One day I sat in the CCU near Richard’s bed. The machines whirring. Fluid from his chest going into a large glass container near his bed. I was exhausted.
Earlier that week I found out I had cancer again. Three days later he had a massive heart attack. I was struggling to feel anything, much less God. A week earlier we had plans and they were good. They didn’t include heart attacks and cancer diagnoses and scary surgeries, medical bills, and interrupted dreams.
Though I didn’t feel God, I knew he was there. I placed my hand on Richard’s leg and asked God to give him rest. A simple prayer, just a handful of breathed words. I closed my eyes and that is when I saw it.
I jerked my hand away.
My daughter sat close beside me. “What, mom?”
When I closed my eyes I saw light. Swirls of it. Streaks of dazzling light in every pocket and corner of the room. Over my husband. Around me. I somehow knew what it was.
God. His presence. His glory.
When I opened my eyes, it went away. And all I could see again was beeping machines, fluid dripping from my husband’s chest. The reality of the battle right in front of us.
I have held tight to that moment since. I’ve shared it with less than five people because . . .well, I don’t know how to describe it adequately. I don’t want to come across as super spiritual, because the truth is I was barely holding on in that moment. Tired. Uncertain. Afraid. All.the.things.
And yet it was real.
I’m sharing it today with you because all of us are in a crazy, chaotic season. Everything we thought was normal has been turned upside down. That can make anyone feel alone. Tired. Uncertain. All.the.things.
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:25-27
This was a promise to a bunch of scared disciples way back when. It’s our promise too. Our faith offers supernatural peace. He is near. Our peace is not based on our strength, but his.
I wonder if God gave me that glimpse of himself to offer me comfort, but also so I could share it with you. Maybe, just maybe, you are closing your eyes and placing a hand on your future, or that child, or that dream that feels like it has been yanked from you and you are praying a simple prayer, asking for rest or peace.
You are not alone.
I walked out of CCU that day, still in the heat of battle. Surgeries ahead for me once Richard healed. Lots and lots of medical bills. Battle marks on both our bodies. Yet a supernatural peace that couldn’t be taken from me. Joy linked to something deeper than my circumstances.
Supernatural peace doesn’t mean we aren’t still in the battle.
It just means the gloves are on His hands rather than our own.
I’m praying for all of us as we enter this unknown season. I’m asking God to remind us that he’s right there, even when we don’t feel him. Not just present, but over us. Around us. In every pocket and corner. He’s fighting for us in ways we may not see or understand. His plans for us have not gone away.
Hold tight to that, sweet friend.
You are not alone.
I wrote JoyKeeper out of a year I called scarred. When I turned it in to my editor, I had no idea there was an even greater battle ahead.
I thought I was writing it for you, but the words held me close, reminding me of joy that could not be stolen.
This book is called JoyKeeper: 6 Truths That Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy.
I pray it will be a powerful resource for you. So go ahead and order it.
A second resource for you
Another resource is today’s More Than Small Talk podcast episode: The Two Sides of Fear (Episode #69).
Holley, Jennifer, and I talk about how fear can be a bully and what to do about that. Check out More Than Small Talk on your favorite podcast app or stream it from KLRC.
I so needed to hear this today. My husband who is in his early 60’s and is a cancer survivor (tong) is in the hospital with a severe headache he has had for a week. He can’t eat, he can’t sit up without throwing up. He is in a bad way, and they’ve run every test they know to run and have no idea how to help him. They can give him drugs but that only gives him temporary relief. So today they are sending him home. Is he coming home to die, because he can’t eat or function? I’ve been asking God what to do. I know this is the situation that God loves to come to the rescue, but as of now I have no answers. I need you God, oh, how I need YOU!
I’m praying with you and for you and your husband this morning, Tricia Ann. Heavenly Father, we know that you can do all things and we’re praying for hope for Tricia Ann’s husband, for full recovery if not answers. But more than that, may your supernatural peace descend over Tricia Ann and her husband. May they know and feel your presence with them, fighting this battle for them. You are our Rock and our Redeemer. You are our Hope and our Joy. You are our Creator and we know you want your best for us. We stand here, looking at the hills, imagining your invisible army of angels that surrounds Tricia Ann and her sweet hubby because we know the battle is yours, not hers or even his. Empower his body to fight the intruder, that we may all see it and rejoice extra hard at your goodness and mercy. We give you all praise because you are all-powerful. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Beautiful Suzie, like you I have experienced the same presence of the Holy Spirit, a friend and I were in a season of prayer and were praying together, it was so powerful and confirmation of His presence. It is a faith builder for yourself and defiantly others. I am going to purchase your new book. How do I pre order?
Lana, you can preorder on Amazon.com or BN.com or any online distributor right now. Just search for JoyKeeper by Suzanne Eller and preorder. Thanks!
Hi, I am so sorry your husband is so ill. I will be praying for you both. Have they checked him for a spinal fluid leak? My sister-in-law has had that and it creates a debilitating headache. She only got relief when she laid down flat. Just thought I would pass that on in case they had not tested for that. 🙏🏼
That is what they have found that is wrong with my husband but the Dr will not operate because of the virus. Can you tell me what Dr operated on your sister? I guess I’m desperate to help my husband. He has lost more weight and can’t keep anything down. I know God is listening and I know he wants me to fight for my husband’s health. Thank you for your prayers.
So, so good Suzie. And so good of our God to show Himself. Sometimes I still wonder at the wonder of Him. But I believe He is here. He is with us. My prayer is that the eyes of my heart will see.
