Devotional,  Encouragement,  Fighting Fear

Perfect Peace {Day 15}

{Day 15}

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

~ Isaiah 26:3 NLT

“Dabney…how much money is two quarters and a dime,” my cardiologist asked me each day he visited my hospital room after my open-heart surgery.

Eyes wide, I stared at my husband, silently begging him for the answer, then slowly shrugged.

“How old are your kids?”

I shot another look to Jason, my brain searching for the answer. Another shrug.

“Dabney, what year is it?”

Excited, I said,“1995!”

The doctor crossed his arms, then walked Jason out of the room like he had done so many days before.

Of course, I was wrong.

The year was 2015.

Apparently, 1995 was my favorite year because I had repeated this date for a week. This was the year I transferred to Palm Beach Atlantic University from community college, the year I fell in love with Jason, and the year we married.

Yet here I was at 42 years old, and everyone was trying to figure out why I was struggling with amnesia?

Jason tried to coach me each morning before my doctor visited that the year was 2015. He reassured me that as soon as I started to remember the date, and I walked a little longer without resting, that I would be discharged from the hospital. For my sanity’s sake, I practiced the date and continued to force myself out of bed to take a few steps—then I’d have to stop to catch my breath again. For some reason each mini-excursion down the hallway ended the same, and I’d return to my room wiped out.

Patients 20 years older than me who had just had the same surgery were effortlessly walking around with no memory issues.

What is wrong with me, I thought.

And why are my arms and face so swollen?

{Walking around NY with Maddie a week after heart surgery}

The weeks and months of recovery that followed were tough, but by God’s grace, I improved. My memory, lungs, and energy had finally recovered (although it took a year for me to feel semi-normal).

I wish I could say that all healings happen overnight. And in some cases, they miraculously do. I’ve had a few of those experiences, where one day I was dying, and a week later my family was packing my belongings to leave the hospital. But for the rest of the battles, I struggled.

Please know if I had the magic healing pill for what was ailing you, I’d slip it into your hand in a hot second, because I never want you to waste today’s strength wrestling tomorrow’s battles (like I used to do).

What you need to know is that miracles happen.

Sometimes instantly, sometimes months down the road.

For now, start to celebrate the small victories. For me, it was the day I remembered the right year, or my kids’ ages, or even walking the length of my hallway without gasping for air. During this season of life, I woke each morning with a thank you prayer to God for these small things that I never would have considered a blessing before.

Maybe today consider the fact that you’re able to read and understand this devotional. This sounds simple, yet it’s a beautiful gift that your brain functions normally. (Sometimes we don’t see those positive points of view until our mental capabilities falter.)

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s that you have family visiting, or you can sit up on your own for the first time in a long time. Think for a moment about what improvement you have made.

Now take a minute to write down the one thought that popped into your head.

Can I challenge you to start a habit that I’m so thankful someone shared with me? Maybe you’ve been journaling here and there, but I encourage you to begin each morning remembering the highlights from the day before.

Starting the morning with positive thoughts puts us in the right mindset, especially when you feel like God orchestrated the event.

Do you know another reason I love documenting my life in notebook? It reminds me of the things I often forget, but worried so much over. When I hit those bumpier days, I pull out my journal and reread old entries that remind me how God showed up. These personal stories reinvigorate my soul to keep believing He’s in control, even though I can’t see the outcome quite yet.

In the same way I want you to have your own record. I’ll bet what you’re thinking about now you probably won’t be thinking about next year.

Enjoy today for what it is.

A new day.

A new memory.

And the hope that we have God’s perfect peace when our thoughts are fixed on Him.

~~~

Write out anything good that happened the last day or two:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Write out your prayer of thanks to Him:

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”

~  Peace Pilgrim

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

~ Psalm 55:22 NIV

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”

~ Psalm 103:1-5 NLT

~~~

As always, if you see an error or a clunky sentence that needs tweaking, I’d certainly be grateful if you’d let me know, and of course, I’ll include your name as a “thank you” in the acknowledgement section of this devotional.

To God be the glory!

Dabney

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