This past Sunday, Matt, Addison and I had the opportunity to share with our Oklahoma church family about the traumatic fire incident we endured with Addison over three years ago. After narrating the facts of the event, each of us were asked to share how that experience influenced our faith.
I shared about the accident and briefly mentioned the waves that kept coming… my emergency appendectomy, my return to the ER and Matt’s stomach bug. More specifically, I shared about the moment when I was standing in our living room, clenching the back of the sofa to hold my stance, as the room seemed to be devoid of air. The nurse on the other end of the receiver explained that the surgeon was not comfortable with my recovery symptoms and wanted me to return to the ER immediately. I tapped the end button on the phone, watched my knuckles go white gripping the back of that couch. Desperately, I poured my heart out before the Lord, “For the first time in three weeks, I feel like you don’t see me. My husband is sick, my family is miles away, I am not cleared to drive and three little ones are sitting in our living room needing care. I need something unshakable. I need a firm foundation where I can sink my feet. Give me something of truth that I can white knuckle grip like the back of this couch.” Time spent with Him and in His word during the mundane, paid dividends in this moment. He recalled for me, Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” It wasn’t but moments later that my phone alerted with a text from a friend telling me that she had just been in her quiet time and felt compelled to share a verse with me, which was, no doubt, Isaiah 43:2.
This morning, because the re-sharing of our testimony is still fresh on my mind, I have been contemplating the role that the word of God has played in my life. Copious moments when I have been tempted to share information that wasn’t profitable, I have recalled, Psalm 141:3 “Lord, set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over my lips.” In the instance that I wanted to tell an obnoxious group of people what I really thought about their poor sportsmanship, I remembered, Galatians 5:23 “The fruit of the spirit is self-control.” In times where I have found myself robotically nourishing relationships, He whispers, Romans 12:9 “Let love be genuine.” In the silence, when I have felt alone and unseen, I hear Psalm 62:8, “Trust in me at all times, Amber; pour out your heart before me; I am refuge for you.” When I feel lost and unsure how to parent my children or lead a group of people where I have yet to trod, Isaiah 42:16 reverberates through the halls of my mind, “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” An opportunity presents itself for me to declare “I told you so” and I hear, Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
I don’t always get it right. In fact, I probably get it wrong, more than I get it right. However, what I have learned, is that time with God and time spent in His word is the only immovable anchor I have to depend in my ever changing circumstances, relationships, and emotions. He has used His word to equip me and to renew my strength. When all else fades, and the white knuckle grip is all I have left, I have found the best thing to be clinging to are not my feeble solutions, but His unchanging promises.