Thank you for sharing this Suzie. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. As I read your words and Jesus’ words in John, the thought God brought to mind was, “Will you accept and tap into this beautiful gift ?” Just a few chapters earlier He talked about being broken in order to bear fruit. I can handle the brokenness, knowing the peace He alone offers. So many good things come from our struggles and your struggles have impacted more than you may ever know in amazing ways. Thank you for sharing. ❤️
Thank you, Suzie! I woke in the night unable to return to sleep. But this calms my soul in ways I didn’t know it needed calming. Blessings to you and your husband! (And I’m excited for the book study.)
I just pre-ordered Joykeeper!
Just put you on the notification list!
Thank you so much for this today. 💜
Thank you for telling ur story it is so good to be reminded that god is still in the healing business. He never changes he’s right there with u. I went through cancer 2018-2019 I had 32 Radiation and 4 chemo. In December they did a scan and it showed no tumours anywhere. I thank god that he’s still in the healing business. He says in his word he will never leave us or forsake us. So keep trusting in him and he will see u through. 🙏🏼🙏🏼
Thank you for sharing. You took me back to a time I sat in ICU next to someone I love. waiting, hoping, and praying. I remember that sense of peace that made no sense.
I am so thankful for God’s presence. We are never alone.
Thank you for helping me to tap back into that incredible reminder. Sometimes we don’t feel him but he is there.
Perfect timing as always … huge life traumas since October and haven’t been able to process them, then on Monday my 21 year old daughter calls to tell me she is pregnant .. her partner 33 with a 7 year old child… her mental health is so very poor, I am scared frightened for her and her future .. been a weeping heap since Monday … am praying and asking God for wisdom guidance and peace but he just doesn’t appear to be there, and if I am honest I am cross with God … the question I ask is why ? Struggling hugely so this message was an encouragement for me today .., thank you
Lord, wrap around Caroline. Give her peace that is so much greater than her circumstances. Amen.
Hi Suzie, I needed this too. The Lord woke me at 4:00 am after a restless night. I reached for my phone knowing there was something He wanted to tell me. The scriptures you quoted calmed me down. Thank you.
Father, thank you for peace that is bigger than what is on the outside of us. Amen.
Thank you for all of your wisdom Suzie. God is with us always even if we don’t feel it. Prayers for all the ladies on this thread.
I have ordered Joy Keeper on Amazon! Looking forward to the study as well. 🥰
Thank you God for your presence.
Thank you for sharing your mountain top experience.
I have preordered the ebook on Amazon. Looking forward to the study.
I’ll send a notification to everyone who pre-ordered when we are ready to jump into the summer study in the private FB group. So grateful for you.
Bless you Suzie. Your words master as you share the truth about Jesus. He is always with us and He makes Himself known. When we need Him most.
Holt has recently been diagnosed with dementia. My strong capable confident man follows me like a puppy asking what to do now. But God has a plan and healing is part of it.
I thank God for how He works in and through you. Heartfelt hugs precious friend.
He sent His Word and healed them. Amen Lord Jesus. Amen
Oh Susan, that just took my breath away. I am reaching for you with a hug, sister to sister. I am grieving with you. Praying with you.
PS – I preordered
Apr 2, 2020
I just preordered your book 📖.
Wow! Thank you for sharing!
If you pre-order the book, I’ll need your email address so we can contact you when the study begins! <3
Perfect timing. God was obviously in your decision to withhold disclosure of your experience. He KNEW it would be needed at this time. I need His supernatural peace in my financial situation right now. Many others need it in their health situations, and many others for situations I can’t even imagine. I’m so thankful He knows all, that He sees each one of His children as if we were the only one, and that His ability to provide exceeds our imaginations.
I just pre-ordered your new book! Thank you for sharing your experience of when God revealed Himself to you to comfort your heart and mind and soul. I know that it happens so fast that afterwards you ask yourself “did I really see that?” “Did it really happen?” And the answer is “yes” God sends comfort to us in our darkest moments- and you are so right- we are never alone- praise God for He is always with us.
Thanks! I will send out a notification when the study is about to begin. We’ll have some fun freebies just for that pre-order group. I can’t wait! Thanks for your beautiful comment.
Dear Suzie, Thank you for sharing your words of comfort. The Lord does speak in remarkable ways when we are struggling in the dark. I was diagnosed with BC in Dec 16 met bones and liver. A year and a half of starting to return to somewhat normal my husband was diagnosed with a sarcoma on his prostate met lungs(he was a healthy gym teacher, hardly ever sick.) We spend 7months in and out of the hospital. His cancer was too far gone to treat. As he lay only a few days from his final breath I felt/heard as clear as a bell- as much as you love Jon I love you even more. These beautiful words to my soul got me through the darkest days I would walk. The Lord he is faithful. I lift you up Suzie and your family in prayer. Blessings to all.
Oh April, I wish I could sit next to you and give you a hug. I’m SO very sorry for your great loss. Praying for comfort. Praying for deep rest. Praying for God’s presence to wrap closely around your thoughts, heart, and physical body so you can relax in his strength.
Thank you so much for sharing. I so needed this peaceful reminder that God is always by our side.As a single 51 year old living with my 89 year old unsaved dad I get so lonely.As I was reading your post I was reminded of the battle our Lord fought on his knees in Gethsemane;Father,not my will but thine be done.
Lord, soften this dad’s heart. Speak to him in ways that he will understand. Draw him close to you.
I just pre-ordered Joy Keeper on Tues., April 14, 2020. I didn’t read this post until today, but I look forward to participating in the Private Bible study for those who pre-order the book.
I have been praying for you my friend. I’ve been on my own journey of asking God to give me joy in the midst of the tough stuff. I’m looking forward to the Bible study and to reading the book.