God's Sharpie

reposted from January 2013...If you find yourself in a difficult, scary season right now, I hope these words will encourage you.

Last year I wrote about my New Year’s ritual of prayerfully looking over my calendar from the previous year, paying attention to where I saw God at work in my dreams, my family, my relationships, my spiritual growth, etc…http://beckyspen.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html

I still need to carve out time to reflect over 2012, but my new day planner couldn't wait!  As I started getting organized for the new year, filling in birthdays and appointments that I already have scheduled, there was no escaping the reality that for me and my family, this year is different.  My mom has cancer.  The kind that turns your whole world upside down and makes you wake up every morning wishing it were only a bad dream.

As I’m penciling in dates: a haircut on January 15th, dentist appointments and a speaking engagement at MOPS in February, chemo treatments every three weeks for the next few months, a follow-up doctor’s appointment in April, and let’s not forget National Tea Day on April 14th, the same nagging questions repeat themselves in a corner of my mind.  I try to shut the door to that corner, to silence the what-ifs, but it’s like closing a container that is too full – the contents spill out.  The questions I’m asking on each of these dates are honest and simple; What will life look like on January 15th? On February 7th? On April 14th? What will my mom’s status be?  Where will we be on this journey?

Life is always uncertain, but 2013 looks especially so.  Yet I find great comfort in knowing that God knows.  He could reach down from heaven with a sharpie and circle dates all over my calendar, and scribble in all of the events that are going to happen.  But I think He would also write the unchanging truths of His word in permanent ink all over the margins, because whether we know what’s coming or not, His promises and faithfulness will see us through:

Hebrews 13:5

God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.

Psalm 68:19

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
    who daily bears our burdens.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

Ephesians 3:20-21

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear…
Be still and know that I am God.

As I walk with my mom and my sisters, with my husband and my children, I am holding on to these truths:  I know that God is good, and that He loves us. I know that He wants us to trust Him.  He doesn't want us to be afraid.  

I copied a message off a card over ten years ago when my husband was diagnosed with MS.  The future looked scary and uncertain.  These words comforted and helped me, and I have been reading them over again, a spiritual resolution for 2013:

Have no fear for what tomorrow may bring.  The same loving God who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  He will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it.  So be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

~St. Francis de Sales