I awakened to the incessant beeping of my alarm. Was the night's rest already over? Could it be that those seven hours had evaporated so quickly? The clock face did not lie. I lay there in my darkened room not filled with happy expectancy for the day. Instead, my mind began to enumerate all I had to accomplish at work; the "what ifs" and worrisome thoughts soaring like deadly arrows straight for my heart. "What ifs" in my life usually come in the form of fear of the future: "What if I really don't have what it takes to retire and move abroad with my husband?" "What if I never get good at the language?" "What if I run out of money?" "What if I can't handle missing my children and grandchildren who remain in the States?" "What if I get some horrible medical problem and I can't explain what's wrong with me in my second language?" The "what ifs" began to spin into a cacophonous blur. I had to face the day.
Gratefully, I'm learning to better manage episodes of the "what ifs." My most helpful coping skill is allowing God to speak to me by words that He has provided over the years and months. I keep them tucked away in journals, on scraps of paper, underlined in my Bible. It's almost as if I just need to get to the staircase that I know leads to the light. I can almost hear the light at the top of the stairs. I simply need to begin climbing up toward that sound--that sound of His voice that I recognize...
Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up.
Blessed are you who run to Him.
The spacious, free life is from God, it's also protected and safe.
When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you.
Your instructions are glow in the dark.
God's mercy carries the day.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.
When I get really afraid I come to you in trust.
You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness.
And me? I'm singing your prowess, shouting at cockcrow your largesse, for you've been a safe place for me, a good place to hide. Strong God, I'm watching you do it, I can always count on you--God, my dependable love.
As my room begins to fill up with light from the rising sun, it's almost as if I have reached the top of the staircase, wooed by the sounds of light, my heart now recovered, inoculated for the day with His collage of words. Outrageous hope.