A New Year’s Hope for Spiritual Strength

Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve written. Lately, I feel like life is moving extremely fast, and I’ve been busy- busy, which is so different for me! For such a long time it seemed like I was just surviving, exerting just enough energy to try and keep myself, and our family, and our house from falling apart. My contribution to the well being of everyone felt immensely small, yet still, so difficult.

But now, I’m busy. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, and actually going places, with my children, by myself, and even though that’s still exhausting, the fact that it’s happening means it’s possible. It’s like I’m finally getting my fingers wrapped around some kind of “normal” life, which is thrilling and frightening at the same time. Frightening, because I know what it’s like to start to hold and enjoy that “some kind of normal,” and I know that normal can fall apart on you in an instant. But I just want to hold it, and keep it, so very desperately.

Normal is its own kind of hard, because being a mom and a wife is no easy job, but it is a good challenge. It’s a gift.

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come…” I sing Amazing Grace to the girls sometimes when I put them to sleep. Brent and I have ventured through a lot of dangers together, but I’ve found nothing is more frightening than the dangers, toils, and snares you can wade into in your own mind.

It’s been exciting, over the past six months or so since my surgery, to experience progress in my health. It’s also been confusing and at times alarming, as we found out that my stomach tumor had been low-grade cancer, when I had been told from the start by nearly everyone, that it was not cancerous. Mutation testing also revealed that I have a mutation which makes me susceptible to several types of tumors, so I will need follow up tests for life.

So, in my one hand I’m holding normal, but in my other hand there comes unpleasant reminders of a reality I would rather forget, in the form of mail from the cancer center, or phone calls, or appointments. I feel like I’m fine, until one of those reminders pops up, and then to be quite honest, my brain starts shutting down.

I told Brent the other night that I am not so much afraid of sickness, but I often fear something far worse than sickness, and that is a crushed spirit. That’s a pit I’ve been in, and I never want to go back there. It was fascinating to me that in the providence of God the very next morning I read Proverbs 18:14 “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” Indeed.

I was then reminded of Psalm 34:18-19 which says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

I’m still a work in progress, and I always will be. I’ve learned a lot, but I have much more to learn. I wish I could say I’m at the end of this process, but I’m not. There’s answers I don’t have yet, and perhaps entire areas that I need to grow in that remain untouched. I have learned so much through many trials, yet I feel like I’m still crouching at the starting line.

But that’s ok. I’ve learned enough to know that my sins, failures, and weaknesses, won’t separate me from the love of God that I have found in Christ. I know that even if, and when I lose control, He remains firmly in control. He’s still ruling the universe and reigning over my life, and my confusion or what I sometimes call my “broken brain,” is not hindering Him at all. He knows all the things that I cannot know. He is my peace.

John 14:26-27 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

As I approach this New Year, I have a few goals. I am still working on my writing. I had an article featured at Desiring God recently, which was exciting for me. I’ve also started working on a book about suffering. I’m about a quarter way done, but I wrote the easy stuff first, and the rest is going to require more study on my part. Pray for me- if it is the Lord’s will, that He will bless it, and cause me to endure with it.

What I really want this year might sound cheesy to you- but I want a spirit that soars. “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).” If you desire to pray for me, pray that this would be a season of healing and refreshing for me, not just physically, but in every way. I know the Lord can cause you and I to soar spiritually, with renewed strength, no matter what obstacle we face as we aim to seek Him this year.

Happy New year to you, and God bless!

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