Monday, January 16, 2012

I Will Not Be Shaken

by Shelly Esser

 Every couple of years I put together a family Christmas letter to send out. While it’s meant to keep connected to our long-distance families and friends, it’s also a documentary on our family’s life over the last several years – a family history, if you will. I always look forward to sitting down and reflecting very intentionally over the many ways God has showed up in our lives.

   Of course this year’s letter couldn’t have been complete without the celebration of our 17-year-old’s health after a long medical crisis. In June we saw the surgeon for the last time and all of us rejoiced over this huge milestone. Anna’s kidney was finally completely healed! So even though, at times, I’m a little hesitant to share such victories too loudly because “you know who” might hear me, I needed to for all of us and for all those who have followed our journey these last five years. So there it was in print for all the world to see. We were beyond celebrating!  

  Now here I am a month later facing the temptation to doubt, panic, and relive that medical nightmare. Anna didn’t go to school today, because she is having kidney pain. (For the first time in almost two years!) To see that old-familiar-fear in her eyes this morning resulted in a pit in my stomach and that awful feeling of helplessness. To even write down those words sends a quick and cold chill throughout my body. When we had to drag out the heating pad last night for the first time in years (a regular ritual while she was sick) I could almost hear the enemy laughing in my face. “See, God didn’t really heal Anna. He didn’t answer your prayers. Why don’t you just get it over with and admit He didn’t work like you told everybody He did?”  

   “NO,” my heart battled. “I will trust God and keep choosing to trust Him; you will not shake my confidence in God!”

   Isn’t it just like the enemy to masterfully slide in just in time to try and steal the show ─ to steal away some major victory, some major healing, some major spiritual progress we’ve made in our lives replacing it with doubt, fear, and discouragement? “But greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4). What happens when healing doesn’t come, or a medical condition resurfaces, or the pain doesn’t subside, or our circumstances continue for years? Each day is a new day to respond faithfully to God because faith that moves forward triumphs.

   So where am I at this moment? A part of me is trying not to go to the worst-case scenario. Like before I know I need to take a deep breath and trust God’s character and what I know to be true about Him. I am choosing with my will to put myself in the same trust mode that has held me for the last five years.

    Like all of us, I don’t know what tomorrow holds. Maybe it’s just a fluke –  Anna’s pain doesn’t mean anything –  maybe it isn’t. I don’t know at this point. Maybe, it’s God’s gentle reminder to me to never forget the years in the wilderness. Maybe God never intended for me to breathe a sigh of relief, but rather has wanted me to maintain that same kind of desperate dependence on Him that was so second nature in the wilderness. How easy it is to let go of His hand when times are good, when the pressure is off, when in reality, His plan for us is to never let go of His hand. Whether I realize it or not, I am always in desperate need of God.

   I have walked this journey long enough now to know that He is walking it with me and He knows the way ahead so I don’t have to be afraid. He sees around the corner of my tomorrow and my fearful mother’s heart and He is adequately prepared for it.

   And because of that, so am I.

   Today Psalm 16:8 has been a comfort to my soul, “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken (some translations use moved).” In other words…I will not be shaken by fear, heartbreak, doubt, disappointment, brokenness, illness, flashbacks or any other thing that can be thrown at me. My confidence is secure. His right hand will keep me and nothing I face will ever shake me because I am setting the Lord always before me holding on in desperate dependence!    

14 comments:

  1. Dear Shelly,

    Our daughter Laurie Dawn ☼ born 10/19/86. Got in a car accident on 5/5/07 resulting in a coma. I'm so grateful she is at home. She has gone through many trials. And like you the hardest ones drew me to my Savior's bosom. I will be in prayer for you to cling to Him with a sense of trust & hope. God Bless You Dear Sister.
    These verses come to mind:
    “And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
    ~Lamintations 3:19-26

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging and thoughtful email. I can’t even imagine what your family has faced with your daughter’s accident and subsequent health problems. As hard as it all can be, it is amazing how the Lord draws us so closely to Himself through these times. Thank you for the encouraging verse and the reminder that His compassions are new every morning. Thank you for your prayers. May God continue to hold you and your family up. We are continuing to trust God with the unknown right now.



      Blessings,



      Shelly

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  2. A difficult post for you to write, Shelly; your commitment WILL be blessed. You and your Anna are in my prayers tonight.

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    1. Maureen,



      Thank you so much for your encouragement. It was a very difficult post to write but also therapeutic at the same time. It’s like I needed to write those truths down as a reminder to my soul in the midst of the difficulty. Thank you for praying for Anna. We are continuing to trust God with the unknown right now.



      Blessings,


      Shelly

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  3. Wow, so thankful you shared this. I memorized
    That verse last week. I need a lot of courage
    Right now to face my fears head on. A lot of
    What you shared is so familiar to what the Lord
    Has been saying to
    Me.

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    1. Francine,



      Thank you for your encouragement and taking the time to post. I pray that God will give you the courage you need right now. Remember that He always goes before You and will make you strong where you are weak. I pray that He will fill you with a great sense of His peace casting out any fears. May your heart be encouraged as you face your circumstances knowing that your capable Savior is right there with you in that hot spot. Again, I appreciate you sharing your heart.



      Blessings,


      Shelly

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  4. Isn't that just like Satan? But your response is just the kick he needs to send those lies where they and he came from. You are unshaken and immovable because our God is Able. We have been through some tough times personally and in ministry. Devastating and mind blowing situations and we too have been ready to doubt and succumb to fear but God brought to remembrance His goodness to us in the past and I was able to respond my God, You are Able and I will not allow myself to be shaken or for me to lose faith or hope. We will be praying for you and your family and we won't stop until we hear the great news.

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    1. Ruth,



      Thanks for your encouragement! I appreciate the reminders. It’s so easy to get discouraged. I pray that God will continue to minister to you and encourage you as you face and recover from your own devastating situations. Life is hard, for sure. I pray that you will feel His presence in a real way today. Thanks for praying. We are continuing to trust God with the unknown right now.



      Blessings,


      Shelly

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  5. Dear Shelly,
    I have just prayed for you, Anna and your family. I praise God for the assurance & steadfast faith He has given you. May you and your family continue to stand strong in the face of trial, pain and lies from the enemy. God is our Victor!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your post with me and for your encouragement. I appreciate your prayers for Anna and our family. We are continuing to trust God with the unknown right now. May you be encouraged today as you have blessed my heart.



      Blessings,



      Shelly

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  6. Oh, thank you for writing this post. You've described second-guessing to a T. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I've always accused myself of having a divided heart. I never recognized the likelihood of Satan's hand in it. It's funny, but when I think it's all my fault, I feel powerless. This new year seems to be all about resting in God's grace because when I am weak, then I am strong.

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    1. Diane,



      Thank you so much for your encouragement and for taking the time to post it. I pray that you will continue to rest in God’s grace in the new year. May you feel God’s strength in every circumstance you face this year! Thanks for your caring heart.



      Shelly

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  7. Sometimes it seems like Satan saves his sharpest arrows for God's most faithful servants. You will not be shaken, and thanks to your sharing this post, you've given the rest of us encouragement to stand firm as well. Holding you and Anna in prayer,

    Karen

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    1. Karen,



      Thanks for your encouraging post Karen. I appreciate it and your prayers for Anna. We are continuing to trust God with the unknown right now.



      Blessings,


      Shelly

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