While walking into the opening session of a marriage conference that we had been looking forward to his cell phone rang. He answered the call and we took our seats. As the emcee kicked off the weekend with gracious greetings, my husband, Brad, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Preston fell on a rock at camp and is on his way to urgent care to get stitches in his chin.”
Less than an hour later, Brad’s cell rang again. An update.
“He said that Preston broke his jaw,” Brad said with a tone of disbelief. “I can’t believe this. They need us to come get him and take him to Charlotte. He might need surgery.”
Gripped by his words, I struggled to think clearly…
A broken jaw? Surgery? It was just supposed to be a few stitches! I really hate that I’m not with him right now…
Bags were packed quickly and by the time darkness fell on North Carolina, Charlotte was on the horizon.
The next several hours were a blur of doctors, x-rays, CAT scans and surgery plans. Bad went to worse as we learned that Preston didn’t just break his jaw… he broke his jaw in three places, and, as the doctor phrased it, “He pretty much broke his jaw as bad as you can break a jaw.” Nice.
Surgery began and the wait was on… and on… and on. The heart-distance between the operating room and the waiting room was a thousand miles. It killed me to not hold his hand and stroke his hair while his jaw was reconstructed for seven and a half hours.
In the wee hours of the morning, surgery was complete and Preston was wheeled to his room. Brad and I rushed to his side as they brought him to his room and though he was heavily sedated, I reached for his hand and assured him, “Preston! I’m right here! I’m right by your side. I will stay here beside you. I know you’re in pain, buddy, but you’re going to heal well now. I’m right here and I love you.”
His eyes flickered open for a split second to let Brad and I know that he heard our love. Then he drifted back to post-surgical sleep.
Several times an hour the nurses came in to check his vitals. I hadn’t slept in nearly a day and was thoroughly exhausted, but each time a nurse entered the room I leapt to his side and whispered to my wounded child, “I’m right here, Preston! I’m right here. You’re not alone.”
After the third or fourth time of reassuring Preston of my presence, I lay back down and whispered to God, “Lord, please heal my son! Please heal him.” And in the still of the night, in the quietness of my bleeding momma-heart, my soul sensed Him whispering right back to me, “I’m right here, Gwen! I’m right here. For him. For you. You’re not alone.”
I heard the voice of Peace speak His presence and tenderness into my pain. He heard me. He knew of my plight. He knew I needed a word of encouragement. Not an audible word – just a heart whisper. He was right by my side. I knew it as I remembered His Word:
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
There are times when our heavy heart-burdens cry so loudly that we struggle to hear the voice of Peace and to remember the unsearchable, inescapable presence of God; times when our prayers seem to go unanswered and our broken situations seem unfixable … and painful. Oh, so painful!
We all know ache.
We can’t get through this life without knowing ache.
The Bible says that not a tear falls from our eyes that isn’t known to God. (Psalm 56:8)
He knows all about your heart-burdens.
Hear His whisper now. Whispers from His Word … from His heart, “I will never leave you or forsake you. I know your name and have engraved it on the palm of my hand. I hold your tears in a bottle and ache with you. My grace is sufficient and I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. I’m right here.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 139, Psalm 56:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9, John 16:33)
Thank You for reminding me that You are always with me, that You see me and that You hear my prayers. Please help me to know deeper levels of peace today in light of your constant presence.
In Jesus’ Name, amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Read Isaiah 43:1-3,5a. Identify the promises found in this passage.
Do you believe that this is the heart of God for all of His children… including you? Journal your answer or CLICK HERE to leave a comment and take the conversation deeper.
Have a blessed day; confidence of His presence,
** UPDATE – Preston healed fully, has no pain eating or chewing, is now a strapping 6’4″ tall, and is going to turn 21 in just weeks! I’m so grateful to be the mom of this wonderful young man. Want to see a recent photo? Here you go:
I co-wrote and recorded a song called Power In His Presence as a part of the soundtrack for my book, I WANT IT ALL. I believe it will encourage your heart today in worship.
Now, a Special Invitation for YOU…
We’re excited to announce the upcoming online book and Bible study of “I WANT IT ALL.” Sign up for the study, get your copy of the book, invite a few friends & mark your calendar.
The I WANT IT ALL Online Study will be hosted LIVE each week with Gwen on a private online FB community, and will run from March 5th – April 9th.
SIGN UP NOW >>> GwenSmith.net/iwia2018