My new book Peace in the Face of Cancer officially released yesterday and I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes look at my life—just in case you have any misconception I have it all together!
Last week I had three online podcast interviews. The first two were on Skype, which I didn’t even know existed the last time I had a book published. As grateful as I am for the opportunities to talk about the book, I’ve concluded I do not like Skype interviews. Why? Because people can see me!
I have to be dressed in something besides a baggy sweatshirt (although I did leave on sweat pants). I have to do something with my hair and my make-up and I can’t have a bunch of “cheat” sheets helping me answer questions about what I wrote in my book more than a year ago and don’t really remember anymore!
But by the time I got to the second Skype interview, I knew the drill. I moved my big black chair out of my office because I looked too businesslike seated in it. I shoved all my tax papers on the card table behind me out of the camera view. I fixed the lighting and the blinds just right. I spent about 35-40 minutes making sure both the room and I looked presentable before I made the evening call to the show’s producer.
“Uh, could you turn off your video,” was the first thing she said to me. “It’s only an audio interview.”
Sure, no problem–at least I’ll look good for my husband when we sit in our La-Z-Boys afterward!
I verified the third interview definitely included video and even “practiced” a call with that producer the day before. However, when it came time for the real thing, she said I looked really “grainy” and laughingly admonished her viewers not to complain about the poor quality from my VERY OLD lap top! (For the records, the graininess helps hide wrinkles.)
Anyway, those were the best part of my week. The worst part was that my entire normal “support team” was either knocked out of commission or otherwise occupied:
- My youngest daughter’s 2-year-old had the flu, her 6-month-old had a double ear infection and her husband and 4-year-old were recovering from the flu.
- My middle daughter was tending to her 2- and 4-year-olds, both with the flu, following her own (and her 6-year-old’s) bouts with it.
- One of my oldest daughter’s best friends was struck by a car while jogging and in trauma care fighting for her life (still is!).
- My prayer partner of many years was recovering from the flu and couldn’t get off the couch or even talk on the phone without hacking away.
- My closest friend from church was on vacation in another country.
- My other good church friend was supposed to be home from vacation but totaled her car.
- While working on my 2016 taxes—much too late this year—I discovered a clerical error made with our tax bills resulting in several thousand dollars of unpaid taxes, penalty fees galore, and a possible lien being put on our home
- And did I mention that my poor, weary husband still had trouble with his three-month-old knee replacement and could not walk or drive more than short distances without a great deal of pain?
Guess who wasn’t feeling much peace? That’s right, the one who’s read every single verse about peace in several different Bible translations and wrote a whole book about how to seek and find peace. As I stressed over deadlines for taxes, FB book launch posts, blogs, magazine articles, speaking engagement preparations, and concern for so many loved ones dealing with such difficult circumstances, peace vanished.
I tried to put into practice what I “preached” in my book and I made efforts to be “good” to myself. I got a massage. I went for walks. I sat in my hot tub. I ate big bowls of popcorn. I drank a root beer float with the popcorn. But I still wasn’t feeling it.
I prayed. I read my Bible. I listed to Jordan Smith sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” on my iPhone. But even The Voice Season 9 winner couldn’t deliver my elusive peace.
So I texted my friend Gigi who lives out West, told her I was really stressed and asked her to call me that weekend. We’ve been friends for nearly 39 years and she always can make me laugh.
Within moments my phone beeped (while I was on it talking to the tax debt collector!). I called Gigi back as soon as I finished with the Tax-Man.
“You must be really desperate to want me to call,” she said with a laugh.
“I am!” I responded as the tears welled up.
And then I dumped it all on my dear friend. Everything I wrote about here with much more detail and many more tears. I just unloaded it all into her ears.
I’m not going to share exactly how she responded, other than to tell you that she calmly and prayerfully led me into the presence of Jesus so that I could feel His love for me and He could take the burdens I was never meant to carry.
In those few moments absolutely nothing changed in my circumstances and yet everything changed inside me. I trusted that God could do the impossible… and I found peace.
It happened because I put into practice something else I wrote in the new book: “it will take trust on our part because there are amazing things that only God can do for us and in us.”
So go ahead and come to the end of yourself. When you do, He’ll supernaturally be there with His peace that doesn’t even make sense. He has done it for me time and again and He can and will do it for you, my friend. And if you need help with your peace-seeking, do as I did, and call a trusted friend with listening ears and a warm Jesus-filled heart. You’ll be glad you did.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
All whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 NLT
P.S. Gigi did eventually make me laugh when she later texted: “I’ll trade you a guy who walks and drives and talks to himself aloud (and a lot) for a quiet guy who doesn’t drive or walk.” (I told you we were really good friends and yes, I’m still considering the offer. 🙂
(If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, please copy and paste this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttEgZLg-2-Y