I’ll be honest. Choosing joy right now (as explained a couple blog entries back) isn’t always the easiest thing in the world to do. In fact, some days it’s just downright difficult, and it takes a lot of effort to just find the good in what’s going on around me. Sometimes when people ask the most simple question, “How are you,” it takes energy just to say, “Fine,” when in reality one or two more simplistic questions might be just enough to cause all the tears that are lingering just beneath the surface to be spilled all over the place. Depending on how well-informed the person is, the dam may let loose a little bit, but then there are my precious family members right here at home who witness the majority of those tears and who are helping me shoulder the burdens. Whether they are directly engaged in helping me process all the thoughts, emotions, and possible solutions that are raging through my being or whether I’m silently sorting through it all in my own head and heart, either way, my stress filters down to my family at times, and it is so unfair. My heart just wants to protect them from all the pain that haunts me. They are drug into it whether they like it or not, but thankfully God has given them to me to keep me grounded. They are my biggest blessings, and when I can consciously and deliberately choose to focus on joyfully serving them, I can detach myself from the bondage of the other circumstances and just enjoy the beautiful life God has given me. I’m so incredibly thankful that God recently had a special way of confirming that little whisper of instruction to me.
In fact, He’s just been pretty cool with things like that. Over Labor Day weekend our family decided to get away from life by going on a little camping trip, so in an effort to just totally relax, I opted to indulge myself in a Christian fiction novel while we were gone, which is something that rarely happens. Little did I know that the story line would involve a main character who discovered a brain tumor and who successfully endured a lengthy waiting period before the successful removal of her tumor. Keep in mind that it’s now been a year since we first discovered the tumor on our son Heath’s brain, and we are anxiously anticipating his follow-up appointment in November. This story, even though it was just a story in a book, gave me a great big dose of hope on so many levels just when it was so desperately needed.
God used that author to minister to me so much that when that book went back to the library, another one came home with me. It’s taken me much longer to get through this second novel, but when I recently found myself in the deepest pit of despair I’ve probably ever been in, God used this author again to show me a true picture of what depression looks like in a Christian’s life and confirmed in my heart that I have personally not hit that level of concern. Thank you, Jesus! After a while you begin to wonder if you’re losing your mind. I’m so thankful that there are people in my life who would encourage me to get help if they felt I needed it and who are praying for me and who are there to support me.
One of those people is someone who goes way back to my childhood. She knows and understands me better than most, and we’ve prayed each other through many storms in our lives. After a brief email to her one morning last week, she felt very compelled to earnestly pray for me that afternoon in particular. It happened to be an afternoon that I was mindlessly working on a project all alone. Darkness was invading my heart, and even the music from the Christian radio station wasn’t soothing or encouraging or uplifting to me that day. It was even kind of annoying to me because it felt as though there was hope for everyone’s situation but mine. Normally I would find myself singing along and thinking about the messages of the songs, but on this particular day there was only one time that some lyrics just popped out at me and really caught my ear and my heart: “Help is on the way.” The song was familiar to me, but no other words before or after in the entire afternoon seemed to register in my mind. This time, though, the words were very loud and clear, and it was as though those were the only words God wanted me to focus on that day.
Imagine the tears that fell from my eyes later on when I got home and read this email from my friend:
As I pray for what to say to you, God reminded me of one line from “Hold Fast” by Mercy Me, the line, "hold fast, help is on the way," and I looked up the song, and it has a great message ... but it's not from me cuz it was a God thing, so please take it not as from me saying it but as from the singer or as a gift of God to you tonight.
Our God is so cool like that. He knew I needed that more than life itself that day. Maybe you need to hear the message in this song too. We may find ourselves in a place where it would be easy to just give up and not trust Him anymore, but He's worth clinging to even when it feels like our strength is almost gone. Hold fast! Help is on the way!