it’s Good Friday, and my eyes fall on this word, “benign”.

25 March 2016, Good Friday

The last month, fear crashed over my heart and life…beating me down. Over and over it seemed to come. My daughter struggling, my friend dying of breast cancer at age 34 and then I found a lump.

I would wake up while it was still dark, heart pounding and afraid. I would rise early and pray. Begging for His presence and His truth to override and over-rule the dark. He would always speak, “Julie, Do not be afraid.” “I AM WITH YOU.” Somehow that was enough, until another thought fought for reign in my heart and mind.

I’ve never done battle so hard. I learned to stay in His presence until the peace came. I learned to say, “Your will be done.” I found my heart believing that no matter what, HE IS ENOUGH. He is good. He had my best interest at heart. He wanted me to step out off the shore and into the waves. He wanted my heart to be more fully His. He wanted a deeper level of surrender. He wanted more of me. I asked him if I would be counted in the rare 4% of people who would have the tests I had and all looked ok to the human eye, but then 4% would still get a diagnosis. I asked Him if at this point in my life, that was where He needed to display His glory in my life. I asked Him if I could do that well. I asked him if my kids could handle it and if my sweet husband could handle this storm right now. I asked Him to make me strong and brave if this was what He appointed. I asked Him to somehow do a miracle deep deep down to show me a new level of trust and joy.

I couldn’t see the path out of the waves…I could hear him preparing me with each doctor’s visit, each test, each morning… “Julie, be prepared…stand firm. Get ready for another wave.” Another wave of uncertainty or fear would crash hard over me, and then His love would wash harder over me. I couldn’t see. I tried to picture getting my results and needing to leave this home that we are just now establishing—incredible community—beautiful vision to reach unreached—I couldn’t see it. My heart broke…why no vision? Then I tried to imagine getting the words, “You have cancer.” What would I do? How would I respond? Would I even be able to stand? Would I praise Him as I had promised Him I would? Would we have to go back to the States? For how long?   How would that work? How much would I have to suffer? What would that be like for my sweet kids? All these questions caused a storm in my mind…I felt sick…I felt worn out. Afraid. What was this new enemy? Fear. I had never done battle against this evil strong one before. But he hit hard. I had to stand in truth. I had to wake up to what Jesus’ says and BELIEVE it. I had to KNOW HIM DEEPER. I had to TRUST HIM MORE. I had to say yes to whatever HE chose for me in this season…and in the next season of storms.

I want to live FULLY.

I want to live without FEAR.

I want to KNOW HIS LOVE that nothing can separate me from.

I want to KNOW that HE IS ENOUGH. And he was. And He is.

I wanted to fight hard for peace and joy. I wanted to know He fought for me and He won. It came-every single time, it came. The light overcame the darkness. HE WINS. He is victorious.

I want to be more like Him.

I want to LOVE like I’m not scared. Give you ALL Jesus…no holding back.

Let me offer up my life as a living sacrifice…and run hard for as many days as you make me strong, brave, fearless, and full—full of love.

This song has become my anthem…

JESUS, YOU MAKE ME BRAVE

Your love, wave after wave,

Crashes over me…

You are for us, you are not against us…

Champion of Heaven, YOU made a way for all to enter in…

YOU make me brave.

YOU call me out from the shore on the waves.

Today this word: BENIGN.

Grace.  Kindness. Mercy.

He was walking to his death on the cross on this Good Friday, and I was being bombarded by grace.

IT was a flood of freedom and an undeserved downpour of mercy…waves of emotion crashed and released into a beautiful freedom from the intensity of this last month. God, you are good. You are good when that word, benign, is not what we receive, and when it is. You showed yourself preciously merciful to me today. And every day… I love you.

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