keeping my gaze on Him
July 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
fifteen years ago i was a young mom with a 6 year old, a 4 year old, a 3 year old and a 5 month old baby. (not very well thought out i admit. when we announced that we were pregnant with our 4th child in 5 years, my dad told us we needed cable tv.) david and i were approaching our 10th wedding anniversary.
and we had no idea that david had cancer.
in january of 1996 he was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer with tumors spread to his lymph nodes, liver and lungs. that was our first experience with md anderson. the weekend he began chemo my friends prissy and elizabeth went to a women’s retreat that we had been going to every year for 5 years. but this time i stayed home and nursed a baby and a violently ill husband. i remember crying a lot that weekend.
prissy brought me something the speaker at the retreat had given out: a bunch of blue index cards with scriptures on them sealed up in a ziploc baggie, a “peace packet.” those verses became a lifeline of survival for me. since then i have given these words out to many thousands of people. many of them are permantly set on my heart.
the first verse become my favorite and one i had never taken notice of before.
you will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
i realized i could do something with my thoughts, i could turn them to Him and then i would experience peace. here’s what that looked like:
at night while all the kiddos and david were sleeping, i would wake up afraid…that he was going to die and i would be alone with four kids to raise. and my mind would begin creating this little scenario as a horrible reality in my head. gently, the Spirit would remind me, isaiah 26:3, turn your thoughts to Me, to what is true. i would stop thinking about all the terrible ways life could turn and instead focus on the promises of God, that He would never leave me…that He would give me everything i needed…that He could be trusted even if the worst possible thing happens…He would be with me.
and peace would settle over my fears.
of course i had to do this a kajillion times. and i still do. through all sorts of challenges from more cancer to my parents deaths to job losses and the hardest of all for me, my kids struggling. isaiah 26:3 has served as His hand of love gently turning my face from my problems to Him. i will keep my gaze on Him.
one of the hardest days in these last two months was the ct scan/pet scan day. the morning began with fasting- no coffee!! torture. when we arrived at the hospital and i started chugging my first gallon of barium (disgusting liquid chalk) there was a very chatty couple in the waiting area full of unsolicited advice for the procedures. let’s just say the word “lubricate” was said repeatedly and i very graciously wanted to punch them. after all dignity had been destroyed in the ct scan department we headed over to radiology for the pet scan. not feeling so great, i took a little visit to the restroom. as i was washing my hands i noticed a piece of paper on the counter that looked like this:
i was stunned.
i have never seen a piece of paper with scripture on it in any bathroom in my life. and certainly not that verse. it was exactly the encouragement i needed.
how gracious that He sends gentle reminders at just the right time and in some startling crazy places, like a public restroom.
so thanks random person/angel who left that verse in that bathroom, at that moment, exactly when i needed it.
i will keep my gaze on Him. He gives perfect peace.