Fear.  Paralyzing fear. Because that is what fear does best: paralyze.  This fear felt new as it bullied it’s ugly way into our family this past week.  Instead of gladness for my radiation treatments wrapping up, came fear of when is this cancer going to come back?  I messaged my close friend asking for her support.  She gave me Matthew 6:34 from the Message version: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  Huh!  I read these verses, which I had never read in the message version before, and realized I had learned these things about fear 2 years ago when my mom was healing from her stem cell transplant to treat her cancer (multiple myeloma).  Her treatment was not a cure and the fear of her cancer’s return gripped me.  In the days that followed I heard a broadcast on the Christian radio station on my way home from work.  On it was a woman, Karen Tippetts, sharing about her story inclusive of incurable cancer.  This is what I journalled after listening to her:

 When we portray ourselves into the future we tend to not think of the element of God and His grace being with us in those moments ahead that we wish were not coming- we have to remember that God will show up in those moments.

 She shared Proverbs 1:33(emphasis mine) “ But those who listen to me will live in peace and safety, without dread of destruction.”

 I couldn’t believe how quickly I had forgotten what God spoke to me just 2 years ago. 

 The fear became attenuated. However, in the dark and quiet of my bed, fear was still there.  Like “a thief breaking into my heart, [trying] to steal all my fire and shut me down before I even start” (Jason Gray, “Learning”). 

 Much happened in my heart yesterday as I met with a spiritual counselor.  I voiced the ugly I’ve been experiencing and she reminded me that God’s grace is present in the ugly, just as much as in the beautiful.  Further, God takes the ugly and makes it beautiful.  I am reminded of an experience I had at summer camp when I was around 13 years old.  Before our eyes, an artist created a beautiful chalk artwork: pastels and beautiful pinks and oranges created a sunset framed by nature.  Then he took black chalk and intentionally and with deliberate forcefulness placed a large mar across the page.  It was compelling and uncomfortable.  From that black mar on the page he created the shadowed outline of a beautiful tree creating a strikingly beautiful image.  God takes the ugly and makes it beautiful.

 My friend recommended lighting a candle and watching it burn as a tool to combat fear by enabling being present in the here and now.  My spiritual counselor lit a candle as we met to symbolize God’s presence as we invite Him present.  Though God transcends time, we can only be present right here and now.  Thisis where God meets us.  I am instructed in scripture to not worry.  God carries my worries for me.  I can lay them down at His feet and He will scoop me into His arms and hold me. And how blessed I am that the place where I meet God is sacred ground.  Gotquestions.org says this of “Holy ground” referencing Exodus 3 and Acts 7:

 “It was not that the actual ground on which Moses stood was holy; rather it was the presence of the holy God that made it holy.

 The holy ground was rendered sacred by the presence of God, who is the very essence of holiness. …Solemn awe and deep seriousness are appropriate for coming into the place set apart for the worship of God, for wherever the Lord is constitutes holy ground.”
How blessed I am to be present today. How blessed I am to be invited to tread on Holy ground.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, emphasis mine)

My heart is well.  Oh, how my heart is well.