When I was a little girl, my family would drive every other summer from our home in Nova Scotia to visit family in the United States. One of my favourite parts of the 3 ½ day trip was when we reached the Pennsylvania turnpike tunnels – a series of long tunnels on the highway that traveled through several mountains.
My sister and I would take a break from our usual bickering, and together we would try to hold our breath whenever we would enter a tunnel until we came out the other side. Somewhere along the road of growing into adulthood, holding my breath wasn’t such a fun game. Instead, it became an instinctive reaction whenever I was faced with sudden fear.
Being bi-vocational pastors for most of our 20-year marriage, my husband and I have become accustomed to stressful situations as we trusted God for our income and ministry. However, four years ago my life was truly flipped on its head. Shortly after having our second child, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. As I heard the words,“You have cancer”, I remember a fear gripping me unlike anything I had experienced before. It was as if my entire spirit…my whole being…was holding its breath.
Over the next few days I was repeatedly led to this passage in 1 Peter 1:3,6:
“…Now we live with great expectation…there is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.” – 1 Peter 1:3,6
During that time, God reminded me that that when I spiritually ‘held my breath’ waiting for His provision to come, I wasn’t able to do much else. Everything in my life was on hold. There was so much more that He wanted for me! I wasn’t meant to live my life going from one long dark tunnel to another, just trying to make it through to the end. God did want my trust, but He also desired my expectations. HE wanted me to believe that He had good things in store for me – and on top of that, for me to have true joy in the process.
He was wrapping His arms around me, saying, “My child, just breathe. Let go of your uncertainties, and breathe in My peace. Trust that my promises are true.”
I made the decision to give all my fearful ‘what if’s’ over to God and ask Him to use it for His glory no matter the outcome. There were numerous procedures, surgeries, and painful recoveries, but He was faithful to give me incredible peace in the process. We were able to not just survive, but actually see God use my journey to reach people for Him…which brought me incredible joy.
I am learning that the mark of true wellness isn’t a destination, but how I live out my faith in those moments that take my breath away. I am well when I allow Jesus to use times like these to transform me more into who He has made me to be.
Breathe in. Trust God. Expect joy. Be well.
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