Peace. Hope. Joy.
How can I possibly feel any of these things with my current situation? A few months ago, my husband had surgery to remove a tumor in his brain, and was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Peace. Hope. Joy.
How? We have two children, 7 and almost 6. They have a GOOD LIFE, and are filled with so much joy and happiness. They smile, and laugh, and just love life. Their biggest problem is having to pick up their toys at the end of the day, or heaven forbid have to brush their teeth AGAIN! They don’t understand why they SHOULDN’T have peace, hope, and joy. They don’t understand what cancer is.
Peace. Hope. Joy.
I’m a stay at home mom, who homeschools. My husband has been off work about 4.5 months. There are so many unknowns. So, so many unknowns. And so many reasons to feel anything but peace, hope, and joy.
But I do. I really do. Maybe not every day. But most days my mind is filled with peace. An unexplainable peace that I shouldn’t be feeling. My heart is filled with hope. A strong hope that just makes me want to RISE UP. And my spirit, well it’s filled with joy. A joy that overflows, and makes me able to be thankful for today…thankful for the little things…and the big things.
There are times when I think “How? How can I have so much joy right now? How can I feel happiness? Why am I calm? My family has been hit with cancer! I should be an utter, complete mess.”
But I’m not. I’m really not. Now have I had bad days. Yes, of course. There have been plenty of times that I’ve just cried, I mean literally cried out to God. There’s been sobbing in the shower. There’s been days that feel full of doom. But they have always been short lived, and I am brought right back to peace, hope, and joy. When I really stop and think about it, I’m left in awe that I’m able to experience this, because I’m sure there are many in similar situations, that unfortunately don’t.
I realize this is not the norm, and I only have one explanation for what we’re experiencing.
I know, an elementary school answer, right? The right answer is always God isn’t it? But it’s the truth, and is truly the only explanation of why Brad and I are doing so well.
Now I need to stop and be truthful right here….when I started writing this post (everything written above) I was feeling good. Full of peace, hope, and joy. I felt inspired to write what I was feeling. I didn’t get to finish it so I saved what I had written, and then slowly over the next two weeks, that peace, hope, and joy seemed to slip away. I kind of knew this would eventually happen. I knew this journey wasn’t going to be perfectly smooth. I knew times would come that just seemed HARD.
Brad started back to work part time, and he’s been much more exhausted. I’m homeschooling, and it’s…well..February…cabin fever…need I say more? Add on little things that just layer on top of each other like mild sickness, that to-do list that I’m not getting to, and just plain trying to stay on top of it all (including this new blogging venture). Mix in the emotions of fear, questioning, and not feeling God’s presence so strongly as you were before. Not going to lie I’m now feeling the exact opposite of peace, joy, and hope.
And as I was having these feelings, I kept thinking back to this post that I started. I was feeling so good, so optimistic, and just ready to take it all on. Now? I feel like I’m crumbling, weak, and full of unpleasant emotions like anger, sadness, loneliness, and “whoa is me”.
Perhaps the adrenaline is finally running out. Maybe the encouragement hasn’t been as strong. Maybe I’m just plain sick of not having a “normal” life. Maybe this is a typical part of grieving and it’s completely normal. I’m not really sure.
The same day of writing and confessing my struggles on paper, my mom sent me a devotional that was on Joshua 1:9, the story that became our family theme. (If you missed how our story began, check out these blog posts: Jericho 1, Jericho 2, Jericho 3.)
The very first lines were, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. (Not feeling either…) Do not be frightened (totally letting fear creep in), and do not be dismayed (I can think of some stronger words to describe how I’m feeling at this point…) for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.
I have read this verse over and over the last few months, it’s plastered all over our house, on my jewelry, and we even have “Be strong and courageous” T-shirts and bracelets. But what really stuck out to me THIS time was that first line. Have I not commanded you…let that sink in…HAVE I NOT COMMANDED YOU...Oh Lindsey, you haven’t been listening….God is commanding me to be strong and courageous. It’s easy to be strong and courageous, and full of happiness and joy when it’s a natural feeling. (I should note, I am SO thankful that God has blessed us with those feelings naturally these past few months) But what about when it’s not coming naturally?
Do you think God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous because He knew times would come where Joshua wasn’t going to feel strong or courageous? Joshua had a big job on his hands, and it was a job that was going to require strength and courage. God straight up tells Joshua, there is no reason to not be strong and courageous, because HE IS WITH Joshua. What a comforting promise, and a promise for all of us. If GOD IS WITH US, why should we fear? Or doubt? Or question. God’s promises are just that. Promises.
