief to read there is a difference between stalled and stagnant! What has seemed like a failure in my journey I can now see as progress! In just about every “important” area of the natural…career, relationship…so much is up in the air and I fight daily to not give up…but I know that if I persevere, I will see the glory on the other side of the struggle!
As I read all the other comments it amazes me how many if us are feeling the same way. Knowing there isa difference beteeen stalled and sstagnant is so uplifting. Thank you for this message today.
I am glad to have read and have reach this page.I don’t kmow where I am in my relationship with the
Lord at this moment.I am sad and feels that God has abandoned me that I do not feel His love through
the people He allowed me to pasture in my life.A thousand things goes in my mind while attempting to
talk to God.It seems like all the sacrifices I did I receive nothing.My broken heart needs to mend and only
God can mend it.I hope it is not too late to go back to Him like a prodigal child.I admit I backslide from
my faith and my prayers.Unless God will show me where the pieces are I won’t be able to make my
broken heart whole again.Thank You for sharing your thoughts and verses with us.Please pray for me
and my family.God Bless You Suzanne.
thank you for your word today – I am definitely feeling stuck. Stalled? Stagnant? not sure but I know Jesus is my answer.
Thank you for this devotional. I’m lying awake struggling with a broken heart. I know that God is my healer and comforter.
Life has its way of throwing us curve balls and I don’t know how to play the game….I’m stuck watching everyone else laughing and enjoying life while I watch it happens. Maybe God wants me to play a different game and he’s trying to teach me the rules? Ever since my dreams were shattered by divorce I’ve been lost…this book might help with my mendiing heart….? God is so gentle….
Thank you for sharing. I am grateful for all of those times, the “ups” as well as the “downs.” I know God walked with me through every trial, and saw every tear. His love surrounds me even now as I begin a new chapter in my life. Change is bittersweet, but God’s love is forever true.
You have presented a perspective and commentary that came at the right time. Stagnant, no. Stalled, yes, for awhile now. Time to move forward? Yes, I’ve now caught my breath and am, too, ready to hit the next incline. The crest is not yet. The descent is I can only patiently endure and wait for. The moment of resting from the arduous journey is ultimately the beginning of a new one.