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“Do not be over-anxious about anything, but by prayer and earnest pleading, together with thanksgiving, let your request be unreservedly made known in the presence of God.
And the PEACE of God, which transcends all our powers of thought will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Weymouth New Testament
At just 18 months of age, my Hayley experienced a grand mal seizure.
Feeling her body hot with fever, I administered a fever reducer and laid her down, thinking she’d waken improved. I walked into her room and peeked over the crib after letting her nap; she lay still, staring straight ahead. My heart dropped.
I quickly cradled her stiff body, limbs frozen in place. Running into the kitchen I whimpered, “I think something’s wrong!” Hayley stared up at me, trying to swallow. Jim immediately flew into action and instructed me to put my finger in her mouth to prevent her from swallowing her tongue, recognizing the seizure symptoms. We sped to the hospital, not even bothering to strap her in the car seat.
About halfway there she became more responsive, perking up as we entered the emergency room, but the nurses recognized the symptoms from her appearance and our description. She was diagnosed with Roseola, a childhood illness accompanied by a high fever, sometimes resulting in seizures. The seizures likely never reoccur, but our pediatrician followed her case closely in the years following.
That was the scariest thing that ever happened to me as a young mother. Since then, I’ve possessed a nagging worry in the back of my head.
Fast forward about 20 years. November of 2014, to be exact.
Hayley had experienced some unique symptoms, and a red flag went off in my head. I arranged a doctor’s appointment during her Thanksgiving break from college. The symptoms had the potential to be dangerous.
Of course I googled.
Google never disappoints, have you ever noticed that? It’s a smorgasbord of diagnoses for the hypochondriac, replete with anything from malignant cancer to hangnails. Of course, given the chance to worry, we women are going to choose cancer over a hangnail.
Thanksgiving came with the appointment (complete with blood work), and Hayley returned to school.
Her doctor called a couple days later – blood levels were off. She needed to return Christmas break for more tests.
I googled some more.
I predicted the doctor’s diagnosis before we returned. Hayley had no idea – I didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily.
Possible brain tumor.
The doctor did not even use the word “tumor” as she explained the possible complications. This type of tumor is usually benign, and likely to be very small. Medication could shrink it, and “hopefully that will take care of it”. An MRI came next, and if a tumor (not the word) was located, an endocrinologist would enter the picture.
What doc didn’t say was, if the tumor didn’t shrink, that could mean surgery. Brain surgery. As Hayley questioned me on the way home, I downplayed it and tried to alleviate her worries.
But I worried.
I recalled the seizure and my uneasiness about her, my mind getting carried away.
And yet, I knew I hadn’t read through the Bible and prayed and memorized Scripture to just let it go out the window when I googled.
And this passage about peace, and about bringing my worries to the Lord, and not forgetting to give thanks. I studied this verse in a recent class at church, writing in this particular translation. Recalling and reading other comforting passages of Scriptures, I decided to not get myself all hyped up. Ok, I let myself get a little hyped up, and then brought it to the Lord, laid down my burden, and practiced thanksgiving for what I had and what I knew. I let my mind dwell on “whatsoever things are true” and tabled the rest.
Until the next day.
It takes practice – letting those burdens go.
I decided to draw Jim aside and explain everything so he wouldn’t flip out and be all worried. Then we would explain it to the rest of our kids and assure them that most likely, nothing was wrong.
That plan flew out the window as soon as we entered the house. “How’d everything go?” “Good, I’ll tell you about it…” “DOES HAYLEY HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR?!?” Yelled my son from the kitchen.
Great. Nothing like getting it all out in the open.
Then, we waited.
“The good news is – if there really was something wrong, they wouldn’t be dragging their feet to send the results.” Jim’s weighed in. “Yeah, but what if they haven’t even read it yet – what if they lost it and nobody knows about it.” I responded in my usual “glass-half-empty” scenario.
Finally, a lady from the Ohio facility called saying she had just faxed the report to our doctor. The tests had been lost in translation. We got the report that afternoon from Hayley’s doctor.
Hayley texted every day since the MRI asking for any word. I typed in, “GREAT NEWS!!! YOU DO NOT HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR!!!”
I sent out a mass text to the rest of my kids and husband. “Told you.” Replied the son. He never worries about anything. I used to be like that too, until I had kids and one of them had a seizure and an almost brain tumor.
I used to never worry.
And then, my best friend passed away at age 42 of colon cancer.
The next year, my 62 year old father-in-law died of brain cancer.
One day my grandmother went shopping for a new easy chair and died the next.
Five years ago, my mom had a stroke, my dad had a car wreck, and my aunt died all within the span of seven months.
In 2013 my sister-in-law died of breast cancer – leaving behind 5 sons and a husband.
A year ago, my Uncle Charlie died of Lymphoma.
Then, my kids decided to grow up and move away and I can’t always locate them or protect them from harm.
We can look at this two ways:
1. There’s so much to worry about.
2. There’s so much to thank God for.
Why do you think Paul emphasized a continually thankful spirit? Because giving thanks is the opposite of worrying. It’s the cure to actively get our minds off of the negative and get them back on the facts.
Here are the facts:
1. We aren’t to worry.
2. We are to pray about everything.
3. We are to be thankful.
4. And God will give us His peace.
5. This peace rises above any peace we can conjure up on our own.
“And the PEACE of God, which transcends all our powers of thought will be a GARRISON to guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I knew that peace when I prayed and laid my worries back at the cross. Because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow – we only have now. So have peace now. Let tomorrow have it’s own worries. Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…And which of you by being anxious can add a single HOUR to his span of life?…Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34
It must be possible to have this peace, or Christ would not have asked us to practice this peace! He will not ask of us what we cannot do – with HIS power!
Draw near to God. Walk with Him. Memorize His Word. Pray. Garrison your heart with His peace. “For with God, all things are possible!” Matthew 19:26
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
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