We are not guaranteed an easy life. In fact trials WILL come. I’m beginning to realize that there will be times when we need to be purposeful in our thoughts and actions. If I’m truly going to be obedient to God, when He commands me to be strong and courageous, I need to put on my big girl pants and DO IT. Even if I’m not easily feeling it. If He tells me not to be frightened, then I make those fearful thoughts leave my head, and tell Satan to leave too. If He tells me to not be dismayed, then I purposefully CHOOSE JOY. For the Lord my God is WITH ME, wherever I go. Just saying that over and over brings comfort and feelings of peace.
Now I’m not saying that we can’t have moments of weakness. It’s good to let our emotions out, and it’s good to bring our burdens to God. It’s ok to FEEL whatever it is we are feeling. But there comes a point where we are left with two choices. To wallow in it, and let it destroy us. (What Satan will try to use for his benefit.) Or we can follow what Joshua 1:9 says and RISE UP because GOD IS WITH US. Maybe I would have been in a better place this last week if I listened to God’s commands, instead of my own thoughts and feelings.
While this blog post has taken a twist to what I originally thought I was going to write about, I promised God and myself that I would be open and transparent throughout this journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
While writing this piece, the song “See a Victory” by Elevation Worship kept playing in my head. This is one of Brad’s favorite songs, and a song that has been very encouraging to us.
It’s a song that fills me with all the right emotions.
It’s a song that encourages me to be strong and courageous.
It fills my mind with peace, my heart with hope, and soul with joy.
Guess what I’m going to have on repeat the next few days…
Choosing to be strong and courageous,
14 thoughts on “Have I Not Commanded You?”
I am so sorry your family is trying to deal with and cope with a cancer diagnosis at such a young age!
I have personally experienced all those feelings. And, just so you know, the shower is a great place to sob and cry and get those tears out, I have done that on many an occasions.
Please know, in my very darkest days, I know that our Lord and Savior, was with me every step of the way, even though there were times I did not want to possibly accept that at the time, but hindsight is 20/20.
Please know I pray for you and your family every day and I’ve gotten pretty good at “praying without ceasing” and hoping you will feel God’s strength and comfort every step of the way, especially on your most difficult days.
Continued prayers for comfort, peace and just making it through another day.
Thank you for the kinds words Pam. Thank you for the reminder that the Lord is indeed walking right next to us through this journey. Thank you also for the continued prayers, we appreciate that so much!
Thank you for such an honest expression about your feelings and thoughts. This is a valuable lesson to all of us whatever our circumstances.
Thank you for sharing our post Lesley!
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You’re welcome! It helped me so much. It mirrors the way I often feel – one moment feeling content and secure, the next I’m drowning in a black fog. Our circumstances are very different though – mine is down to mental health issues while you and your family are having to cope with a very serious health matter and it’s repercussions. I pray that God continues to strengthen you all day by day. x
Thank you for the continued prayers Lesley–we will keep you and your family in ours as well.
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Thank you! 💖
Reblogged this on Abide In God and commented:
This is one of the most honest and inspiring posts I’ve ever read and I needed to share it with you … from Lindsey at Defeating Jericho
I can relate to your words. My husband and I have been going through those trials. When you wrote “Maybe I’m just plain sick of not having a “normal” life.” I understood. When I’ve longed for normal my husband always says, “This is normal.” Yeah, I guess I envision a different normal sometimes. I have to learn to delight in weakness. But I’m a person who has to process all my thoughts before I understand how I can do that and why I should do that, so I like that God showed you because He has commanded us. Yes, I had something like that recently. Oh yes, I think it may have been a piece on grief. It’s still in my drafts. Thanks so much for sharing and hang in there. I’m sending up some prayers for you and your family. ❤
Thank you for the prayers Tina. And I think you’re right, this is our normal now, and while we may have envisioned it to be different, God’s plan is better than our own. Not to say it isn’t difficult at times.
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This post touched me in a way that I can’t explain… it brought tears to my eyes over and over again while reading it. You are such an inspiration to me. You’re not alone on this journey… you’ve got a whole army behind you and beside you with God walking right next to you. Love you.
Thank you Erin, I appreciate your friendship!
Thank you for sharing from the most intimate and painful place. In some strange way God allowed humanity to connect in suffering … but then He connected Himself to us in it … didn’t He. Again thank you for the blessing of your post. Praying for you and your family.
Thank you for the continued prayers Heidi!
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