Today, I Choose
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2017 Nov 02
My heart has been shattered into a million tiny fragments over and over the last few weeks.
I’ve watched so much pain in this community, in my own home. I’ve shed thousands of tears, unable to control my own emotions. I’ve rallied all of my strength to fight for my child, to do what’s best for her.
But it’s been a difficult week filled with deep emotions.
I woke this morning, still unable to control the tears that robbed me of my joy yesterday. I tried. God knows how hard I tried. But the dam broke and the tears—the sobs—consumed me, consumed my thoughts, consumed my emotions. I was overwhelmed.
I feel as if my daughter’s life has been robbed by her illness. I feel as if I’m watching my brilliant, funny daughter who is so full of promise and life and potential and beauty slip away and become someone else, a stranger inhabiting her body. There are definitely still glimpses of the powerhouse I’ve known for 13 years, but the changes are now undeniable.
And It breaks my heart.
To see her struggle in areas that have always come so easily. To see her desire to be so normal when we have to be vigilant about sleep and stress. To see the effect the medications have on her personality. To wonder when the next seizure will overtake her.
Some days it’s more than I can handle.
This morning, I climbed out of bed, still reeling from the day we had yesterday, still reeling from the overwhelming emotions of fighting for my girl. As I read my Bible, I was reminded of the importance of worship in the midst of the crises of this life.
In that moment, I chose…
I chose to focus my heart and mind on my Savior.
I chose to trust in the character of God when I can’t see the future.
I chose to remember the faithfulness of God throughout my life.
I chose to cast my cares on Him because He cares for us.
I chose to release my daughter, her future, to the One who knows her and loves her even more than I do.
I chose to walk by faith and not by sight.
I wish I could tell you it’s easy to trust God…but it’s not. It’s easier when we are in the habit of trusting Him, of releasing our fears and worries to Him. It’s easier when we are consistently seeking His face, His voice. It’s easier when our hearts and minds are abiding in Him. But I’m not sure it’s ever easy in this life we live on this earth.
And perhaps it’s even harder when you have to choose to trust Him with your child.
Despite consistency in the word and a deepening prayer life over the last few weeks, I’ve been seriously shaken in the last few days. Peace doesn’t just happen. I don’t just wake up and am automatically overcome by joy unspeakable. I can’t just shake off the fear and the doubts that seek to overtake my life.
Instead, I must choose.
I must choose His Word. His Word is my weapon, my double-edged sword. His Word is the very breath of my life. His Word is the powerful force that I use daily to refocus, to remind me that He is faithful.
His Word tells of His character, of His never-ending mercies. His Word reminds me of His goodness and grace. His Word is a love letter to me, telling me how much He loves me and my daughter, of the great plans He has for us.
His Word is my lifeline that keeps me anchored to Him, the firm foundation upon which I stand.
I must choose to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. As I read His Word, I must let it penetrate my mind. That’s where the transformation starts.
Philippians reminds us to think on things that are lovely and noble and true and right and excellent and praiseworthy. It’s in changing the way we think that we find His peace that surpasses our own understanding guarding our hearts and minds, changing our entire outlook on life.
Have you ever caught yourself spiraling down a negative path with your thoughts? Have you ever stopped and begun to meditate on the Word of God, on His truths? It’s amazing the change that takes place when we choose to focus our minds on God instead of on our troubles. His Word is powerful.
I must choose to focus on Him in worship. Worship is a sure way of changing our hearts and our minds, of replacing the fears with faith.
There are times my heart doesn’t want to worship, but when I choose to turn my heart to Him it brings about a change. It changes my outlook on life. It softens my heart. It turns my heart to Him and helps me refocus on the goodness of God instead of the circumstances of my life.
I must choose to believe He is bigger than anything we face. Even when we turn our hearts and minds to Him through worship and the Word of God, sometimes our fears still overwhelm us. It’s in those moments we must choose to believe. Believe He is always good. Believe He is in control. Believe He sees our fears and holds us in His hands. Believe He is able, He is willing. Believe He has truly overcome all things.
In this life, we face all types of trials and tribulations, heartache and pain. But greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world. He has overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony.
Will you choose with me today?