I’m Right Here

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Control, Devotions, Encouragement, Fear, God's Promises, Grief, Healing, Holy Spirit, Knowing God by Name, Love, Parenting, Prayer, Sorrow, Strength, Trials, Trusting God, Worry 21 Comments

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.

Preston Broken Jaw 2011

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.”

Preston Nurse Post Surgery Vitals

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).

Ps 34.18 BIB


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)

Dear Lord, 
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.



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.

Thanks for doing life with me!


** UPDATE – Preston healed fully, has no pain eating or chewing, is now a strapping 6’4″ tall, and is going to turn 18 in a week! I am so grateful to be the mom of this wonderful young man. Want to see his latest basketball highlight video? Not kidding. Here you go: http://youtu.be/Vp885UmkJt0 ** 


Comments 21

  1. I was searching for a Bible Study and came across your work. No Accident. I would love to have you as a FB Friend

  2. I am thankful for this study and for Girlfriends in God.
    I have been broken-hearted for almost twelve years. My precious husband of 30 years was diagnosed with cancer in September and passed in November 2002. The last years of our lives together were an adventure, revising two boys, working, and exploring this country we lived in. He touched many lives during his life, giving them the gift of laughter’ and the last two months of life were also a gift to many. He was always joyful and passed in peace. Jesus was with my sons and I during his last day and we were filled with joy knowing that he was walking with Jesus through eternity.
    II miss him every day, and wonder what adventures we would have had, but I know I will meet him and see the face of Jesus some day and spend eternity with Jesus.
    I am truly Blessed knowing that Jesus walks before me, and with me holding my right hand through the circumstances of my daily life.

  3. I’ve never responded to a blog before & had to get my teenage daughter to show me how. 🙂 I just wanted to thank you & praise GOD for this devotional. It has been one of my favorite GiGi devos. The scripture & message you shared that GOD is right here with us & we are not alone was a love note from GOD to my heart today. I am always amazed at how GOD sends just the right devo at just the right time. My life has completely changed these past few months. I struggle with chronic migraines (20+ per month) that are not responding to medical treatments. I was a Kindergarten teacher for 20 years & resigned at the beginning of the new year, in hopes of by minimizing work stress in my life it would hopefully help my migraines calm down. I am homebound alot of my time & struggle with depression & exhaustion from chronic pain. Now we are unexpectantly down to only my husband’s income as a pastor of a country church. But boy has GOD been showing up BIGGER than I could ever imagine! I am so thankful for how GOD has been miraculously meeting our bills each month (& try to remember this when I think about future months or how we are going to pay for college for our daughter in another year!) GOD has been teaching me so much during this “wilderness” time with HIM. HE is teaching me to: 1.) focus on HIM regardless of my circumstances & 2.) not to focus on what I can’t do because of my migraines but what I can do in HIM. Some of the things I can do during this season in my life are to pray, praise & thank HIM in the storm, & dig deep in HIM. The GiGi devos have been an important part in my life at this time as I dig deep in JESUS. Your recent devo on “The More You Are Meant For” which dealt with living with chronic pain was another one of your devos that GOD sent directly to my heart…& I could go on & on about other GiGi devos God has used. I just wanted to thank GOD for HIS love & faithfulness & thank you ladies for being used by GOD to encourage & point me to JESUS. “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand. But I know WHO holds tomorrow & I know WHO holds my hand” (lyrics from the hymn, “I Know WHO Holds Tomorrow”). Love & GOD Bless
    Is. 45:3 “And I give you treasures hidden in the darkness–secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I AM the LORD, the GOD of Israel, the ONE WHO calls you by name.”

  4. What a great devotional! Your sharing and the scriptures are close to my heart. This reminds me of the last few days of my mother who is passing. I remember sitting in the hallway praying and asking God for guidance. My heart was aching and I’m feeling confuse. I sat and look across the hall, there are babies being born. When my mother was admitted to the hospital, the only room available was the one across the delivery room. I though, God gave and God takes! When a life was taken another life is born, given. This is life, nothing is certain but God is certain. I know he’s there and listening to my cry. He will be with me all the way. I recide Ps 23:4 “Even though I walk in the valley of death, I fear nothing because he’s with me”. I felt peace as I remember his word. After my mother passed away and at the funeral, the pastor read Ecc. 12:7 “The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”. This verse brought me back to when I was praying by the hallway hearing babies being born. I realized my mother’s spirit is with God now. She’s safe now and in no pain. Even though I’m not ready to let her go but I know she’s with God, a far better place to be. These scriptures continue giving me comfort till today. My mother passed away almost 7 years ago and there is not a day I don’t think of her.
    Thanks Gwen!

