The Christmas lights twinkled, and my French press coffee was hot in my insulated mug, when I sat down to write an hour before my rheumatologist appointment. It was gray, listless, and cold outside but warm and bright inside. My heart felt somewhere between the two: a tiny bit hopeful, a little numb — lukewarm, like my coffee would soon become. This appointment was to check on a positive preliminary test for any number of autoimmune diseases that I’m hereditarily prone to.
One of my biggest fears was looming, but it’d be a while before any clear direction or answers came. I knew this, and I was at peace with it the day of the initial appointment. But when I’d received the lab result a few months prior? Defeat knocked me on my rear end, and fear swept in like a sudden blizzard. When would the proverbial other shoe drop and usher in a new season of chronic pain? This was the question that spoke my biggest fear. I’d grown up with chronic pain in the form of hip dysplasia from age eleven until twenty-two when God healed me through hip replacements.
I thought I was done with chronic pain — and now there was a chance of it coming back in a new form.
When our bodies go through trauma, even if it’s to activate a removal of pain, our hearts never forget. They carry scars of their own that ache a little when physical pain reappears.
Memory is a powerful thing, both in our bodies and in our souls. Muscle memory has to relearn how to walk on a new joint like I did. Our soul’s memory learns to be extremely cautious and stingy with our hope, doubting something good could happen.
After my rheumatology appointment — where the doctor spoke with positivity and hope, ordering further labs but doubting they’d find anything — I began to breathe again. God then used my husband to tough-lovingly push me to confess and act on remembering, and it slowed my scattered spinning-in-anxiety over this mild health scare. I remembered what God had already done in my life, which reminded me of what He was capable of now. Remembering what God has done and how He has led in my past helped me choose courage and faith for my present and future.
Even if my fears do come to pass, He is the same God who moves mountains, sets the seas and skies in their boundaries, and so much more.
This whole remembrance idea is biblical. The entire Old Testament as well as much of the New Testament call for constant remembrance because God knows we are prone to forget. Psalm 77 is a prayer we can use to practice this remembrance in a tangible way when we need to process our emotional turmoil, fear, questions, and anxiety. In this psalm, Asaph is deeply disturbed and cannot be comforted — which I could so relate to at this point in my life, and let’s be honest, I can still relate to often.
Sometimes, the pain and trouble of life, the growing pains of seasons changing, or staying stagnant can steal our words like it did for Psalmist who was so troubled he couldn’t speak.
Have you had moments like this during these pandemic times in which we’ve been living for almost a year?
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search . . .
Psalm 77:6 (ESV)
This was intentional action, followed by Asaph asking himself, Do you believe God is who He said He is? Asaph knew the words God had spoken before — that He would not spurn forever, that His steadfast love would never cease but would endure for all generations (verses 7-8).
It’s not like Asaph had utterly forgotten God existed. Remembering is about reminding our souls, engaging in light and truth to fight the good fight of faith through the dark and our fears. Asaph did this beautifully in the rest of the Psalm:
I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:11-13 (ESV)
What in your story causes a hitch in your breath, a wince, or sigh? Is it a diagnosis coming back, another child facing hardship or walking far from God? Another year of singleness and countless weddings? A negative pregnancy test?
What do you hope doesn’t happen — what do you wish to happen?
There is power in confessing these fears frankly and honestly before God, as many Psalms beautifully exemplify in addition to Psalm 77.
Confessing the dark parts of our hearts and admitting our fears make room for light to come in. It awakens our soul’s memory to unfurl and take action, to practice remembrance because God always has us in view and on His heart. He never forgets us. And this is good news.Leave a Comment
Bev Rihtarchik says
I’ve lived with chronic pain and I know that,”Oh, no not again!” feeling when something new begins to ache. The past comes racing anxiously into the present. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to remember God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past and let that confidence propel us into a hopeful future. Always good to know a friend from Pittsburgh! I may live in the South, now, but my blood still bleeds black and gold!
Meghan DeWalt says
Bev I love this so much. God is so good and I’m so glad He connected us through this post here! And what a small world you’re from the ‘Burgh!!!
Ann Woleben says
Thank you for these most timely thoughts. They spoke to my heart and mind this morning.
Meghan DeWalt says
Ann I am so glad. God is SO with you and for you!
Thank you for sharing a part of your journey that I have been struggling to push through! You have graciously “tough-lovingly” pointed me to remember what God has brought me through so far and to focus on who He is and what he is ABLE to do. May God continue to bless you and your family.
Meghan DeWalt says
You are SO welcome, Nida. I’m so, so glad you’re remembering what God’s done and what He is SO able to still do!
