People keep asking me how I am doing. I am trying to be honest. I am good, I am still thankful, still hopeful, still confident in the path we have been brought down, still going through with it. But I am anxious.
My proflatic bilateral mastectomy is in 5 days and it is looming over me a bit. I find myself thinking while I am driving or emptying the dishwasher, or folding laundry, or hugging my children squeezing them tight, "I won't be able to do this in a week."
If I let myself dwell there, I get a little scared, and overwhelmed. But I've been thinking about this verse for a while now.
It's that simple really. Trust in the Lord, keep my mind focused on him, and there will be peace.
Some practical ways that I have been keeping my mind stayed on him:
-Start each day with the word of God. Not Instagram, not Facebook, not the weather. Just turn on the light and open the Word. John is my book right now with Psalms sprinkled in.
-Memorize key passages. I have been blessed by so many people with verses that have encouraged their hearts that they pass along to me.
I have each of the verses that I am given written down in a spiral bound index card notebook. It fits in my purse or stands up on my counter or dryer. I like to work through verses while I am washing dishes or folding laundry.
- Open yourself up to encouragement from the body of Christ. I had a friend say to me yesterday, "i love how you are still here during all of this." What she meant is I am still available for playdates, coffee hour, and girls nights. I have not shut myself off from the rest of the world just because I am going through something. This accomplishes multiple goals. By opening myself up to people and being vulnerable, I am opening myself up to love and encouragement and genuine friendship. And it helps me to get my mind off of the looming event. When people offer to pray for you, say yes. When church members offer meals and friends offer babysitting say yes! Remember, these people are serving the Lord by serving you. Let him be glorified through the selfless act of the giver and the joyful heart of the recipient.
- Focus on a good thing that you can do for someone else. Sometimes it seems as though I am going through this alone and the whole world is in hyperdrive all around me. Which to some degree is true. I may be down for a few weeks, but the rest of the world keeps operating at break-neck speed. But instead of wallowing in lonely despair, I try to think of ways that I can use my situation right now to encourage someone else or to meet a need. It could be something as small as a hug and a prayer, it could be cutting some fresh roses from your garden and leaving them at a friend's office, or it could be making your husband's favorite dinner. It can really be anything, but it has to be for someone other than yourself. God never said "look out for #1 and make sure everyone else does the same!" He said, "Count others as more significant than yourselves." Act kindly and thoughtfully towards others and then pray that it is the love of Christ that is compelling you and shining through you.
Even after just recounting my list of ways to keep my mind stayed on Christ, the better I feel. I have more energy, a light-heartedness returns to me, and I am truly at peace. This list is not to make anyone feel like a failure, like they are not measuring up. Truly, this list is just how I abide in Christ. He has done all of the work to be accepted by God for you. He did is all You couldn't add anything or take anything away if you tried. So if you spin your wheels tonight trying to be better, trying to love him more, sadly you missed the point. Rest in the finished work of Christ.
If you are hurting tonight, if you are anxious, of you can't sleep, stay your mind on God. Trust Him an peace will be ours. Not an artificial peace, a fleeting peace that falsely promises health wealth and happiness, but a peace that passes all understanding, the peace that comes from knowing that God is good, and that he loves his children, and that we may suffer all kinds of hardships in this life, but he will never leave us or forsake us. He will be with us to the end.