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. Though it’s currently available only on pre-order, I am right now preparing a private study for all of you who pre-order the book. I’ll host it in a few weeks and we’ll walk through this message together.
So go ahead and order it. Reserve your copy. Let me know you purchased it and I’ll send you an invitation when the study begins.
I can’t wait.
My prayer is that we’ll emerge a little stronger, a lot less alone, and aware of the life-changing truths that help us hold on to joy, no matter what we are facing.
A second resource for you
Another resource is today’s More Than Small Talk podcast episode: The Two Sides of Fear (Episode #69).