*before I start, I feel like I need to caveat this post by saying the struggle is real….and I don’t mean that in a hashtag or sarcastic way. I mean it’s R.E.A.L. Even today, I can feel the enemy’s physical grasp on my heart. Pulling me down into a spiral of “what ifs” and “I can’t imagine” thoughts. Luckily, I’m surrounded by people who continually lift me up in prayer and with reminders of God’s awesome power, hope, and love.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine have always had some sort of nightlight in their rooms since they were babies. In the beginning, it was mostly for me. I could go in and change a diaper or check on the baby without needing to turn on a light, but as they grew up it became a comfort for them as well. Layla actually sleeps with two nightlights and every night I ask “are you sure you need two? How do you sleep with so much light?” She assures me she needs both. You could land a jet plane in there. Daniel’s room is darker, but we keep the closet light on with the door shut. It leaves enough light for him to see if he wakes up and needs to find a missing lovie (Momo the monkey) or pull up his covers. The nightlight makes all the difference for them. Making them feel safe in the darkness.
I know my last post was very raw. I shared with you, my friends, the depth of the emotions I was feeling that day and you all met me with such grace and prayer. I was truly sitting in darkness with a deep sense of despair and hopelessness. I prayed desperately for peace and strength each morning, but it was a struggle those first few days. On Saturday, someone close to me asked, “what’s your gut feeling?” It was painful to respond that it wasn’t good. To say that out loud made it more real. I was terrified that I already knew the end. After that conversation, I dwelt on it all afternoon and my heart hurt. At one point, I texted that same person and asked: “Do you think she’s going to die?” And I just stared at those words. Then my phone rang. Through the conversation that happened next, I felt a veil lifted from my eyes. I don’t know at exactly what point, but it was like pulling back a curtain during a performance. All of the workings backstage were revealed to me and this is what it showed:
These thoughts, these feelings and this sadness are not from my Father. They are lies and tricks to convince me there is no hope for us. 1 John 1:5 says “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all” My God does not fill me with a sense of pending doom, the enemy does. My God does not want me to feel pain and sorrow, the enemy does. My God intends to give me hope and strength and life! I believe these truths with my whole heart, and although there are no guarantees for Layla’s future, we will not give up hope or doubt our God’s awesome power.
Starting next week I’m taking time off work to take care of Layla and (equally important) myself. During her initial chemotherapy, I continued to work from the hospital and regret that decision very much. For my own mental health, I need to completely be present right now. Knowing that we’re going to have more time at the hospital I made a trip to LifeWay Christian book store the other day. I had been wanting a new journaling bible and bible study, but I left with 5!
Have you ever noticed that the closer you draw to The Lord and the more you depend on him, the greater the enemy tries to pull you away? I very literally feel like I’m standing on the precipice of an amazing journey. I’ve trusted God to provide for us while I take off work (which is a huge fear of mine) and I’ve said “show me, God. How can YOU use this?” As long as I’m working for Him, I will be standing in the light. Even when the darkness comes there will always be the glimpse of light to draw me back out.
My prayer for all of us is that we walk in the light God provides because the light makes all the difference.
May the God of HOPE fill you with all the JOY and PEACE as you trust in Him – Romans 15:13