New Lessons in Suffering

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

I had planned to officially launched my new book, Pain as a Starting Point, this month. It is the third book in the Living Life 2 the Fullest series, but is a stand-alone devotional that addresses from an integrated psychological and biblical perspective how to find comfort from God during turbulent times. I had released advanced copies mid-November to bloggers, reviewers, and GoodReads & LibraryThing giveaway winners, and overall the book has been very positively received.

As the new year rolled in, it was my intention to kick off a huge promotional that included free copies of the book accompanied with deeply discounts on the first two devotionals (Bringing Hope and Healing and Healing Without Limits) through Amazon Kindle’s giveaway program.

But then life happened…. and most of my plans are now on hold.

Just before Christmas, my husband became ill. On December 27th, we learned the terrible news that he has adenocarcinoma of the duodenum (upper part of the small intestines). More tests have been completed and we will hear the results later today, but it appears he will be undergoing major abdominal surgery and chemotherapy. We were supposed to have been spending the break between Christmas and New Year’s Day in Florida celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary, but instead those days were spent in a hospital.

I didn’t know I could cry so many tears. Right now the future feels terrifying and potentially filled with loss. It has been hard to pray, except for short tidbits, like, “God please give me strength” or “Help us.” I feel angry, confused, and terribly sad.

Having survived sexual abuse as a young child, I had hoped my close encounters with extreme levels of pain were over. It had been my secret hope that we could only experience a limited amount of suffering, as if a hidden container labeled Pain existed inside each of us and once it was filled our quota was met. I thought I had hit my maximum a long time ago. I guess not.

Last night while driving I put on Michael W. Smith’s latest album, Sovereign and listened to “Never Let Me Go.” I had heard Michael being interviewed about the inspiration for this song. He shared that it came from his meditation on the passages found in Romans 8:38-39. Paul ended this chapter by encouraging his readers that nothing—not a single thing within us, here on earth, or in the heavenly realms—could ever separate us from God. God’s infinite love acts like an anchor that holds us steady as life wildly throws us about. I particularly love the first stanza. It says,

No shadow comes without the light making a way
No raging storm can ever defy one word of faith
My heart remains sure in the wind, sure in the waves

For right now, I am clinging to those words of love and assurance as I live moment to moment in the “now.”

Many have asked how they can practically help me and my family. The best thing you can do is to pray, pray, pray.

I am having to take a leave of absence from my counseling practice for at least two months in order to stay home and care for my husband. Since I am self-employed, the loss of income will be difficult. I also am not going to have the necessary time to properly market this latest devotional Pain as a Starting Point.

This leads me to the second way you can tangibly provide aid, please spread the word about this devotional. Recommend it to your small group as a potential book study, write a review about it on Facebook, GoodReads, Amazon, or Twitter, and finally, tell your friends and family about it. I feel awkward suggesting this, but this would be very practical and tangible way for you to support my family and me as we begin one of the toughest battles of our lives.

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