Thank you for writing this beautiful piece! It is EXACTLY what I needed to hear right now. I am actively reaching for God’s light to get thru some tough times but didn’t quite realize I was also holding onto darkness. I am now going to work through the darkness so the light can shine even greater! Thank you!
Wow did this so resonate with me, Meghan. I sit here with my morning coffee utterly exhausted from lack of sleep because of my inability to stop worrying. I tried to remember I was not alone, and that I was in God’s hands. But I just couldn’t surrender. I know I need to have a day of reflection and to be reminded that even though I was unable to fully trust God, I am in God’s good hands and graces. Thank you.
connie ker says
There are a lot of God’s people who have lost His Hope, and suicides/depression or loss of a loved one have increased this past year. Some don’t get beyond the worry, so let’s remember ways to help the vulnerable. We have all experienced these negative times and this year it seems our faith in Jesus spirit walking beside us is the only thing that makes sense.
Kelly G says
I am fighting the same fight and appreciate what you said: “even though I was unable to fully trust God, I am in God’s good hands and graces”. I subconsciously imagine God is testing me and I am failing, rather than seeing him as gracious, helpful and understanding. Blessings, sister!
Thank you for your words today. Thursday I will be going in for a lumpectomy to have a cancerous lump removed. I have so much fear, yet I know God does great things. My daughter had a double lung transplant nearly three years ago. I know the power of the Lord. I am admitting my fears and letting the light in. Thank you
Gay C Johnston says
My prayers will be with you Debbie. My Mother was a breast cancer survivor, early intervention does help. I have a mass and I am nervous to imagining I don’t even know what, I need more tests. But I know I am not alone in this, many woman have come before me and the Lord will be with us.
Jeanne Takenaka says
I appreciate your thoughts and reminder to remember how God’s shown up in the past. He’ll show up in our present too. I find great comfort in that truth.
Gay C Johnston says
Your story was so beautifully written thank you, I just read Psalm 77. How timely your piece was. I was diagnosed with a brain mass 4 years ago. Through extensive testing it is probably benign and so far responded to radiation that has kept it from growing, staving off brain surgery. But as I am drinking my coffee I am also waiting for the clock to tick to 11:00 so that I can call to see of there is a cancelation at The Woman’s center so I can have my diagnostic tests for my breast mass they just found. I am scheduled for 3/3. Last year in March I contracted Covid 19, I’m 68 with COPD and other underling conditions. Although I did not feel normal again until the end of May, I was never hospitalized. By God’s grace I consider myself fine today, but will I be after my tests? I just have to remind myself he has brought me this far. I know whatever comes next he will not forsake me. He has stayed with me through many of my son’s health issues, my husband’s and through multiple nuclear tests of my own. He is always with me, when I remember this, its easy to forget in the business of life, I am truly comforted. Even when I feel unworthy.
Karen Knowles says
Gay, I just prayed that the breast mass isn’t malignant. I, like you, am grateful that whatever comes to us in life, we can be confidant that our loving God is always with us. I am so thankful you recovered from the virus even though you have COPD and other conditions and your age which would be against that happening. I would attribute that to the Lord. All praise to Him.
Marietta Warkentin says
This blog is very encouraging to me today! I have had to move for the second time this year- my rent is quite high plus two storage units and only a minimal SS check to put towards my expenses.My last job ended and while I seek and wait for a new door of steady employment to open again,I am daily fighting anxiety and some fear! But looking back at all God has done in my past 30 years as a single mom, and what he has done for my son’s and me I am assured of that He continue’s to be my deliverer! God is on the throne!❤️✝️
Jennifer Johnson says
This was a great one, definitely can relatel!
You touched my heart with this article. Thank you! God bless you.
Theresa Boedeker says
I used to wonder why God kept reminding the Israelites over and over again about how he brought them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea and fed them manna. I read that just a few chapters ago, I would think. But we human forget do easily. God was reminding them he took care of them once, and he would again. It is helpful for us to remember how God has helped us in the past. And the older we get, we have more instances to remember.
Beth Williams says
God knows that we are mere humans prone to forget. Read Judges 2:10 where Joshua & that generation died off. The next generation neither knew the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. God asked Joshua to choose 12 men-1 from each tribe & get 12 stones from the middle of Jordan & set them up as a memorial for future generations. It is so easy to forget the past & what God has done. For me I write down each instance of God’s goodness. That way when I encounter other trials-& I will- There will be a remembrance to look back on & remind myself of His goodness to me.
Your words warm my soul. They make me want to go back and remember how God has worked in my life and how I need to keep all the help and comfort He has given me especially at the hardest times first place in my mind and heart. I applaud you my beautiful granddaughter for reaching out to help and guide us in the right direction.
Karen Knowles says
Meghan, I agree with all my sisters here that your post today was very uplifting and encouraging. Thank you!