Monday, January 30, 2017

Trust, Peace, Faith...You Know, the Hard Words

I love this picture of my husband and our nephew.  I did not love the moments before this picture was taken.  Our nephew, J, is fearless.  My husband loves to exploit the fact that he’s taller than everyone in my family…not really, he just loves J and wants to make him smile.  When J approached Brian to “throw him”, he didn’t realize what that initial toss would feel like.  Brian is 6’4”, so for a preschooler, that’s already a major jump in elevation.  J trusts Brian, so he had no problem asking him to help him touch the clouds.  When Brian picked up J, pulled in his elbows, then launched him into the air, J had a look of complete shock and fear.  His eyes were wide, his laugh was caught in his throat, his arms were extended back to his uncle.  In this event that felt like hours to this slightly protective aunt, J’s eyes never left Brian’s.  He had his gaze fixed on the man he trusted, the uncle who he knew loved him.  Once J was back on earth, he laughed from down deep in his belly.  His color returned to his face, and his smile took up his entire adorable face.  The panic had passed; the fear had flown.  And, he was ready to reach the treetops again.  Over and over, J flew into the air under the strength and care of his Uncle Brian.  Each time, he laughed harder and the face of fear disappeared.  He was in complete trust mode.  He knew his uncle would catch him no matter how high he went.  He knew he was safe.  He knew he was loved.  He began to really enjoy the ride.

Recently during a church service, one of our pastor’s shared this passage, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You”—Isaiah 26:3.  I had been scrolling through pictures on my phone, and this photo meshed perfectly in my mind with this verse.  There have been many times in my life where I have felt that incredible, indescribable “peace that passes all understanding” that Paul speaks of in Philippians 4:7.  I remember feeling it after coming to terms with my Daddy’s death.  I remember that peace when I battled with myself about ending my life.  I remember the rush of peace after the realization that my first husband was not coming back.  There have been dark times where peace seemed to be a distant dream, yet the Lord wrapped me up in it. 

Seasons come where that peace is harder to find, harder to feel.  In all of the instances I mentioned above, the peace wasn’t instant.  When the hardships hit, my gaze was fixed on the circumstance…not being able to resolve things with my Daddy on this side of heaven, overwhelmed by pain that the only option seemed to be to take my life, not understanding how a 13-year marriage could be over in a heartbeat.  The eyes of my heart were set on the pain of the world.  My gaze should have rested on my Heavenly Father who loves me unconditionally.  He has proven his love and goodness to me over and over again, yet in my flesh, I look to myself or to the world when heartache abounds.

It is my resolve to no longer let the situations of life to dictate my heart’s gaze.  A few nights ago, I hit a low point where I could not turn off my brain.  I was pouring out questions to God.  I was searching for solutions in His Word.  I was crying out to Him to speak to me.  When the passage in Isaiah was shared at church, I felt as if God was speaking directly to me through our pastor.  Have you ever felt that?  That words that you had been longing to hear were given to you through someone else?  Isn’t it simply amazing?  Therefore, I am trying to rewire my heart and to reset my gaze.  I have trust God at His Word.  I have to have faith that He is going to hold me as I fall and restore me when I get back up.  I have to believe that His peace will flood my soul again when I put this into action:  God will keep Amber in perfect peace as she trusts in Him, as she fixes her thoughts on Him.  I need to be more like my sweet nephew, J, and fearlessly step into the unknown counting on my God to catch me close.  And sweet friends, He is wanting and waiting to do the same for you…fix your eyes and thoughts on Him!

*Photo credit to Brooke Parker Photography

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