This morning the intense Texas summer sun came through my bedroom window, and I so just wanted to bury my face back into my pillow. But I knew I had get up, the day and all its activities were waiting, and there was this resolve in me that … it would be a good day.
So with everyone in the family still asleep, I awoke first as I usually do, and whispered to our dog Summer, “C’mon girl, let’s go outside so you can do your business.”
I let Summer outside and watched her run off into the grass. I sat out on our patio and listened to the birds and the distant roaring and clanking of some tractors in the field behind our home. I don’t care much for birds, and since becoming a mom of three, sadly, I’ve long forgotten the art of stillness … but today, I listened and I was still. And I have been doing this every morning for the last month – soaking in all the random sounds of the morning.
Simply for the fact that today, I can.
I shared in my last post (seemingly written eons ago) that at the start of summer, I suddenly lost all my hearing in my left ear. It was sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Having lived all my life with perfectly hearing ears, it was a bit terrifying. I not only became profoundly deaf in one ear but became dizzy and imbalanced. The doctor, at the time, told me we would just have to “wait and see” how or if I would get better… and if so, to what extent. Um. How or if? Let’s just say, I was one sick, pathetic, scared girl for those first days until I could make sense of my emotions.
I just want to say here, thank you so much to those who prayed for me. I know even some of you, my readers (who don’t know me but through my sorely intermittent posts), lifted up prayers. I’m so humbled! I feel incredibly blessed to have the support I do. Your prayers made a difference, and God heard you, because throughout this whole ordeal, I have felt a sense of protection and peace that I know I couldn’t conjure up on my own.
Thankfully, the most miraculous thing happened, my hearing in my left ear improved quite a bit – some frequencies came up to the normal range! So thankful! But all of this is leading to more tests and unknowns and talk of autoimmunity, Lyme, and other causes I don’t really want to think about.
One of my most tragic tendencies is to let tomorrow’s fears completely sabotage today’s joy. Does this happen to you? You can be in a moment, a seriously beautiful place with precious people, and yet feel absolutely weighed down by tomorrow.
Or you can become so bogged down by the what ifs, that you find it hard to cherish what you do have in the moment.
It’s just not right.
But Philippians 4:6 is a pretty powerful verse, and one that I’m holding on to pretty tightly these days:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And Philippians 4:7 promises this:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Anxiety has got to be one of the greatest threats to our joy. And peace can feel quite illusive at times.
I was also wondering, how many times do we literally postpone joy? Feel that it’s impossible to have unless life is going exactly how we planned? Why does it feel we can’t even begin our lives until everything has fallen into place? Ironically, it’s hard to be thankful when we are in fear that one day, we may lose what’s important to us. There are so many uncertainties in life, and it can be paralyzing.
True peace and joy are surprising things though. I’m still learning. It can’t be reserved for perfect circumstances and clear sailing. It’s something we fight to have, in the midst, in the face of, and despite the losses and messes of our lives. It’s not really about our own strength, but surrendering to God and believing in His promises despite how we feel.
As my mom used to always say, life is hard, but God is good.
Simple and trite, but it’s filled with hope – the kind of hope this broken world often scoffs at and mocks, but deep down, desperately needs.
If God is good, then we can rest in that. We can collapse in that. We can be deeply thankful that in a senseless world and a life often filled with pain, we can still wake up believing it will be a good day. We can listen to the birds chirp or whatever little thing we can still do, and feel thankful for it.
Even though we don’t always understand why things happen, gratitude frees us to keep going forward with hope, even if life has taken unexpected turns – and this gratitude for who God is and what He promises… slays the fears and monsters of tomorrow and kicks the enemy and his conundrums beneath our feet.
My faith is not perfect (and will never be this side of life) and I still have moments when my ever crazy beautiful life feels too overwhelming for my nerves, but I fully believe that God’s got this – He’s my healer, restorer, and my strength for each morning. He is my peace.
Yeah, I still fight worry … at times.
But I will listen to the birds, because I still can.
And I really hope you will listen to yours, too.