The walls of the waiting room seemed to hedge in closer. I felt a tightness in my chest. Tears threatened to spill down my face. What was happening to me? I wiggled around on the tapestry-covered bench trying to find a way to calm myself. I struggle to cry in the privacy of my home so there was no way I was going to burst out crying in a Doctor’s waiting room full of strangers! I had to somehow pull myself together.
I knew something was brewing on my hour and a half drive to pick up my mom for her medical procedure. I felt disconnected, overwhelmed, stressed, and worn out. Anxiety was rearing its ugly head. Since I had no time or resources to figure it out I brushed it off and drove on.
My panic rose as I anxiously waited for my mom’s procedure to be done. Everything around me seemed to be spiraling out of control. I grabbed my phone, wondering who I could call or text to help me through this? Would anyone understand? A few names came to mind but I didn’t want to bother them or think I was losing my mind. In truth, I felt like I was.
I was lost in my thoughts as I felt the Lord speaking to my heart, “I’m here.” I was stunned! It was as if he was sitting right next to me on the bench, tapping me on the shoulder saying, “Call on Me. I have the answers you need.” I bent my head down and silently prayed as tears trickled down my face. It was as if the Lord had reached down and hugged me.
I didn’t use the words “I feel like giving up” in my prayer but the Lord saw the words etched upon my weary soul. He knows what we’re feeling before we think it or speak it out loud. Praise the Lord for knowing us so much better than we know ourselves! Our spoken and unspoken prayers are heard. Amen!
The people in the waiting room were looking in my direction. Who knows what they must be thinking? I needed a distraction so I opened my book to where I left off. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked down at the big bold letters on the page, DON’T GIVE UP! My throat clenched as I tried to wrangle the sobs erupting at the base of my throat. The tears let loose as I continued to read the rest of the chapter. It felt like the author’s words were written just for me! A pervading sense of peace and love washed over me. The tightness in my chest released and the tears retreated. Maybe you need those same three words today? Don’t Give Up!
Psalm 71:4 (NKJV) But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more.
My husband and I are full-time caregivers for my dad who has Alzheimer’s and Kidney Cancer. The Lord prepared and equipped us for this season of life and He sustains us. It’s been a blessing and we’re grateful. But honestly, some days I don’t feel qualified or able. Some days it just feels daunting. I’m just plain worn out; a tangled mess of emotions. I think the anxiety I experienced in the waiting room was a result of my circumstances. Watching my dad decline and fade away from the man I once knew is heartbreaking.
I love supporting authors’ by joining their book launch teams. When I saw Jennifer Duke Lee’s opportunity for “It’s All Under Control” I was excited yet I didn’t know how I’d squeeze it into my overflowing life. I resisted at first, but then I felt the Lord nudge me to say “yes”, so I happily applied.
Being a part of Jennifer’s launch team and reading her life-giving book was a God-orchestrated blessing! I could have been reading any other book or page that day in the waiting room, but the Lord wanted her God-given words to be laid out before me in His perfect timing. I am so glad I said yes!
I’m grateful to Jennifer Dukes Lee for baring her heart and soul in this book. I love her authentic stories, powerful truths, and faith-filled spirit. The chapters Hang On, Let Go, Help, Wait, and Rest resonated with my current life circumstances in beautiful ways. Jennifer includes beneficial action steps and exercises to make healthy life changes. You can also purchase the companion Bible study to dig a little deeper.
Friends, I hope you treat yourself to a copy of It’s All Under Control. Jennifer’s writing will cause you to pause and reflect, say “me too”, experience freedom and aha moments, and maybe shed a few tears. I think if you haven’t already you will fall in love with Jennifer and her writing.
Jennifer Dukes Lee’s guest post is an adaptation from her amazing book It’s All Under Control. The same words I read and unknowingly needed that day in the waiting room, in God’s perfect timing. I pray they give you comfort and hope, as they did me.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!
When “Let Go and Let God” is Bad Advice
Sometimes “let go and let God” is bad advice. Let’s all take a deep breath and not let that sentence scare us.
I understand why “letting go” becomes our default phrase when we want to live surrendered to Jesus. “Letting go” definitely sounds more Jesus-approved than “hanging on.”
