For months now, I’ve been searching for a word or phrase or image that could be hung above the door frame in our bedroom over the spot where Jesse says he opened his eyes to find everything was different all those months ago, something to replace a symbol of fear with a reminder of Hope. On a cool November day in Shreveport, Louisiana, at a Christmas market with family, I passed the booth of a metal worker; and there, hanging on the back wall, was a simple black sign. It read, “May our faith be greater than our fears”. I stared at it a moment, and walked by. A few minutes later, I returned and placed an order for that sign with a treatment to turn the color of it to copper. I gave it to Jesse for Christmas.
Its purpose is multi-faceted. It hangs on the exact spot where Jesse’s brain began to lose out to his tumor, a visible reminder of the Lord’s provision and of His perfect love that drives out all fear. And the copper coloring serves as a trigger for Jesse’s mind (and for mine) that points to another visible reminder of grace in our home…a jar full of pennies and a large bowl beside it shallow with them. Every day, Jesse wakes up and transfers a penny out of the jar and into the bowl. A penny per day that he has had since everyone expected him to die. 485 shiny, copper graces so far. I intentionally keep the jar filled to the brim with pennies waiting to be transferred, each penny a new mercy for a new day yet to be lived. Hundreds of graces yet to be experienced; hundreds of gratitudes yet to be uttered.
I know how tempting it is to look at 2016 with scorn and bitterness, to attribute it solely with frustration, sadness, exhaustion. It has been a rough 365 days for many. But I encourage you to look for the provisions and protections, for the mercies and hopes fulfilled, instead. Look for the copper graces, friends. They are always, always there.
My prayer for you all in 2017 is a simple one-and one I will be daily reminded to utter as I wake up and stumble out of my bedroom toward the coffee pot each morning 😉 …
May your faith in God, Who never lies-never sleeps-never falters be greater than your fears, of a number on a calendar-of failure-of unfulfilled desires-of losing loved ones-of illness-of tragedy-of suffering. May you look at each day as a shimmering, golden opportunity to see the gracious gift that is another day to live your life for His glory and your good.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.” lamentations 3:22-23
*Special thanks to http://southernmetaldesigns.com/ for Jesse’s sign. You can also check out their work on facebook under “Southern Metal Designs, LLC”*
Thanks Ashley. What a great and real message.
I love that sign. My husband also has brain cancer. You are so eloquent in the way you are able to put the experience in words. I can feel and relate to so much, especially your post talking about the eye of the hurricane and always waiting for the next storm to rage again. Seems when I start to let down my guard and finally relax just a little, something happens. I, too, have hardly slept through a whole night since the diagnosis, and I’m so thankful when i actually do. I will lift you and your family up in prayer as i know all too well how difficult it is. As a fellow Mom, I know the agony and heartbreak of broken dreams over the kind of childhoods you had imagined for your children. I have two boys. They were 5 and 9 when my husband was diagnosed. It’s going on 4 years now and my husband has had major ups and downs, being left severely physically disabled on his left side and having significant cognitive issues. He is mostly homebound. But, he still has a great sense of humor some days and we’re thankful to still have that part of him. You’re right. It’s not easy, but God is God and He is good. I hold to the promise that God will work all things for good. Hugs to you, my friend through shared suffering!
What an awesome testimony of love and faith. My husband has been battling pancreatic cancer for a year and the fear is real. A simple phrase such as yours is what keeps me from going to a dark place of doubt and fear. Thank you for the simple reminder to be grateful forbade time… The pennies…
Grateful for the time
Your story is full of Jesus. May multitudes find faith & healing & salvation as they read Jesus in your words. Thank you for sharing the Good News! You have encouraged me today in my cancer journey & I’m sharing your story with others I know on their own journey. Thank you.