  5. Awesome and full of grace and truth. Thank you for sharing that in a way that I can also share it with another dear friend of mine who’s going through a lot of heartache and concern for her family today. And by the way, I watched the basketball video. Wow! But the thing that came to mind as I watched it was that God has such a great future for all those who trust Him and rely on His strength. Blessings!

  6. Thank you for this reading today! So many trials and tears since I have been trying to get back on the right track with the Lord. I’ve been trying to stay strong and to keep the faith that it’s all going to work out. Psalms 43:18 has been my go to verse along with Matthew 6:25-34! Anyways thank you again and blessings to you and your family!

  7. The past week has been a series of disappointments within my marriage and I surely needed this today. I know, in my head, that I am not alone and that He is with me through it all but when my heart is breaking and I am so lonely my head doesn’t always share that info with my heart. I am physcially alone alot; I work from home, my husband works 12 hour days and is going to start driving tractor trailer, and my older kids are all grown and out of the house. I do, however, have a 4 year old with Down Syndrome that I spend most of my time with and parent basically on my own. Spending time with The Lord is seriously the only way I get through some days. Thank you for this reminder and encouragement that was so definitely needed today.

  8. I had to pay extra attention to verse verse 2. “When you walk through the fire of oppression you will not be burned” NLT. Not if I walk through, but when I walk through. I’m praying his word becomes Rhema in every area of my life. I know he wasn’t addressing me at that particular time in history but it definitely applies now.

  9. Gwen, thank you for sharing this story this morning. It was as if God was speaking to my heart through your heart whisper. My life is in flux and I have been praying for the wisdom and grace to make the best decision, and I admit at times I’ve felt alone. Through today’s reading I see that God is my redeemer, protector, comforter, savior, that I belong to him, here’s ever present, and that He love me. Yep, I’m good now!

  10. Such a perfect reading today. Thank you. Whether our children are hurt physically, emotionally or spiritually, we are broken-hearted. Trusting that God is with me in praying for them & sharing His peace within me to trust His plan was the perfect reminder.

  11. Thanks.really neede this today.Dont know why but I have been in tears this morning.So thankful for the comfort of God.knowing He understands and loves me.

  12. 15 years ago we woke up at 5 am to a house on fire. My husband, son and I got out with our lives and our dog, but within 2 hours we had lost all earthly possessions and our beloved cat and canary. In the midst of this tragedy, we were constantly shown how God was with us every step of the way. In our new home, stands our new grandfather clock with a gold plaque that has the text Isaiah 43:1-3 engraved on it as a loving reminder that God is always there, whispering “I am with you and I will never leave you!”

  13. It’s comforting and reassuring to know that God has summoned me by name. I am overjoyed to know that He promises to be with me no matter I go through. As my heart heals from hurts that I’ve recently endured, I am able to have peace knowing that God cares, that He’ll never leave me and that He’ll work all things together for my good because I love Him!

  14. God promises to be there for us thru all circumstances, thru the valley and thru the fire. He promises in these scriptures that he is with us and for us not to be afraid. Its so encouraging to hear that this morning. I have a huge decision to make for my family and I feel so indecisive and alone and I’m afraid to make the wrong decision. I’m praying for wisdom, discipline and understanding from God. Ultimately, whatever decision I decide to make, God will be with me during this time, and he will continue to be with me. I don’t have to be afraid to make a bad choice because God is guiding me every step of the way. I just have to believe in his promises.

    1. Yes, Shavon! The Bible promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) Praying for wisdom for you now! – Gwen

  15. When someone upsets me I can feel so totally alone in my pain and distress. It is just so amazing to be reminded God is right there and mends our broken hearts and crushed spirits even when that broken hard resulted from a fellow christian jumping on it.

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