But there will be times when you simply can’t let go. You’ve got to hang on tight, as if your life depends upon it. It will feel like you’ve hitched a ride on the back side of a hurricane. Your hands will get calloused and cramped. This isn’t the kind of surrender we usually hear about, is it? This kind of sweat-on-the-brow surrender is fiery and wild. It will ask so much of you that it will hurt.
Perhaps you will be able to let go later. But not yet.
Don’t let go when it gets difficult. Let go only when it’s time.
Until then, hang on.
Scott and I had to hang on tight a few years ago when uncertainty hit our farm like a punch to the gut. Scott’s father, Paul, died of leukemia. Scott would not only grieve the loss of his father and business partner, he would also care for the land alone.
Paul died in the cold of winter. That spring, we were so grateful for the mercy of God when our crops grew tall, thickening over the rows so everything green was touching. There was something so beautiful and hopeful about that. It felt like everything was going to be okay, even though Paul’s old John Deere cap drooped, sad, on a nail by the back door.
We had hope.
But then October came. Not a single plant had been harvested when we awoke to find a thick blanket of snow covering the crops. The snow stole the hopefulness we’d felt earlier that year.
Late that afternoon, a farmer who lived a few miles away tapped his knuckles on the back door. I opened it and found him standing on the doormat with his fists shoved into a thick quilted jacket with a corduroy collar. He showed up at our house on a really hard day, during a really hard year.
“Scott home yet?” he asked. “No,” I told him. “Still doing chores.” “Well,” the farmer continued, “you just tell him that I stopped by because I want him to know something for certain. I want him to know that the harvest always comes. You’ll let him know?”
I nodded my head, feeling a catch in my throat.
The farmer had come to remind us, in his own way, what the Bible says about hanging on in hard times. “At the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9, emphasis added).
Friend, I don’t know exactly what you’re going through. Maybe it feels like the harvest will never come. Maybe it feels like all hope is lost. Perhaps you want to “let go” or give up. But what if you need to hang on a little longer?
Today I’m the friend at your back door, tapping my knuckles to see if you’re home. I’m standing on your doormat to tell you the same thing the old farmer told me: “The harvest always comes.”
And I’m here to tell you that the farmer was right. Weeks after he stood on our stoop, the harvest did come. The snow melted, and Scott drove the old green combine back and forth across a gently sloping hill and harvested the crops.
Don’t give up, friend. Hang on when God tells you to hang on. He is still in this.
Hang on. Yes, it’s hard, but it might not be time to let go.
Hang on. This might be only a season, with relief around the corner.
Hang on. When you hang on with bravery, you emotionally strengthen others who are struggling to hang on themselves. You’re showing them that it’s possible to do hard things.
Hang on. For your marriage. For your kids. For your church. For the people that your ministry bravely serves. For the hurting. For your friends who don’t know if they can hang on anymore.
Hang on. Because Jesus will meet you in the middle of your hardest battles.
By Jennifer Dukes Lee
Adapted from It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.
Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.
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I’m so excited to be a part of a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of It’s All Under Control. Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book in celebration of its release! Enter below to win. Giveaway ends September 30. Winners will be notified by Tyndale House Publishers. Email subscribers can click here to enter
It’s All Under Control 50 Book Giveaway
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Michelle Wittkopp says
Getting into Gods word, so it can get into me.
I cannot imagine the strength it takes to do what you are for your dad. Bless you! I’ll be praying for him, and for you and your husband. I just love Jennifer’s book and it seems it’s come at just the right time for many of us! xoxoxo
Rebecca Lynn, thank you for your sweet words. I agree that Jennifer’s book came in a perfect season for so many people. It’s such a blessing. Thank you so much for your prayers, I’m grateful. That’s so kind of you. The Lord sustains us and I know we couldn’t do this in our own strength. Praise the Lord! Blessings to you my friend.
Vickie Munton says
Thanks for sharing. This season of life–with aging parents–one with dementia and one in end-stage kidney failure, I am constantly telling myself to “hold on to hope”. God is faithful and I know that He loves them even more than I do! <3
Thank you for sharing and for your kind words. God is faithful! Hope is our lifeline. He loves us all with a kind of love that we’re incapable of giving.I’ll be keeping you and your parents in my prayers.