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Last week, I shared my personal grief story of unexpectedly losing my husband, Robb. Overnight, I became a single mom of two preschoolers and had to rebuild my life. I shared how the Psalms ministered to me during those difficult days and how the Lord washed me anew.
Just as the Psalms can minister to us in times of grief, there is also great hope in the Psalms and times of great celebration. We’re often reminded of this hope in times of challenge.
For years, I carried Scripture around on notecards, verses I could look at quickly and remember God’s faithfulness to me. During my early mothering years, when time was precious and fleeting, these little cards were a lifeline.
I spent years gathering these note cards, carrying them in my pocket, carrying a tattered Ziploc in the diaper bag, keeping the words close. And in a way I couldn’t have expected, they met me in my darkest hour.
On the morning that Robb got so sick, so fast, as the paramedics deposited me at the kitchen table so they could work hard to save his life, I reached into my purse and gathered my Scripture cards, the hand-written 3 × 5 companions I’d carried along with me for more than two years. And I will tell you, here and now, in that moment of panic, the Lord quieted my heart with a peace that passes understanding.
I held this card in my hands:
I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever. Psalm 121, hcsb
Again and again, I read those words. Long moments passed. So many. I heard the sounds of rescue upstairs. The sounds of great efforts. The sounds of courageous men doing all they could do.
An officer came into the kitchen. He said quietly, “Are you his wife?”
He said, “Ma’am, we’ve been working on him for forty minutes, and we’re doing all we can. But there is no heartbeat or breath sounds, and there have not been any. We’re going to need to tell you he has passed.”
We’re going to need to tell you.
As in, not yet, but soon we’ll need to. I have since learned that they say it this way to ease the news. Just in case I may fall to the floor and they would have a second patient on their hands, they wanted to break it gently. We’re going to need to tell you.
My wise and brave mom looked to him and said, “Is that the final word? Is he gone?”
The officer looked to me. “Yes, Ma’am. I’m so very sorry. He’s gone.”
Have you ever wondered what you might say if a police officer tells you the person you love most has died? I never imagined it this way, but I simply said, “Okay.”
And I looked at the tattered card in my hands. On a far brighter day, my own handwriting had captured this truth, now delivering it freshly to me in that moment of shattering awareness.
My help comes from the Lord,
He is gone. Okay. My help comes from the Lord.
Think back to a time in your life when you experienced great hardship and yet great hope. How did the Lord give you peace despite the pain?
In my book This Book Is for You I talk a lot about the Psalms, because they’ve been a source of peace for me during great challenges and a source of hope during times of great exhilaration. They’ve also helped me fall in love with the Bible. Like you, I have struggled to read the Bible and wanted to learn to love it better. Through the pages of this book, those who long to connect with God in a more tangible, integrated way, like I did, can learn new ways to engage with Scripture.
I want to personally invite you to experience the Bible in a life-changing way. With stories from my own life, as well as other insightful examples, I reveal how I fell deeply in love with God’s Word and show you how you can, too.
Let’s keep the conversation going.
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