Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:14-20
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
About a year and a half after our son, Eli, went Home a well known pastor got diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was watching videos that he was sharing on his church’s website, and he kept saying that Jesus was enough to see him through the ordeal. At the time, I was struggling with a lot of fear. Fear of the next big bomb to hit our family. Fear of an accident with the kids. Fear of Mike being in an accident and then we would lose him forever. Fear of the unknown. Fear of never finding the right kind of sweater. Fear of walking out of the house with too much makeup on. (Ok, those last two are in jest). My point is that I was fearful of a lot of stuff and I was waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night because I was working myself up into a tizzy.
I had been thinking about what the pastor was saying about Jesus being enough, and one day I told Mike, “I don’t think I could handle something else. Losing another child. I can’t do it. I don’t think that Jesus would be enough. I don’t think He could even handle it.” Mike looked at me and said, “He was enough before. Why wouldn’t he be again?” I don’t know why the statement caught me by surprise, but it did. It made perfect sense, but it was still hard.
During those years, I spent a lot of time learning the Gospel. Learning what Jesus did for us. I’d go to women’s day conferences at church and sit in the back cracking my creme brulee with a spoon and listen to the goodness and truth of the Gospel from Elyse Fitzpatrick. I’d go to day things at church and sit in the back drinking my coffee and listen to women talk about the truth, the hardness and the sweetness of the Gospel. I’d listen to sermons from pastors around the country and weep while I made dinner listening to the refining Truth of the Gospel. I read the same verses in Ephesians 1 and 2 Corinthians 4 over and over again about how we have been redeemed and justified by God’s Son, how we have been adopted and lavished with grace and predestined for Him. John 17 when Jesus is praying for his disciples and for us, reminding us of the truth and how we are secure in his grip. Forever. Despite our shaky faith and sometimes lack thereof.
During the fall of 2014, I had been participating in a Bible study about the armor of God. All about Ephesians 6. I was enjoying the study, but I didn’t end up finishing it, because of The Accident in October. However, I think that had read just as much as I was suppose to.
Since The Accident on October 20, 2014 we have not been without a peace that passes understanding. Things have been whirling and hard and broken and heart wrenching and terrible, but we have not been without peace.
Mike and I were walking through Marblehead, MA one day in November after The Accident and as we were walking around the town, I told him that even though this is the worst time in our life I had still felt peaceful. And as we started talking it through, I discovered something. In Ephesians 6, the way that Paul lists the armor of God is important. The first piece of armor that is mentioned is the belt of truth. The belt goes around the core. It supports and it holds a person straight up. If we don’t have a belt with our armor, our armor will fail us, because it would be too heavy, clunky and awkward. If we don’t have truth, we have no support for anything else. If we don’t have truth we cannot have the fullness of righteousness, peace, faith and salvation. We must have Truth in order to have the peace that passes understanding. If we don’t have Truth we will not have freedom from fear and anxiety.
I am not saying in any way that each night since the accident we have not wept or gotten angry or yelled at our children or felt like things were an utter mess. I have called or texted friends and asked them to tell me the Gospel to remind me of Truth because I have felt like I had forgotten it. I am weak and broken. It is only by Jesus’ amazing grace that He has held us and been enough.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul